W.

Why History Matters and Working on Our Home

Today is a holiday in the Czech Republic. Schools and businesses were closed and people were celebrating what is known as the Velvet Revolution. Twenty five years ago, in 1989, students were holding a demonstration in the capitol city of Prague. As BBC News put it, the students were holding a “peaceful demonstration to commemorate International Students’ Day. Little did they know that their seemingly innocuous protest would trigger the momentous events which would in effect end the rule of communism in the country a mere 10 days later.” It truly was a historic day and one that has today led to more missionaries working here and giving us the opportunity to openly share the Gospel with many who have never heard it.

I have always enjoyed history. It’s a subject I did well in and I owe a lot of that to amazing teachers who taught me to enjoy and learn from the past. I’ve even reminded of that famous quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Obviously, not all of the past bad, but I think we get the point. That’s why I was struck by something I read today in regards to the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czech. In the same article I quote above, BBC News later writes, “But as both countries [Czech and Slovakia] prepare to mark a quarter of a century of freedom, a survey conducted recently by the Public Opinion Research Centre suggests a full sixth of Czechs still long for a return to communism” (my emphasis). Wow. Really? That’s just hard to believe, and honestly as a foreigner it’s definitely difficult to understand. The article continued by adding, “…84% of Czechs are aware that 17 November is celebrated as a national holiday to remember the Velvet Revolution, only 30% of people below the age of 30 are aware of this.” Yikes.

History matters. I don’t know what they’re talking about in Czech schools, but to ignore one of the most significant moments in their history is just sad and dare I say wrong. What’s scary about those statistics is it’s mainly about the young generation here. If the young people don’t know their history they are very likely to miss things in their future and even revert back to the past. My hope and prayer is that God would continue to work among that young generation. I hope they do learn from their past, but more importantly, that they would hear about the most important Person in history, Jesus Christ.

Now for a change of subject.

The Dining Area (11/17/14)

Bethany has been saying for months “if we had two full days, we could finish unpacking and get the house in order.” Well, today was definitely one of those days. With today’s holiday and a birthday party for Avery coming this Saturday, we worked hard getting some final boxes unpacked and getting the house organized. It has been an uphill struggle, but I think we might have made it to the top today. Above is a photo of the hutch in our dining room area which we decorated a little bit today. Those Los Angeles and Seattle prints are not final, but we had them so we’re using em’ for now. Beyond the dining room, I spent a lot of time in our storage closet. We really only have one, maybe two spaces for storage (besides our garage) and we have maximized our capacity. Below is a photo of the little storage closet we have that I finally completed organizing today. It’s floor to ceiling full, but it fits and we can find things!

Storage Room (11/17/14)

With all the transition here, our house has just taken a back seat and I was really thankful to get some time today to just focus and help get our place feeling more and more like home. There’s still some work to do, but this was a huge step forward today.

Now to get some much needed sleep!

L.

Laboring on Labor Day Weekend

For the United States it’s a nice long weekend. Everyone will celebrate Labor Day on Monday and most likely take the day off. Many are probably already at the lake, on the road, or heading out someplace for a little rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, we’re not in the United States so instead of taking a break we were hard at work today on our apartment trying to get things unpacked (yes, still…) and getting our storage room organized. We shared before we have very limited space so we’re trying to make decisions on what things will stay inside and what we can put in the garage. After filling about six or seven plastic tubs we called it quits. We definitely gained some space in each room and we keep chipping away at the boxes.

Gettin' Work Done (8/30/14)

Titus and I (Shay) went to Tesco (store) and did a little shopping this afternoon. Bethany stayed home to work on the house and and do laundry. If I’m going to the store I like to take my time and really just take in everything that’s available. Things change constantly and I am on the hunt for a few items, namely a good vacuum and an iron. Our iron from the States is too high of wattage for the power transformers we have and even though our vacuum works here it has to go through a transformer which really isn’t convenient and not the most efficient when it comes to energy consumption. As we were slowly making our way through the aisles I saw this board game (photo below) on learning English. It’s funny how learning English is associated with England. In my American mind I want stars and stripes on the front of this box.

Gettin' Work Done (8/30/14)

This evening we had a chance to Skype with Bethany’s sister, husband and their two year old son Jude. It was nice to connect with them for the first time since we’ve been here. There’s no doubt that technology like video chatting is just such a blessing to foreign missionaries. I realize not all missionaries are able to connect back to family the way we can, but we praise God for means to do so.

Gettin' Work Done (8/30/14)

More and more Bethany is having to make things from scratch in the kitchen. I think it’s great how she has jumped right into it. I’ve said before she’s braver than me and I can tell you she is doing it with a willing attitude and never complaining. We can’t just go to the store and get a familiar pasta sauce so tonight she made her own from scratch. The only down side is dinner takes a little longer some nights but I usually end of taking the kids outside if the weather allows. Tonight I took them in our backyard and put Avery’s new streamers on her tricycle (Nana and Papa sent them to us in the “box o’ fun”). She had a huge smile on her face as she made her way around the driveway and that’s always a joy for me to see.

Gettin' Work Done (8/30/14)

As we were laying the kids down tonight we heard some big “booms!” coming from outside. Bethany and I ran to the open kitchen window to find fireworks coming from down the street. We’re not sure if they were happing on the Poland/Czech border and we’re honestly not sure what the celebration was, but it was fun. Bethany said, “I’m gonna get the kids!” and ran back and we all watched the big sparkles in the sky for a few minutes together. Oh fireworks, you really don’t get old and I’m not too old for you. Here’s a little video I took accompanied by a song by Sleeping At Last that I enjoy.

U.

Unpacking Our Lives

Today we unpacked. That’s it. End transmission. OK…there was a little more to it.

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

The day started off with some nice dolphin toast… wait, never mind that! Move along…

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

We unpacled¬†a lot today. I can’t say I have photos of it all because we were moving along in a hurry, but I do have some. Today I built 2 desks, a bookshelf, and a small kitchen cart thing (all things we had from IKEA already). The kids loved getting their toys back. Above is a photo of Avery putting a bib on one of her “babies” all by herself. She said, “Daddy, baby’s hungry.”

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Our Bible study in California did something awesome and put together these monthly envelopes that we get to open. We were pumped to get the box we had of all the envelopes. In our haste to open them we accidentally opened the last one which was meant for June 2015. As soon as we started reading the card that went with the envelope we said, “Oh no, this is for a year from now!” Then it hit me that they had actually told us that when we got the envelopes but our brains are fried and we felt bad. However, it was actually a blessing in disguise because the June envelope had tons of kids stuff and they were great for our kids to have today while Bethany and I unpacked. So either way it’s a God thing and we’re thankful to our friends for putting the energy in to all the fun things we got to open today.

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Here’s a few shots of stuff just waiting to be unpacked.

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

Unpacking (7/11/2014)

I am so amazed how well our stuff traveled. We unpacked a ton of fragile items (glasses, cups, vases, etc.) and not a single thing is broken or cracked. It’s a testament to our friend Cathy who helped us pack and of course it’s God’s amazing grace.

While I was writing this post tonight I got to talk with my dad for the first time since we’ve been here. It was hard trying to figure out how to call them without paying a ridiculous amount of money, but thankfully there’s apps out there on the iPhone that allow us to talk over the Internet for free. We talked for 45 minutes and it was just nice to get his take on some things like our washer and dryer not fitting and what to do about the power conversion stuff. It was good to hear his voice.

It’s time for bed. I’ve enjoyed writing daily and rethinking our days and just remembering how God has worked in all of this. God is so kind to allow us to be here and now to have time to unpack all of things He’s provided for us. It doesn’t get old saying this: it’s a joy to serve the King.