a journey with the Thomason family

Tag: words

The Last on the First

The First of May (5/1/15)

Today is kind of a special day. Almost twelve months ago our church family in the States brought us a box full of envelopes and each envelope was marked with a month and was packed full. Actually, I remember the night they brought them to us because it was a day or two before we loaded our shipping container that was headed for Czech and they wanted to make sure we were able to ship them to our new home here. We were instructed that we weren’t allowed to open them until we moved to Czech and that we should open one a month for the first year. So for the past year that’s exactly what we’ve done. Sadly, though, that all comes to an end today. We opened the May envelope tonight which is our last one and it feels like it’s the end of an era.

What made today’s envelope double special was it was marked as coming from Steve and Judy who were just here visiting us! I don’t think they knew when they packed this envelope that they would be visiting us just a week prior to us opening it, but it was so fun to see the gifts they sent, read the letter they wrote, and know that we are loved by them. I also don’t think they thought this would be our last envelope because well, it wasn’t supposed to be. Inside were many fun things and it was really fun to tell Titus and Avery that this was all from our friends who were just here visiting us. So without further adieu, here’s some photos of us opening our last envelope (captions beneath each).

The First of May (5/1/15)

Avery was especially excited for this envelope because it was colorful and “really heavy.” She was literally jumping up and down before we went and got it in our storage room down the hall. Both her and Titus assumed their normal positions on the couch and gave a big “cheeeeeeese” smile.

The First of May (5/1/15)

After helping them get the envelope open, the kids found alphabet stickers, construction paper, and new crayons! Bethany was especially excited that the pack of construction paper had the color brown because she was saying she didn’t have any during Thanksgiving when her and Titus were trying to make a little paper turkey.

The First of May (5/1/15)

Titus was thrilled for his new Lightning McQueen toothbrush. Here you can see him smiling and oozing with joy. He made sure we let him use it to brush his teeth tonight and he asked he if he could use it every night. When I told him, “Sure, bud,” he yelled, “Mom, I can use it every night!”

The First of May (5/1/15)

The one thing I love about Steve and Judy is their love for good books. We had a great time this past week talking books with them and swapping titles of what we have read and they have read. It came as no surprise that inside our envelope tonight were three books that they wanted us to have. There was one for the kids, one for dad (me), and one for both Bethany and me. The books are (from left to right in the photo above): God’s Wisdom by Sally Michael, Being A Dad Who Leads by John MacArthur, and one we discussed this past week which is Name Above All Names by Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson. Fewer things bring me more joy than the gift of new books. Thank you, Steve and Judy!

Notes (5/1/15)

Outside the envelope, there were other gifts that Steve and Judy hand delivered us this past week that we are just spending time looking at tonight. These are physical gifts as much as they are the gift of words. We have a pile of cards and letters that we’re reading tonight above is just one photo of many which are handwritten notes of encouragement. Even as I type Bethany just opened a card that was from the senior’s Bible study, again with words and short notes of much encouragement. These are a special joy to us and we’re so very thankful for a sending church that deeply cares about their missionaries. This past week we have been overwhelmed by their kindness in sending Steve and Judy, the year-long envelopes, and even these kind words. To our friends and church family at Placerita, we love you and think of you often. There are no better words that describe how we feel than what Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:3-6).

A Better Sunday

Church in the Snow (2/8/15)

With snow swirling all around me, I made it to church this morning by myself. Avery has had a cold for a week and now Bethany isn’t starting to feel that great. I didn’t want to try and battle the Sunday school thing with Titus today, so we opted to just have the family stay home and I would go to church alone. And even though church is often difficult, today was a much better Sunday for me than last week. I approached church this morning with a completely different focus, one that might seem even a little strange–to learn language.

One of the tools we learned at Missionary Training and one that my friend Landen reminded me of last night was approaching church with a focus on writing down words and engaging the language. Basically, with a notebook in hand, I wrote down every word I could understand and then would add a mark if I heard it again and so on (below is a photo of my notebook). Believe it or not, I heard and wrote down 101 words that I heard at least one time. The most repeated word I heard was “manželský” which I believe means “marital” or “marriage.” I heard at least a form of that word 28 times. Maybe the sermon was about marriage?

Church in the Snow (2/8/15)

You might be wondering why this could be helpful. I think the main reason is that it makes me more engaged in trying to listen to Czech and distinguish sounds, words, and phrases. Do I know how to spell all the words? No. Do I even know if what I heard was correct? No. But the process of trying to listen and write them down is putting my mind in a language mode and not a “tune out because I don’t know how to speak Czech” mode which is often the case. Another reason it’s helpful is it gets new words into my vocabulary by forcing me to learn the meanings. If I hear a word and hear it correctly, then I go back and learn the meaning. It’s actually a pretty incredible experience for a language student and I’m truly thankful for it. As much as I would like to listen to the sermon, my time is actually better spent just trying to understand the actual words being spoken. Long term, this is an infinitely better use of my time for now.

Church in the Snow (2/8/15)

It snowed on and off all day and the wind was up. At one point, there was snow falling and I could see the sun shining. I tried to get a photo of it, but it just didn’t turn out (show above). During the afternoon we basically tried to clean the house up and our friend Misa came over at about 3pm. She is leaving tomorrow to be in Prague for a bit and then off to the States in a few more weeks. We had a good time chatting with her and actually helping her understand English and American culture better. During that time I was working on sizing and cutting a print to fit a frame, both of which I brought from the States when we moved. I took a little time to get it all measured and cut it, but I’m happy with the final result. I plan on hanging it up in my office at Josiah Venture. Below is a picture of it and it’ll be a constant reminder to my soul of why we’re here–to see more come to know the Light of Life.

New Print for the Office (2/8/15)

The last week has brought excitement, clarity, and focus for me. I’m excited about what God is doing to help realign my heart and invigorate me to learn a tough language and continue to strive to see more people come to Christ in this place. I’m thankful for how God is using our circumstances to make us more like His Son! It’s not always easy or fun, but I can rest in the fact that he is working in all of it for my good and His glory.

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