Spring has sprung here in my little area of the Czech Republic! And just as the world is bursting forth in new life, so my new life in Valašské Meziříčí is just beginning. Here are some updates from my first three weeks on the mission field!
I took the first plane of my trip from Kansas City to Chicago on March 22. It’s weird how long ago that seems now. Almost like another lifetime. Keifer took a separate plane an hour or two later, and we met up in Chicago for our international flight to Berlin, then Prague. At first they put us in seats across the aisle from each other, but we were able to ask for adjoining seats, and they kindly obliged. I can’t express how happy it made me to have him as a traveling companion. My face may not show it here, but I was pretty pumped.
Because of the seven hour time difference, we arrived in Prague in the morning, had lunch with a friend in Pardubice, and then took the train to ValMez. I got to see Keifer’s apartment for the first time, and then we hauled my suitcase across town, where I was introduced to my own apartment. Zuzka and the Steels were there to meet us with a welcome banner on the door and food for dinner. My area of the apartment was quite a mess for several days while I settled, but I finally did settle and find space for everything.
I plan on sharing more photos of the house and photos of the area in my next blog post, so stay tuned!
In my last mission update, I was in a financial bind. It was just a few weeks before my move, and I only had $835 of monthly support pledged out of the $2,100 I needed. I remember thinking how crazy it was for me to continue moving forward without full financial provision, while still trying to trust that somehow God would make a way. Well, as you can see from the chart below, He definitely did! Some very kind and dedicated supporters contacted me in those last few weeks, and what they pledged brought me to within $80 of my goal.
I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for all of my financial supporters. Because of you I can pay rent for this apartment, buy food every month, purchase the things my little home needs, and pay the extra fees and expenses associated with starting life in a new country. Thank you for your faithfulness and kindness in giving! The Lord is definitely using you here.
I’ve only been in the Czech Republic three weeks today, but in that time I’ve managed to jump back into ministry with Youth for Christ at their Rock Solid events. The Rock Solid Cafe (below) is a special drop-in center on Mondays that gives kids a fun, safe place to hang out with their friends and with some of Youth for Christ’s leaders. Since I’ve been back, we’ve built connections over card games, video games, music jam sessions, and time spent outside playing catch and soccer.
Friday evening is the Rock Solid Club, which, since our group has several young Christians now, has become more about discipling than ever. Because of the season, we’ve recently been able to share the gospel through an Easter presentation. I also got a special birthday surprise at club when Zuzka walked in with a mountain of pizzas and all the kids started to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. It was a very happy moment, not just because of pizza (though I do love pizza) but because of the love and friendship that went along with it.
Echoooooo – Weekend Camp
On April 7-9, several of the Rock Solid Clubs throughout the Czech Republic got together for a special weekend camp. We stayed in an old church in Sobotin up in the hills, and over those three days we ate together, sang together, did early morning wake-up dances together (they were so funny!), shared testimonies and stories and prayed together, and played tons of games. The young people were split up into four different groups, and each group had to navigate through a bunch of challenges that tested their mental, visual, and auditory capabilities. I personally got to help with one of the challenges by standing at the top of a forest path while each group of kids stood blindfolded below. I had one of those musical instruments known as a triangle, and I rang it repeatedly as the blindfolded kids made their way up the steep hill toward the sound. Only a few of them strayed off the path and had to be guided back by leaders. It was a lot of fun!
The kids weren’t the only ones who experienced “listening” challenges that week. I did, too. I hadn’t realized how overwhelming it would be for me to be around a group of people who were all speaking a language I couldn’t understand. My ears were overstraining themselves searching for words they could comprehend, and I was getting exhausted from the effort. The Lord reminded me how hard it is sometimes to listen for His voice, and how important it is to keep trying. He might seem unintelligible and confusing at first, but in time understanding will come.
As I move forward there are a few things on my mind. First, I want to continue to be able to minister here in the Czech Republic with all my heart and soul. I’ve been experiencing some homesickness and uncertainty, so please pray for courage for me. Second, I’m in the process of preparing paperwork so that I can apply for a visa here. Pray for guidance and wisdom as I move forward. Third, I’m still adjusting to life in a new country, with all the lessons and challenges that brings. I’m learning to shop for myself, manage my time, and I’ve even started Czech language lessons once a week. Please pray for me as I continue to grow here. And let me also say, thank you for praying. I appreciate the many dedicated prayer supporters the Lord has sent my way. You guys are awesome, and a true encouragement.
Finally, I’d also like to take a moment to say…. Happy Easter, everyone! He is risen! 😀
Until Next Time