Hi everyone! The last two months have been busy, and I wanted to catch you up on what’s been going on. 🙂 Since my last newsletter at the beginning of August, I’ve traveled between three different countries, attended two conferences, changed my last name, and settled into a temporary home in Kansas City (a place I’ve always wanted to live.) If you want details and pictures, then keep reading. I’m excited to share all that God’s been doing.
Kids, Camp, and Family
I left Ireland on August 16 with mixed emotions. On the one hand I was excited about seeing Keifer and all my friends in the Czech Republic. On the other hand I was really sad about leaving my friends, the Marriotts, in Ireland. Their love for me and the way they’d opened their home for me during my time in Ireland was such a huge blessing. In such a short period of time they’d become my family, and leaving yet another family was hard. (It’s still hard.) I hope to visit them again someday. Part of my heart now has a home in Ireland.
I know many of you had been praying for my visa to come so that I could return to the Czech Republic. I posted on Facebook that I ended up having to cancel my visa application. There was no horrible reason for canceling, so please don’t feel bad. The amount of time it had taken to get my paperwork together and apply, coupled with the quick approach of my return to America and my upcoming wedding, meant that I simply did not have enough time to keep waiting for my visa to come. I canceled my visa knowing that I would be able to apply again after marriage. Thank you all for your prayers and support during my time in Ireland. Even though God didn’t bring me my visa in the way I’d hoped doesn’t mean your prayers were wasted. I still need a visa, and I’m trusting that, the next time I apply, I will receive what we’ve been praying for.
I landed in Prague on the 16th with newfound confidence. My time in Ireland had made me much more comfortable traveling alone. I felt like a new person as I took the bus to the train station, found the ticket office, bought my own ticket, found the right platform and boarded my train. Instead of heading to ValMez, I took the train to Brno, where Keifer picked me up and took me to the last half of the Rock Solid Camp. I spent all of Thursday and Friday at camp, plugging into the activities wherever possible. I helped peel potatoes and bread zucchini for lunch, helped blindfold kids during a game and guide them around obstacles, and I twice played the villain’s henchman, once in a game of hide’n’seek tag, and once in a game of paper ball war. I loved being with the kids and seeing how much they’d grown and changed over the summer. And I was there at camp the evening four of the girls gave their lives to the Lord. What a blessed time!
One thing I loved was seeing how all the kids crowded around Keifer whenever he was working on the camp video. Each day he would film different parts of the camp, and each afternoon and evening he would add the clips together into the music video he was making. Whenever the kids noticed him with his computer and heard the music playing they would crowd around to watch him work and see what new funny videos he had taken. At the end of camp he showed the movie to everyone at once. Seeing everyone gathered around Keifer’s computer, watching them smile and laugh as they saw themselves and other friends in the movie, is a moment I will always treasure. We were one big family. I remember crying, knowing that in just two days I would leave them to return to America.
I have family in many place now: America, Ireland, and the Czech Republic. I can’t be with them all at the same time, and every leave-taking hurts. But every time I leave, I know I’ll see them again someday. Family is forever.
Travel and Conferences
Keifer and I left the Czech Republic for America on August 21, and we brought our friend Max with us. Max has an amazing heart for the Lord and for Christian service, and an incredible English vocabulary. 😉 Keifer’s supporters generously pitched in to help Max afford the trip, and we were excited to take him with us to our Grace Covenant conferences, and introduce him to our friends and family in America.
After an eleven hour flight, we landed in California, where we spent the next few days at the Grace Covenant Mid-year conference, and then at their minister’s retreat. We enjoyed the chance to worship and receive ministry from our fellow leaders, as well as share with our ministry family in California about what the Lord is doing in the Czech Republic.
At the end of the conference we returned to Kansas City, and a few days later I got to return to Iowa and see my family. It was a joyful homecoming, a little pool of calm before the craziness to come.
After all, I only had two weeks left, and I still had a wedding to plan……
I wish I could say I was very calm and collected before my wedding. I wasn’t. I have never been more nervous in my life. But with massive amounts of help from friends and family, our wedding day was amazing. I loved being a bride. I loved seeing everyone. And I loved doing it all with Keifer at my side. Our relationship has been quite the journey. We’ve come through long-distance between two separate countries while we each made innumerable life changes to follow God’s call to missions. Our wedding was a celebration of the love, friendship, family, and perseverance that brought us this far. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend, everyone who sent us gifts, and everyone who prayed us through to this point. We couldn’t have done it without you.
After a short honeymoon in Missouri, we came back to Kansas City to begin settling into temporary lodgings and to attend Grace Covenant’s Ignite conference. We will be living North of Kansas City until we return to the Czech Republic in January.
But before we move back to the Czech Republic, we get a chance to visit! Keifer and I will be making a two week trip to the Czech Republic at the beginning of October. Keifer has important paperwork to do regarding our marriage, and we’ll also be using the time to reunite with friends and work on our apartment. Max will also be traveling with us, and will stay in the Czech Republic when we return to America. He has been such a blessing to have with us. He never misses an opportunity to lead worship (he led worship during our wedding!), and he’s always ready to help when needed. I will definitely miss him.
Please pray for us all as we travel, and pray for Keifer and I as we move forward together into life as a couple. We’re excited for this chance to work together and find out what God’s vision is for us as a team ministering in the Czech Republic. I’m hoping I’ll be able to share some of our combined vision in my next post.
Until Next Time!