Welcome to Christy’s world of learning Czech and to an update from us. We’ve been in Czech Republic almost 3 weeks. What an adjustment! Since our arrival Tues. Feb. 10th, it seems that everyday has something new to teach us. Today’s question was, what’s the Czech word for ‘non-hydrogenated’ on margarine containers?! And just how do you take a shower when most bathtubs don’t have shower curtains and only a flexible hose with a shower head? Friday evening Christy took me to a beautiful square she’s dubbed her “magic place” discovered on a random walk a few days before. It’s bordered on one side by the 14th century wall that rings the old city and the two ponds are lit with floodlights.
At Bethel House the director Robert Krejci and his assistant Martin Ruzicka have been so welcoming and are helping us move into various ministries. Miro is teaching five English classes weekly - two beginners and one each of pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced. Fortunately before he came, Kendra Shields from Trinity Baptist in Sherwood Park was already here for two months, so the transition in language classes was easy. Christy is working on starting an English class mid-March for parents with children ages 5-9 at a local mother’s centre. Also she’s collaborating on starting a choir by April.
As a language Czech is tough, even for Miro. Something as simple as getting groceries is a chore, not only because the words are so different, but even what you can buy is not available in the same way. A week ago we bought what we thought was mild chili powder but without testing it Christy put two teaspoons into some chili she made and we were breathing fire for a few days. We’re both trying to get language tutors to help us and our most common phrase is ‘Já se učim česky’ (I am learning Czech).
In terms of connections, it will take time to make friendships with the Czechs we’re meeting. Miro’s cousin Ivanka has become a great connection point; for example she has joined one of the beginner English classes at Bethel and she and Christy have started going to a water aerobic class on Wednesdays. Miro has just started teaching classes, and we’re talking about having each class over for dinner or coffee in the next three months. We’ve been at the Red Brick Church twice (it’s the local supporting church of Bethel). We’re considering starting a small group in English so that we can have a local community of Christians gathering biweekly for prayer, growth and support.
As in most things Isaiah has been a real trooper and has adjusted incredibly well to a new place, time zone and foods. He is on the cusp of walking and enjoys all the many treats that are offered to him at each home we visit.
- praise God for his presence and comfort in all the many adjustments to a new place, food, language, customs. Even our apartment has been such a blessing; it belongs to one of the English students. It’s a wonderful space and she even got some toys from her friends for Isaiah.
- praise God for the new people we’re making friends with, such as Ivanka, Martin, Simona one of the cashiers at the local grocery store, Martin at the gym where Miro just bought a 20 pass (Martin has a high view of Christians but is not one himself).
- praise God for his provision financially as we’ve raised about $17500, just another $2000 to go.
- praise God for the stamina and endurance he’s given Christy to learn Czech. She is doing wonderfully well - she and my cousin Ivanka can communicate endlessly with just a basic vocabulary and arm gestures!
Prayer items- we were quite disappointed this week when we learned that our visa application did not go through. It’s not clear exactly why, even after we went to the foreign police office here in Litomerice. In any case there will be a mad dash to reapply, since we only have 75 days left on our tourist visa. Pray for bureaucratic expediency on all accounts: we’re getting a letter from our Edmonton bank; Christy’s dad in Nova Scotia is getting a long version of Christy’s birth certificate; all the documents need to be translated into Czech and notarized; once all is ready we’ll get the documents checked at the foreign police office and then drive to Dresden (130km) to apply at the Czech embassy (since you can’t apply in country); then there’ll be a waiting period and prayer to make sure it comes in on time
- pray for God to show us who to make friends with, both for our sake (since sometimes we’re lonely) and for Czech people