Apr 16, 2009

Update April 16, 2009

Dear friends and family, thanks for being patient with us as we’ve been a bit late with our present update. There are always lots of things to do here. So sorry for those of you who have been anxious to know what’s been happening.

On the visa front, we’ve been through a whirlwind of various things. In early March we were anxiously getting our papers ready for another visa application. Once we got everything in order and the foreign police in Litomerice said the application was likely to succeed, we then found out that the waiting period to even apply in Dresden, Germany, was at least 2 weeks. So we put on our patience hats and waited. In the meantime Miro decided to reapply for his Czech citizenship and discovered that the process was fairly simple, and that Isaiah could become a Czech citizen too. So, by the time we were ready to go to Dresden Miro and Isaiah had become Czech citizens and no longer needed visas; we also learned that Christy wouldn’t need a visa, but a temporary residence permit. So right now that’s what we’re waiting for. But for her to apply, Miro needs to get a Czech marriage certificate, which he has applied for, but the waiting period is at least 4-6 weeks, and then the temporary residence permit will be another 4 weeks, which takes us well past May 10th, when our tourist visa runs out. Fortunately the foreign police here have been gracious and said that they will be able to process this so that we can stay here as a family.
All this has been tiring and taken up to 6-10 hours weekly, besides the stress of not knowing what is happening in the longterm. For example here’s a list of where we’ve been in the last 6 weeks: the Canadian Embassy and the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague (2x each); the regional office in Usti Nad Labem two times; the Foreign Police here in Litomerice four times; the Litomerice City Hall Registrar four times; a local notary public 5 times to get official copies and signatures; and a local translator two times. If you want to read more about this, read Christy’s funny notes on our blog at rakersons.blogspot.com/2009/03/can-you-say-super-legalization-visa.html. (On the plus side, Miro’s vocabulary for Czech bureaucratic terms has grown J!)

Enough of visas. The weather here now is absolutely beautiful, spring came unusually early and we’ve been enjoying weather more typical of Victoria than our home city of Edmonton. The trees are all blossoming and the leaves are out, the Czech passion for gardening is evident everywhere as all the gardening stores and centres are busy, cafes have put out tables on the sidewalks and (Miro’s favorite), you can now buy ice-cream on the street!

We continue to adjust to life here. We’ve gotten a rhythm of daily life and are just beginning to feel comfortable. Language difficulties continue as we plug away at learning the various cases (7 of them in Czech) for nouns, adjectives and pronouns. Miro is teaching his 5 courses at Bethel while Christy is working with a Czech woman, Marcela, to teach parents with their 5-9 year old children. In addition, Christy has just started English tutoring with Sarka, a woman and her two daughters. The choir that Christy was working on has been discontinued, because it was discovered that there are 19 choirs in Litomerice, which is too much competition for the choir to function well. The English Bible study that are running has met 3 times and has deeply encouraged us.

The photos above are: spring in Litomerice, switches that are part of Czech Easter celebrations, used by boys to get Easter treats (chocolate, eggs) from family relatives, a train ride to Ustek during Easter weeked, the fair at Ustek.

Praise items

- praise God for the folks at CBM who help us in various ways – with ongoing support, Jeff and Deann Carter here on-the-ground in Prague, and Saloni Karl in Ontario; Dennis Shierman in Alberta preparing us for transitions

- praise God for helping us maneuver through all the bureaucracy around visas, citizenship

- praise God for friendships and a deepening sense of rootedness, especially after the first two months where we felt loneliness and disorientedness. Praise God for friends like Renata, Monika, Ilona, Martin, Robert, Marcela, Ivanka

- praise God for technology like Skype and email to connect us across such far distances with family and friends

- praise God for Isaiah’s continued growth in walking, understanding two languages and overall joy for life

Prayer items

- pray for success with the temporary residence permit process, especially a speedy Czech marriage certificate

- pray for a Canadian Easter presentation that we’re doing this week (see attached poster) to reach out

- pray for continued growth in Czech language acquisition for all three of us

- pray for wisdom and divine discernment to know how to read Czech people, especially around basic communication (we’ve had a few misunderstandings), spiritual doors and opportunities, and developing friendships

Don`t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ.

Pray that every time we open our mouth we`ll be able to make Christ plain as day. Colossians 4:3‑4 (Message)

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