Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Potty Break

True story. Today I was on the train to Milovice for our English class sign ups. One the way to Milovice I had to go to the bathroom. So I went to the bathroom. It was pretty quiet in the cabin area and then when I got into the bathroom, for some reason it was much louder. I went over to the toilet and as I stood above it to relieve myself I saw the ground moving below the train. The toilet or more descriptively, what was being relieved was going straight to the ground below. This explained the reason why it was so much louder in the bathroom. I thought 'How nasty.' There was no plumbing on the train and everything was left behind on the ground. I don't know if this is the same in the states, but the is really nasty. I thought you might like to know.

Anyways, the English sign ups went really well. I think that we have about 20 people signed up for the different classes that we are offering. Everyone that came in we also let them know about the basketball time for the adult men that I will be leading. I am so excited for next week when everything begins in Milovice. Please pray for their hearts and that God will do a great work there.

CJ <><

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blob

So this is called a blog site where I write down things that I am doing and show some pictures of where I am at. This will be different the rest that I have written. That is why it is called "Blob." It will just be thoughts that I have had throughout the day and weeks before. You might not understanding anything because it will be so mixed up, but here we go anyway.

So today I have been in my apartment most of the day because I have been sick all day. I think that I have a little cold because of the sudden change in weather. A week ago it was in the 70's and we had the most beautiful blue skies. Yesterday and today have been pretty cold, more like in the 40's and 50's, and rainy. I don't know if any of you get sick from weather changes, I haven't before, but I guess that I do now. Anyways, I have had lots of time to think and read and yes play some video games.

This morning I listened to a sermon, on podcast, from the Bridgeway church in Rocklin, on Judges 17 and 18. The pastor was talking about how we try to manipulate God in order to get the things that we want. Sometimes they are good things and sometimes not so good, nevertheless, we try to make deals with God and try to offer in him something in return for something that we want. As if we have anything that he doesn't already have. He made a point saying " Do we really want a God that we can hold onto. If we have a God that we can wrap our arms around, then he is not big enough to cover us." I thought that was a great thought. Do I really want a God that I can know everything about? Do I want a God so simple that I can create something, such as an idle, that is exactly what he is? Or do I want a God that I can only imagine a fraction of what he really is? I confess that sometimes life would be easier if I knew every part of God completely because then there would be no mistery to have to trust in. Our God, then one that we serve, is bigger then and idle or anything that we can create. That is why life can be so exciting and so nreve racking because we don't have all the answers, but he does and we have to trust in that.

Another point that the pastor made was "How much Christianity can we take out of Christianity and it still be Christianity? Jesus said that his yoke is easy and his burden is lite. Why are we so tired then when following God?" I don't think that it is always easy to live the Christian life, but how much of the diffiuclty of our walk with God is because of our inability to live it out fully and not because it was meant to be so difficult? Why do I struggle in my walk with God more at times then others? At times it seems effortless and at other times it seems like it is the most difficult thing to do. I bet it is because in the times it is difficult for me to follow I am missing something key to my success in walking with the Lord and the thing that I am missing isn't something that I can't visibly see, but it is something that holds the walk together. I know this is very vague, but think about the tangible things that Jesus did in his walk with his father.

I was encouraged by this message and hopefully you are as well. Some other things that I have been thinking about is the minsitry that I am doing here. I am excited for the ministries in Milovice. I am excited to teach English through a Reading club that we are starting. I am excited for the Karate club that we are starting. I am excited about the Basketball club with the adult men we are starting. My hope and prayer is that these ministries will be places where people experience something different then they do in the rest of their daily activities. I hope that I can be a part in something that helps the Czechs in Milovice to see that there is more to this life then the physical things that they see. I hope that the random thoughts they might have about there something being out there that they can't see but they fell it, is validated and they feel safe to explore it in these ministries. I hope that the other Czech Christians in the Milovice community are encouraged and step up to the plate in sharing their lives with these people. I desire for these ministries to be a place where people can find hope and feel like they are part of something bigger then just themselves and just their community.

And finally, I have had many thoughts about my faith. I have been thinking about how much of what I believe about God is just my American culture and how much is actually from scripture. Scripture transcends culture and the truths that are in it are for all people all over. I would love to have ideas about life and the life that God has called all people to that Czechs might not have thought of before. But how much of these ideas are just mine and not God's. It is hard at times here because I am still a student of the culture and trying to figure out how God wants to work here. Don't get me wrong, I am having a wonderful time learning here about the culture, but it still feels like my hands are tied because I just don't know yet. I don't want to take to much leadership because I don't want to be the typical American that has all the answers, but I don't want to let opportunites pass by that I could have done something or said something. I guess this is the big balancing act and faith act for all missionaries, knowing when to step forward and knowing when to step back and let the people of the culture act in the cultures time. My goal here is not to make other Christians that look just like me and the place that I come from, but it is to see people grow in Christ in the culture and circumstance that they are in. God is good and he is in control. So trust in that, as long as I am walking with him I can't go wrong. So I just need to pray more then I ever have before to see where to take my next step. It is awesome to serve a God that is bigger then me and that walks with me. It is awesome to be led by his Spirit. It awesome to serve a God with so much grace that even when I stray and take false steps his work can and will still be done.

Much love to all of you. Thank you for your support in this adventure that God is taking me on. You are a brave person for reading this through and I hope that you are encouraged by it. Our God is good and he deserves our whole heart. God Bless

CJ <><

Monday, September 25, 2006

School is now in session

I am so excited because tomorrow is the first class of the semester of my Czech Language class. Hopefully after this semester I might be able to say more then Hello, How are you?, and Goodbye. Czech is a really hard language to learn, but I think that with all the willing people to teach me and help, I can progress faster then the Average Joe. So pray for me and my studies as this class will be challenging.
Other then the starting of class, I am in the preparing stages of my English class that I will be teaching, and the preparations for the Karate and Basketball Clubs that we will be starting. All of these will begin the first full week of October. Our team is really excited about what God is going to be doing in us and through us in Milovice. I am really excited to use the gifts that God has given me to bless him and his people. Please continue to pray for the ministry out here and the people that will hear the Good News of Jesus!!

CJ <><

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Christian Czech Wedding

So I went to my first wedding, and don't get excited or worry because it wasn't mine it was somebody else's. It was a couple that I met and became friends with at the English Camp that I went to. I guess that normal Czech weddings only take about 5 minutes and it happens at city hall. Then after the 5 minute cerimony, all the close friends and family of the bride and groom go party at some restaurant. So the wedding that I went to was a lot different then this, it was a lot more like an American or Canadian wedding. There were a couple differences.

One difference was that there was only one representitive for each person, not a huge wedding party. The rep. was in charge of the rings and also signing the marriage liscence. Another difference, which I thought was really cool, was after they had given their vows to eachother and kissed and all that good stuff, they kneeled before the pastor and he laid hands on their heads and blessed their marriage. I thought that was a pretty cool idea.

So after the wedding cerimony there were desserts and snack foods served where people could mingle and chat with eachother and the bride and groom. So that was my first Christian Czech Wedding experience. Here are a couple pictures of the wedding




This is the church that the wedding happened in.

Here is the bride and groom, Marketa and AleŇ°.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Nachos

I have a funny story dealing with culturual differences.

Last night my roommate Michal had a friend of his come over. Her name is Petra. I guess that he told her that our bathroom was still really dirty from the last person that lived here. So she decided that she was going to clean it for us. RIGHT ON!! So both of them are in the bathroom cleaning and I am working on my computer and I start to feel bad. So I asked them if they would like me to cook dinner for them. They told me to make something Mexican. I decided to make "NACHOS." If any of you know me my favorite thing to eat these days are nachos. So I prepare everything and put it on the table. We sit and they just look at the food. They have no idea what a nacho is and how to make it. So I start and demonstrate how you put the chips down first and then start to put everything else on it. So they start to follow suit and as we finish fixing our nachos they look at it again. I start to eat. They continue to look at the chips on their plate and all the good fixings on them. Finally they pick a fork and knife and start trying to eat them with a fork and knife. I think that this is the first time that I have seen somebody try to eat Nachos with a fork and knife. Finally after a couple failed attempts I tell them to use their hands. Once again I get a strange look because 99% of all Czech food is eaten with a fork and knife and it is kind of dirty to eat with your hands.

So that is the funny story I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Praha

Here some pictures of my new home town.

Praha for Praha Castle
Inside of the chapel in Praha Castle.

Praha Castle from Charles Bridge.

Statue of Jan Huss (christian martyr) in Old Square.

Gardens in Praha

Charles Bridge and Old Town in the Background

These are just a few pictures of the beautiful city I live in.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Getting Ready

I am about 5 days from leaving my home in the US. Tons of different things going through my mind. Things ranging from what I still need to get before I leave to how much I am going to miss those that I leave behind. I know that Czech is where God is calling me to and I am excited for what he has in store for me. It is kind of weird thinking about making another country home. This is not like school where I go away for the school year and come home during the summers and holidays. I am in the Czech Republic for 2 years straight. What a change that is going to be.

As you can probably tell this is my first blog ever. I don't know what I have instore for you for future blogs. Sometimes it will be me just thinking about stuff and writting it down for you to read, other times it will be cool stories about what is happening in my life. For sure you can also count on photos that I take of my new home in Prague, Czech Republic.

Take care my family and friends and enjoy.

CJ <><