Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Nudge, and a Friend from Long Ago

When we moved to the Czech Republic in 1993, we began praying for a lot of different things.

That we'd meet young people, that we'd get to share the Gospel with them, that many would trust Christ, for opportunities to disciple them, and that a movement of God would sweep across Central and Eastern Europe.

But there was something else we prayed for too.

Friends for our kids.

Starting with Tyler, we put our kids in Czech public school from the beginning and asked God to send friends into their lives, even though in the beginning they didn't speak a lot of Czech. But we so longed for them to develop good relationships and feel like they belonged in this new culture God had called us to.

I clearly remember hearing about Tyler's first friend, Vojta. The teacher had seated them together right in the front row on his first day in class, and a friendship began. They shared that same seat together for four years, and were in the same class of children for five years.

Oh how thankful I was to hear Tyler talking about his friend each day he returned home from school. I so appreciated Vojta, that kind little Czech soul who reached out to our American son.

A gifted violinist, even at that young age, he once came and performed at our church around Christmas time (the sister of a young man in our youth group was his violin teacher). I never forgot how good he was, nor his tender heart and dear friendship with Tyler.

However, we moved when Tyler was in 6th grade and didn't see Vojta again.

Until yesterday.

While Dave got a haircut at the mall, I was out doing some shopping. Walking past a cafe, I debated whether to go in, but decided not to and walked on past.

But then I got the nudge. Do you ever get those? You know, when you just have a sense you should go back? I've learned to listen to these nudges, and I'm sure glad I did this time!

Not wanting caffeine that late, I pointed to some macarons in the glass case and asked the young man behind the counter for two of them.

In English he replied, "That one's coffee - would you like it?"

I was kind of shocked that he spoke English to me since I'd spoken Czech to him. Then he looked at me with a gleam in his eye and asked, "How's Tyler?"

I could not have been more shocked!!

He then said, "You know, we sat next to each other in elementary school for four years. I'm Vojta!"

Even now as I recount this story, I feel tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. After all these years, there he was, Tyler's first friend, just as kind and dear as he was in first grade! I couldn't believe he recognized me (he said I look the same as I did way back then!) nor that he spoke up and said something when he realized who I was. I'm sure glad he did.

He went on to tell me that he rarely works at the cafe as he normally works in an office for the company that runs the cafe. But occasionally he takes a shift and there he was last night!

I didn't have my phone with me (it's still in for repair) so had Dave come back with me to say hello and take photos.

He loved hearing that Tyler was married, and was a barista like him. He told me that he has a daughter, and that he still plays his violin. And that he hopes to see Tyler when he comes for a visit next summer.

What a precious surprise to see the young man that was an answer to our prayers all those years ago!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Post Surgery: Update on Dave's Dad

Thank you so much for your prayers for Dave's dad.

I know it meant the world to mom and dad that many across the world were standing with them as dad headed into surgery. Bless you all who were praying for them.

Friend and pastor from Bethany EV Free, Kevin, with mom at the hospital

The good news: God was merciful and gracious to Dick yesterday as he successfully came through mitral valve replacement surgery.

Dave's sister, Joyce, was with mom at the hospital throughout the five hour surgery, and David, her husband, joined them soon afterward. Together they gave us updates throughout the day which meant the world to us. It's not fun to be so far away from family at a time like this.

The last report was waiting in my email this morning when we woke up.

Final update for Thursday night (Good morning Europe family)…

Everything is going well with the recovery so far.  They took the breathing tube out around 3 hours ago.  His color is better and his temperature and vitals are all doing well.  Bleeding has slowed significantly.  We haven’t been in the room when he’s been awake, but the nurses and doctors have talked to him.  If the night goes well they will try to get him sitting in a chair in the morning.  Your mom did great, and she is home sleeping tonight.

We all feel the prayers of God’s people.

Good night.


Yes we DO feel the prayers of God's people! Again, THANK YOU!!

And it's such a relief to know that dad is on the other side of surgery and showing all the signs of having come through it well.

I love mom's smile in this picture as she's at dad's bedside - thankful to Joyce for these photos

As we well remember from Dave's surgery four years ago for the same reason, it's not just surgery that's challenging. These next few days of dad's recovery are critical as well. So we continue to pray.

Joyce wrote this on her FB page last night:

Thank you for your prayers today. Dad's valve replacement surgery went very well. The very difficult work of recovery has begun. So far he is stable in ICU. Please keep praying. All day I've had this chorus going through my mind: "Christ alone, Cornerstone. Weak made strong in the Savior's love. Through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all."

And shortly afterward she received this from her daughter, Kyrie, who is away at college:

The VERY song that was on Joyce's heart throughout the day, playing on Kyrie's playlist! I love it!

Yes indeed, through this storm, He has been, is, and will continue to be, LORD OF ALL.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Prayer for my Father-in-law

My father-in-law, Dick Patty, is on my heart and in my prayers today.

This morning, he'll have open heart surgery.

Love this photo of him with our nephew Luke, taken last summer shortly after Caleb and Haley's wedding!

He's having mitral valve replacement surgery at 8 AM in Denver.

I hope it's okay to say that dad is 88 years old! Other than the need for this valve replacement, he is healthy and active, and steadfastly walking with God.

We'd sure love to see him continue on that path for as many more years as the Lord would give him.

So what to pray for?

Being a man committed to the Word for many, many years, I think Dad would most love it if you'd pray from Scripture for him. So here are a few suggestions:

1. For peace and thankfulness: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

2. For strength and help from the Lord: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

3. For God's will: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:9-10

4. In faith, that the Lord will raise him up and heal him: "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will lift him up...". James 5:15

Thanks for praying with us for this man we love so much!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Curiosity at the Letiště

I keep waiting for the weather to turn cold here in Czech. But instead they're saying:

Zbytek října bude neobvykle teplý, slibují meteorologové. Or rather, the rest of October will be unusually warm, promises the meteorologists.

That's sure okay with me!

There are others who are enjoying this weather as well. Some that I've never seen around here.

The noise they were making outside was deafening. Wondering what was going on, I stepped out to see what it was.

A gigantic helicopter flying RIGHT over our house!

Not one to miss out on something interesting, I headed up to our little airport to find out what was going on since it seemed to be flying over that way as well.

It seriously looked like an alien aircraft hovering over the grass airstrip as I walked the airport road.

As I got closer I could see they were practicing some sort of maneuver.

All of a sudden this came into view.

There were people rappelling out of and being lifted up into that helicopter!

I stood and watched for quite a while as it was fascinating! I couldn't ever get close enough to see who it actually was, though my neighbor thought it was the Czech military.

In any case, it was quite a bit of excitement at our normally very sleepy little airfield in Malenovice.

I'm glad curiosity got the best of me on this unusually warm fall day!

** I wrote this post yesterday when it was as beautiful as fall ever gets here, posting it in advance to today.

And now today is a whole other story!

Awake in the night, I heard "Gonzalo" as it pounded outside. Originating as a Force 2 hurricane over Bermuda, it's now bringing heavy rain and wind our direction for the next few days. So much for the unusually warm weather that the newspaper predicted!

This is what they say is happening up on Lysa Hora right now:

I'm glad I captured the beauty of fall in case that was the last of it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mr Till and BMA

When we have guests visiting, we love the opportunity to highlight all that God's doing across the region, as well as what He's doing right in our own backyard.

Today's highlight? Mr Till at BMA!

Paul and his family have lived here ten years, serving at BMA and making an incredible impact on the lives of students (ours included!).

He is a gifted teacher, a one-of-a-kind, and it was so fun to sit in his class today and let our guests see him in action.

When was the last time you studied modal verbs? Do you remember what they are? Ha ha! Yeah, it's been a while for me too.

But thanks to Mr Till's enthusiastic and most enjoyable lesson today, I now remember what they are.

No wonder the BMA students enjoy him so much. He turns mundane modal verbs into something fun and memorable!

Need a reminder of what they are?!

Mr Till is about much more than making English grammar fun and interesting though. He has a passion to see students come to know Christ and to grow in their faith.

We're so thankful for the spiritual impact he's having on the school and in the lives of his students.

After saying goodbye to him and the BMA students, a quick lunch at McDonalds, and a drive into the Ostrava train station, it was time to say goodbye to our friends from Kentucky and Indiana.

"Thank you so much for visiting us Gary, Wendy, Lisa and John. We're thankful for your willingness to come for a week to see what God's doing in Central and Eastern Europe!"