Monday, December 21, 2009

Count Down...

One day till Germany, four days till Christmas, five days till the fam's all here! :)

I am super excited about the next two weeks! I'm leaving tomorrow morning for the Black Forest, to spend a few days, including Christmas with Aunt Ang and Edda! I'm excited to see them, and spend some time relaxing and enjoying the holiday time. Then mom, dad, Maria and Nick arrive on Saturday. We'll stay for a few more days in Germany and then all of us are taking a train/bus back to Prague! We'll all stay here in my flat (I've spent the whole day cleaning and washing sheets!), ring in the New Year, and then they'll leave to go back home on the second. It will be so fun to see them after a little more than THREE MONTHS of being gone... I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to write in the midst of everything, but I'll have lots of pictures and reports as soon as possible. :)

Speaking of pictures, I added some new ones to my albums today... There are a few from a walk along the river that I took with Talitha, and then the last are from a midnight excursion we went on Thursday night. :) On her way home Talitha called and convinced me to join her with her camera to take pictures of Old Town Square with all of the pretty the snow and lights. It was especially enchanting with there being so few people around! It's moments like those when I have to remind myself that, yes, I really do live here... it's such a beautiful city!

At the end of the second album there are some pictures from my day this past Saturday. I went with my friend Jessica to finish our Christmas shopping at one of the markets in town. On our way we ran into a number of interesting things, to say the least! You have to see the pictures to fully appreciate it, but they included Sea World, a circus, a polar Bear and carp.

The carp is something that I do need to explain more of... It's the national Christmas dish (fish) and apparently it's a very big deal each year. Starting the Saturday before Christmas, they set up stands around the city with three or four huge fish-filled tubs (I passed two different stands in my neighborhood today) and sell these live fish to the people waiting in line. Now one thing we had heard was that you go buy the fish fresh, off of the street, and then you keep in in your bathtub until Christmas when you cook it for your dinner. Carp are bottom dwelling fish and this helps to clean them out a bit before you eat it (?). So, this was a tradition Jessica and I were both aware of, but it was very surprising to all of a sudden run into it in real life. :) Even more surprising, however, was seeing the man fish it out, slap it onto the board and WHACK, chop it's head right off, tail flapping and all... never a dull moment here in the Czech. :)

The past week or so has also been extremely cold. Just walking outside, even with no wind chilled straight through to the bones. It's supposed to warm up this next week though, so hopefully sight seeing wont be too miserable. :) I also am still holding onto my cough :( I feel totally fine, but just keep coughing, especially in the evenings. I mostly feel bad for anyone trying to sleep close by! :/ Hopefully that will go away soon too.

Anyways, have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a wonderful NEW YEAR!! Love to you all!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's that time again...

Hi Everyone!

It's that time again isn't it - sorry it slipped to over a week again. Can I still blame it on being sick? My voice is finally starting to feel and sound strong again - it was completely gone for a few days last week, and then still pretty scratchy until about yesterday. I also still have the annoying tickle/cough every now and then. So I'm not back 100% yet but it is much better.

This past weekend was really fun though! I had coffee with a new friend that I met at church - it was a great time connecting with her and something that I think we're going to continue to do. That in and of itself has been an answer to prayer!!

After coffee I went with Talitha downtown to do some prayer walking for the prostitute industry that is so big in this city. It really is just another part of life here, so we were praying that God would awaken the hearts of the people in this city to realize what a harmful thing it is and give them a passion to see it taken care of.

Saturday and Sunday we were busy baking cookies for a Christmas party at church Sunday night. I made a batch of Grandma's sugar cookies, and for being such a novice sugar cookie baker they weren't too bad. I've just tasted what they should be like and know that it could've been better. I'll just have to try again I guess. :)

Saturday night I also went to see the Nutcracker Ballet at the National Theatre! Talitha had bought us tickets for my birthday. They were actually for standing room only, but we were able to find seats for the second half. The stage design and music were all beautiful, and of course the dancing was very nice as well. It was funny seeing the Czech version of it though! They mixed it with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and had Scrooge dreaming up all of the different scenes. There were quite a few unique pieces of Czech culture thrown in the mix as well.

School has been going great and this is actually our last week before Christmas break! We're doing lots of different Christmas activities and today we took the kids caroling! :) Michelle and I taught them "Jingle Bells" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and then combined our classes and practiced it together. We all went downstairs and we were planning on singing just outside of the offices for the secretaries and Principal if she was there. It turned out, though, that all of the teachers in the school were in their monthly meeting with the Principal. Struck with a rare form of courage, we decided to interrupt their meeting anyways and ask if we could sing for them. :) The kids were a bit shy but they sounded really good and I think the teachers loved it. :) We're going to the staff Christmas party this Friday night as well, so that should be fun too! (It's rumored that there will be karaoke) I'll let you know. :)

Anyways, that's all for now. Hope you all are having a great week! I love you!!!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

A few new pictures...
Well, I'm officially sick for the first time in the Czech Republic. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat that continued to be sore throughout the day, along with coughing and one of those really bad, can't-do-much-of-anything headaches. Went through the night feeling the same way and now by this afternoon my headache has eased a little bit. I still can't get myself to do much though, and the headache worsens when I try to think lol. What better time for a blog post, right? :)

We had a nice low-key week this past week. It was a great reprieve from all the baking and eating craziness of last week. The Christmas markets opened up around town and I spent an evening there with Michelle. It was fun walking around and looking at all of the Christmas decorations. There was even a choir singing outside of the church! I'll have to go back again sometime soon to finish my shopping.

Michelle and I were also planning on going downtown to another celebration this weekend (until I got sick). It's for St. Nicholas, and for the Czechs it's the day when St. Nick, an angel and a demon (basically the Devil) come and either bring gifts if you've been good or capture you and take you away if you've been bad. Get this - the teenagers all dress up as Devils and you can find flyers around town with numbers to call for them to come to your house and kidnap your kid!! The little kids get seriously freaked out, but apparently it's a big "fun" family tradition. Pretty interesting to say the least.

The also have a tradition like Santa Clause, only instead of a big jolly man with flying reindeer, it's "Baby Jesus" who brings the gifts. The sad part is, the kids literally think "Baby Jesus" is some sort of mythical creature who comes and brings gifts. If you ask them what he looks like they will most likely name some sort of animal, like a porcupine (how else would he be able to carry all the presents if he didn't have something to stick them on?). Anyways, I'm curious to see what my students think about it all, and introduce them to what many "Americans" believe about the subject...

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I wanted to post this last night, so I could say I had three in one week, but I was just too tired to make it. :)

Happy Thanksgiving! :) I had two different Thanksgivings this week, and Talitha's actually going to a third tonight - not being in the country certainly doesn't stop us. :) It wasn't quite as fun though, having to work all day Thursday and then still on Friday. Oh well.

The dinners were great though - Thurs. night our Pastor and his wife had us and about 50 (literally) other people over to their house. Everyone brought something and it was all very delicious. It was nice too, getting to know each other better. Then last night our neighbors invited us over to a dinner with another family and friend from their work. The family from their work was from Norway and it was their first Thanksgiving meal they had experienced! :) It was nice spending time with our neighbors as well.

So, this year the thing I am definitely thankful for is all of you. God has blessed me so much with friends and family who love me. I don't know why I got to be so lucky, but I am thankful for it! I love you all so much, and the support and love and encouragement you pour out on me is something that I will always thank God for!!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I just stepped out on our balcony. It's midnight and chilly but not too cold. The bits of sky that peak out from behind the clouds are a deep, dark, blue. It smells just like Grandma and Grandpa Hunter's house. I'm ready for a walk down the lane to look at stars...

I've been missing home a lot the past few days. I think it's partly because everything (moving, teaching, traveling, etc.) is finally settling down. I've also been feeling like I keep finding things to mess up or I just don't seem to be getting it completely right. Whether it's at the grocery store, communicating with the people around me (and no I don't mean with the language barrier- just communicating in general) or most recently - dealing with the bank and my money, I feel like I'm constantly in need of grace, needing God to come through for me.

And on the one hand, I know that's the reality of where we all are, and where God loves us to be. But on the other hand I think, ok, how many times am I going to get myself into trouble?? Can't I get something right for once? Do I really deserve grace when it's completely my stupidity or fault that got me there in the first place? Honestly, these are not thoughts and feelings I'm used to having. I guess that's part of the "living on my a foreign country" thing, but it's still kind of surprising and not very fun. Maybe a little humbling is what I needed...

But yes, I know God is faithful. And I know that of course I don't deserve grace, but that's the beauty of it and God does freely give it. Over and over and over... and over again. It's a beautiful but hard lesson to learn, and I'm only beginning to grasp it.

Anyways, just of a few of my recent thoughts... how's that for two entries in one week?? :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hello and once again, I apologize for the delay in writing. I think I'm just going to have to accept the fact that it takes a while to get life back together again after going on a trip, and therefore the posts will be a little more delayed when that happens. :)

Anyway, I hope you are doing well as you read this!

I did get back from Rome at the beginning of the week, and it was all a really great time. It was fun traveling with my friend Sarah from CCU and yes, the city itself was amazing. We spent most of the time just wandering around, going too all of the "big pictures" on our map. :) You know, like the Colosseum, The Ruins, St. Peter's Basilica... all very beautiful and pretty crazy to actually see in person. The overall atmosphere, and all of the little Italian restaurants and shops were really fun (and yummy! :)

We didn't go into many museums or anything - that in and of itself could be a separate trip, but for the few days that we had there, we felt like we got to experience a lot. There was a protest that we ran into on our first day walking around - a huge group of what turned out to be Italian futbol boys, protesting the new policy of requiring registration cards to buy tickets to the games. Pretty exciting stuff right there. :) It was interesting to say the least.

It was also our first experience staying in a hostel, which turned out to be not bad at all. It was the three of us girls in a four bed room. The first night we had a young kid from Japan with us and the other two nights a young guy from south of Chicago. Both were very nice and we even convinced the second to join us in an exciting game of Phase 10 one of the evenings. :)

Here is the link to my pictures from the trip:

We got back Monday night and then I still had Tuesday off as a holiday because it was the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution - the year the Czech Republic broke free from communism. There was a big march in the city, with speakers and music and lots of Czech beer. It was pretty exciting to be there in the midst of all the celebration.

Since then it's been a quiet week of getting back into the routine of normal life again, which is good. I'm still having days and moments where it's harder to be excited about being here though. I know everything I'm experiencing is great and amazing, but it still isn't home... I just need to make more of an effort to get out and live life here, I think. It's easy to just go to school, come home, do lesson plans, and go to school again. I want to be excited about living here though, and not just look forward to the next big thing I have planned. I went to the park the other day, and signed up for the church email list that has different things going on in our's the little things like that that are important, I think, so it's just being able to make time for them. Please pray that I'll be able to do that and enjoy it.

Anyway, I think that's all for now. I love you all!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your
Because your love in better than
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my
My soul will be satisfied as with the
richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will
praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches
of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me."

Psalm 63:1-8

-- Amen.

So, hello to all and I'm sorry it's been another almost two weeks since I've posted. I guess the newest thing, since we last talked, is that I turned 23! Sounds so old, and yet, still so young at the same time... :) No great differences from 22, as of yet... but we'll see as the year unfolds...

I had a great time celebrating my birthday in Berlin, Germany! (Link to pictures in my previous post). I went with Michelle, the girl I teach with and her roommate Kara. Things were off to a rocky start when I missed the train and they had to leave my ticket hidden behind a trash can on the platform :) but it ended up being a great time and experience. We actually met up with some "friends of a friend" who play in a worship band for the Jesus Freaks group in Berlin. We went with them for a few hours on Saturday to a 24-hr. prayer room, like IHOP or CHOP. It was really neat. They also showed us around the city for a big part of the time as well.

I was actually a bit homesick coming back from the trip - it was nice being familiar with things again, like the public transportation, but it felt like I should have been coming home home... it was hard being reminded again that I wont be doing that for quite a while still. I also felt like I had a TON of stuff that needed to be done/taken care of, and you know, just had a bit of the overwhelmed/hard to breathe feeling. :) God of course took care of all those things, down to the last detail, though. So I got through those first few days and the rest of the week has been great.

Teaching is still going well, and I actually started this week with some new tutoring lessons! I will be working with 3 fourth grade students - 2 boys and 1 girl, who are all fluent English speakers. They've lived for a few years in the States and their parents were wanting them to work with someone outside of the English class that the rest of their class is in. So I will be doing that on Mondays and Fridays, working on their writing and grammar. I was only able to meet with the girl this week, but she is the sweetest thing, and I am really excited about it!!

Another thing I am super excited about is that a friend from CCU is coming next week to visit! She's been in Europe for the past couple of months, and she's coming with her friend to visit Prague, and THEN the three of us are going to ROME for the weekend!! I shouldn't have too many more travel plans for a while after that :).

Anyway, I do need to get going... today is Talitha's birthday, and we are having a joint celebration tonight! We're having a few friends over for some bread, cheese and wine (all of which are a NEW FAVORITE of mine!) and then chocolate cake and pumpkin pie for dessert! :) I actually have to go BAKE the pie first, so wish me luck...

I love you all!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009


So sorry it's been over a week, and I didn't even put up the links I promised last time. Well, here they are... and more writing to come soon! Tomorrow?? :)

Praha 6 (updated):

World Cup Qualifier:

It's a Beautiful City:

Birthday in Berlin!:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sitting in Starbucks :)

Hi Everyone!

I'm having a relaxing afternoon, sipping my vanilla latte at a table in Starbucks, on the main street of Prague - Wenceslas Square. The buildings are huge and gorgeous on both sides of the wide street with people bustling about everywhere. And no, I don't feel bad about the little taste of Commercialized America. :)

Let's see. This past week was a very nice one. Talitha had a friend visiting for a few days, which ended up being a very enjoyable experience for us all. We had a holiday from school on Friday which I used to finally shop for and buy a pair of winter boots. :) And we had a fun dinner with the Pastor and his wife of our church who Talitha works with (a young American couple with 3 young kids). That was really fun - the first question they asked us was "Do either of you play Blokus?" :)

We also had an interesting experience while dropping Talitha's friend off at the airport Wed. night. A girl in her twenties approached us and asked if we had any spare change. We talked with her for a while and came to find out that she was from Prague but had been traveling around the past few years, and lived with her boyfriend in France until a few months ago when they broke up. She's been living in the airport since then, without a job. She said she goes to the library to look on the internet for jobs, but hasn't found anything yet.

That morning in my quiet time I was thinking and praying about how I wanted to be more open and aware of situations in which God could minister to the people around me - it's too easy for me to just breeze through the day without really taking the time to see the people I come in contact with, you know? So, anyways, at the risk of being too "American" or "Christian-y" in this extremely different culture in Prague I asked her if I could pray for her. She looked at me like I was crazy :) so I just said something like, I wish I could help you more, but I also know that God cares about and loves you, and I'd like to ask him to help you too. She said yes and just stared at me, so I just kept my eyes opened and talked to God for a few seconds. Talitha also asked her if she would be interested in meeting for coffee the next day which she said she would.

To make a long story short, Talitha didn't see her when she went in the afternoon, but we went back together that evening and did run into her. She introduced us to another friend of hers and we sat and talked with them for a while. We also bought her two bus tickets to meet us in the city for breakfast on Saturday. She said she'd be there, however, we didn't see her then either.

And that's the story up to this point. It was all very interesting to say the least. I hope and pray that the little bit of time we did spend with her encouraged her and gave her a small glimpse of the love that God has for her and her life.

We have another holiday this weekend: Wednesday - Friday. I think it's fall break for most of the schools here. I was hoping to go to Rome with my friend Sarah from CCU who is in Germany right now. That didn't work out for this weekend (maybe in Nov.) but I am planning on going to Berlin with Michelle, the other teacher in my program. I'm excited about seeing everything there, and celebrating my first birthday in Europe! :)

I also have more pictures to put up. Some are of my kiddies and our flat, which you should be able to see from the links I posted a few entries ago. I just added them to the school and Praha 6 albums. The others I'll post the link to here as soon as I get them up.

That's all for now. Love and miss you all!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy 1 Month Anniversary!

Well, today is the one month anniversary of me being here! I'm not sure if that seems like a long or short time. I guess it feels about right, so that's good. I feel less like a child and more like an experienced traveler when I say I've been here for a month now. :) It also means that you can tear a ring off for those of you who made a paper chain to count down the months. :)

This week has been pretty hectic, but good. Wednesday I went to a World Cup Qualifier Futbol match (Czech Republic v. Northern Ireland), which was really fun, and yes, it started snowing in the middle of it. The weather has suddenly turned from fall to winter, which is ok with me for a few days, but I wouldn't mind having fall back for a little while longer, since winter lasts long enough as it is...

My class of second grade boys enjoyed making fun of my artistic abilities while teaching them the plural form of "banana." :) It's fun feeling closer to my students with each passing week. They always get excited and say "Hello! Hello Stephanie!" when they see me in the hallway.

I read some from Psalms today and really liked 112:7-8. Talking about a righteous man it says "...his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear." Oh for my heart to be steadfast and secure. Trusting in the Lord, there is no reason for it not to be... little by little it's getting there...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ok, I'm really trying hard to post at least once a week. The problem is feeling like there's not much you'd be interested in hearing about... but that's not my problem, right? No one's forcing you to read this... :) It does make me feel closer to home though, when I know you're there!

Last Saturday Talitha and another friend of hers who just arrived to teacher here also made a big trip out to IKEA. There are two just outside the city, and I got a few more things for my bedroom and our living room, etc. that had been missing. Again, helping to feel more settled in.

Then I had a full week of teaching - I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked for the first half of the week, but I got it together and felt better about it by the second half. :) The lesson planning is unending though...that's actually what I should be doing right now. I was also given a few more hours running an English club on Tues. and Wed. that I'll be doing now. The extra hours were an answer to prayer, since I knew coming over I'd probably have to look for a second source of income to supplement the school. I think I could use a few more, maybe babysitting or a private tutoring lesson each week, and I'll be set.

The past few days have been beautiful - it had gotten pretty chilly by the end of last week, but it warmed up again for a few days this week. I spent quite a bit of time walking around in the afternoons, and went to a couple of coffee shops to work off and on.

I've decided that in the mornings when I'm just waking up and Wednesdays in the middle of the week are the times when I feel homesick the most. :) I'm not entirely sure why, but it seems to be the case thus far. If you think of it, you can pray for those moments that I'll remember how good and faithful my God is, and that I'll remember how exciting is it that I have this opportunity to experience life in this way!

I love and miss you all, and think of you often!!!!!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

School Days

Well, the first full day of teaching if officially under my belt. :) And it went really well! I had one hour long class yesterday and two two-hour classes today (one in the morning and one after lunch). Those three classes are the three I will have for the whole year. Two of them are second grade classes and one is first grade. Everything went really smoothly, and they all seem to be excited about learning English. One of my second grade classes is all boys (except for one girl, but she wasn't here today), and even though I'm sure they'll keep me on my toes, I think they will be a lot of fun. :) All the classes are really cute and sweet though. :)

Almost all of the students know a few words in English, and lots of animal names, however I am depending a lot on my assistant to help with translating these first few weeks. It's an adjustment, trying to think of the simplest ways to give instructions, and knowing that many things you say will just not be understood unless it's translated, but I think it will get easier as we get to know each other and learn the basics of what we need to communicate in order for learning to take place. It will be interesting to see how it goes once we start teaching actual lessons next week (we just did introductory things/procedures, etc. today).

I put up some more pictures of the school if you're interested. I know there have been lots of pictures in just a few days, but I'm sure they will be less frequent as there are fewer and fewer "new things" to see. :)

P.S. Happy first day of October!! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Festival, school and heart...

Hi Everyone!

It's been a busy couple of days, and it's probably going to stay that way for most of this week, but that's not always a bad thing when you're half way around the world without your closest family and friends :).

Things have been really good though, for the most part, this week! :) Yesterday I went with my roommate Talitha and a couple of other friends to a festival about an hour outside of Prague. It was a gorgeous day and lots of fun spending time together, outside of the house. We spent about five hours there and then went back to one of the girl's house for dinner and more chatting. These are some of Talitha's friends from church and it's been great getting to know them better. We also had another Czech friend of Talitha's over to our flat for dinner tonight and that was great too- again, connecting and forming relationships with more people. We're actually going over to her house for dinner tomorrow night as well.

Talitha and I

I think I mentioned earlier that my school was starting on Oct. 5 - well I found out at our training that it's actually starting this Wednesday. :) It doesn't really change anything, I'm just glad I found out about it in time lol. But yes, Friday I went back up to the school to decorate my classroom (I get my very own!) and the only thing I have left to do is finalize my lesson plans for this week. I met the other girl who is teaching like I am, and my Czech/English speaking assistant who I will have for all of my classes. Both of them are extremely nice and helpful and I'm excited to work with and get to know them!! My Tuesdays and Thursdays are filled with four classes each day, and Monday, Wednesday and Fridays I have just one class each. I'm hoping to pick up a few more hours doing some private tutoring, but I still have to look into that.

So Wednesday night was the official week-long mark since leaving home and flying over here. (By now it's almost been two! :) I don't know if it was the fact that it had been a week, or it was just "one of those days," but I wasn't feeling the greatest about being gone. Now, I realize that being sad and missing people is simply part of the package, and it's not even a bad thing!! However, when those thoughts and feelings are what consumes you, or when they keep you from living life and embracing what God has for you, it's not a good situation. And it isn't healthy to constantly give in to those thoughts and feelings either, simply because it's the easiest thing to do (and so many times it feels like it is!). Talking with another friend about this, I thought of 2 Cor. 10:5 "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." So much of the battle that takes place in our heart/mind rests on us clinging to what we KNOW to be true, even if it doesn't feel like it at the moment. Taking every thought captive to make it OBEDIENT to Christ. Again, this is more easily said than done, and it often feels so much better to just give in to our thoughts and feelings. But not giving in is what we have to strive to do. So that's what I've been trying to do lately. Focus on what I know to be true, and then go on living life. Think about my friends and family back home, who I love and miss so much, but thank God for being here with me now. Focus on looking at today, rather than the next ten months stretched out in front of me, and strive to make myself available to God and what he is doing in the lives of those around me. Doing that brings such a sense of peace and even excitement, rather than worry, anxiety or fear. And yes, I'll take that trade any day. :)

Here is the link for the rest of my pictures on FB from the festival this weekend:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Try this link for the pictures:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More Pics...

I didn't have anything scheduled for today, so after lunch I went out exploring! You can see pictures from my neighborhood on my facebook page. (You don't have to have a FB account to see them) Let me know if it doesn't work! And you'll just have to copy and past the link at the bottom because I can't figure out how to put it in the middle of my text!

Anyways, it was really fun walking around and feeling more familiar with the city. There are so many people out and about!!

Tomorrow I have a training with some of the other teachers from the school - I'm excited to get more details about it all! I can't wait for the classes to start (Oct. 5) so I can meet and get to know my kids! :)

Ok, well that's all for now. Love you all!!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

The inside court-yard view from our balcony.

View of Prague Castle close by from my bedroom window.

Our apartment building (we're up at the very top!).

Our neighbors across the street - U.S. Ambassador


Hello from Prague

Hi Everyone!!

So, I made it and am even feeling like I'm settling in over here in the beautiful city of Prague. I got in Thursday night with little trouble, although one of my bags didn't make it with me across the ocean. :( They should be delivering it to me this morning though, so it's not too bad.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Marek, my boss, walking around and getting my transportation pass and Czech cell phone. It was nice seeing the city again and getting a few important things taken care of. Last night I went out with my roommate Talitha to a Bible lecture at her church and had fun meeting some people (all English speakers) and having my first Czech beer with everyone. (The first of many, I'm sure, since stopping for a beer is as common and laid-back here as getting ice cream with friends at Graeters).

The culture shock and even jet-lag hasn't affected me much at all, but everyone keeps saying just wait a week or two for it (the culture part at least). But it has been pretty easy settling in so far and feeling like I can live life over here for a bit. I have moments of homesickness only when I think about how long ten months is, so I'm just trying not to let myself dwell on that and focus on taking it one day at a time. So far that's been pretty easy to do, but again, it's only been a day and a half. I guess that's something you can just pray will continue. :)

I also had some good thoughts and prayer time during my 6 hr. lay-over in London. It was hard saying goodbye to the family and actually taking the first few steps of this new adventure. I had some time to write and pray in London, though, and God was reminding me that there is NO WHERE I can go and be separated from his presence, and in his presence is his power. This is encouraging not just when thinking about the geographical aspects of leaving for Prague. Yes, it is far away from everything I know and love, and it's encouraging to know God is with me here as well as back home, but it's more than that too. Probably the main thing I still struggle with (and was thinking about a lot of the way over here) is doubting myself, and my ability to hear God. I worry about whether or not "this is God" or just a crazy thought I had. I wonder if God was really wanting me to come here or if it was all my idea and he would have been fine with me staying in Cincinnati. I know there are lots of good responses to this, and I remind myself of them on a regular basis, but God reminded me in a fresh way another apsect of his truth. There is NO WHERE I can go and be separated from his presence, and in his presence is his power. It doesn't really matter if God spoke to me in a buring bush and told me to go to Prague, or if it was a random thought that popped into my head that I just decided to go with. It doesn't even matter if I "misheard" what he said or got the wrong idea about his will for my life - Being in relationship with God and having his Holy Spirit inside of me means that there is no decision I can make and no place I can choose to go where he's not going to be with me. And since with his presence comes his power, I can be sure that he's going to be working in and through that very situation, wherever and whatever it is, to bring more of his kingdom here on earth. That is an encouraging thought.

So yes, I am doing quite well over here so far. :) I could still most definitely use your prayers, however, that those feelings continue, and that when the hard days/moments come, God's presence and truths will be made all the clearer.

And that's all for now.

I love you all!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Latest Update

Good news - my short term visa came in the mail yesterday, and my second passport came in the mail today. :) Still need to wait for my long term visa to be ready, but I'm good to go for now. One week left...crazy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Keep Praying...

So, most of you know by now that I bought my plane ticket!! It's for Wednesday, September 16 (round trip- returning July 8!). I am still waiting on my long term visa, so please pray with me that it comes within the next week or so! If it doesn't, I have to think about applying for a short term, asking for my passport back, and figuring out how to get it once I'm already over there. All sorts of crazy stuff. But hey, my God is a God who raises the dead - what's a little red tape to him, right??

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Under Construction"

I've never done this before so it might take me a while to get it all set up... thanks for waiting for it. :)