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.