Friday 28 March 2014

Photo Friday - March 28th

Re-entering life after the retreat meant a lot of emails! I had over 104 in the four days. And apparently I stopped taking quite so many photos!

With the mornings being lighter I've been using that as motivation to get up earlier to allow a longer "quiet time" in the morning.

My new favourite snack: peanut butter with pretzels.

My little spare bedroom normally exists as a office (until a roommate appears) but here it was, all set up for guests!

I have to file taxes here.. Unfortunately my Czech friend wasn't able to come with me the day I needed to go. So I went to four buildings and six offices alone. It was exhausting. Hopefully I'm legal! 

It was both encouraging and discouraging in terms of how much I was able to communicate. I needed a special form at the third building and it meant the lady had to take me to her boss to ask for it. The lady told her boss "This woman speaks really bad Czech" - although I understood what she said! And I had enough Czech to ask for the form... 

Anyway, I knew the lady at the last building, the health office, because we've dealt with paperwork issues with me before. She doesn't speak any English but we chatted, her asking if I'd been to all the associated offices that day and how brave I was doing that alone. Before I left she went into a cupboard and reached out a packet of sweets for me! So, so sweet. 

My parents arrived on Thursday! And they surprised me by bringing my sister! It was so good to have them here. They flew in and out of Krakow so we took some time on Thursday to walk through the city. The funny thing was that the only time I've been in this beautiful city was when I did the Amazing Race through it so I couldn't remember many historical facts - more the crazy challenges I had to do at various landmarks. 

Prague is four hours away by train and that's where we spent Friday! I loved getting to show my family around this city I love so much.

Friday 21 March 2014

Photo Friday - March 21st

I spent three hours with a wonderfully patient teacher and learnt to crochet! Mine is the cream snowflake (and I didn't do all of it) - it's not perfect but it was a wonderful time together! 

Some necessary baking before Saint Patrick's Day.

Being surprised by a co-worker with coffee and biscotti made Monday morning a lot nicer!

Tuesday-Friday I was in Slovakia at the JV ladies' retreat. There's a fuller blog post coming soon but for now here are some photos of our surroundings.

Where we stayed was the summer home of the first president of Czechoslovakia (between World War One and Two).

It was a beautiful place to gather with beautiful women to worship our beautiful God.

We were divided into triplets for our time and I was blessed to be with these two women! 

The teaching was on how we can look forward, and run the race marked before us without looking back or comparing sideways. What was so wonderful was the fact we heard from seven JV women, on times when they had to run their race through different seasons or hard things.

I am hoping to write a fuller blog post or two on this retreat soon!

Monday 17 March 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! It was fun to make some shamrock shaped cookies, cover them in green colouring icing and share them with my co-workers and friends here. And to share the story of who Saint Patrick is and how he loved God.

Two of my favourite Saint Patrick's resources are this short Veggie Tales video that is surprisingly accurate and this article that talks about the challenge Saint Patrick's life should give us.

May we all, like Saint Patrick, follow the call of God on our lives and share the Gospel with those around us in a way they can understand.

The Prayer of Saint Patrick
As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Friday 14 March 2014

Photo Friday - March 14th

Saturdays are good days to get some projects around the house down before heading to youth group. I've been working on one recently that involved spray paint!

Sunday night treat.

What my afternoons after coming home from the office look like: more emails, Czech homework, reading, and Bible study. At the moment the Bible study I'm in with other JV ladies is on Ruth.

I hung out with these two one night and we watched Lilo and Stitch. It was a lot of fun!

I adore daffodils and definitely don't see them as much here as I did in Northern Ireland or Wales. They add some much needed colour to grey days, and look great beside that beautiful print with a good reminder!

I wandered into Poland one day when the sun was shining - so good to see all these fresh fruits and vegetables.

I took this photo on the Polish side of town as the sun sets over the Czech side of town.

Friday 7 March 2014

Photo Friday - March 7th

My socks on March 1st in honour of Saint David's Day.

March has been looking lovely so far!

When you ask a girl from Northern Ireland to pick her preferred paint choice and one of them is called "Saint Patrick" there is a clear winner.

Fun fact: having pancakes with sugar and lemon on Shrove Tuesday (the day before lent starts) is totally a UK thing! Well, the UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Regardless, it was so fun to introduce this tradition to the office and convert the skeptics to the idea that sugar and lemon go really good on pancakes.

Another fun fact: flats here don't always come the way you'd expect them to. When I was looking around to find somewhere to live I was even shown one without any kitchen cabinets or even a sink! You're expected to do more and provide more for your home. So, my kitchen and bedroom here didn't have lights in the ceiling, just some wires. I finally got round to asking my pastor if he would come round and fit some lights for me and so now I'm no longer relying on a floor light in the kitchen, or my beside light in my bedroom!

Thursday involved making an appointment to go to the hairdressers. It was only my second time going since moving here but it went well!

What my work looks like some days - tea and a Czech cake, while video chatting with a co-worker from another country (in this case Slovenia) on one device while we work on a project together on our computers. Technology can be such a blessing in this international ministry!

Monday 3 March 2014

JV Annual Report 2013

You can view the 2013 JV Annual Report by clicking here. It is so exciting to read and see the big picture of what God is doing in these nations. I would so encourage you to check it out!