Friday 29 August 2014

Photo Friday - 29th August

The other thing I did when I was in Prague was hunt out the fish and chip shop... There was a red telephone box in the middle of the restaurant, photos of the Beatles on the wall and Mr Bean playing on the TV. I was so thankful of this little bit of the UK in my holiday.

Storm's coming.

After my holiday week I spent an entire week where my focus was learning Czech. It was draining but so great to spend so much time learning Czech after a summer missing it. 

Coffee Heaven is a coffee chain with a lot of memories of sitting in Prague with friends. Sadly it's no longer in Czech, but it is still in Poland. So I was able to pick up some coffee beans and am enjoying the memories.

Thanks to my granny and aunts a couple of years ago I was able to buy this pot and I still can't believe I brought it over to Czech in a suitcase. But pots of colourful chilli remind me I'm so glad I did. 

This beautiful place is a 20-30 minute walk from my flat. I'm glad I live so close to greenness!

My little town has a little cinema with one screen that plans a random assortment of movies - sometimes they are current releases and other times it's a two year old movie. We went and saw the Disney movie Brave from 2012. It was fun to watch it in the Czech language!

Friday 22 August 2014

Photo Friday - 22nd August

I live on the first floor (that means up one flight of stairs)... I've no idea how this little guy got into my kitchen but he did!

This Catholic church has four services on a Sunday, and twice a day during the week, so I often see people going in or out.

This little blue tent was set up on the town square by a local church - they were offering Bibles for sale and talking to people. 

Enjoying a great book on my windowseat. This week I was off work and mostly just stayed in Cesky Tesin and read, sewed, spent time with friends. It was a good week of rest. 

I did a lot of sewing - and finished this little quilt! I hoarded fabrics when I lived in Cardiff and close to beautiful fabric shops and I'm so glad I did as it's a good hobby for when I have free time here. 

A beautiful walk around a lake 25 minutes from my home. Czech doesn't have coastline, but it makes up for it (mostly) with lakes and mountains.

Having a week off is wonderful but when you travel for your job you don't necessarily want to go anywhere on holiday. The only exception for this in my week was going to Prague for a day (it's four hours by train) where I got to walk around and see my favourite places, go to a few shops to pick up things I haven't been able to find on my side of the country, and, most refreshingly, spend time with this beautiful lady. I am so thankful for Petra, and having a friend who knows what it is to live between the same cultures and countries I do. 

Friday 15 August 2014

Photo Friday - 15th August

After a summer full of travel I put my suitcase away.. and I did a little happy dance.

This is what happens in my house most Sunday nights. I prepare food, and cut up vegetables, and then I can grab my lunch before leaving each morning. 

Can you make out the church between the buildings? This church, the Jesus Church, was the only Protestant church allowed to be built in the area in the 1700s so they built it big! Every time I see it, which is often, I pray that God would again bring revival to this area. 

This view is my favourite.

It might still be gloriously summer but already chestnuts were falling - they remind me of my childhood and my granda, and I loved having a bowlful of them on my table.

Board game night at the Yormans.

A festival, I don't know what for, on the town square. 

Friday 8 August 2014

Photo Friday - 8th August

The back garden of a little tea shop in town.

I import cold and flu medication... and I'm very glad I do.

The curse of travelling so much: the number of receipts that build up to expense!

This little book was given to me by Paul Bowman, and it was a wonderful overview looking at the three main theories that religions can be divided up into - monotheism, dualism and trinitarianism. It talked about what they view as perfection, how the world became so far from that, and how they believe it will be saved.

That Scripture app gave me this verse for the week - very thankful for God's salvation and rest.

You never know what you're going to find in Lidl. 


Thursday 7 August 2014

The normal, unforced rhythms of grace

After a long summer season of ministry it is so good to be getting back into “normal” life. We have joked that I get a “normal week” about 30% of the year so “normal weeks” are good whenever they happen, but after weeks and months of packing and unpacking and repacking? Normal feels so good.

What does normal mean?

Normal means waking up at a normal time and spending time in the Bible and praying.

Normal means answering emails, having a Skype meeting and getting work done. Normal means spending time learning Czech after a summer of not learning much.

Normal on the first Wednesday of the month means noon is noisy.

Normal means buying food at Tesco and baking muffins for friends. Normal means hanging out with those friends, new missionaries who moved here recently.

It also means other things.

Normal means hearing my doorbell ring and answering it to find two Jehovah’s Witnesses on my doorstep – they’re really active in my town, and I often see them handing out leaflets at the train station.

Normal means walking down my street by the Buddhist centre and the homeless guys who often sit on the benches during the day and sleep on them at night.

A year ago few of these things seemed normal. I didn’t have the keys to my flat yet. I had been here just over a month. Some of these things should not be normal, and I ache and pray for "on earth as it is in heaven".

I am so thankful for God’s grace in big adventures, long roadtrips, weeks at camp, and visits to camps in others parts of Europe. But I’m also incredibly thankful for God’s grace in the details of life, and in the normal, mundane days here. I'm thankful for how His grace breaks through, and brings life, and changes things.

Matthew 11 v 28-30 in the New International Version reads

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

In the Message that same passage reads

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (emphasis mine)

I feel like I’m experiencing those unforced rhythms of grace in the everyday, mundane, normal of my life here in this little corner of the Czech Republic and am praying for this grace to continue to break in in this part of the world. I am so thankful for His incredible grace.

Friday 1 August 2014

Photo Friday - 1st August

More summer walks, more beautiful colours.

More beautiful sunsets.

Our mission organisation had a vision to create a retreat house where missionaries could go to retreat, rest and hear from God. I am so thankful for the care of this organisation. And I was again at this retreat house - but not for rest, for my team's retreat. Each year we retreat and evaluate where our ministries are at and asking God where He wants them to be next year, two years from now and five years from now. 

It's a beautiful place and I'm so thankful for God's beautiful leading as we planned. 

It is wonderful to plan and dream but I came home needing to start a project that had a beginning, end and definable progress in the middle. Knitting is good!

This road signs have been appearing places in my town over the summer... I'm not really sure what they mean.