Blue Sky

the hunts in prague


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Guests from the Queen City

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At the beginning of March Uptown Church, which planted Faith Community and sent us here, sent a team to Prague to encourage our team and help the church out, especially in the areas of music and children’s ministry. We are so grateful for these folks taking a week off work to come hold our arms up.

Their travels got off to an interesting start with almost a 24-hour delay because of snow… somewhere. Somewhere where they weren’t going. So instead of arriving Saturday night, the team blew into town two hours before church Sunday afternoon. Which was good, because several of them were helping lead worship! Despite all their adventures, they showed up ready to rehearse and play.

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One of my favorite things about this trip was that instead of coming to take over for us (which is also good), they came to work with us. So they got to participate, and also see a little of what Faith is like on our own. Between Faith musicians and Uptown ones, this Sunday I’m pretty sure we had the biggest band in our church’s history. We had the personnel for Freebird, had it come up organically. It didn’t.

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Our friend Dave served us the Lord’s Supper. Leading together with him was a special treat.

During the week, half their team worked with our children’s ministry team (Bob Kenney and Melissa) to plan out and organize our Sunday School curriculum for the next year. That’s a big deal for a small church like ours. They also helped us think through some of the specific challenges facing our kids’ program.

Similarly, the musicians (including Uptown’s worship director Jeremy) had some brainstorming/Q&A sessions with Jessica and me, helping us think through how we can work toward excellence and efficiency in our music and worship.

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We’ll have more concert pictures in another post, but here’s a taste.

We had one big event: a concert Thursday night with musicians from Faith and Uptown. It was a lot of fun and drew a great crowd, including church attenders and people who are in our community but won’t normally show up for church.

For our team, the highlight of the week was time spent in worship and prayer with the Charlotte folks. They listened to us, asked good questions, let us share the good and the hard of life and ministry here, encouraged us and prayed for us. To be heard, known, appreciated, and prayed for is one of the best gifts a missionary can receive, and we are grateful.

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Having your kids fussed over doesn’t hurt either.

Thanks to the Uptown team and everyone who helped send them. They were a sweet shot in the arm at the end of our long winter.

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Back on the Horse

For over three years now, I’ve been processing life in a foreign country, and hoping that I can share some of the more obscure points of that with you.

Now I’m digging out old old pictures and giving it a go.

Be warned.  The next several posts will be random.


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While You Were Out

We visited the US for the first time in May 2011. We were (and are, thankfully) happy in Prague, but it was time to come back, it was still hard to say goodbye, again, to people and places we love in the States.

My precious friends here knew this. And they went over the top in making our homecoming a sweet surprise full of love.

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Amy, Shanna, Betsy, Sarah & Laura rearranged our furniture (think ‘Trading Spaces “that used to be in my bedroom!”), added some new touches and cloaked us in prayer & scripture as we begin ‘Prague 2.0.’ For me (the non-foodie in the marriage) it was more welcoming than a thousand freezer meals could’ve ever been (although they stocked our fridge, too!) It will forever be counted among my sweetest gifts.  Thanks again, ladies!
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Piñata Party

[Again… these pictures are at least two years old. Just catching up on the randomness.]

I can’t even remember why we did it, but Sam & I made a piñata. A ‘snake’ piñata. It was a good exercise in delayed gratification… something neither of us excel in. Lots of layers. Lots of waiting.

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We invited our neighbor, Frantisek, to come bust it open with us. Noone in his family had ever heard of a piñata, so that was fun, too. Though I sincerely hope they can experience something a little more authentic next time. Ours was a far cry from the real thing (our apologies to the McCann girls).

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Sokol

When I first began to wander the streets of our neighborhood, I found a mysterious building labeled ‘sokol.’  About a year later, our neighbor told me that the sokol offered activities for kids, and invited me to come check it out.

[This would be a great spot for a picture of our sokol.  Sorry.]

Sokol began in the mid 1800s.  Though “..primarily a fitness training center, the Sokol, also through lectures, discussions, and group outings provided what (the founder) viewed as physical, moral, and intellectual training for the nation.”  (Wikipedia) It was generally successful and supported until Communism snuffed it out in attempts to avoid anything nationalistic.  Sokols reemerged in 1990, but haven’t experienced the glory days of their pre-WWII years.  But you can spot one in almost every Czech neighborhood or village.

So… kind of like a YMCA.  General community betterment, mainly focused on physical fitness.

We really enjoyed our time at the sokol.  So much of it embodied what we’ve learned to expect from a city that was essentially hidden from the rest of the world until 22 years ago.

Almost everything is wooden, and looks like exactly like it did 75 years ago.

You’ll find few, if any, safety mats.  If you fall, you get hurt.  And then you don’t fall again.

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Great gross-motor activities for kids.  This country is so kid-friendly.  I’ve always loved that.

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Lots of Czech rhymes, songs & games that we wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

And, as always, phenomenal cleanliness.  Here’s a picture of my socks after an hour of walking around the gym.  A gym, people.  As with most places, you bring a second pair of shoes to wear inside.  Clean clean clean.

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[Funny story:  on our first visit, we didn’t know about the extra-shoes requirement.  But they’re very strict about everyone going down to the locker room, changing shoes, and then coming back upstairs to the gym.  So we did what we do best in this foreign culture:  fake it.  The leaders were satisfied to see me take Sam’s shoes off, so they didn’t see or care when I put the same shoes back on him and marched upstairs without a flinch.  We got it right the next time.]
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