Blue Sky

the hunts in prague


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Support Update

If you get our email updates you know that we did end up pushing back the target date for our return to Prague. Our new goal is February 26, and I’m happy to report that the tree is looking pretty good. I’m sure you’ll agree: [UPDATE: tree is current as of January 20 February 9.]

Hunts Back to Prague

We’re now at 91% almost 95% 99% of our needed monthly support. Great news. But it still leaves a good chunk left to raise. As we hit the home stretch, please pray that God will bring in the remainder in plenty of time for us to be on the plane at the end of February. And if you’ve been thinking about joining our support team, this is a great time to do it! Please contact us if you have any questions about how financial support works.

Thanks as always!

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Help Us Trim Our Tree

Part of the connecting aspect of our HMA is fundraising for our church planting work in Prague, and much of Jake’s time this fall has been spent meeting with potential new supporters. We have a monthly financial gap that we need to cover before we can return to Prague. Our monthly supporters are the backbone of the team that makes it possible for us to do what we do. Some give $10 a month, some give $100 or more. At any amount, consistent giving is a great way to be personally involved in our work at Faith Community Church.

To have us back in Prague with a healthy support account in the New Year, we are asking God to give us about 30 new monthly supporters at various amounts. We’d like to have that squared away before Christmas.

Hey, did someone say Christmas?

Hunts Back to Prague

What’s that? Why, it’s a fun and informative graphic! This delightfully funky Christmas tree shows the monthly supporters we need at certain amounts to get us back to Prague. When a slot gets filled, it gets a star ornament. Fully trimmed tree = Hunts back to Prague.

Would you help us trim our Christmas tree? There are at least 3 ways you can do that.

  • First, you can pray. This is a lot of support to raise in the next 2 months, but God can do it. Jake has spoken at several churches and continues to meet with lots of individuals and groups– please pray that those talks will result in new supporters who are excited to partner with us.
  • Second, if you’re able, you can give. Whether you’re a brand new supporter or a current one who’s able to increase your monthly gift, every dollar gets us that much closer.
  • You can also recruit! You know people we don’t know, and some of them might be in a position to help us out. Maybe your Bible study group would like to hear some stories about church planting in Europe. Maybe you and some friends could pool your resources each month, take one of those slots toward the top of the tree, and pray together for us.

Our time in the States has been a sweet gift that came at the perfect time for our family. Now it’s getting to be time for us to get back. Please pray that God will open doors, that the tree will be covered with stars, and that we’ll be on the plane on our scheduled departure date of December 30.


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Fall

Fall has been busier than summer, but also fun. A lot of the America stuff we miss is fall-centric, so we’ve enjoyed jumping back in.

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First day of school. We found out it’s actually legally required here to take this picture with the signs. Who knew.

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Creekside School’s HQ

In our fancy pants for Uncle Paul’s wedding

Foard turned this many in September

The boys’ first trip to Sanford Stadium, thanks to a generous friend

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Great fall weekend in the mountains with friends (Foard’s more excited than he looks)

A one-day blitz of American history

Not pictured: Jake or both of us have spoken at six churches and six more Bible study groups, with more still on the calendar. Whew!


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Summer

We have enjoyed a great few months in the States. Our purpose for our 6-month home mission assignment (HMA) is to connect with family, friends and supporters, to rest by changing our pace and stepping back from active ministry, and to grow personally and professionally so that we return to Prague energized and ready for another term.

Summer was a lot about resting after an exhausting 2013 and a busy spring. We timed our trip to get the maximum American summer days possible, and spent lots of time with grandparents, cousins, and friends– most of it in the water.

Hot weather and water were our chief goals for Summer 2014.

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Our temporary home was almost completely furnished and stocked by Charlotte friends. Amazing.

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You never know what mystery guests will turn up at Gaffer’s house.

Eliza turned 2 in August!

Eliza turned 2 in August!


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Reentry

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Day trip to Karlovy Vary in December. Our first time out of Prague together since July. Don’t worry, E’s in there somewhere.

December was quite a month. You know how Decembers are– super busy. Parties, presents, planning. And we were zonked. Energy level always low, a couple of hospital trips for E because we still have to watch her so closely. 

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Christmas morning bliss

We had a very restful, beautiful, quiet, celebratory Christmas. Pammie and Papa were here, about which more in a separate post. Their visit was great, and we loved them being here for all our Christmas traditions.

And then, with a deep breath, we started regular life again. Boys back to school, me back to work fulltime for pretty much the first time since E’s diagnosis. Eliza getting to be a regular baby, Melissa keeping everything together. And we are honestly a little surprised at how well it’s gone.

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We were going for “mean face.” This was the best Foard could do.

Today Eliza had her second monthly check-up. She always has blood work and a physical exam, and every other month (including today) an X-ray and ultrasound. All these results have been good. Each month we get nervous the day before, have a somewhat fearful morning while M & E are at the doctor, and I hold my breath waiting for the all-clear text. Maybe that gets better over time. I hope so.

At any rate, she’s gaining weight, learning words, standing on her own, and her hair is growing. It’s amazing. We’re still watching her tummy– I’ll spare you the details but it does seem to be improving, and they’ve ruled out any connection between her digestive stuff and her previous illness. Seems to just be one of those things.

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We got our fancy pants on for Sam’s school’s annual Burns Night fundraiser. Half the proceeds went to the children’s wing at Eliza’s hospital.

We are not all back to normal. Who knows if we ever will be. Little medical things scare us more than they used to, and it’s hard to think about the future without the what-if cloud. But the life-o-meter is climbing. We can handle more busy-ness now than we could 2 months ago. By God’s grace, we’re doing more than just surviving.

We would love for you to keep praying for us.

  • Pray for Eliza’s health to continue, for no more cancer ever ever ever, and for protection from all the winter germs as her immune system is not at 100%. Pray for her stomach to adjust so that she doesn’t need to take probiotics.
  • Pray for Sam and Foard, and our parenting of them. They’re still recovering too. Pray that we’ll be patient and attentive.
  • Pray for our marriage and for our walk with Jesus. We don’t want to unlearn the lessons of last year.
  • Pray that we’ll be bold and wise in taking on work and ministry, working hard but not taking on more than our family can handle.

Look at this little girl. You prayed, and God healed her. Thank you so much.

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I love me some snow!


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Ooh-La-La!

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We have been loved very well the last few months. Our Prague friends have been amazing and have not tired of asking what we need. On top of that, we’ve had a steady stream of people coming from the States to stay with us and pitch in. We want to tell you about some of them, and the obvious place to start is Grandma Cindi, or as she’s better known around here, Ooh-La-La.

Like many people, Cindi would have been happy to jump on a plane the second E was diagnosed. She held her herself back admirably until mid-August, when we looked at the calendar and everything that had to happen and said “time to call in the big guns.” So she came over, dove in, learned how our house runs, and stayed two months, keeping us afloat.

Just a few of her accomplishments:

  • Mastered driving a foreign car in a foreign country
  • Taught Eliza to climb up the stairs
  • Learned the boys’ schedules, including varying pickup & dropoff times, which days Sam needs to take PE clothes and goggles, and what lunch items are most successful
  • Made countless loaves of sweet potato bread
  • Taught Foard to write two letters
  • Stayed with Eliza anytime we had to be 2 separate places, giving her a familiar face when she was super clingy
  • Knew that cheese rohliky differ from one grocery store to another, and which are ok for Foard to snack on
  • Accompanied Foard on two field trips with moms she barely knew
  • Finished making the lunches & packing the bags that our brains were too scattered to carry through on.
  • Didn’t bat an eye when Melissa chose a crazy complicated hat for her next knitting project
  • Continued working through all her “down” hours to keep things going at her real job with real kids who also need her love & expertise.

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We are so grateful to Cindi for stepping into our world. We’re grateful to Grampa and the rest of the family who gave her up for so long, the friends who gave her buddy passes to fly, and the understanding coworkers who freed her to be here indefinitely. And of course we’re grateful to God that all these pieces came together to help us keep our sanity during a really trying season. We love you Ooh-La-La!

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#winning

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Remember the elusive Daily Double? Even more elusive is pulling it off twice in one year. That’s called a Double Down Double. Hunts win again!

Eliza had her weekly blood work scheduled today. She’s been doing so well that we felt pretty good about them just sending her home, not making her wait for results. So we had a friend of Sam’s coming over to play, a friend of ours watching them for a couple of hours until Melissa got home, and me going to 2 meetings, but ready to pick up Foard and/or come home if the girls took longer than we thought. Oh, the plan was beautiful. Until…

Sam’s thumb got slammed in the car door. While getting out from picking up his friend. It was bleeding. He was screaming. Our babysitting friend arrived. She held Eliza while M tended to Sam. So Eliza screamed.

What worked out nicely was that we suddenly had 2 kids who both needed to go to the hospital. So we all went together. Our friend took Sam’s friend home. (Foard’s still at school, blissfully unaware.) They recognized us in the foreigners’ department, again. Melissa went with E to get her blood drawn. I went with Sam to get cleaned up, then X-rays, then shots, stitches, splint and bandage. We all finished at the same time, just in time to head to pick up Foard. Just like we did it in practice.

Sam’s fine. He’ll need a lot of Tylenol for a few days, and the bandage gets changed Friday. He enjoys explaining all the things he can and can’t do with his “cast.” (It’s a bandage, but just let him have this one, ok?) Eliza’s fine too– stomach and diaper rash improving, aggressively crawling and tumbling all over the place.

So the moral of this story is: keep praying for us!

  • Pray for Eliza’s continued improvement, for strength for one more round of chemo next week, and that it will be her last treatment, ever.
  • Pray for Sam’s thumb to heal quickly, that it won’t get infected, and that he won’t be in much pain.
  • Pray for God to protect our family. It certainly feels like we have a target on our backs.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”  He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17)