Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Summer Conundrum

It seems to be rare for missionary teachers to spend the summers in their countries of service. Why? Because they are usually "home" for the summers, visiting family and trying to raise support. That's certainly been our experience in the past.

The pros of going stateside for six weeks or so are fairly obvious: 
  • Getting to see precious family members and dear friends
  • Opportunities to reconnect with sending churches & sponsors
  • Chances to buy affordable clothing, books & coffee
  • Air conditioning, iced drinks & free refills
However, if we're in the US, then we're not here in the Czech Republic, which means that we miss out on the following:
  • Chances to build relationships with our neighbors, co-workers & students
  • Ability to assist with ongoing school improvement projects
  • Engaging in summer outreach such as English camp
  • Opportunities to study Czech
The decision to remain in Prague this summer was really out of our hands, since we cannot leave the EU until Susanna Jane has a long-term visa. We'd love to introduce our daughter to family members and dear friends; we'd love to visit our supporting churches and let everyone know how very thankful we are. On the other hand, it's a tremendous blessing to remain in the Czech Republic this summer, and we're looking forward to what God has in store for us here. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Christian International School of Prague Celebrates TEN Years!

This video was shown at the CISP 10th Anniversary Celebration this past weekend. Although we've only been a part of this community for one year, we rejoice with our friends, students & co-workers in all God has provided!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Normal Life

A dear friend of ours posted this Facebook status:
"What would it take for me to have a 'normal' life? Just curious."
and the answers she received were everything from the ubiquitous "normal is a dryer setting" to "we can't have normal lives."

The funny thing is, as a fellow missionary, her life seems perfectly normal to me. I get where she's coming from - it would be great to feel like you actually had a home in your "home country." It would be nice to be back home and not feel as though you need to constantly explain/describe/defend why you do what you do. The idea of a dependable salary seems oh-so-appealing when you've spent the majority of your home time on the road raising support, and you're still only at 42% of your goal.

My speculation is that her quest for a normal life really isn't about her wanting to trade in her calling for a desk job and a mortgage so much as it's a desire to be understood, to belong. Really, I think that's what every one of us longs for.

This is something I've been pondering a great deal as I've struggled to keep up with correspondence. "How can I compose a letter that accurately describes what we're dealing with here? How can I keep it under 5,000 words? How can I make people understand?" But I haven't really come up with an answer.

When God called us to serve overseas, it meant leaving behind what the majority of our friends & family considered to be a "normal" life, and embracing the uniqueness and the uncertainties of life in missions. While there *are* days I wish I could trade it in for a home in the suburbs and a 9-5 job which really ended at 5, most of the time I'm grateful for this tremendous opportunity to serve Him, wherever that may take us.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Round 3 (or 4? or 7?) for Susanna Jane's Visa

We really do have the best intentions to blog on a more regular basis. There are at least 10 blog posts we've started over the last 6 months which have never been published. There's nothing like a good VISA crisis to get us writing again. If you're tired of reading about our VISA woes, imagine how tired we are of dealing with them!

Christiana received a call this morning from our VISA agent, informing her that the office has once again denied Susanna Jane a long-term residency permit. Considering that we submitted the exact same documents for Susanna Jane which we used for our applications, and given the fact that we now have our long-term permits in hand, there is absolutely no reason that our daughter shouldn't also be granted a permit, but here we go again.

We've been given a 30 day extension to provide them with proof of service with RCE (again), proof of comprehensive medical insurance (again) and a copy of Susanna Jane's insurance card (again).

If, at the end of this next round of documents, they still refuse to grant our daughter her residency permit, then we'll have to hire a lawyer and begin a lengthy & costly appeal process. We have already spent more than double what we had budgeted for this process, and we really cannot afford to have this drag out any longer.

WE NEED YOUR CONTINUED PRAYERS, for many aspects of our service in Prague, and especially now as we continue to do battle at the VISA office. Thanks for standing with us.