Thursday, July 31, 2014

That Lump in My Throat is Gratitude

We didn't go "home" this summer, since our daughter lacks a valid VISA allowing her to come & go. I've missed the opportunities to see family & friends, but I've also been thankful for the opportunity to remain in Prague because it's meant we could stay in one place and not have to travel so much.

A major drawback to staying overseas for a summer means that we don't get to connect with our supporting churches & sponsors. It means that there are no large one-time donations, no "love offerings" taken after we speak. It means that our support can start to dwindle.

Sometimes I wonder if some of our sponsors have forgotten about us. I know it's not intentional - I really think it's more of an "out of sight, out of mind" type of thing. Goodness knows we all have tremendous demands on our attention. Some of it is perhaps our fault too, because we've had a terrible time keeping up with this blog, and with our newsletters. (Speaking of demands on attention, have you ever tried to blog with an 8-month-old on your lap?)

When I logged in to our mission account register last month, my heart sank, because we were $1000 short of our monthly goal. I found myself thinking that if we'd been stateside, if we'd made the appearances, if I'd been more faithful with newsletters, we wouldn't have fallen short. I told myself I'd get a newsletter out the very next week, but then we started Czech class...and had friends come to visit...and I had four applications to process...

Another few weeks went by, and I'd failed to let anyone hear from us. I hadn't communicated our financial needs. I logged in mid-month, and I was crushed. We were now over $2500 behind. Again, I vowed to get a newsletter out immediately. And then we needed to say farewell to some very dear colleagues...and we had a meeting with the school director...and we had three doctors' appointments...and we had another meeting with our VISA agent...

I really didn't want to check in at the end of the month, knowing that my lack of communication was going to be reflected in our account balance. However, when I opened our ledger this month, I was astounded to see that we were only $483 short of our month's goal. There were some large, one-time gifts that had been sent in.

Once again, God has shown me that His care for us is not dependent on my striving, my shortcoming, or even my best intentions. I'm so very, very thankful. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Denied AGAIN

Phil met our agent yesterday afternoon, for another trip to the foreign police in the ongoing quest for Susanna Jane's VISA. It was a short trip - her paperwork was denied, AGAIN.

We've been giving several possible explanations as to why her application didn't go through this time, the biggest one being that her name isn't on our lease. Yes, you did read that correctly.

I hardly have the words to describe how I'm feeling at this point. We've spent nearly 7 months in this process, we've produced countless documents (at significant cost!) for new applications, and we're back at square one.

Prayers are appreciated.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nerozumím česky

We're in the middle of an intensive Czech class - a *very* intensive Czech class. We've had four classes so far, and I'm told we've covered at least half a semester's worth of material. I don't doubt it. I feel as though we're moving at the speed of light.

This has been a frustrating week for me, I think primarily because I'm the only person in the class who hasn't studied some Czech prior to enrolling. (Phil attended classes at CISP last fall; two of the other girls in the class have already done most of the workbook pages we've been assigned.) I'm also discouraged because I don't have the time to give it my undivided attention like I did when I studied Russian. I'd love to spend three solid hours on my homework, but I have a very busy 8-month-old (who's still nursing,) and a job with RCE.

Some have assumed I'd have an easier time with Czech because I already spoke Russian. I've been told that Czech & Russian have a 60% crossover, but I'm seriously starting to doubt this. For every word that I recognize that actually means the same thing in Czech as it did in Russian, there have to be at least 5 more that sound the same, but mean exactly the opposite. While the grammar structure is fairly similar, the verb endings are throwing me for a loop.

I'm not wanting to sound disgruntled - I'm thankful to finally have the opportunity to study! I do want to give everyone fair warning that I'm not going to come home speaking in full paragraphs. Grace is appreciated.