Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ice Cream Party

We finished this year with a bang! Several kids, youth, and parents came for the end of the year Ice Cream Party. We had several activities, card games and football upstairs, jump-rope and chalk outside, plus Ice-Cream and Frisbee Baseball to finish it off. Another fun activity was the bobbing for apples. The kids loved putting their head all the way into the water. What a great way to end the year, having fun together.
Don't forget to check out Jeremy's latest post on Radost, as we get to know this new couple which will come to take my place next year. I hear they've been learning Czech and doing pretty well in there private lessons with the Dus kids at camp:) We are all looking forward to their arrival as well as our group of Oklahomans coming to teach at our English Camp in July.
I'm so excited about everything we have planned for the camp, July 21-25. For the next two weeks I'll be traveling, packing and preparing, but you can be sure that during the camp I will try to send an update with pictures every day for those of you who wish you could be here. We will have a new room with discussion and special guests for a sort of interview. Something else new, is that we will open our devotional time to any Czech who would like to join us. Plus, as you know we'll be having a bilingual Pokec-Chat Show with our band Černá ovce and two special guests, from the American team. I'm not supposed to announce yet who the band has chosen, but I think it will be a fun evening. Plus there are many surprises in store to share a bit of Czech culture with the Americans. Needless to say, I can't wait for it to start(well, only mentally, because there's still a lot to do).
Until then I hope you're enjoying your summer holidays and be sure to check back in about two and a half weeks, because the plethora of pictures will again begin to appear.
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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Next Chapter

This week I had my last official classes. Next week we will have some parties, but I found out some of the kids will already be on vacation, so this was our last time together. Yesterday one of them gave me a very sweet note and another told me personally how much they loved coming to my classes. I can't tell you how valuable this was for me, because this was from my class of 1st-3rd grade which almost literally kills me every week as I try to keep the focus of 2 ADD kids(a 7 year old and a 9 year old) and not neglect the other 10 kids. These kids have really come to know the church as a fun place where they have friends and feel safe.
Vecer Aprilovych Blaznu
click here to see photos
I've finally got the pictures from our April Fool's Night, so you can have a look at the fun time we had. Next week I'll be cleaning and having parties, but the fun doesn't stop here. Our English camp will be in FOUR WEEKS! We have all been eagerly planning away, and I feel like this year will be special. We're having a POKEC(Talk show with our Band) on the Wednesday night and a devotion every morning during camp which will be open to anyone who wants to come. We even have a few surprises in store for the Americans and the kids:) I'm really excited about everything that is to come!
I began with the title "The Next Chapter" in response to a friends who asked, "Kati are you ready for the next chapter?" I asked myself, "Wow, where does one chapter end and the other begin?" I know I'm going back to start a new journey in Atlanta, as Jeremy and Jamie begin theirs here in Policka, but daily I'm amazed at how God has woven everything together, influencing our decisions and passions. I only feel ready for the next step because of the last step I took. Coming here has only made me feel more adamant about creating activities to bring the church and the people of the community together. I'm looking forward to studying theology and church policies, with a mind focused on mission and worship, however, I'm also looking forward to see what Jeremy and Jamie bring to the program next year, as they start new things and carry on other programs we enjoyed. Needless to say, this next chapter has a lot in store for all of us, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our Second Pokec

Our second Pokec/Chat Show was a hit. We had a another small, but good audience(10 people, if the host counts) with several new and some returning. Everyone had a good time and we learned a lot about our guest, Jana Galgociova, who some of you might have met at the summer English Camp. She teaches history and Czech language at the high school and most of the audience knows her quite well. We repeated many songs from last time, but sang a new song which some of you will recognize:) If you wait a bit, you will finally hear some English lyrics for your enjoyment. I know I'm a bit demanding when I expect you to listen to a song that you don't know in a language you don't understand. So here's a favorite of ours which I am pretty sure might be a favorite yours,
I think all of us have been really enjoying the form of this program, so I think I should share it with you, in case any of you are looking for something to do with your youth. We start with a song, then introduce our guest and ask a few beginner questions. We sing another song, ask about 4 more questions, sing again, another four questions, and then we sing a song suggesting that the audience use this time to think of their own questions. We open the floor for any questions and after this we sing a song which leads into a short devotion given by one of our band members. There's a prayer and we go in the "Show us what you know!" challenge. A few volunteers are asked to help the guest complete some sort of task or compete against them, something like this. Then we close with another song and someone gives thanks. They came up with this form, I only helped them along. They lead it, asking the questions, coming up with the questions before hand, preparing the devotion like I said before, and choosing the next host.

Our next Pokec will be during the English Camp in July. WOW! It's coming up so close!!!! The Americans will arrive on July 18, a little over a month away. Please keep them in your prayers as they prepare for camp. Jamie and Jeremy will arrive a day earlier, since they'll be coming from a different part of the US. They need your prayers too, as they prepare for a new adventure on the ride of life. If you haven't seen their blog yet, czech it out!(They've been doing some changes, so even if you have seen it, you might look again!)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Family Retreat

This weekend some of the families from our church went for a retreat down in Southern Bohemia. The nature just jumped out all around us. We saw the most beautiful beetles on our walk and Bara swears she saw a wild pig running through the forest. I just saw the grass moving and heard it's footsteps. All of the Czechs were like, "Kati don't worry, they're incredibly afraid of people and they wouldn't hurt you." I still couldn't shake from my mind the image of a charging wild boar racing through the forest. In the evening we built a fire and sang songs, something that feels so close to our culture. What is it about fire that makes people of all cultures drawn together in conversation, singing, and contemplation? Warmth, light, community?

So with all of this wild nature around, you may ask, did you have electricity? and bathrooms? Well there were "toilets" or outhouses as most people would call them. During the day, it's totally worth it to hold your nose and use the wooden shack. But let's just say at night, when the path towards the outhouses looks extremely dark, the forest makes enough noise to send you back to bed or make you squat somewhere near the cabin.

I think the most amazing part about all of this was the beauty of the nature and the peace found here, especially when the truth of the history of this area comes to the surface. Just across the river next to our camp, on the opposite shore, you find stone markers showing the border between Austria and the Czech Republic. While we were canoing on Saturday, we got out to take a look. The forest floor was as beautiful as ever, with interesting plants and happy insects. You take a look around and feel the peace and calm in the air. However, just over twenty years ago, had you been standing on this border or swam across to this same shore, you would have been shot dead by the Russian soldiers guarding the border. I expected there to be this eerie feeling on the border, in a forest where so many had died, and yet, all I felt was joy and peace, incredible peace. This country has experienced so much pain and oppression, however, the stubborn Czechs have survived and continue to push through.

This week I wanted to just mention a few things to you. This Wednesday we have our second Pokec with one of the teachers from our grammar school as the guest. Please pray for us this week, that the kids have the courage to invite their friends and feel good about the whole evening.

I also wanted to take a chance to direct you to our link to the blog of Jeremy and Jamie, our new teachers for the fall. In their posts you can follow along with their preparations, as they prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually for the road ahead.
Click here to read a great new post by Jeremy
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