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
Address for your bookmark:

No comments: