So, you may be wondering about exactly where I'm going for my service. I know I was pretty curious about this place. One day after I first learned where I was going to be serving, I was enjoying a raspberry frappuccino and the pages of Walden in a Barnes & Noble. While I was reading, my mind began to wander, and I started thinking that it might be a good idea to figure out a little bit about the place where I was going to live for at least 6 months. So I finished the frap and put my book away, and meandered to the Travel section. There I picked up the Lonely Planet book for the Czech Republic, and it really didn't have much good to say about Cesky Tesin. Basically the gist of the entry was that the only reason to be in this town was because one had just arrived from Cieszyn, Poland, or was on one's way there. Hmm.
I didn't see that as a problem, since I've lived in the middle of the United States my whole life, in a state that many see as just a boring, flat piece of land to get through on the way to Colorado. So I actually figured that in that regard, I would feel quite at home in Cesky Tesin. I also learned that Cesky Tesin and Cieszyn were, up until about 1920 and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the same city, with a river running through it. When the empire broke up at the end of WWI and boundary lines were drawn for the new nations, that river was used as the boundary for Poland and, at the time, Czechoslovakia, and so the city was divided in half. Pretty interesting, I thought. This can be seen in the following map. These "twin cities" are located on the far right-hand margin of the map. I know it's not an excellent graphic, but I did what I could. For perspective, the upper right corner of the map is Poland and the lower right corner is Slovakia.
For more information about the Czech Republic (since I've provided SUCH a wealth of knowledge here...), the official website for the nation, www.czech.cz, seems like a pretty helpful and well-informed source :P Another website that I've stumbled upon that I anticipate using extensively is http://www.locallingo.com/index.html It's a pretty good website with all kinds of audio files (RealAudio) that have a native speaker pronouncing all kinds of words and the alphabet and various different pronunciations for the vowels. In short, I'm excited about that, too. And what a blessing that I will be leaving at the end of January instead of at the beginning, so maybe I'll get a chance to teach myself some of the language before I go!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
There. My first blog page, my first blog entry... I'm traveling through uncharted territory here. Today was my last day of my last fall break as a University student. I spent most of the day asleep (yay!) and working on paperwork that I received yesterday at LCMS World Mission HQ in St. Louis. My dad and I traveled there so I could have my training/information day on Monday. I learned a lot of things about the logisitics of coping with life in a foreign country, about communicating with my supporters (all of you who get to read this brilliant blog), about finances, travel insurance and my visa.
The next thing on my list to do is send in all of the paperwork for my visa. The visa preparation process takes an estimated 90 days at the Czech consulate, so I will be leaving for the Czech Republic around the end of January. This is good, because it allows me even more time for the second thing on my list: support raising. I still don't know what my percent raised/pledged is because the lady in charge of keeping those records, Debbie Feenstra, has been on vacation in Asia since the beginning of October. She will be getting back to St. Louis soon and will be processing all of that information for me. I can't wait to find out where I stand.
The whole support-raising thing is a kind of daunting task, and about 2 weeks ago, I had a pretty serious freak-out session thinking about it. But God is good, and He led me to His word by placing the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 as a cadence in my head: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." It was so good to be reminded that if God is going to send me to the Czech Republic to work for Him, He is going to make it happen. I have no need to be anxious about this.
If you have any stories of how God has led you to trust in Him in a specific way recently, do tell. Also, please send along your prayer requests. As much as you are supporting me with your prayers and your donations, I want to support you by lifting you up in prayer to our heavenly Father, "who is able to do immeasureably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20).
-Health: I have had a low level of sickness for several weeks, and I'm planning on going to the doctor tomorrow, but you know what they say: a treated cold lasts a week, a treated cold lasts seven days.
-Safe Travel: This weekend I'm traveling to Austin for the Texas game with the marching band.
-Motivation: I have set myself a goal of sending my visa paperwork back to St. Louis and of making a number of more support calls before the end of the week.