Friday, January 25, 2008

Still Waiting; Happy Birthday

Alright, it's been almost a month and a half since my last blog post. I'm going to have to get better about posting or no one will ever read this. Forty-five days ago I was bemoaning the fact that I was going to have to enter a holding pattern on my mission plans. That still hasn't changed: I am still in a holding pattern, but I'm doing more than waiting.

For a while after graduation and my brother's wedding, and all of the insanity that was the month of December, I simply sat around the house: reading, sleeping, and practicing the piano. I made the occasional trip to Lincoln to visit some friends. Now, however, I've started to "hustle while I wait." This means that I've begun to try to use my time efficiently and effectively. I want to use this "free time" to equip myself to be a better servant of the Lord, a better steward of what He's given me to do in the Czech Republic. So I've begun to spend my afternoons at Friend High School, sitting in on the 8th, 9th, and 10th grade English classrooms to accomplish several things: to brush up on my grammar skills, to rediscover what middle-schoolers are like (they are NOTHING like the college students around whom I've spend the last four and a half years of my life), and to pick up some handy teaching techniques from Friend's two very experienced English teachers.

Another way in which I'm attempting to make the most of my waiting time is to try to teach myself at least a little Czech. I've only been working on this earnestly for about 3 days. For that reason, I have no idea what kind of progress I'm making. I'm hopeful that I will at least have a working vocabulary by the time I leave. I need to make sure I know how to say: I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm sick, Where's the bathroom, How are you?, What's your name?, Nice to meet you, etc. That is the bare minimum of what I'd like to be able to communicate.

The third and final way that I consider important to my preparation for being a missionary in the Czech Republic is in brushing up on my Jesus Skills. This means working to be able to communicate the Truth of the Gospel as simply as possible. It also means brushing up on my theology and trying to examine my life as honestly as possible to see any areas where I am living contrary to the Word of God and surrendering control of those areas to Him (note: if any of you has any suggestions for me in this area, please do not hesitate to share them with me and it would help me immensely to know what I cannot see about myself).

And so I wait. I don't know how much longer I'm going to wait, I will just have to see. So many people in the community, the school, and at my church have been asking me all kinds of questions about when I will leave and what I will be doing and what things will be like for me while I'm there. I still don't really know any of that, so I wait. The Lord's got it planned and figured out, and it is apparent to me that this time of relaxation and preparation is also part of His plan. Sweet. When my visa is completed and arrives, then I will be able to make the next step of planning my travel and packing. Until then, I'll learn about grammar, about how to handle 14 year-olds, and about how to wait on the Lord for His timing.


The second part of this post's title says "Happy Birthday." That's because MY birthday is on Sunday, in two days. Twenty-three. It sounds so old, but then it's taken my whole life to get to be this age, so I guess it's not strange that I feel like 23 is old. I'm older than I've ever been. This is all neither here nor there, just the sort of musing that I have done since I turned 20.

Till next time:
Blessings in Christ

1 comment:

Mark Jensen said...

Ashley - My name is Mark, and I am currently staying in Cesky Tesin, CZ. I got to your site through Google, and thought I'd click in. I see that you are prepping for a mission to Cesky. There are plenty of fine missionaries here if you ever run into a bind, need a ride or want to speak English for a while. I am giving the link to my very good friends who have lived here for 10 years.
The work with a Youth based mission called Josiah Venture

May the Lord be with you on your travels.

To see who / where I am today, click on our blog
My friend and I are traveling around Central Europe encouraging missionaries, and looking for our next project.

In Him,
Mark Jensen