I'm still suffering the effects of jet-lag, I guess you could say. I have been here in Trinec for three nights and still have yet to sleep the whole night. That is my main qualm. Last night was the worst. I woke up at 2:00 and after three hours, I gave up on the idea of sleeping any more. I got up and checked my email. I picked up the mess in my room. I took a shower. Oh, the sun had started to come up at 4:45, and so around 7:00, clean and feeling remarkably rested for having only slept 2 hours, I walked around my building and a little bit of my neighborhood to take some pictures with the fun light angle of the sun at that time of day. Because it was so nice out, I decided that I would have my breakfast and do my morning devotions in the park that is right next to the church and the parsonage where I live. That was just wonderful.
Today I met my volunteer coordinator, David Fiala, for the first time. He and I went on a walk around town so that he could be sure that I knew where everything was and that I wouldn't be too shy to venture out on my own. He recommended a good restaurant to get a coffee and said that I should do my shopping in the little stores where I have to ask the owner to get things for me so that I force myself to learn the words for things. I agreed that it was a good idea. We went to Poland to meet Stephanie Rosburg, another LCMS Long-term missionary volunteer who has been in Cieszyn, Poland for nine months now. I have been looking forward to meeting her for quite some time. She, David, and I went to lunch together at this wonderful Italian restaurant in Cesky Tesin (in Czech Republic) and had a lot of laughs and shared a lot of fun stories. Then we brought Stephanie to Trinec to see my apartment. Once that was over, David decided to go back to Poland by a way he had never taken before in order to know if this idea he had was a shortcut. It worked pretty well and we drove past some absolutely beautiful scenery.
Afterward, David brought me back to Trinec and we talked about ways that I can start preparing my English ministry for this fall. I am very excited about the opportunities that I, and another Ashley who is joining me in August, will have to spread the Gospel to these beautiful people!
Part of the reason that I am so tired also is the fun that I've been having. Friday I spent the afternoon with Pastor Klus' children and a friend of theirs. They taught me a lot of words for objects around the house (most of which I promptly forgot) and all of the colors. Then we went outside and rammed around the playground which is about a block from the parsonage where we live. After an hour at the park, I came back and rested for about 30 minutes, and then the youth group came. They meet every Friday at 4:30 in the fellowship hall downstairs in this parsonage. I was with them from 4:30 until 11:00 PM. We played a lot of games and had a devotion, ate supper together and generally had a great time. I can honestly say that I fell in love with each of them almost instantaneously. It was wonderful to meet all of these exhuberant, lively, wonderful, young teenagers. I think that it will be wonderful to continue to get to know them during the course of this year and to invest in friendships with them and to be able to pray for them and watch them progress in their processes of sanctification. Also, I made friends with some of the student leaders who are about my age and who speak wonderful English. I am really looking forward to making Kristina, Romana, and Lukas my dear friends. These are three very incredible young Christian adults, and I think that we can learn a lot from each other and encourage one another a lot in our shared faith in Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow: Confirmation. I met all of the confirmands yesterday and am so excited for them to affirm their educated faith before the congregation and to be able to rejoice with them in such a special day in their lives.
- Good sleep for me! I am SO tired, I don't know what I'll do if I can't sleep all night!
- Quick apprehension of Czech. I am learning so much already, please pray that I would increase in my progress so that I would be able to more readily converse with those who aren't as knowledgeable in English already.
- Strong faith in Christ for the youth of the congregation of SECAV Trinec (Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession- Trinec... they don't call themselves "Lutheran" here).
- Opportunities to share my faith and encourage the other believers around me, as well as opportunities to share my faith with nonbelievers.
- Please pray that God would mercifully pour out His Holy Spirit on those who do not yet have faith in His Son that they might have believe in Jesus and by believing in Him have life in His Name!
I pray God's blessings for all of you!