Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Back to School
Monday was the first day of school here. That's right, while America was enjoying its last day off with barbeques and other fun with get-togethers with friends, at the very least, a three-day weekend, we here in the Czech Republic were putting our noses to the grindstone. Okay, that is not be an accurate characterization of the first day of school here. We started our first day at 8:00 with an assembly in the school gym. All the students and some of the parents gathered to be welcomed, first by the president of the school, Bishop Piȩtak (the Bishop of the Silesian Church) and then by the director of the school, Mrs. Guňková. She also introduced all the teachers at the school. Then there was a very adorable little ceremony where all the new first graders were brought to the front and the ninth graders gave each of them a stuffed animal as a gift to welcome them to the school. The transfer students were also brought to the front, introduced, and welcomed. We had a few prayers, a few songs, and by 8:45 or 9:00 the assembly was dismissed, and the students all went to their classrooms. There they were notified of some of the rules and whatnot. The school was then pretty much empty of students by 9:30 as the tasks for the school day were over.
We had a teachers meeting at 10:00 and I finally learned some of the things that I will need to know about my responsibilities for this school year. I still don't feel like I know a lot, and I still don't know my schedule for the year, but I at least feel reassured. I didn't have to go to school on Tuesday or today, and probably not tomorrow either, as the schedule is still pretty fluid right now and things are just getting settled. By about next week, things for my schedule should be pretty settled. In addition to teaching 7-9th grade conversation, the teachers want me to teach them one day a week after school. They made noise that they would like it to be an English Bible Study. That's pretty sweet. At the preschool, one of the teachers would like me to come to her class for an hour one day a week. Another option for teaching, or more likely leading an after school English club, is open to me at a public school in Navsi, a neighboring town. In addition to all of that, I am still teaching my three evening classes here in Hutník (the name of the parish hall). I am looking forward to having a lot to do, so that I must use my time wisely for a change!
Last week, the final week of the summer, was our youth group retreat, with members of our youth group and some of their school friends. It was a wonderful week, and probably one of my favorite camps of the summer. Our discussion theme for the week was Love, Dating, and Marriage. This, I believe, was a wonderful topic to be discussing with the youth, and being a group leader, I was given an opportunity to speak from my own experiences, the good and the bad, in this area. Since we spent so much time talking about what real love was, we of course talked about the love of Christ and how all true love emulates Christ's love (for more information, see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). This was a great opportunity to share the Gospel, showing exactly what the extent of God's love looks like.
We didn't spend all of our time discussing love, however. We did a lot of playing. Some of the boys brought unicycles, and so many people learned to ride during the week. We tried to learn to play baseball and American football-- to almost no avail. That was actually one of my favorite parts of the week: watching kids who grew up without baseball trying to wrap their minds around the rules. I laughed a lot. We played capture the flag in the pitch dark forest one night, went on an early morning hike to watch the sun rise, spent all of one day at a swimming pool, had a massive scavenger hunt and a huge, impromptu water fight. It was wonderful. I learned to solve a Rubik's cube during the week as well (Look out world!).
God has been amazing me a lot lately. This morning I read Psalm 97 and was put in awe of what a glorious God we have.
The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
The rest of this psalm is great too, but I thought that this first half was particularly wonderful. I love how God reveals Himself here, and throughout the rest of His Holy Word. The way God describes Himself puts me in so much awe; the thought of how much more awe we will experience when we see Him as He is, face to face, in heaven is too much for me to fathom. Wow. Alleluia.
Please pray that:
-the needs, such as visas and support, of the other new LCMS missionaries would be filled soon so they may get to God's work in their respective fields. Pray particularly for the missionaries heading to Panama & Japan (support) and Hungary & the Czech Republic (visas).
-the Christian students throughout this area and I would be salt and light in our schools, bearing witness to the Gospel and making new disciples of Christ.
-the Gospel would spread throughout the Czech Republic. There is SUCH need here for people to know God and to be saved!