Christmas is over. The wonderful days spent with families not my own, enjoying their company, playing with the kids, talking to the adults and being loved beyond what I could imagine, given that I was away from home, are over. My week in England is over. The Christmas tree is down, the floor vacuumed, the armchair is back in place and the gifts are all put away. Classes have started again. And now it's time to get back into the daily cycle of waking up tired, teaching, planning, and staying up too late.
I've been semi-coerced by one of the men in the brass band at the church into being the new director, because our current director-- after years of threatening to retire-- is finally retiring. I've told him that I can't do it because I don't really speak Czech and none of the men in the band really speak English. He insisted that I could just say when things sound bad (which is most of the time :s) and when we need to try again. I don't want to be the director of the band. I'm not even qualified for that. I just want a chance to play my trumpet occasionally.
Every month when I go to send my newsletters to my supporters, something goes wrong or weird, and December was no exception. In fact, it was the worst. Usually I just forget to attach the document before sending, but this month I actually attached someone else's newsletter. And I received all kinds of email from friends and family wondering if I'd changed my name or if I'd eloped and who this "Daniel" fellow is. Oh my. No, I didn't change my name, I haven't eloped (or met anyone worth eloping with, for that matter-- I'll let you know if I do :D), and Daniel is the other person's supervisor.
The Best of the Break
Worship Service: Christmas Eve, 9 PM. It was so beautiful, and I cried a little. One of my friends, an incredible musician, had organ duty and it was incredible. Also, I was asked to share with the congregation about God's goodness in my life. I made a point of not talking about life's circumstances, but about the only way we can really know that God is good: He sent His Son to take the punishment for our sins and reconcile us to the Father.
Meal: This is a tough call. It was either the carp on Christmas Eve (delicious, though bony, fish), or the duck on the 26th. Wow. Duck is good.
New Christmas Hymn: A Polish one whose title is roughly translated "Let's all go to the stable" Very fun tune. There's a Czech one that I really liked that is about the presentation of Jesus at the temple (it talks about Simeon and Anna), but unfortunately I can't remember the title.
Snowball Fight: Another toss up. It would be either the one I had on Advent 4 after church or the one I had in the mountains on the 26th. The Advent 4 snowball fight started between me and three little brothers (a set of 6 year old twins and their 8 year old brother). While those three were ganging up on me, three of my grown-up guy friends (in their 20s) snuck up on me and started throwing snow at me too (NOT a fair fight, but very fun, and I definitely held my own). The one on St. Stephen's was between me and another 6 year old. His family and I were sledding at his grandparent's house (on the side of a mountain. Gorgeous), and of course it all broke down into throwing snow. It was great because he would throw snow at me, and then I would chase him and tackle him and scoop snow onto him. Great fun.
Place Visited in England: The B&B where we stayed in Stratford-upon-Avon was wonderful. The proprietors were a couple of... crazies. They were very warm and welcoming and funny. But also out of their gourds. We were sad to only stay with them for 2 nights. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament were the best thing to photograph in England, I would say. Bath was my favorite city of the trip: beautiful architecture and interesting history.
-Peace! Pray that the current war in Palestine will come to an end.
-all the missionaries who are heading back to their posts after visiting home for Christmas, for safe travel, for encouragement and motivation in fulfilling their tasks and in speaking to people about Jesus. Also that they would be fed with the Word of the Lord and renewed in their faith.
-new missionary Terri who will be coming to Poland in about a week to start teaching English, and possibly Spanish, at a small Bible school, for courage, patience, and calm as she comes to a new place knowing so little about what her role will be.
-strength and patience for all of us teaching, that we will faithfully and joyfully, with love and determination, carry out our responsibilities as teachers
-the spread of the Gospel to all the ends of the earth, to every tribe, and nation, and language