Leah Cox's blog of youth ministry in the Czech Republic with Josiah Venture (plus stuff)

Friday, February 04, 2005

post-holiday, pre-spring, mid-winter...

Yesterday I bought sun block. I was standing in line in the grocery store, it was right by the counter, 50% off…yeah, I know it’s winter. It’s snowing like crazy this whole week…. I keep looking at photos of our beautiful holiday in Croatia…I think I remember what the sun looked like, gently reflecting off the water….

Life is at a lull right now. Tons of things are happening, but it’s all in the planning stage. Planning for summer English camps, teams, training. Planning for the spring girls’ conference. Planning for outreach English lessons in February…oh, wait, that’s actually next week!

Yesterday I and two girls (Ika and Bea) and one guy (Honza) from our youth group met and prayed for the English course that I’ll be teaching and they’ll be attending in a neighboring city called Karvina. Our church* is trying to plant a church in this city of 50,000, and as part of that effort the 4 of us are involved in these English lessons. As we prayed for the high school students who will come, God gave me this sense of anticipation…that this class won’t just be about grammar, but about the love and truth of Jesus made manifest among us…about these 3 kids getting a bigger heart for their peers…yeahhhh!!! That's way more exciting than even a holiday at the beach.

*My church now is the Cirkev Bratrska in Cesky Tesin…for information on the Czech denomination Cirkev Bratrska, you can go to http://www.cb.cz/ and click on the little British flag for the text in English.

memories of Croatia...the all*girl vacation last August: Romana, Petra, me, Katka, Luc. Posted by Hello

February 2nd.

When I look out the window, it’s whiiiiiite white white. The thick snow covers all: dirt, sound, familiarity. We trudge along slow roads and what were once sidewalks. Faces and voices are muffled behind hoods and scarves…we’re just pink cheeks and blinking snow out of our eyes. “Somehow,” I muse, “there’s an analogy in this. Somehow this has meaning.” Maybe I’m too affected by environment, but I feel the winter seeping into me…the slowness (struggle?) the whiteness (purity?) the muted-ness (rest?). So I ask God for wisdom. And I read & pray & wait. And He’s using this season to gently put His finger on areas of my character that need His Spirit.

It’s not comfortable…it’s like that sensation you get when you’re brushing your teeth and you hit a sensitive spot on your gums. I want to avoid brushing there, but I have to brush there more so it’ll feel better later. I would rather avoid what He’s telling me about my speech (sarcasm, certain types of humor/hyperbole, even my favorite not-really-swear words). And my passive aggressive tendencies with conflict management (uuuugggghhhh). But I have to face these things head on instead of avoiding them.

My little season of inner struggle for purity is found in rest, oddly enough. Resting in grace. Disciplined behavior modification just doesn’t work…the answer is I can’t do it; I need the Lord to change me. The answer is I’m not going to get all mad at myself for failing; I turn to Him and keep going. The answer is that because of Jesus, I am so forgiven, so clean, so bright white….

The snow is still falling.

snow on svibice (our apartment complex in Cesky Tesin). Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Foxes in Czech

Jo and Estelle came to visit the 3rd week in January and it was fuuuun fun fun. Highlights: lotsa cafe latte, the hobbit hole tea room, "Yes, of course I speak English--but only a little," getting lost in Ostrava, Polish pants that fit, being ripped off by that beautiful taxi guy, Jo's handy Czech phrases, Estelle passing around pictures of her kids to the English classes, Mel choking at my birthday party, the tram, the train, the metro, the super long stairs at the castle, the stamp collector on the train, imported soy milk, a fat curling iron on sale, customer service issues, K-Pax and passing the village H. S. on the train. Thank you for visiting me girls!!!

estelle and jo visiting in czech. Posted by Hello

Cesky Tesin Purity Weekend Jan 7-8 2005

That first night, as we settled down with tea by candlelight, the older women of our church shared their testimonies of purity with the youth group girls. It was probably the first time that some of these women shared their stories. January 7th-8th our youth group girls had a purity retreat called "Pure Freedom" ("Cista Svoboda" in Czech; based on the book And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh). It was a sweet time. Czech culture is pretty reserved, but the church here is really starting to address the subject of sexual purity. The weekend was important for building bridges between the older and younger females in our church, too. But even though good conversations were started, there's still further to go. One of the girls said she feels like the older women are "hidden treasures," and that she wishes they would open up even more to them, take initiative with them, speak into their lives. But relationships were begun, decisions for purity were made and kept so far...thank you Lord!

Most of the women and girls at the Pure Freedom (Cista Svoboda) Weekend. Posted by Hello

Agnes (far right) watches our presentations. Posted by Hello