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

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Czech Easter in the village

Romana and Michal, Mr. Zagora* and Nate watching our paper airplanes soar through the air. After our Easter meal of liver and turkey (it was really good!) we went out on Lucka's parents back deck and had an airplane contest. Also there were Greg, Brad, Lucka's two sisters, brother-in-law, mom Eva and 3 year old nephew Daniel.

*I don't know if you guys can tell from this picture, but Lucka's dad is totally the Czech/Polish version of Mark Cox. After our contest, Mr. Zagora was showing us some renovation they're doing on the second floor, and as we talked about drywall and insulation, I had to blink back some tears because it made me miss the American version of Mark Cox.

Why Europe Rocks: Reason #12

The Wide World of Sports

Luc and I were flipping through the chanels a few days ago when a familiar, yet out of place, scene popped up: BASKETBALL. But instead of it being, like the Illini vs the Hawks, it was Tel Aviv vs. Pireus (Greece). Everything seemed about the same, except for all the ads being in Hebrew...and the last names (like Solomon and Tzsakikii or something like that...but there was also a Lewis and a Green). And the cheerleaders wore cocktail dresses and danced to some discotheque music at halftime.

The Tel Aviv Maccabi won, 77-74.


Thursday English club

Katka, Radka, Linda and Sisi (missing: Evicka, Zuzka and Jarda)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Why Europe Rocks: Reason #11

Foreign Dis/Advantage

Being foreign is fun...95% of the time. The past few years, I started categorizing certain experiences under the labels of foreign advantage or foreign disadvantage. Often the difference between an aspect of foreignity (yeah, I know, not a word) being an advantage or not is all due to context...for example...

Advantage: Having a "cute" accent that melts the mean looks off of scary people (post office ladies, concierges, etc).
Disadvantage: Having a "confusing" accent that important people (waiters, hairstylists, kids) don't understand. "What? Mint tea? I asked for mineral water." (That actually happened twice, in two different cities).

Advantage: Being immediately interesting for people; open doors.
Disadvantage: Being immediately interesting for interesting people who want: money, stamps, foreign currency, to vent about Iraq/McDonald's, to kiss a foreigner, etc.

Advantage: Being considered an "expert" on the USA and being asked to speak in schools.
Disadvantage: Being considered an "expert" on the USA and totally not knowing what's cool anymore: "American slang? Uh...I think the kids these days say 'sweet'?"

Advantage: Being exempt from having to abide by some social rules due to ignorance: getting grace (I get a lot of grace here!!!)
Disadvantage: When people think I'm super rude because I didn't cover my mouth when I yawn, getting in trouble for holding groceries in my hands instead of using a cart, or not putting my silverware next to each other on the plate.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

spring cleaning

Cassie, me & Autumn at the JV femme conf in Croatia

It’s been a long dingy winter. Not dramatic, not difficult, just…blaaaah. My boots were starting to leak, my once white gloves were frayed and gray, like the slushy snow that’s hanging on to existence. I’m not sure if these surroundings matched my mood or affected my mood. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I seriously doubted whether spring would ever come…and not just warmer weather, but even as in a sense of hope and expectancy. It finally started to turn around last month at our JV women’s conference. Each afternoon we had a few hours to just be alone with the Lord. The first afternoon I tried to pray, but it was kinda blocked, and I ended up sleeping. The next day was better, but as I owned up to some garbage in my attitudes, I knew I needed something, something from the Lord to hold on to.

As part of the theme of the conference, each of us got a card or letter from our mothers. My mom had included a reference in hers: Proverbs 31:25-26. The Proverbs woman, clothed with strength and dignity, laughing at the days to come, speaking wisdom...as I read the verses, I felt defensive. “Okay, okay!—this is not me, this is the opposite of me! I’m weak, undignified, scared of the days to come and seriously feel like I have nothing to say of any value…so, sorry! I feel like I’ve tried to do everything I can to change but I can’t do it!” Then, somehow, God whispered to my soul: Leah, these verses are my promise for you.

It's surprising what encouragement does. If I was God, my word to myself would be "snap out of it, self pity girl!" But He's not like me (yayyyy) and His word of hope has been way more effective than any boot to the rear. With that promise of greater Christ likeness, with that personal something from the Lord, my attitudes have been changing. I'm changing. ... That was March, this is April. Now spring is really here, with all its teasing temperatures and rain and budding. And with all its hope of better days ahead, growth and change, real change…!