HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! We had the joy of celebrating Easter with our church family and some close friends this past weekend. It was a packed weekend, starting with 'Zeleny Ctvrtek' or Green Thursday — when Czechs enjoy a good dose of spinach.
Fittingly, we visited the nursery to stock up on some plants now that Spring has started to show signs of life. On Good Friday - Velky Patek - we joined our church family for a reflective morning service that was both somber and thoughtful. In the evening we hosted one of our member care team - we feel blessed that we have such people at Pioneers who are available to take care of us on the field. Saturday - White Saturday here (Bila Sobota - perhaps for the strips of cloth that wrapped Jesus), we spent in the garden with my Czech teachers' family who so graciously gave up half their Saturday to help us tidy up our back yard. We learned a lot about Czech flora and Anika had a ball, she just loves being in the garden! Easter Sunday was beautiful. Our Easter service included baby dedications, some unique music and communion.
In the afternoon we hosted a garden party and introduced our Czech friends to the American/Aussie tradition of an easter egg hunt. Adam grilled Czech sausages and we had plenty of sides made by many friends. We also had some beautiful desserts, including a 'Beranek', a traditional Czech Easter dessert that is a cake in the form of a lamb, to represent Jesus' sacrifice. The weather was beautiful so most of our friends hung out in our newly tidied up zahrada (garden), where we also introduced them to the American backyard game of 'cornhole'. I think they really liked it! Easter Monday (Velikonoce Pondeli) was marked by our church with a long hike and a gathering where we ate gulaš and more Czech desserts.
Traditionally women get whipped with willow tree branches to symbolise fertility on Easter Monday. But since we live in the city, I think the tradition has died down. Friends of ours who were in a neighbouring village got to see the extent of Czech traditions at Easter! You can read more about it here. All in all, as we sit here and reflect on the past few days (keeping in mind that this week will mark 6 months in the country!), we cannot deny how much the Lord has gone before us, made divine appointments and blessed us in both small and big ways that are specific to our needs. We are constantly reminded to keep a long view of our time here so we hope that this Easter marks the first of many where we get to share the good news of a risen Saviour with our friends, and bless our church family with a celebration. Thank you for your prayers and support.