Right now we are enjoying a sweet visit from Debbie, Adam's mum. It is hard to believe that it was just a year ago we were living with her, preparing for another overseas move to start our lives in the Czech Republic! Anika has relished having Grandma here and it brings back a lot of memories of our time spent in Kentucky while we were still raising support.
Debbie was there when we miraculously found the house we now live in, she was there when we packed all our things in faith that we would receive our visas, and she was there when the post man delivered our visas the day the movers came! Debbie was there to talk us through and help us migrate our dog Toby to Europe (which was a lot more harrowing than we anticipated!), she was there when Anika turned three and she was there to see us off to the airport with happysad tears. It is timely that we get to celebrate our first year here with my mother-in-law.
As we sift through memories and reflect on God's goodness I am thankful that I need to pen this post. Sometimes, in the middle of language learning, tiredness, people in and out of our house and the mundane we forget the many times heaven poked through and God revealed himself to us yet again while we've been here. It has come in varied and unanticipated forms, but I would like to take this moment of reflection and share a few of these things with you. All of them have occurred around our kitchen table.
We have had the privilege and pleasure to host a small missional community at our house once a month. The idea of this meeting is to be able to provide a space for people for whom church is not so comfortable. They are people who are interested and earnest in wanting to seek God with others who want to journey alongside them, dialogue about real and hard things and link arms in understanding the gospel and it's effect. Last week I sat in on a discussion and learned of lady who made the decision to get baptized having journeyed thus far, as well as another guy who has traveled along this road before, then tested different eastern religions, but is feeling a tug on his heart toward Jesus again. So he is coming along to explore more, talk through things and be amongst a safe community to seek God. This is the greatest motivating factor right here to learn Czech! How we wish we could talk more about these things with people who are genuinely curious in their own language. I have to remind myself to have long view in these moments, yet also be humbled that for right now, all we can do is be hospitable and listen, listen, listen! But heaven peeks through right here as people gather, feast and work out their salvation with fear and trembling. "For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" ~ Philippians 2:13.
I acknowledge my bias as a parent, but our joy is Anika Rose and this year she has started to say grace at the table. For a while she would just recite what she had learned at preschool and then she moved on to reciting the Lord's Prayer for every meal, but recently she prays what's on her heart at that moment. Often it is simply expressing love for our little family but it is just so precious. "... Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them. For to such belongs the kingdom of heaven". ~ Matthew 19:14 Her prayers also remind us that our little family could not exist here without our relatives, our local church family, our wider support family and even wider still, each of our brother and sisters in Christ who have blessed us along the way. There is much to be thankful for as we sit down for a meal, and heaven pokes through as we think upon the great family of God we are blessed to be a part of.
Another moment has come as we have sat at our table to pray with a new friend. He is an artist, a musician and a man who is sensitive to the darkness and light around us. God has allowed us to be a part of his life by the simple act of inviting him to regularly pray in our home at our kitchen table with the bible often open to the Psalms. It seems a small and simple act - to sit and pray with another, but it has been a blessing to our heart, and a moment of heaven's clarity, when - after each time we've prayed together - he tells us of the difference it makes in his life.
Often these things really feel like nothing of our doing, but proof that God is moving as people in Brno, Czech Republic seek His face. It is just with much gladness and honour that we get to facilitate and witness His movement in this city.