365 Czech Republic

The November Envelope and All Souls’ Day

Sundays are not easy. At first they were really fun and the experience was so new and exciting, but I feel honestly that today was harder. Nothing big happened and we didn’t have any issues, but as we were making the short drive to church I realized I wasn’t excited about going. Please, don’t misunderstand me. I love the local church. But sitting through a 90+ minute service in another language week in and week out is getting tough. Always feeling like you’re behind and not knowing what’s going on is just simply hard, and it’s not just me. Bethany struggles too, and so do our kids. Today I stayed with Titus again in his Sunday school class (photo below) and I wasn’t encouraged. He’s struggling with paying attention and he’s almost aloof because I think the language barrier keeps him from focusing on what the class is doing. Again, it’s just hard. Every week we are encouraged by our Czech brothers and sisters, but we just wish we could do a little encouraging of our own. Pray for us and for our kids if you think about it.

Church (11/2/14)

After church this morning we made another trip out to IKEA for a few organizational things. We’re continuing to try to improve where we store things and get our kids stuff more organized. We bought a few shelves and some plastic bins that I think will help a ton. We spent most of the afternoon/evening cleaning up and organizing the kids room. It needs more time but we’re excited about the progress we made today.

Tonight we opened our November envelope from our Bible study at our home church in the States. Each month for our first year here they have blessed us with these large envelopes that we get to open with fun presents inside. Pack inside we found coloring books, birthday cards, customizable gift tags, make-your-own card supplies, and taco seasoning! Here’s a few photos of the kids diving in. Thank you, friends, for blessing us each and every month!

Opening November (11/2/14)

Opening November (11/2/14)

Check out this taco seasoning! They got us two pouches and we are STOKED!

Opening November (11/2/14)

Avery’s birthday is at the end of the month, but we let her open this little birthday card that was included in this month’s envelope. This was her reaction.

Opening November (11/2/14)

Opening November (11/2/14)

Tonight I took a quick trip to a local cemetery around 9pm. I’m not usually one for visiting graveyards at night, but today is kind of a special day in Czech. They call it “All Souls’ Day” and even though it’s close to Halloween, it’s not really the same. From what I’ve read, it’s a time where people visit the grave sites of their loved ones and place flowers and candles on the graves. For the past few weeks we have been seeing a ton of candles at the stores and people have been buying them up. Out of curiosity I went out to a cemetery tonight and got a few photos. It was actually quite beautiful to see, even though it’s also pretty odd considering how nonreligious Czech is. There might be more meaning to it, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. I only spent a few minutes with my camera in hand and below are two photos I got. If you’re curious about All Soul’s Day, I found this article to be really helpful.

All Souls' Day (11/2/14)

As the Czechs remember their dead family and friends today, I’m reminded of how many of those same people are spiritually dead. They are the walking dead. This is exactly what Paul says in Ephesians 2:1-2 when he writes,
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…” He’s talking about the spiritual walking dead. That was me before Christ saved me and that is the state of everyone before Christ, the light of thew world, opens their hearts to the gospel. While the graves tonight flicker with candle light, my prayer is that the True Light, Jesus Christ, would shine bright in this dark place. When His light shines it’s so much more than a flicker and it doesn’t represent death, but life!

All Souls' Day (11/2/14)

John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

3 replies on “The November Envelope and All Souls’ Day”

my dearest friends …do not loose hope of things getting better bc they will!!!! I cant tell you enough how much I can relate to what you are going thru but if i could share with you…your lil kids do not think the same way you do so do not feel bad for them. they do not know and understand as much as you old folks. just give them a lil more time and you will see different. the best is to leave them in school and stop watching how they are doing. they are in save place and that is all it matters. they will speak czech sooner then you think 🙂 and you will save yourself a few heart breaks!!

time, time time is the key to everything and one day at the time. one year from now you will not be saying the same!!! the less you speak english the better 😉 church will eventually be interesting… other then that it is still a huge doze of czech 101 with lots of Bible vocabulary 🙂 thats actually awesome! when i became christian i felt like once again i was learning english. the vocabulary was once again different. learning the vocabulary is the best, grammar will come eventualy. hope you know more and more czech speaking peeps… when i first came to america, i was told to get an english speaking boyfriend to learn english but since the case is slightly different with you guys, i suggest just stick together and find lovely czech speaking christian families 🙂 have fun. lots of smiles helps 🙂

by the way, in Poland we celebrate nov1st as a memorial day, really. just remembering and celebrating those close to us/ soldiers and visiting the grave yards its a part of the holiday. you get to see family members you do not get to see other wise. i know wired but i actually loved going to the cemetery especially at night 🙂 spooky! its fun when you are teenager!! in catholic church this is of a great significance since its believed to pray for dead people. its funny to think you havent heard of this holiday when i have never known about halloween till i came to america 🙂 as a matter of fact i came on Oct 30th and was shocked walking in my new american neighborhood seeing kids dressed up for no particular reason, so i thought.. till i saw a grown up dress up as a bride??? i knew that was very different and strange. later that evening my dad told us what halloween was… nice 🙂 so, all that to say… it takes a time to get used to a new place, a new country and their customs.. it actually could be fun and is very interesting as you mention it.

….a year from now not as much is going to be as difficult, different and perhaps starnge but lots is going to be better!!!

wish you and your lovely family all the best. lots of interesting adventures and lots and lots of successes. the best opportunity for making successes is happening right now 🙂 so take advantage of it all!!!

blessings, Jolanta

Jolanta! You’re the best. I am going to email you all my thoughts but this was such an encouragement. – Shay

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