Saturday, October 23, 2010
One year! The colors and harvest are telling indicators that we've been here an entire year--seems like MAYBE a month!
And once more, friends (sometimes new, sometimes not so new) and precious family have filled our lives with wonderful memories (likewise sometimes new, sometimes not so new (:o)
Chris and Marie Schnabel (friends von Deutschland whom we've known for many years) visited us for 10 glorious days in August. Together we visited the Slovakia Larry and I have come to know, and together we discovered unfamiliar Slovakia treasures, like the tiny village of Vlniec. This village's populace has dwindled to fewer than 300 people, in part because its people have a preference for the "Old" Slovakia way of community and living.
So one walked along its rutted street or two trying not to intrude into the quaint way of living. OK--I confess: we took a few photos, as inconspicuously as possible . . .
. . .then had a mouthwatering picnic in the nearby meadow,
where we were rewarded with this spectacular view of sheep and their shepherd wandering and dozing on the nearby mountainside, while sheep bells of every pitch gave us a lovely, distant concert that not even the best Dolby system could offer! (You may need binoculars to see the sheep!)
Early September found us on our way with our local church choir to Gotha, Germany, where we had the privilege of singing for a regional Lutheran Church gathering. (I wish you could hear this choir--they're quite good!!!!!) We gave an outside concert in the town center, THEN we sang several numbers in an ancient church with ceilings that bumped the sky and acoustics that echoed heavenly renditions to all participants. Never in my lifetime would I have expected the joy of singing in the ancient halls of Europe. An extra bonus of this trip was expanding our circle of friends among the choir members--we did the entire 22-hour trip (11-hours one-way) plus concerts in under 48 hours!!!
September 21 brought us our daughter and her husband (Tamarah and Eric) for a fantastic visit that was indeed a thrill. They are the first family we've seen for almost a year (except for Skyping, of course, which is wonderful, but not like the real thing!). They were celebrating their 15th anniversary (which was in March); this was their first trip to Europe, so Slovakia was their introduction to this continent.
After 5 days here, we all traveled by train to Prague, CZ, where Ta and Eric discovered this incredibly beautiful city, heard an organ concert in another of those ancient cathedrals, enjoyed Czech cuisine and history, and strolled along the Moldau River, the inspiration for Smetna's "Dance of the Moldau"--which was the musical selection Tamarah had used for her Bride's processional for their wedding! I'm not sure their feet touched the ground their entire stay in Prague!
You might wonder at all this free time for travel. Well, the Bible School did not resume classes until Sept. 22. The elementary school (whose teachers are my students--more and more they are having to use English with their students) resumed work the first week in September, but their first few weeks were understandably chaotic, so I did not resume my tutoring sessions until Oct. 4. This allowed us some much needed R&R and, as you can see, we made the most of it!
Now we are back in full swing here. Larry is teaching two 2-hour college-level English courses in nearby Zilina University--a very demanding job, especially for a volunteer English teacher who really had not expected to teach English here at all!!!!! He also teaches two 2-hour English classes here at the Bible School. AND he's doing a fantastic job--I'm soooo proud of him!
I have a full plate with 21 teachers to tutor each week plus 3 outside private tutoring sessions a week. I'm busy but thoroughly enjoying every minute! Several opportunities for conversations of significance have come about in these first weeks of school. What a joy!
Yesterday I went with several of the young Bible school staff wives to the local hospital to visit Janka, the Bible School's secretary on maternity leave since she gave birth to twins this week! As you can see, there were 9 bodies of all ages in this room--actually there were 11, but one was the young mom taking the photo, plus Janka's roommate (who gave birth to twins this week, also!!!). I love the feeling of "family" this community embraces. Wow! Just look at all those "grandbabies" I can love up on in the coming months!
Living in a new culture for an extended amount of time is stretching, sometimes befuddling, but always enlightening. We've no idea where all this will ultimately will lead. But we thank you for your interest, support, and prayers as we simply experience "Being" here. "When He says 'Go', we will go."
Emmanuel--Brenda and Larry
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
As you can see, our summer has been full of people--people of all ages, backgrounds, needs. Some entered our lives for the first time only this summer, while others have found us each summer we've returned. Being a part of their life experiences is an honor and delight almost too rich for words,