czech republic missionaries

Czech Diary, May 2005

The lowdown on mission life in the Czech Republic
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May Summary

there's another baby Brandon in there!

Apologies to everyone who has been checking the site regularly. You will have probably guessed that there’s been a lot going on and we’ve been quite stressed. So for this month we’ll just give a general summary...

BIG news! Varya is expecting a baby in January! Some of you will know how much of a miracle Benjamin was... another miracle is underway! Our first reaction was complete shock, but now that we’ve got over that we’re so excited about it! Benjamin, in particular, is fascinated by everything, and can’t wait to meet his new brother or sister. “I would really like to have a wee sister... or a wee brother”.

We have already had wonderful examples of the Lord looking after us: eg to get an initial scan we had to find a suitable doctor, and that’s no mean feat in a foreign country where the language is still difficult. One of Varya’s friends had a friend who recommended a good one, so we made an appointment to see him. Well, it turns out that not only is he friendly and pleasant, but he speaks great English, gave us a discount, and his surgery is just 5 minutes “waddle” from our front door! Praise the Lord!

Varya is due in January, so we’re looking forward to our late Christmas present! As of late June, Varya is still suffering quite badly with morning sickness, so your prayers will be much appreciated.

(Varya) We are SOOOOO grateful to God for the miracle of another wee baby — it is so much more than we thought possible :0) I’m still having a lot of nausea and sickness, and feel like I’m completely obsessed with food (ie. what I’ll be able to eat and actually keep down... !!), but despite all of the discomfort, I’m SOOO happy about my "condition"! It’s especially wonderful to think that Benjamin will have a sibling to have shared times and fun with, in his life. Steve and I have so many good memories of our childhoods, and especially in relation to our siblings. They continue to be a blessing and encouragement to us, and we really hope that Benji will be able to experience this too...

The other major thing: we’ve got money hassles :-(   We want to share this with you all because we need much prayer about how to proceed. The tax and employment laws in the Czech Republic are not all fleshed out properly, and the fact that we’re supposedly workers sent out by an employer in another country (OM UK), which is also a non-profit organisation, and the money we receive is actually cash gifts from individuals, which presumably is already taxed... perhaps it’s no wonder that the people in the tax offices here in Ceske Budejovice have shaken their heads and said “we don’t know what to do in your situation”. So.

The long and the short of it is that:

  1. Because we have not been formally employed in the Czech Republic nor in the UK for the last 16 months, all the money that we have received in cash from our supporters during that time is going to be back-taxed. Luckily we think that we can have it taxed as “Monetary Gifts” (only 7%), but even still that comes in at close to £500.
  2. We are going to have to become formally employed by OM Czech Republic. This means not only paying Czech income tax (on the money coming through to us from our sponsors...), but also paying for Czech Social and Health Insurance. It’s a complex equation, but because of the complexities of our situation those taxes come to over 62% of our notional gross salary! I even made a Czech tax calculator to help calculate everything...

Needless to say, we are seeking professional tax advice about this. There seem to be some possibilities of reducing the taxes and insurances by various means, but we really need good advice. Please pray.

Maria and Natan

Other highlights of the month:

  • having my sister and brother-in-law to stay with us for a few weeks. We tend to have a lot more contact with Varya’s relatives, since the UK is closer than New Zealand, so to have my sister here was FANTASTIC. And they were here for both my and Benji’s birthdays so that was great too.
  • the Ceske Budejovice air show was awesome. Thousands crowded the air-field (where I believe the Czech air force trained Israeli pilots after WW2), and it was amazing to see the range of aircraft from MIG21s (Czech Air Force) to tiny helicopters, model planes, gliders, parachutists, and everything in between. Particularly memorable was a WWI battle re-enactment, complete with biplanes dogfighting. For more info on the fascinating Israeli connection, see here.


biplane at Ceske Budejovice air show

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