czech republic missionaries

Czech Diary, September 2004

The lowdown on mission life in the Czech Republic
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End of September 2004, České Budějovice (Stephen)

Highlights of the month:
  • having friends to stay from the UK. What a blessing. We could definitely do more of this!
  • seeing Benji relating so well to Sam. Seeing them together, though, makes us realise how different he is the rest of the time, and how much he needs to make friends and learn Czech.
  • Varya and I both getting into the English teaching, and really enjoying it! Though it’s only 1 night per week each, we put a lot into it, and it can be exhausting.
  • deciding to buy a car. Can’t wait. Could be an interesting experience though...
  • having ups and downs with our Czech lessons. We’re certainly continuing to get better at communicating, but it’s really hard to find the time to study now that we're doing much more ministry work.
  • Benji is now out of nappies at nights, with not too many “axe-kididents”.
  • Benji is doing pretty well at školka (kindergarten), and is not as upset as even some of the Czech kids are. It’s still a matter of concern and prayer for us though, as we’d love to see him really relate well to the other kids, and to speak more Czech. We suspect he's probably understanding quite a lot though.
  • hearing Benji’s English language development. He’s quite phenomenal.
Swiss Cafe
Café on Swiss Night

Monday 20th - Friday 24th September 2004, České Budějovice (Stephen)

This week we have hosted a group of Swiss young people at OM for a week’s mission. It has been great to have them helping out in the English classes, in the garden and grounds, doing a Swiss night, helping with devotions each morning, and just being enthusiastic!

It’s funny - they particularly liked my accent! Funny, because I’m clearly the only person in the whole place who doesn’t have an accent at all! It’s such an advantage for English teaching, to be accent-free as I am :-)

It’s great seeing the café being used to its full potential.


Monday 20th September 2004, České Budějovice (Stephen)

Working hard on a new web site for OM Czech Republic ( I have found a fantastic (free) open source content management system called Mambo which does everything we need, including easy administration of multi-language sites. It’s one of the most professional open source projects I have ever seen (and I’ve been involved in a number). Highly recommended. There are people selling products that barely do half what Mambo does, for tens of thousands of pounds.

One member of the team here is going off to the US in a few weeks to spread the word about OM Czech, and introduce a new programme of missions internships for Bible college/seminary students which we are developing. The new web site needs to be ready for then, and I’m also designing a brochure and resource CD-ROM for the trip. Hard work, but I love it!

Doreen at the chocolate
Chocolate game

Friday 17th September 2004, České Budějovice (Stephen)

Tonight was the first party we organised for the English students in the new term. Not knowing how many to expect out of the 70 students plus friends and family, I tentatively planned for 70 people to show up. We had had almost that number for the various theme nights we did earlier in the summer.

Alas, it was not to be. We only had about 20. Still, it meant that we didn’t have to split up into groups to do the games and activities, so in that respect it was more relaxed and fun for all concerned. I must say, the games went fantastically! Good old Brit/NZ favourites like Beetle Drive, the “dress-up-and-eat-chocolate” game (roll a 6 to be ‘in’) had everyone enthralled. (well, most people...)

Devil's Wall
Devil’s Wall, upper Vltava

Saturday 11th September 2004, Upper reaches of the Vltava river, “Devil’s Wall” (Stephen)

Steve and Lucy left us for Prague and Scotland at 2AM this morning... later, bleary-eyed, Varya, Benji and I head off ourselves on a church trip to somewhere near Lipno. Thinking that we’re off on a picnic near a lake near a town, we start our 2 hr train journey with some anticipation. It was getting off at the tiny train station in the Sumava mountains, and someone pulling out a map that first alerted us to our error. The walk was a 12km round trip, sometimes over a rough path which Benji’s lightweight buggy didn't cope too well with.

Still, what a fabulous day! The upper Vltava thunders down a rocky gorge, and a sheer stone cliff on one side gives its name to the area: “Devil’s Wall”. It was here that the Czech composer Smetana was inspired to write one of his operas, and it’s easy to see why.

proud Dad!
Mia shows off her CPR skills on Dr Gurling!

Thursday 9th September 2004, Hacienda Mexicana, Ceske Budejovice (Varya)

We firmly believe that all first-time visitors to Ceske Budejovice should not consider that they have fully explored the city until they have indulged in a meal at the Hacienda Mexicana. It just has to be done. So we dutifully take the Gurlings to the aforementioned establishment. . . While our boys are exploring the climbing frame and digging for treasure in the sandpit of the HM garden area, we sip sangria and while away the time. Following a feast of tacos, burritos and fajitas, the gigantic cinnamon swirls, nestling around pots of white chocolate, served with a plethora of fresh fruit, did not fail to satisfy. . .


Monday 6th September 2004, Ceske Budejovice (Steve)

Steve, Lucy and family are off to Austria for a few days, to the same youth hostel that my Mum and Dad stayed at (Euro Youth Hostel and Krone, at Bad Gastein in the Austrian Alps). The weather is glorious and we’re jealous of our second set of guests who have made it to the Alps before we manage it ourselves! Meanwhile, our flat is strangely peaceful :-)

Bought a DVD writer today and am looking forward to using Apple's iDVD to author some really professional DVDs of photos, movies, presentations etc. Mmmmmm.

fun at the lake

Saturday 4th September 2004, Some lake near Ceske Budejovice (Steve)

The day dawns bright and sunny and a picnic is packed. Unwilling to repeat Thursday’s transport debacle we all cram into Stephen & Lucy’s car and head for a peaceful lake. Books are read, sun is absorbed, stones are lobbed into lake, water is splashed, yacht race speeds past, swimming is swum, lunch is browsed, time meanders by. Summer days are still with us.

Thursday 2nd September 2004, Ceske Budejovice (Steve)

[rant mode on]
We took the day off work today to join Stephen and Lucy & family on a day trip to Cesky Krumlov. The internet gave us a couple of bus options from CB to join the Gurlings in CK (they have hired a car) so we were confident of joining them. Unfortunately the web site gave us the wrong location on the map for a local bus stop to catch the bus, so, fuming, we took a bus into town to catch a different one. Only 30 minutes late at this stage. So we wait. And wait. And wait some more. The next scheduled bus does not arrive. The following one speeds through the bus station, slowing only briefly to avoid me, and motors on out with me yelling and gesticulating at its rear vision mirror. The man at the info counter inside tells me “Oh, that one only drops people off here in Budejovice — it doesn’t pick people up to go to Krumlov”!!!!! Needless to say, the web site does not mention that morsel.

With the next bus over an hour away, we decide to cut our losses, treat ourselves to Mcdonalds, and try to stop crying. Never did get to Krumlov today.

The Gurlings had a fantastic day, complete with feast in a medieval restaurant. . .

Have decided to buy a car at the earliest opportunity.
[rant mode off]


Wednesday 1st September 2004, Ceske Budejovice (Varya)

My first official day of teaching English for OM: loved it!

lots more interesting news and pictures - read our older diary pages: Sep 2003 - Jan 2004 May 2004 Aug 2004
Feb - Mar 2004 Jun 2004  
Apr 2004 Jul 2004  

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