i had a very bad morning, fell, crushed my cell phone, cut up my hand, missed the bus, the works! felt worthless and like a failture. let me count the ways i love the internet today:
1) E-mail How can you argue with this. I was able to e-mail my Tuesday prayer warriors about my bad day and I know that they prayed because my afternoon was much better. I felt lifted up instead of in the dumps, and got a number of encouraging thoughts in my inbox. Also, i got a picture from the bike ride my family took this weekend.
2)Instant Messanger This morning, I IM'd Kristen about the horrible, no good, very bad start to my day. And she prayed for me, typed it out over IM. And i dont know if rebuking works over the internet, but obviously praying does.
3)Skype I talked to my mom in Mars and Ron and Ruth Berger in Washington State this evening. Both very encouraging calls both over Skype. Both Free!
4) Flickr I posted my pictures form Prague to Flickr and have already gotten compliments on them. My mom was able to see them while we talked tonight and I told her some about my trip. She can also make prints to show her friends at work from there!! You can too, as ong as you promise not to claim them for your own!
5)My Blog I can tell you all that prayer works (pray for your missionaries) and God works through the internet
All in all, anyone who say's I'm their hero for doing this whole moving to a different country missionary thing, well, they are crazy. What I'm doing is like breaking the homerun record on Steriods. Iif the homerun record is the missionary life. and Steriods are all the things I have to help me! I mean sure I am doing it, but it feels a little bit unfair. (Sorry if the steroids related to missions analogy bugs you.)
The real heroes are people like William Carrey. He went even though his pastor told him that if God wanted the lost saved, He would just save them! I grew up with missionaries in my church, in my house, and in our family prayer time. My pastor preaches the Great Comission and wants to see young people follow God wherever He calls them.
The real heroes are the hundreds of men and women who packed in their coffins and never heard from their families again. I talk to my mom at least once a week, and we e-mail pictures back and forth. I know i'm going home after a year. If something happens to me or my family, I can get on a plane and be home in less than 24 hours.
The real heroes are the Missionaries who live in the African bush and tents in Kyrgestan. I live in a house. There are no large bugs here, I have internet access, heat, indoor plumbing and running water.
The real heores are the tentmakers in China. The real heroes are the missionaries who cant even use the word "Missionary" or "prayer" in their letters home because they could end up in jail or worse. I can go to church on Sundays and youth group on Wednesdays, and bible study on Mondays and tell people I love Jesus and the worst thing they can do to me is laugh. And the government doesn't even have an official position sanctioning the laughing!
Just my thoughts on this whole thing. Putting it in perspective. Yes, I realize that i'm doing something relatively big. Honeslty, a lot if the time it scares me. But all I did was listen to what God told me to do a long time ago at Edinboro Youth Camp. And if doing what God tells you to do makes you a hero, then please think of someone else you know who is following God in a way that is maybe not so visible as moving to another country. And when you've got that person in mind, pray for them. Or go way out on a limb and tell them that you appreciate what they're doing. Need a few suggestions? Think about the people who teach preschoolers Sunday School. Think about the men and women who volunteer to go on Jr High youth trips. Think about the Christian teachers in public schools who build relationships and love on kids. Think about the 7th grade girl who carries a bible to school. What about the 10th grade boy who studys for his test instead of cheating? Who are your heroes?
Yes, that's all i'm saying for now. Be patient. By the weekend, Kristen will have the full blow by blow update on her Blog. When it's up i'll post a link to it....or, you can get there from the link in my sidebar and check obsessively for yourself.
Greetings from Slovakia! 9 weeks in. I’m excited to write this to you all, so much has happened and so much more will in the next week!
Last weekend, I took some me-time in preparation for what looks like a few crazy weeks! I baked cookies (chocolate chip and some VERY sticky nobakes) caught up on my sleep and was blessed by the speaker in church on Sunday who was a missionary and spoke in English!!
This past week I finished the video on the 23rd Psalm video I was doing, re-tweaked the Vision poem I did when I first got here and caught the vision for the CampFest videos that will start each teaching session. It will be a big production with video and live music and dancers! I hope we can pull it off!
Tuesday night was the opening meeting for 10 days of 24 hour prayer for Prešov. This is an exciting thing. All of the churches in Presov are praying together these 10 days. The worship band that led the opening worship was 7 young people from 6 different denominations! Catholic Luteran Bretheren Baptist all praising and praying together that God will change Prešov!!! It was very powerful. Pictures are at my Flickr site, but they barely begin to capture the power in that place.
Wednesday was youth group at the Lutheran Church. Thank you to those of you praying that I will form relationships. When I arrived early last night, instead of standing around feeling lost someone pulled out a chair and I was included in the conversation. Or the conversation shifted to practicing english and how talking to me would be a great comedy skit on TV, them saying “what what?” and me asking “čo? čo?” and sometimes I know the basic words and I can translate for myself. So someone would ask a friend how do you say X in English and I would answer with the right word! Encouraging for my Slovak Ego and fun for building relationships. After youth group a few of us went to the prayer room. Where I was further blessed. God is SOO good!
Today I’m in the middle of a CampFest meeting. I’m not actually participating since it’s all in Slovak and I am not part of the planning team. The meeting is just being held in the room where I have my space. Kind of a bit like the twilight zone :)
Tomorrow will find me on a bus to Prague. It will be a 10 hour bus ride across Slovakia. I’m meeting my Suitemate from Asbury and we’re going to be tourists. I’m staying in a hostel and visiting a castle and SPEAKING ENGLISH the WHOLE time!!! There will be lots of pictures. And we’re going to attend an English Church on Sunday. Very exciting for me.
Heading into next week.... Monday will be a long tired day as I go home, shower after spending a night on a bus and get back on another bus to come to work. Tuesday will be more brainstorming on the CampFest video Wednesday will be more brainstorming planning and will drag on forever. I’m sure about this because..... Next Thursday I am headed to Kosice to meet a plane that will bring the group from Grove City. This is the group that includes Ruth Ann and my Micah.
Please Pray: ~ That I will continue to learn Slovak (especially motivation to study) ~ For Campfest preparations ~ For Safety on my trip to Prague ~ For spiritual growth.
so, is it part of culture shock to start seeing things? like people start to look like people you know. so far i've seen Rachel DeSantes, Guy Chmeleski, Ray Meals, Allison Knight, and J-Ed. of course if you know something i don't and some of these folks actually have been in Presov and didn't come visit me, let me know. my feelings would be hurt of course, but at least i would know i am not going totally crazy!!!
so i changed my comments. not that i have a lot of people reading this or an overabundance of comments. but anyway. i switched to the blogger comments from Haloscan. so now i get an e-mail when you comment. (i used HTML to make that bold. Proud of me?) getting comments in e-mail might motivate me to write more. also i have no clue where any of my previous comments went. .... so anyway, it's the weekend. i like the weekend. i'm going to try and bake cookies this afternoon. My micah graduates today. I am very proud of him. If i was independently rich instead of a missionary, i would have flown home for the weekend. but if i wasnt a missionary i would not get to spend a few weeks with him in Slovakia. maybe it all balances out?
Greetings from 8 weeks in. The past week was a good one, one in which I took a lot of pictures.
Over the weekend, I photographed a conference on Family issues. The thing about taking pictures of a conference is that once you get pictures of all the speakers, and a few shots of people looking interested it gets a lot trickier to find things to take pictures of.
Monday I took over 200 pictures of Presov for the 24/10 Prayer that is coming up in Presov. They will be blown up and hung in the prayer room. Most of them are of the churches schools and government buildings but some are the big picture of the center of PO and along the way I took a few that I wanted to have. I have updated my pictures page at Flickr, if you’re interested ( www.flickr.com/photos/stasigh )
I also had 2 Slovak lessons and my teacher told Marian, that I am the second best student she’s had in the four years that she has been teaching Slovak. I’m taking that as a high compliment and not asking how many students she has had :)
The past week I have been working on a video of the 23rd Psalm. Yesterday Roman and I tweaked the video. It was good to work with him. We are getting to be more able to communicate as his English and my Slovak both improve. Thank you for praying.
Upcoming this next week is the start of work on the Campfest videos, retweaking the Vision poem video and a trip to Prague to meet up with My suitemate from college, Kristen.
I just found out that another American has moved back to Presov after having trouble with her leg. We have not met yet. Please pray that we will be able to connect.
There are a lot of details/issues concerning Campfest (Aug 10-13) that seem not to be coming together. We would appreciate your prayers! Usually they borrow/rent 6 cameras and so far only 3 are for sure available besides having technical problems with the switchers and volunteers to run the cameras (I’m personally invested in this particular problem). Also, there are possible problems with getting the tents, and also with the “propogations” as they call it, we’d say advertising :) There have been problems both in getting the information gathered and put together and also with printing. The website is not totally finished yet. And for a variety of reasons, (money, the date, the busy-ness of the liasons, bands backing out, miscommunications,) the program is not filled yet and it is getting late to find bands that don’t already have their summers full. The office is buzzing here. I’m sure that God must want to do great things this summer since Satan is working so hard to screw this up!
Also the center is coming along well with some minor problems, like the wrong size windows for the studio. Someone donated most of the money we needed for the new roof, things could come out exactly to the Krown. But there is the more distinct possibility that some things will have to wait on funds to be finished. It looks so good down stairs though!! Well in the café part, the studio still has big holes in the walls and stuff but you can tell it’s coming together!
Please Pray: ~That I will be able to learn Slovak ~For Campfest preperations ~That I will form relationships ~ For Safety on my bus trip to Prague ~For a continued Sense of Purpose and God’s Direction
do you know what's funny? well i'll tell you, when Roman sings, that is funny. You must understand that Roman sings in English. But other than when he sings, we do not communicate without a dictionary close by! When I catch parts of his songs though and can laugh with him because they sre silly or can sing along, we connect pretty well. PLUS, he chooses his songs by free association near as i can figure. Sometimes it's just nice to know that someone else has that sort of music in them. And sometiems it's downright funny today it's stormng outside and i just overheard Roman singing It's Raining Men. this is wonderful to me partly becasue it is a weird song for him to be singing and mostly because he sings in English and most of all because this is not unusual. Someone mentions something that happened yesterday, and we're all treated to a few bars of the Beatles. Everytime i smile. sometimes i laugh out loud! I cant help myself!
It has been an exciting 7th full week in Presov. Come to think of it, I haven’t had a dull week yet.
Friday, I purchased bus tickets to Prague! Well technically Paly helped and did all the talking and I just paid for them. But it is still exciting because that means that in 15 days I will be getting on a Bus to meet my wonderful suitemate Kristen in Prague! I believe that good friends and affordable weekends in Exotic places are God’s apology for culture shock!!
Last weekend I spent some time alone in my room refreshing with God. I am still trying to find the right balance of time alone to refresh and accomplish things and spending enough time with other people so that I don’t become isolated and homesick.
Monday was a national holiday and I went hiking with a group from church. We went to Slovensky Raj (Slovak Paradise) and “hiked in the river”. I did not realize that we would be actually IN the river, I thought it was a case of second language communication and not having the right word. But no, we were Literally IN the river. This made my sneakers very inadequate footwear (I don’t own hiking boots) and I learned a few new words, “Spadla” (I fell) and “som mokra” (I am wet) “vel’my mokra” (very wet!). I had a good time, though. It was a nice day and I enjoyed it very much. Again on this trip, my Eagle Scout and other outdoorsy-type friends would be proud of me. And the ankle I turned that one time I slipped already feel just fine again.
Tuesday I was back to work and as an answer to your prayers I met with the lady who will be teaching me Slovak for the rest of this year. She doesn’t speak much English, but her Slovak is Excellent :) She told me that I am a good learner and she thinks in another 2 or 3 months I will be able to function in Slovak. Very exciting news. We will meet twice a week for 2 and a half hours.
Wednesday I finished editing another video to be played behind worship and a camera arrived from Ireland. It is an big old camera that will work for CampFest and worship festivals to send signal to the screens but not for recording video. It came in a case that we are pretty sure I could fit in if the padding was removed. It has not been attempted, yet. I’m trying to discourage this experimentation.
Today Roman and I played with the new camera figuring out what all the buttons do and how to make it be in Color! Later today I will talk with Marian about another video, proof the one I finished yesterday, and who knows what else! I am getting better at not having everything all planned out so far in advance. I will also be trying to avoid having my picture taken by Paly who got a new digital camera. Boys and their new toys are the same worldwide!
Things here at MPK are moving along. The Café had carpet installed yesterday. It is starting to look very good, everyone is excited to see it open. Someone from Switzerland might be coming to help Rišo with booking the bands for CampFest which would be a major answer to prayer! Yesterday they signed the contract to secure the site of CampFest this year. Next year, a new location must be found. This is a major prayer request. There is one place that they are looking at but there seems to be just too many details to work out. Please Pray with us that God will lead in the direction He would have this ministry go.
Please Pray: ~ that I will form relationships here and bond with people. ~ that the things still needed for my Visa will come together ~For CampFest preparations ~ That Someone will come to help start the ministry in Banská Bystrica
"Schulz drew Peanuts because he had to—there was nothing he could do better. 'I draw it because it is the one thing which I feel I do best, and I can see no reason why I should give up drawing the comic strip in order to go to the mission field, for instance, and become a terrible missionary or to study for the ministry and become a terrible minister, merely because the ministry would seem to be closer to spiritual things. I think it’s much better to be a good cartoonist than a terrible minister.'"
(This is a quote by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, from an article by Kevin Mungons posted on Sharper Iron.)
Some days God is SO good. Well, every day God is good, some days we just realize it more than others! and some days God uses His people and a bit of technology to help us realize it.
It was a particularly encouraging e-mail day today.
Papa Chuck told me I am not crazy, just culure shocked and it's normal (for the first time maybe in my life, i'm doing something completely normal!!) :) also He told me why I poked the concrete with the big stick: to help it settle in case you were dying to know.
I got a link about tours in Prague from Kristen, and that reminded me how excited i am for our trip the end of this month (26th-29th May) Keep your eyes peeled the two of us are hitting Prague with our cameras, will the internet have room for them all?!!
Pastor (or is it reverend by now?) Ben invited me to Checkpoint and i think he should Rap the Call to worship on Sunday well that was jsut my suggestion. doubt that will happen the e-mail exchange though made me smile.
And Laurie Bean sent the lyrics to this song which i jsut downloaded and it might be my new favorite. soothing and a good reminder that i'm not alone here!
Jesus King of angels heaven’s light Shine Your face upon this house tonight Let no evil come into my dreams Light of heaven keep me in Your peace
Remind me how you made dark spirits flee And spoke Your power to the raging sea And spoke Your mercy to a sinful man Remind me Jesus this is what I am
The universe is vast beyond the stars But You are mindful when the sparrow falls And mindful of the anxious thoughts That find me, surround me, and bind me
With all my heart I love You Sovereign Lord Tomorrow let me love you even more And rise to speak the goodness of Your name Until I close my eyes and sleep again
The universe is vast beyond the stars But you are mindful of when the sparrow falls And mindful of the anxious thoughts That find me, surround me and bind me
Jesus King of angels heaven’s light Hold my hand and keep me through this night.
I’m sorry that this past week most of you didn’t hear from me. It was a crazy week and even though I had not updated you on my needs, I felt your prayers.
Most of the week’s Crazy was in my head. I am feeling very homesick right now. And your prayers for that are greatly appreciated. I am not sure right now even what I need to do to help myself with this. God is being faithful though even when I am not. I am surrounded by people who, even if they don’t speak fluent English, care about and pray for me here.
Saturday, I helped mix cement for a sidewalk around the house. I am learning so much here. I still do not understand why part of my job was poking the poured cement with a stick, but I’m thinking of adding that skill to my resume. Sadly, I was not allowed to put my handprint or initials in the cement. In fact they looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested it :) Sometimes, I am glaringly American!
Last Sunday was a Worship Festival in Michelovce. It was a looong day that started at 5 am and ended at 3 am Monday. I helped with video production, everything from setting up the screen to switching and directing the cameras. It went very well and a number of people came forward after the speaker. Also, I learned 5 new words. Wire, shovel, drizzle, screen and can I help you? They guys I work with get a kick out of teaching me mostly useless words.
Monday was a Bank Holiday. And Tuesday was a day off because of the Worship Festival on Sunday. Tuesday I went to the bank to try and pay my cell phone bill. (I have an account here now but until I have my visa I can not use the ATMs or internet banking.) I did not realize that I would have to have my Passport with me to do this. So that meant waiting for the bus back home, getting my passport, waiting for the next bus, riding back to the bank, waiting in the lines again....but the bill is paid. It’s on excursions like this that I miss my car!!
After the bank I wandered around Presov for a bit. I am still trying to figure out how to shop here, what stores sell what, which stores I have to take my own bag to, even what size I wear is a little of a mystery. I think my pant and shoe sizes have both jumped up to 30-something :).
Here in Presov, we are getting ready for Campfest, the big open air music festival in August. They are having trouble finding bands and volunteers. Two key things if you want to have a large music festival. Also the center is in the process of being finished. The coffee house is getting ready to open. Chairs tables and carpet should be arriving sometime in the next weeks and the walls are all painted as of yesterday. The recording studio that is being rebuilt in the basement is coming along as well, the funds for this are still coming in but slowly.
Personally, I have a few video projects, all in the planning stages. Some closer to being realized than others.
I have been in e-mail contact with a Slovak teacher and am currently waiting to hear from her about a time we can meet to see how/if it will work for her to teach me.
If you’d like to see some of my pictures, I have posted them online at flickr.Use the link in the sidebar that says MY PICTURES! I will be trying my best to keep this updated with my latest photos.
PLEASE PRAY! ~That the Visa quest will continue (it is moving so slow!) ~That I connect with a teacher and learn Slovak ~For my homesick funk, that it will leave or I will cope or know what’s best for me to do. ~For Slovakia. There are hurting broken people here. ~For MPK(Mladez pre Krista YFC in Slovak) for support to finish the center and that CampFest preparations go well