It's been over two months since we got home from our big adventure. After (finally!) writing out the last few days of our trip, I have been reminded of so many wonderful things. If you were to ask what my favorite part of our trip was, I would honestly say going to Josiah Venture's Strakonice English Camp in Bohemian SW Czech Republic. I still can't believe we did that. There we are, in the bottom right by the blue ball!
Sightseeing around Eastern Europe was fun and exciting, but it didn't improve who I am as a person like English Camp. Camp was amazing for me in so many ways besides helping me speak in public again. The entire camp experience united Josh and I more as a married couple. I thought we were tight, but I cannot express in words how we came home with a deeper oneness. Our young family was united closer together in loving each other, loving others, and being on mission together. Working alongside extended family (in this case my older sister Leah) was so encouraging, what an amazing woman. Not to forget, watching young lives changed, amazing! Yes, all those things can (and do) happen stateside but for some reason these things happened with our family in the Czech Republic. I'm ok with that.
As I was looking back at my pre-trip blog post, I was so encouraged to see how things played out! I know this is where my faith can seem over the top but when I think about the life I was saved from, I can't refrain giving thanks in all things, the "good" and the "bad," to the one I have faith in.
- We were ready to love, serve and sacrifice for those around us from the moment we got there, God blessed us as a family helping us to live in such a way to reflect Christ, and each of us connected with the students. Thank God!
- The boys were able to see the world through a new lense, love & pray for the students, and embrace a new culture whole-heartedly. Being in a place to see teenagers in all places of life helped to open their eyes to things bigger than themselves. And Miriam didn't get hurt, phew! Thank God!
- Even though it is advertised as a church based English camp, a few camp kids weren't so jazzed about the Jesus part of camp and ignored that side of things. However, a lot of kids were interested and asked some amazing and tough questions we all need to wrestle through. Thank God! Follow up is going on RIGHT NOW, so please continue to pray for the kids at Strakonice Camp.
- While we did have bouts of temporary sicknesses throughout the entire trip, from skin rashes to vomit, nothing took us to the ER! We were safe throughout our entire trip, nothing was stolen like wallets, purses or laptops, the car didn't get scratched (VERY AMAZING) or stolen, we didn't lose any kids, and no damage was done, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Thank God!
- Our employees did an amazing job holding down the fort! While we were at camp Josh only worked a minimal amount and only during a scheduled free time, so it worked out perfectly and did not detract from camp or us. I am so incredibly thankful for protection of our business! Thank God!
There were also little things that were blessings I am so thankful to God for like I have a crippling fear of bugs and our camp did not have bug issues, which I heard another one did have them. The hygiene at our camp was not stellar, but they did have a dishwasher, which again, I heard another camp did not have one. And though I made light fun of the food we had, there is worse food to be fed, food so terrible words cannot express. As I said mentioned except for the idiot tax on our heavy suitcase, we did not go over in our budget, I am so thankful our finances were protected.
Another thing I didn't think to pray for but was truly a blessing from the Lord - I was very aware of my role as wife and mom at camp; I had my priorities in check. This was a HUGE blessing to my family and me. In the camp setting it would have been very easy to lose myself in the students, spending all my attention on them, to the point that I'd ditch my husband and kids, acting like I was single or without kids. I was so thankful Josh and I had laid out a game plan for our family beforehand and then on our first day God made it very clear (in a good way) to Josh and I how important this (understanding priorities) was to our family's health. Really, what a blessing! When we were apart in our morning English classes, it was planned, well explained to the kids, and everyone was on mission together though we were in different rooms. We loved on all of the students but kept it in balance. Even Josh being the one to put the kids in bed each night was a huge blessing for him and the kids. The whole time we were all united together in some way which in the end made us closer than ever. No one was left behind, thank God!
Would I venture to take our young family overseas again? You bet! I don't know the hows or the whys, but I truly look forward to the challenges and joys.
Though... I think I'll start praying for my anxious heart to not be anxious about driving in Europe and the kids getting continual illnesses now. And we'll buy more wine for good measure, too.