Tuesday, February 5, 2013

GUESTS - Heidi's House Reflections 2

Hosting guests has always been a part of our lives in every place we've ever lived. We even host guests when we travel and stay in other people's homes!! Being in our new home these last 6 months has been a joy to host family, friends, ministry guests, ministry meetings, fun stuff - you name it.

Here are just a few pictures of the last 30 days beginning with our goodbye to our nephew Kevin and his wife Allie who Christmas'ed with us and brought in the New Year.

Kelsey hosting an Eldorado ministry team meeting. Click here if you want to check it out. Eldorado is Fala's 'ministry to middle schoolers by middle schoolers' led by Lukasz (back row, 3rd from left). Saturday Feb 9 begins their winter camp. Jillian will attend for the first time.

Each January our friend Ken Wilson tags us onto his winter trip to Czech and he always brings friends. We've know Ken over 18 years now (he did our pre-marriage counseling!). This year he brought Tommy and Bob along.

We always are encouraged after our visits with Ken and the friends he brings are so happy to have tasted ministry in Poland (and Czech). While they were here, they lead a men's meeting and Ken preached at our church.

It's a blessing to have a home that keeps them warm when winter is so cold. I enjoyed having enough places for everyone to rest their head, have a place to themselves to read or talk to their wives at home, or join in with the family in the living room to talk.

Just adding this gorgeous shot of our cold Polish winter.

Back to the Garden

Greg and I received a wonderful gift in January - we spent 4 days in beautiful Krakow attending a marriage conference sponsored by Josiah Venture: completely free of charge. We headed into the conference already focused on a few areas of our marriage and these days allowed us time to talk, discover, learned new new things about ourselves, move through tough things, and come out better in the end.

We weren't alone, 52 Josiah Venture missionary and national couples from central/eastern Europe (at least 7 countries represented) were there too. Each couple met with counselors who traveled to serve us in this way. Greg and I were greatly encouraged and desire to keep this fresh in our marriage day in and out, even in the midst of school runs, dinner prep, meetings, travel and all that comes into our daily lives.

Can you see us? We are right in the middle!

Pumpkin Seeds

Our little neighbor Natalia continues to stop in each week. Not long ago she brought Greg pumpkin seeds. Her grandmother grows pumpkins and during our Christmas visit to their house, Greg asked if he could have the pumpkin seeds. After receiving the seeds, he roasted them and took them back to Natalia's grandmother and was invited in for tea. He had a nice time chatting with her, Natalia's mom and boyfriend, and Natalia too.

As we settle into our new neighborhood we also want to contribute in good and helpful ways. In the last two months we met with a man who oversees social needs for the area, the vice-mayor, and elementary school principal to introduce ourselves and to let them know we want to help out in the community. I think all of them were a little shocked to hear the news and I hope that it is the beginning of expressions of the Gospel.

Gospel Community on Mission
Right now in South Poland four couples, focusing on Advance (click here for refresher on Advance) are meeting twice a month to pray and encourage one another in our local outreaches. Here we are pictured below.

I'm so thankful for the community God has us in the middle of - that I/we don't head out into each day alone. We have God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and our fellow christian family to press on together.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Celebrating Jillian

13 Years Old!

Jillian turned 13 in January! Seems as though she drastically grew up in the last 6 months - I know you fellow parents can relate to that. This season it's been fun to see her personality emerge more and more. She's always been funny and now her humor is changing a little. She's not said very much about school and now she comes home with great funny stories of friends.

A few days ago was her class recital - 6 years of music school and it was great to hear her whole class perform on their instruments. During the recital I was so touched by their progress and also what young teens they have grown into.

Jillian playing the flute

Sixth Grade Class Recital

 Jillian with her good friend Martyna

 This photo below was from the summer when Kelsey experimented with the camera and Jillian model for her.

We love you Jillian!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Birthday Greg

For Greg's birthday this Monday, I made reservations at a STEAKHOUSE I noticed the week before. For days I was excited about this for Greg (and us too)! We didn't make it to the Steakhouse for his birthday dinner. Our engine blew as Greg was on his way home from work, via picking up Kelsey, then me, then Jillian before heading to the restaurant.

After a quick look throughout the kitchen, we had burritos, corn chips with salsa just brought over from Arkansas (thanks Ken!), and guacamole from not quite ripe yet avocados. We opened presents too.

Then enjoyed cheesecake with our neighbors, Gra┼╝yna and Leszek.

We'll try that Steakhouse place another time! Happy Birthday to you Greg.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Car Cables Adventures

Seems we've been using these items too often this winter season. Not super big bummers, but, you know, they require extra time and finding willing volunteers to help out. We have 2 cars and thankfully we always had one that was working as they alternated between the 2 for needing a jump or a tow.

Bummer, however, that this week the oldest car may have said goodbye to us for good. We are waiting to hear the results.

More later.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas to you from our family. We've enjoyed a full few weeks already with the arrival of our nephew Kevin and his wife Allie. They are spending Christmas and New Year's holidays with us and it's been great to have them in the middle of our life here in Poland.

As I mentioned in our previous post, we wanted to take a small Christmas gift to our new neighbors and introduce ourselves to them. 

It was a little awkward getting started, but we found all but 2 of our neighbors home that afternoon. A great way to start something more than nodding heads to each other as we drive by. We included a card that had our names on it and asked them if sometime in the future they could give us their names and phone number. We've had 3 families drop by with their names and also small Christmas goodies.

Below you'll find a portion of our Fala team in fun Santa hats. We were able to host our Fala work Christmas party, play a few games, enjoy a wonderful meal with contributions by all, sing carols in a few languages, and take part in our annual White Elephant gift exchange. It was a great time to play and laugh together.

We took some time to take Kevin and Allie to beautiful Krakow to catch the Christmas mart, enjoy Polish sausage off the grill & a cup of warm mulled wine. In addition to the quaint old european charm, we headed into the mall for a Starbucks treat as well.

This summer at our English camp we met a family that we've wanted to get together with more often. They've been here; we've been there and we tentatively planned to get together for dinner during this break. Well, yesterday I planned on calling to set up a time to meet and before I called, they were at the door, singing, holding a lantern and a plate of cookies! What a fun holiday surprise!

Wishing you a happy New Year and a time to reflect on 2012 as well as think about 2013 and those things you wish to be true.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!