Saturday, October 20, 2012


Today I am thankful for 
sweet boys and nice neighbors!  

Gage asked our neighbor if he could pick some of her roses for me!  :-)   D'akujeme,  Emilia!!!

He brought me a dozen red ones and a few yellows.  Now I'm wishing I had learned more about flower arranging from my Grandma Heiniger!   :-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

EXIT Tour comes to BARDEJOV!!!

WOW!  What an amazing, too-hard-to-adequately-express-via-BLOG-post week it has been!  EXIT Tour was here, and for the first time we experienced what goes on during these JV outreach events that have been happening in Eastern Europe for a few years already...I think since 2008 in the Czech Republic.  Our hearts are full after this week.  We've seen God at work...speaking through these lecturers, moving in the hearts of the people here, building relationships between our youth group kids and the "unchurched" kids from these schools, and seeing the band members and lecturers getting to know the school kids and being a testimony to them...and it has been so exciting!

Ed and I went every morning into the schools with the EXIT Team, into a different public school each day.  The entire EXIT Team included our JV Slovakia EXIT team (members of our SK team who have committed to the role of making this tour happen), part of the JV Czech EXIT team (3 guys who came to mentor and walk alongside our Slovakia team as they are learning the ropes), the United Kingdom band called Faith Child (an amazing group of four guys who brought the message of Jesus via music, lecturers/presenters from 4 different countries who held seminars each day about their specific topic of prevention, and our local church youth group helpers who committed to the details of set up/tear down and after-school outreach events.

Can I just tell you how exciting this part alone was...that we were working together with people from 5 different countries, all different backgrounds and denominations, and different areas of expertise and/or experiences to bring the incredible Gospel of Jesus Christ to the youth of our town who desperately need Him???

So many kids heard the clear message of the Gospel this week, and so many have already responded with a decision to follow Jesus, or with an answer on a survey that they have a 5-out-of-5 interest to hear more about Jesus!  Now our youth group will be following up with those kids: inviting them to our youth meetings, getting them involved in small groups, and welcoming them to other outreach events.  Things are happening here, and we are thrilled and blessed to be a part of it all!

This is Tom and Caroline Graumann.  Tom was rescued as a Jewish child from the Holocaust on a Winton incredible story!!  His talk was entitled "Twice Saved Child" as he became a Christian, too, as a child, after his escape from Czechoslovakia at the age of 8.  He never again saw his mom, dad or younger brother who all died in concentration camps.    This week he boldly shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these schools during his talk.

Zac Shepperson (our fellow American team member on the left) gave a seminar on "The Road to a Healthy Family".  This was an amazing talk full of foundational Christian values including purity, character, marriage, integrity, and raising children.  He was able to share the Gospel with the students who choose to stay afterwards to hear...and they stayed...and heard...and many accepted Jesus into their own lives!!!

The girl on the left is Sindy, a former prostitute who came to share with the students her story, and to tell the truth about the lies and dangers of pornography.  God is using her in mighty ways to tell the students that the world is feeding them a bucketful of lies!!!  And praise the Lord, she is proclaiming and spreading the truth!
This is Noro.  Noro is Roma (Gypsy) who was saved out of a life of drugs and prison when he accepted Jesus Christ into his life.  He shared this powerful testimony to these kids.  They listened and many followed his lead by accepting Christ into their lives too.
And this is Faith Child, the band from the UK.  They were incredible musicians...and tons of fun!  They gave a concert every morning in the schools before the students broke off to the seminars.  They definitely set the mood for the day with endless energy!
Every afternoon the lecturers, band members, and team came to our house for a coffee break.  They rested here and had some time to relax and snack and check their email and Facebook!  Plus we got a chance to know them that way!

Michael, the leader of the band, was great with our kids!

Sindy speaks for an organization called Pink Cross, dedicated to exposing the lies about pornography.

Gage had fun teaching Noro how to play a card Slovak!

The perks of having Slovaks in the house includes having "professional" help with homework!  :-)

Every afternoon was an outreach event for all students from the schools to come to...this day was soccer day.

And the final night was the Grand Finale...the BIG concert.  We think that about 500 people attended, an amazing night for Bardejov!

And because the concert happened to be on Jaylin's 8th birthday, Michael picked her up and put her on the stage to dance with them all during one of their was the perfect birthday "gift" for her!  :-)

Thank you, Faith Child, for coming to Bardejov, and for being a huge asset to our EXIT Tour!  Thank you for bringing the message of Jesus to our town!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A New School Year

Well...before September ends, I think I'll post about our first day of school that was back on September 3rd.  That's right, when all of America was celebrating Labor Day, with a day off of school, we were suiting up here for our new school year.  You might remember, and you might not, that the tradition here in Slovakia is for students to take flowers to their teachers on the first day of school.  Well, when we first discovered this tradition back in September of 2010, it was too late, as we were already at school with our backpacks of books and no flowers, while all of the other students were there with their flowers and NO backpacks of books.  So, the next year we wizened up (is that REALLY how you spell "wizened"??) and left the backpacks at home, but still weren't sure about the we buy them that morning on the way to school?...and from where?, I baked cookies and they took plates of those September of 2011.

This year, we decided to go with the normal Slovak tradition, and went to buy 5 flowers the day before, put them in water overnight, and were ready to go the next morning.  This, I have decided, is the easiest option yet!  We also sent the kids' slippers to school with them that first morning this year.  Every day the school kids change out of their street shoes and wear their slippers throughout the school day and then change back to go home.  Every day, that is, except for the first!!!  Why???  Who knows??  So, yes, our kids were holding their slippers as they walked up to school, saw that no one else had them, so threw them to Ed as quick as they could.  I am constantly making mental notes about what I am learning here.  Maybe I should start writing more of these down, so that I can remember these details when I need them.  So, next September, we'll be ready.  We'll send all the kids out the door with their flowers and NO slippers!  Remind me next fall if I forget!

All five are in school this year.  The oldest four are at a primary school in town, and Shaylee goes to a separate preschool.  So far, so good for everyone.  We are very thankful for good teachers who take time to help our kids learn in a second language.  We are also thankful for our tutor, Bibka, who helps all of us understand better what we are learning!  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Everybody loves...PARKER!!!

We're going to have to dedicate a whole post to pictures of Parker...there were so many!  The thing was, the whole time we were together in North Carolina...the hardest part was trying to decide whose turn it was to hold the little sweetheart!  And sweetheart he he contentedly let us all pass him around...for 10 days!!!  Notice that he isn't crying in any of these pictures???  Not even in the bath???  That's because he didn't cry all week!!  Erin says that he is still a little sweetheart, although she evidently had to get him used to not being constantly held after we left!  Sorry, Erin!  And really, Chad AND Erin...thank you both for letting us ALL hold your 3-week old baby!  You're awesome!

Next stop...North Carolina!!!

So, as you might remember from earlier posts, our furlough began in Florida with Wendi's family: Dad and Mom, and sister Lori and her family.  Sister Erin and her family couldn't make it to our Florida time for a very legitimate reason...she delivered her fourth child one of the weekends that we were in Florida!  So, she stayed in North Carolina with her family (where they live) and waited to see us until the first of July...and WE waited until then to see her newborn baby Parker!

So...on July 2nd, we left Illinois and drove to North Carolina where we were greeted by Erin and Chad and their four kids, as well as Lori and Brian and their two kids, and Mom and Dad, too, who had all come up from Florida for the party!  SO...we were all together...the 19 of us!  We had a wonderful time, and were truly able to relax and enjoy everyone, while having so much fun in Chad and Erin's stomping grounds.  They had so many fun things for us to do, and we loved every minute of it!  We are truly blessed with the relationships in our families!