Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Boys and Men

We just had a really fun visit with Steve and Sean Meyer from our home church in Tremont.  Steve and Ed are great friends, and Sean is a best buddy of our boys, Jayce and Tate.  They came for a few days to say hi, see what is going on with us, and bring us some goodies!  I am sad that I never got a picture of the boys playing floorball in our foyer, because that is what they did most often while in the house.  And when I say boys, I mean the boys AND the men!  We had a great few days, and although it was super sad to see them leave, it was quite refreshing to have some dear friends bringing encouragement and joy to us.

Steve has spent many years of his own life overseas spreading the Gospel, so it was really good to hear his insights and to think about some of the questions he asked us.  We so appreciated the link back to our home church, and the care we regularly receive from Northfield.  We are very blessed with our church family in Tremont, and the relationships that we have that continue across the ocean.  This visit from the Meyer boys was a great representation of that care.  So thank you Meyers, and thank you NCF, for keeping us in your hearts and prayers.

The three sporting their rival hockey team caps

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Better late than never???

It is truly October already, isn't it???  I see that our last blog post was dated May 28th.  Uuuuuummmmmm...let's see if we can catch this thing up...

Our English camp theme for the summer
NCF Tremont comes to do camp with us!!!
Three siblings serving together...but first, a taste of our local soda
Every summer teams from U.S. churches come to Slovakia to help with our English camps.  They bring the English teaching, the activities, the energy and much of the Bible teaching as well…not to mention all the American candy they bring along to give away!!!  J  This summer was a huge treat to us, because one of those teams came from our home church in Tremont, Illinois…and the best part was that Ed’s brother, Doug and his sister, Sheri, were two of the three leaders of the team.  Evan, the third leader, was also a huge asset to the camp. 

The three leaders:  Doug, Sheri and Evan

Camp evening program

Traveling with these three leaders were 10 students who were the teachers of the classes and the leaders of many parts of camp, along with 2 extra “minors”.  These minors were too young to be considered part of the team, but their presence at the camp was a huge bonus to our family.  They were two of our kids’ cousins, who came along to enjoy the trip and hang out with our kids.  Three of the 10 actual team members were also cousins, so all together, 7/15 of the team from Tremont were members of the big Rumbold family!  J  That is an awesome percentage! 

First stop...McDonald's!!

The cousins 

This team was truly incredible!  They jumped right in and allowed the Lord to use them in the lives of the students, teaching them about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and the joy that He brings.  It was so much fun to see these kids in leadership roles, and leading to the fullest!  They were all a great blessing to us and to the whole camp.  

Other great things happened this summer, with 9 other English camps across the country, 100 unbelievers hearing about Jesus, and 42 of them accepting Christ into their lives.  Now these Slovak youth groups are working on following up with these new believers, to disciple them in their new walk with Christ.  We are always blessed by the willingness of the U.S. teams to come and be a part of the work that God is doing at these summer English camps.  And we are always thrilled to see how God is reaching out to draw all people unto Himself. 

A Little Taste of Home

Now we are well into the new school year, the resuming of activities that summer put a pause into, and more daily life in Bardejov.  And we have already had some dear visitors!  Wendi’s uncle and aunt, Joe and Barb Zimmerman, (Joe is the brother of Wendi's mom) blessed us with an amazing visit at the beginning of September!  They were doing a little touring of Europe, and started their trip by coming this far east to see our world.  We showed them our town, and basically just enjoyed being able to spend precious time with them here.  Our kids loved being with them as well…we all felt like we had a delicious taste of home with their presence with us.

Welcoming them to the Krakow airport

A view of our town from the top of the church's bell tower

So, Joe and Barb…thank you for your time with us.  Thank you for all you brought to us in your suitcases.  Thank you for living life with us here these days.  We loved every minute of our time with you, and we so appreciate your efforts to get here!  We love you! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A New Respect for Our Kids

So...this past Friday I (Wendi) gained a whole new respect for all five of our kids.  I feel like I walked a mile in their shoes...and it completely did me in!!!  "What did I do?"...you ask?  Something huge and life changing???  Not especially... I went on a Field Trip with Jaylin and her whole class of students and their parents.  We boarded the bus at 6 a.m., rode for 3 1/2 hours to our destination, toured the cartoon village of Habakuky, ate lunch and rode back home.  We walked in the door of our house at 6:45 p.m. and I was in bed at 7:08...FOR THE NIGHT...exhausted and with a splitting headache...not to awaken until 8 o'clock the next morning!!!

Now, my time with Jaylin was priceless...let's just clear that up right now.  She was not the cause of my exhaustion!  :-)  And the other students and parents were pleasant.  AND...Jaylin's teachers are amazing!  Jaylin is truly blessed with a super fun and energetic classroom teacher who truly makes learning fun as was evident in that full day of observing her with her students.  So, you ask...what was my problem and why do I have a renewed respect for our kids?

Every weekday our kids go off to school, totally immersed in the Slovak language, and they spend the day in it...so, this was nothing new for Jaylin, although it was a bit longer of a day for her than normal.  However, when I am in the Slovak language, it is during Youth Group, or visits to people's homes, or  times of having visitors in our home, or trips out around town to do the shopping...and typically my limit where I can completely focus and do my best to understand is right around 2 hours.  This totally explains why our 4 older kids are much more comfortable and adept at the language, and why I, at almost 3 1/2 years in, still cringe when my phone rings and it's not Ed calling, or when the bell on our front gate rings when we weren't expecting company.

If any of you reading this were disillusioned to think that we must all be fluent by now...I'm here to dispel that untruth and to admit that I am still struggling in a huge way with it.  Ed does an amazing job communicating in Slovak (even on the phone!!!), and our 4 kids (Shaylee is still just taking it all in) speak easily like it's no big deal (even at home with each other).  This is an area of my life where I am continuing to learn humility and dependence on the Lord.  I am constantly praying for understanding, especially when I am talking with someone in depth and the conversation really must be understood if I am to give any sort of helpful counsel.

But...I am thankful for my kids today...who go to school without complaining, and come home with enough reserved energy to play and do homework and enjoy family time...because on Friday night, I wanted none of the above, I just wanted to fall asleep...and I did.  And then on Saturday I studied more language!  :-)

The cartoon village of Habakuky

The whole group
Jaylin's two teachers with one of the characters

Watching one of the shows

Monday, April 22, 2013

Search and Rescue

It was a rainy Friday in Žilina, Slovakia, but that did not deter 342 students from going out into the city, onto the trains, and into the villages to Search for those who were lost and offer to them the way to be Rescued.  "Search and Rescue" was the theme of this year's KPM, the annual Slovak youth leaders' training conference put on by JV Slovakia's KOMPAS team.  The conference was a time of training these leaders to be bold in sharing their faith, and as part of the training, they were given the chance to put into practice everything they were learning.  Here is a video of that day when the participants in the conference were sent out in teams to share the Gospel with people all around the city and nearby villages.

KPM 2013 Video - If English captions don't appear, click on the "CC" and turn on English subtitles.

Ed loved being a part of the conference, and enjoyed having a role of teaching a seminar. He wrote to a friend this report when asked how it went:

The conference was great.  My teaching was fine, nothing special.  We built into our conference a specific time to literally go out and share Christ with people on the streets and in the villages.  Our theme was "Search and Rescue" so we equipped them as best we could, and over 500 people (this was Ed's guess before the total number was known because there were over 600 students and leaders at the conference) went out to share the Gospel in cities and villages.  Some prayed to accept Christ and Jesus gave us some great stories to share amongst us when we all came back together.  This is one of the hardest evangelistic styles to do and the majority of the students and student leaders were nervous to actually be doing it.  But probably the best thing they learned was that it really is not that hard to share your faith and challenge people to believe and accept Christ.  I think this one realization came out the most.  It was awesome to see them be excited for Christ and get out there and share His message.

KPM 2013 in Žilina, Slovakia

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thirteen years and counting...

How's this for good planning?  Since we were married in the year 2000, we will always be easily able to remember what anniversary we are celebrating.  So, in March (2013) we will (obviously) be celebrating number 13.  Nothing particularly special about this number if you're not superstitious, which we aren't...thankfully.

So, as it is not yet March, you might be wondering what all this marriage talk is about.  Well, we were just recently blessed in a mighty way to turn this 13-year old marriage into an extraordinary marriage that will grow continually deeper and better as the years tick on.  We just attended our Josiah Venture Marriage Retreat.  Where do we even begin to tell you how those 5 days have put us on a course toward marriage extraordinare???

We went into the conference in Krakow, Poland, knowing that we love each other, and truly love our marriage.  But throughout those 5 days, we experienced just how much better it could be when we dig deeper into marriage oneness as God intends...unselfishly, openly, humbly, and in one spirit.  Our JV President, Dave Patty, brought the teaching...humbly and honestly sharing with us what he and his wife, Connie, have learned through the years in their marriage, and especially as it relates to ministry.

We were truly blessed to attend this conference in a beautiful hotel with date-night-every-night...FREE OF CHARGE to all of us, thanks to some very generous donor-friends of JV.  We were given very specific conversation assignments every day, which alone took our marriage to much deeper levels, as we found ourselves talking about so much more than kids and schedules and the urgent.

We feel extremely refreshed as we are now back to life as normal...again talking about kids, schedules and anything urgent, yet basking in the growth that we've experienced and the depth of love for each other, and for our Savior who alone brings oneness like this.  


Have we ever mentioned how much we love being a part of Josiah Venture?  We know that we are cared for by JV in our families, our marriages and our lives.  We so appreciate being in this group of people, knowing that as we are all serving in different countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe, we are being both prayed for and ministered to by our team of leaders.  This team is called the Bteam...stands for Barnabas team...and their role in JV is to provide for the JV family care, support and resources.  Thank you, Bteam, for an excellent job of care by providing this conference for us!   We know that a lot of hard work and diligent planning go into these conferences, and we are grateful.

And the biggest plus of this whole Conference, in a Mom's opinion, was the fact that Grandpa and Grandma came to take amazing care of the kids while we were away.  Babysitting five kids for five days was not an easy job to fill, so when Ed's parents willingly agreed to come and fill that role, we were elated!  And they filled that role with flying colors...see previous post.  To know that the kids were with Grandparents was such a relief to us, that we were able to completely focus on the conference and our marriage, because we believe that the best gift you can give to your children after leading them to know Jesus Christ as their Savior is to give them parents who are in love with each other.  What a blessing we've just experienced!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

January Guests

What a great start to 2013!  Wendi's cousin, Mike Heiniger, and his son Drew "dropped in" for a few days at the beginning of the month.  No one really just "drops in" way out here, as not many people we know are on their way to the Ukraine.  So, when someone actually makes it to us, we know that they intentionally made the trip to spend time with us, and we are honored...especially with Mike and Drew.  They came to Europe to visit some missionary friends in Budapest, Hungary, and then wanted to tour some of France.  If you look on a map, you will see that we are not at all in between Budapest and anywhere in France, so we were thrilled that they came way out of their way to travel north and east to see us.  Now...if we could just get Mike's parents, Uncle Lar and Aunt Bon to come for a visit too...

We had a wonderful time with them.  Our kids loved Drew from the start, especially Shaylee who immediately got into a great conversation with him on the way home from the train station, and from then on was always holding his hand anywhere we went.  Mike and Drew were a huge encouragement to us all with the times to talk, with the things they gave us, and with their interest in our lives here.  And for a super bonus, Mike is a very gifted photographer and blessed us by taking some fun family and individual pictures.  Thanks for coming, Mike and Drew!  It was a blast!

Mike even made scones for us!!!

These were the most delicious scones ever...raspberry!!!

Dinner with Mike and Drew...good food and good conversation.

Playing Ubongo!!

The kids enjoyed watching Mike edit his photos of them.

Shaylee with her new best friend, Drew...and her old one, Mom!!

And then at the end of the month we were blessed by Ed's parents coming to us again!  This was their second visit to us and this time they were here for two weeks.  We had such a great time with them.  They actually came to babysit...yes, that's right.  You know you have amazing parents when they willingly travel a good 24 hours door-to-door one direction to take care of your kids! :-)  They were with the kids for the first of the two weeks, Tuesday through Saturday night while Ed and I were enjoying some really nice alone time.  Actually, we were alone together with about 100+ others at a Josiah Venture Marriage Retreat, which definitely needs its own blog post.  :-)

The second week of his parents' visit, we enjoyed great times of one-on-one coffee dates with them, and then some great two-on-two times too!  And, of course, the kids reveled in their time with Grandpa and Grandma...cherishing the times with them and making some great memories.  Grandpa still wins their hearts with good old fun...laughing with them, playing games, being involved in their lives, and even getting down on the floor and playing "dog"!  And Grandma always takes such good care of us all.  I will always be amazed, Mom, how you braved the unknown and the language barrier and went grocery shopping here with just Dad, and that you were even quite successful in it...even to the point of making the best cinnamon rolls ever.  Of course, they tasted as good as yours always do, but the fact that you did it all in a foreign country with only a small dictionary to help you at the store, made them taste even more delicious!  :-)

We love you, Mom!

You've just GOT to see how this GRANDPA still plays "dog"!

And he's even over 60!!!

The excitement on the kids' faces is PRICELESS!!!

I don't know what they were talking about, but it was deep.

Celebrating Shaylee's birthday together with Pavel and Jelka too.

Enjoying our favorite pancakes at our favorite breakfast place in town.

Dad and Mom, we are so grateful to you for coming here to help us, to take care of our kids, and to just spend time with us.  We love you both so much, and love the memories we have of our time with you.