Contrary to what popular sentiment might suggest, the summer for us here in Olomouc has been anything but

an occasion to lounge around (to fl6kat se, as we might say), and in fact the past few months have witnessed a great surge of activity in the scope and scale of our work.

Part of this boom has to do with the instatement of our new Czech public face, for we are now operating under the name of KNiovatka (which translates to the intersection or the crossroad), to give a much needed local flavor to our previous heading

KRIZOVATKA~

hisknu (l slurhuu spujujeme (esfy

of Team Olomouc. We collaborated with numerous of our Czech friends and mentors to finally select this nam e, which, as the word implies, conveys an impression of meeting a nd the connection of lives, ideas, and values. Our tagline, which underscores our new logo below, captures this idea as "through love and service we are connecting paths." The new website is on its way, but until its final unveiling you can drop by to get an idea of what we're doing around here: krizovatkaolomouc.cz.

So how exactly has Krizovatka found its footing so far? Well, our big push for the beginning of the summer has been the promotion of seeker groups, groups designed to attract people who are already thinking about or wondering what to do with "that spiritual something." Corey and I designed

one around the question of "What Difference Does It Make If I Believe in God?", a series that explores the implications of faith in the real world, and the ladies are working on one called "Mom to Mom," which will seek to draw together expecting mothers for a biblical perspective on motherhood and child-raising. We have engaged aggressive advertising campaigns and eagerly desire to see these groups reach sensitive eyes and ears. (You can view a couple of the actual advertisements on our new webpage.)

At the same time, we have been using our foreignness to our advantage and have approached a number of elementary/junior high schools in town to volunteer our native speech in their English conversation classes. Czech children begin learning other languages mandatorily as early as third grade,

.'

but it proves difficult for so many schools to find teachers with enough experience to adequately teach the students correct usage, pronunciation, word order, etc., and whenever schools are presented with someone who speaks a foreign language natively they leap at the opportunity. So at least once a week for the past couple of months we have been vol unteering at a number of schools, teaching conversational English (or trying to teach the bravery to speak it!) through presentations about our home states, the American school system, and what American kids like to do. Because ofthe wa rmth which we have been received by th e schools we have met swa rms of kids and look forward to continuing this foundation when school resumes in the fall.

But for some of the more adventu rou s kids we don't have to wa it that long. As a mode of outreach parallel to our seeker groups we have co-opted another cherished American activity, frisbee, for the purposes of ministry. For Czechs frisbee is a sport that earns a great deal of fascination and even gawking when we throw in the park, but few actually know how to play, so we have taken advantage of this interest and begun meeting weekly in the park to teach and play frisbee. Utilizing our access in the schools we have targeted and advertised to primarily teens to come and play with us, and it has been greatly encouraging to see the number of attendees increase each week, even though that many frisbees in the air at one time can be hazardous to those of us who fai I to pay consistent attention!

But frisbee is by no means just an attraction for youth, for just this past week we met and have begun to play with an Ultimate frisbee team already established here in Olomouc. This team of around 15 people, ranging in age from 16 to 32, plays twice weekly, participates in national competitions, and is a lot of fun! They welcomed us right in to their practices after contacting us through our frisbee advertisement, and one of them even stopped by this week to participate in our time with the teens. But theys gots some serious ski liz with the frisbee, and it'll be great getting to know the team better despite being pounded into better physical shape ....

But as the su mmer and its activiti es conti nue to crescendo, we sti II manage to maintain wholeheartedly the more regular activities that we have been dol ng for a long ti me now. One of the goals of our work is to stay in healthy contact with the other churches in the region, and the Slovak Retreat at a rura I hotel outside of Bratisl ava, Siovaki a, in March afforded us just such an opportunity. Christians gathered there from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, and beyond for 4 days of lectures, fellowship, games, and leisurely hikes when the weather cooperated.

Later in March we also made a special trip to Prague for the two-pronged reason of, one, helping the church there to move out of its old facility, which was ina steadily weakening condition from a flood several years ago,

and into a new building in a much much more central - a nd drier - p art of Prague; and two, to say farewell to our dear friend and fellow missionary, Danielle Evans, as nagging health issues prematurely ended her faithful commitment to the work in the Czech Republic. Her service has left a loving and indelible mark on the lives in the Prague congregation.

A few weeks later we returned to Prague to cheer on Christie and our friend tubes as they battled it out for 26 miles in the Prague International Marathon. And just a week after that we linked up with some Christians from Prague and Brno to traverse 24 kilometers of the beautiful terrain not far from Olomouc. These hiking trips, or vylety, are as instinctive to Czechs as migration patterns to geese, and while you may be tired, limping, and caked in sweat stains by the end of the day, you wouldn't trade it for the beauty and camaraderie that accompany these day-long excursions.

In addition to the churches in our brotherhood we have also kept in good contact with our friends in the other churches in Olomouc, visiting their services occasionally and seeking their input as both Czechs and Christians as

we endeavor in launching our various ministries. lJIJe are often indebted to these friends here, like the Kovacovi (with whom .1 spent Christmas Eve), for their willingness to help visualize our goals, contact the right people for what we need, or brainstorm ideas we would have never known existed. But it ain't all business, and a couple of weekends ago we spent a nice afternoon at one of the lakes outside of town with the Kovacovi, soaking in the sun and reveling in a lazy afternoon.

But when we're not traveling, retreating, or sunbathing, which is of course a far bigger piece of the pie chart, we're running around trying to take this i mage file to the printer an d that document to the foreign police, or spending time in the square handing out fliers for an upcoming event, or preparing lesson plans for the next day's teaching, or contacting someone for one of a dozen different services. And somewhere in between all of this we keep trying to improve our Czech language skills through our various language partners. As I mentioned in my previous newsletter I had at one ti me 7 different people with whom I was meeting, but now, because of summer breaks and the crushing month of exams university students here have, that number has dwindled to 3 or 4, depending on the week. But these language exchanges that we each have have introduced to us a lot of different opportunities for getting to know better our new friends.

With one of my friends in particular, Jakub, we have gone to see various Czech films, hung out with some of his friends in teahouses, and I have even gotten to meet quite a few of his 7 other roommates. (That's right, 7). On one such occasion, he brought me up to his apartment where a couple of the girls had started preparing a celebratory lunch for some tests well taken, and I was able to join in their cooking, cleaning, and conversation without their skipping a beat. And despite the feast consisting of lots of steamed veggies (my far and away favorite food ... ) I had a great time and have run into several of them in passing since then.

I .: .. ~aO- "'!

. ....~~::

• '."11'" ~ ~ ." •• " ... '.

address:

graham kervin 8.kvetna 13 olomouc 779 00 czech republic (+420) 607967055

email:

onehandh igh@gmail.com

websites: www.grahamkervin.net www.krizovatkaolomouc.com

~~~~~

But we do I::ireak things up with some moments of indulgence. Back in April Mitch, Christie, and I found flew to ireland for a week of touring as much of the country as we cou ld, This of cou rse involved renti ng a ca rand giving ourselves a crash course in learning how to drive on the left side of th e road with a steeri ng wheelan the right sid e, com pounded al the more by the fact that we hadn't really driven at all since we left the States in 2006.! So after a few close calls and the ever-vigilant rider in shotgun calling out "Too close, too close!" we got our bearings and drove all the way around the country, from Dublin down south, to the east, up to Belfast, and back down to Du bl in. It was a whi rlwi nd, but a ton of fu n.

And now that our schedules have opened up a little bit !)lore with the students going home for the holidays, Mitch and I have been searching out new apartments. After living together for 10 years we},-re closing the book on this era and have both now found and received the keys to our next chapter. So you will see below my new mailing address - which is amusingly on the street "May 8th" (a memorable date in Czech history), so over the next week or two we will be working through the moving process.

o N
:::I
0 0
E ('f)
0 0
0 <.0
<: 0
<, ,

So as you can read, we've been busy, and we have nd signs of stopping anytime soon. I thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, letters, and packages, and I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can when i come home for furlough in August.

f

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful