Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Frog People

Kids do say the darnedest things!

A few days ago, I was talking to Isabel as we were walking home from her school. She was telling me all about school that day plus the normal randomness that she wanted to talk about. During our time she began telling me about the “Frog People.” I listened for a while like I normally do...you know...not really listening but nodding and saying, “That’s cool, honey.” Then she started telling me how excited she was to be moving to the “Frog People.” At this point, I became curious and started to actually pay attention because I knew she had been learning about all different kinds of cultures. She chattered on as she skipped down the path. Finally I asked her, “Do you mean the Prague People?” She looked straight up at me and gave me that “Uh, yeah dad! That’s what I said!” look.

So, yes. We are moving to Prague in the Czech Republic. Well, we will be there for at least 6 months to a year while all the changes with our company start to settle. We are going to Prague for now to start building relationships with the current members of the media team. This team will be responsible for all the work being done in Europe. Our team leader and his family are in the States until March, so we will be living in their apartment for the first few months. After they return to Prague, we will look for our own place to live.

Although we will be located in the Prague, I will still be responsible for the Germanic work plus probably the work being done in the Nordic countries. In March, we will re-evaluate our situation in Prague and decide if it is working or if we need to move to Germany.

Even though this has caused us some stress, this is a huge answer to prayer. We are very grateful that I can serve with other media people and we have always wanted to live in Prague. We have really had a sense of peace and patience during all these changes because God’s hand has been so evident. One of our greatest answers to prayer is the fact that Isabel and Madeline have been so flexible and good-hearted throughout all this. For those of you who know Isabel, you know she was NOT happy about moving to Germany in the beginning. The fact that Isabel and Maddie are now excited about going to Prague is such a blessing to us. This alone has lowered our stress level.

Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us. Please continue to pray because we aren’t there yet and we still don’t know where we will finally end up.

Prayer Request:
  • Wisdom for all those making travel plans and arrangements for us.
  • That the hard good byes over the holidays would go well.
  • For comforting for our family and friends that have to say those good byes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving at the Compound

Thanksgiving was an interesting event this year. To be honest, it didn't feel like Thanksgiving at all since we were unable to be with family. We were served a nice cafeteria style Thanksgiving meal. Unfortunately the pumpkin pie was, let's just say, not like home. For those of you who know our kids well, you will understand when I say that even they didn't want to eat it. (Jacob was the exception). The pecan pie was ok though. We are normally not given any desserts at all, so I guess something was better than nothing, right?

We had a Western European Christmas party that evening that I organized and it was really fun. We all brought over our leftovers from lunch and made a few other snacks to supplement. We watched "Elf", which is always a good time and after the kids went to bed we watched the quintessential Thanksgiving day movie...."A Christmas Story". 

Friday morning we had to get up and get on the bus (with children) to drive to Washington DC for the day. We were given several assignments to complete while we were there. We were supposed to be experiencing international cuisine and culture while observing and interacting with international people (preferably from our people group, which is Europeans). I can only say that there is a reason that Philip and I have never taken our children on vacation. It was because we didn't WANT to. I have never claimed to be easy-going and a full day exploring a new city with 3 preschoolers in 40 degree weather is not my idea of fun. Madeline and Jacob were able to nap for a few minutes in the stroller which was a true answer to prayer. We were able to find a German restaurant to go to for lunch which was good. It was small and extremely difficult to get into with the strollers (yes, we took two) which was a good preview for life in Europe. Once we were inside the food was really good and the kids were very brave in trying everything. They tried rye bread-"yucky", pumpernickel bread-"yucky", white french bread-"good", schnitzel-"good", potato pancakes-"yucky", spaetzle noodles-"yucky", and Isabel tried bratwurst and sauerkraut which she promptly vowed to never eat again. So, overall a great experience.

Here are some pictures from the weekend. We miss everyone and are excited to be coming back home soon. Yeah!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Clinic B

Today (Friday) is a very scary day for some on the compound. In all honesty, this day rivals many other commonly known scary days, such as ‘Driver’s License Picture Day’, ‘Going to the Dentist Day’, and ‘Oops, There's No More Toilet Paper Day’. Today is the day we get our second round of immunizations. This is basically a very clinical way of saying SHOTS!!! Now don't get me wrong, I love the end result of the shots, but seriously the process here is a little on the sadistic side.

Let me just give you a run-down of how Shot Day goes. First, we have been divided into 2 groups (Clinic A and Clinic B). Group A has their clinic day on Tuesdays and Clinic B is on Fridays. My family is assigned to Clinic B; therefore, today we walk the green mile. The day starts out just like any other, as it is with most life altering days. The kids go to school, the parents go to school, the hungry birds sing, and the poor worms cower in fear!

Now, we do try our best to keep secret the dark purpose of the day, but invariably there is some blabber mouth that says, “Hey, good luck getting your shots today.” Seriously, that doesn't even make any sense, but by this time it’s too late... the damage is done. Instantly, the bright, happy faces of the children disintegrate into horror and confusion. Their innocent eyes flash towards ours expecting to find love and protection only to find that we are the primary ones leading them down the path of destruction.

On this special day, school lets out early for Clinic B children, who are abnormally quiet and pensive. Each family is assigned a time-slot and the waiting begins. At the appointed time, the poor family appears before the firing squad of nurses wielding their instruments of terror. The children begin to tremble and cry... the King family is next... we walk into the room... there are a surprising number of nurses present... the anxiety shoots through the roof as Dawn and I struggle to maintain control... the creatures resembling children, who suddenly have super-human strength, begin to rip the sheet rock off the walls and sling chairs around the room with their minds! Now Jacob, for the most part, is rather easy to manage since he is oblivious to the coming torture, but Isabel, who is resolutely planted UNDER her chair, begins emitting such a high-pitched shriek that I find it difficult to remain conscious. At that exact moment, Maddie initiates a full on barrage of emotional, heart-crippling pleas for rescue. All of which falls on deaf ears... not because we don't care, but simply because Isabel’s shrieking has resulted in us actually being deaf.

Once the deed is done, we walk back into the waiting area to find the faces of all the victims, who had the distinct misfortune to have been given the time-slot after us, completely lost in jaw-dropping shock and awe. After hearing screams befitting a medieval torture chamber, the shocked parents stare in disbelief into the inner room, expecting to see the nurses mopping blood off the floor, only to find normal, healthy looking children. It is at this point that any child, who had planned on being brave and strong, has now opted for flight rather than fight. Dawn and I pass by the stressed-out parents and simply smile politely and say, “Hey, good luck getting your shots today.”

In the end, we all are thankful for the wonderful immunizations and the tireless efforts of the nursing staff. And so the second round of Clinic B is completed...only one more to go. :)

A few things to pray for:

Our company is undergoing some major restructuring and our job may be changing. We were originally expecting to be going to Germany, but, because our company is centralizing all of its support services, we might have the option of moving to London where there is to be a large support office that is responsible for all of Europe.

  • Please pray for patience for Dawn and I during this transition and with the lack of information
  • Also pray for discernment for us and the leadership in deciding where our family will be stationed. We are really torn as to which would be a better fit for us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Communal living done badly

Hello to all who are still reading this blog...

I hope all of you are doing well. We are still here in Virginia and coping with communal life as best as we know how. We are learning what it means to be flexible.

Meal time is interesting. One would think that, since we aren't having to cook the meal and we don't have to clean up afterwards, it would be easy. Things don't always work out like they should...or like we expect them to. The truth is that corralling three children under 5 in a cafeteria line while trying to juggle a tray with 5 plates full of food through a throng of starving people is unpleasant at best. Then the task of trying to get all 3 children to eat the food that you just fought for while doing your best to appear like a good Christian parent is simply exhausting.

So while my table has Jacob screaming that he doesn't have a spoon, jello flying through the air, Maddie and Isabel fighting over the last roll, and enough cracker crumbs on the floor to create a life-sized sculpture of Kilimanjaro, the family at the next table is happily singing "How Great Thou Art" while eating a well-balanced meal from each of the 4 food groups. Ugh! We then drag our children, who now say they are hungry, from public view and wait for the invitation to appear on a Dr. Phil special as the example of how NOT to parent.

Well I have to go...it's dinner time again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Get Ready...

Hello all and welcome to our first post!

We arrived here in Richmond last Monday in one piece... actually we were five pieces, but for the sake of clarity we will stick with one. The children did rather well during the long travel day. It was interesting to make notes about the trip, as it was a clear foreshadowing of our future hop over the atlantic.

The kids were not too scared of the plane, but Maddie did decide on the last leg that she would much rather ride in the car. Isabel put it rather succinctly when she announced that her favorite part of the trip was the very early ride in the church bus with Mark Nevels.

Once we arrived at The International Learning Center, heretofore know simply as the compound, we settled in rather quickly. Dawn and I did, however, walk around in a fog the first few days trying to comprehend being back here (we spent 6 weeks here training for our 2-year term in Germany). Slowly the fog lifted and we began the journey!

Step one of the journey:
Read our materials and note, much to our dismay, that we were chosen to be Small Group Facilitators.

Step two of the journey:
Grumble and think of ways we can sneak back to the airport...

Step three of the journey:
After resigning to the fact that the walk back to the airport was too far, we read what a Small Group Facilitator does and decided that it wasn't so bad.

So far our group sessions have not been entirely painful. We were put in a group of cynical introverts, which we can't relate to at all! :) It can only get better.

I do have a few things for you all to be in prayer about:
  1. Pray that we would have the focus needed to assimilate all that we are hearing.
  2. Pray that we would be able to deepen our walk amidst all the classes and assignments.
Ok. Catch ya later.