Note: With my current internet connection my blog website has not been formatting correctly. I have resorted to writing blog entries on my computer until I am able to post them. Sorry for the delays. I will now post them in a semi staggered fashion before catching up with an entry that will focus on my arrival in Czech. Note I leave this Thursday, the 20th for Europe.
Written July 26th.
Training has started and it has been busy and tiring. I have generally been waking up at 7AM and doing stuff until around 10 at night. It has been great though to meet all the new teachers and many of the returners. It has been an intense time. One theme here is to “lower our expectations.” This means that when we go over we are not to expect much in terms of ease or excitement so that we will be happier if things go well but content even if/when they don’t.
About a week ago we had a session on the realities of the Czech Republic. It was a very bleak picture. Some facts: Over half of Czechs declares themselves to be atheist, one of the highest rates in the world. In the region I will be living in, Western Bohemia, the rate is even higher. Sex is prevalent in the culture in ways that would make most Americans flinch. It is not unusual or frowned upon for 16-year old students to date 30-year olds. While condoms are used, when they fail abortion is common. What Americans would consider pornography is standard fair in advertisements in major newspapers. Prostitution (mostly from non-Czechs stuck in the country) is a major problem as well.
These facts are daunting and I take them seriously. I don’t pretend to be a savior that will swoop in and “fix” everyone upon arrival. That’s God’s job. But I do feel an even stronger calling to this part of the world. My very personality, I feel, will allow me to thrive even in this spiritually dark place. This is a hard task. But God has given it to me and so I can say nothing more than I feel profoundly blessed to be able to do this. I hope you join me in praying for the next year, the Czech People, and my time abroad. Needless to say, I’m excited.