3.28.2007

I'm baaaack!

i am home in mars, using our wireless internet on my bedroom floor!
the flights home were mostly unremarkable besides a problem with my luggage at the start and some turbulance getting into boston.
the dog and my brother have gotten huge, i got to be AlMeade's "rester" (person who lays with him till he falls asleep) tonight. he asked me. it is good to be home.
i still remember how to use a doorknob. I am shocked by how much ice restaurants put into a glass of soda. we went to eatnpark for grilled stickes. Micah and i got a little lost on the way.
oh life is good. i am going to bed. i think i've slept like 4 of the last 25 hours and those were a nap on a plane. . . .

3.26.2007

T minus 33 hours

update on my room: you might not have thought this possible, but it looks worse. :)
i have a box of soup packed and ready to mail to myself, and all of my socks and like items packed. in a suitcase!
i had dinner with the o'Connells, gave Andrea some books and my miniature rose bush. and opened my last bottle of ale-8 let the caffeene fueled packing begin.
my problem with packing is not actually getting things into suitcases. i am a master at getting lots of stuff into the suitcases. a handy skill when packing to drive home from college. the difference is that darned airplanes have weight limits. everything into a suitcase, no problem, everything weighing less than 75 pounds. well, i cant change the weight of things :(
i continue to maintain that by personally weighing in under 125 pounds, i should get an extra baggage allowance. i should be allowed more baggage weight than someone who weighs 200 pounds for example.

back to packing...
I cleaned out my desk drawer and discovered that i have 15 pads of post-it notes in various colors and shapes one pad of postit's is not pictured as i only discovered it just now AND that does not count the pad of purple notes that i just gave away this weekend. i also have two notepads shaped like the letter S, two half used packs of index cards and two list sized pads of paper(one of which is not pictured).

i also have nothing packed and i fly in under 48 hours. i am excited about the flying part and not about the packing part... so instead of doing something about the fact that this is what my room looks like from the doorway, i am posting pictures on the internet and blogging about it :) you cant see the stacks of books on the floor or the messy shelf of jewlery lotions and makeup, but i promise both of those are there too.

funny language story: i have trouble differentiating between the words for mustard and fever. this isn't usually a problem since i learned about context clues in elementary school. But i was slightly confused when i thought Vlado was asking me if i had travel mustard. context clues got me in trouble this time as he was using this question to switch the topic of conversation conversation from the hot dogs we were eating and if we had such good hot dogs in america, onto the topic of my trip home. He really wanted to know if i had travel FEVER :) once we sorted that out, the conversation went much smoother.

3.22.2007

March 2007 Newsletter

Keep your eyes on your mailbox....

What’s Been Up?

Kosice WorshipFestival
February 10th was a WorshipFestival in Kosice. It was amazing to see over 2000 people worshiping God and we believe that it will bring a change to that city. During the festival, representatives of different Churches came on the stage to pray for and bless each other. The mayor of Kosice, who also attended the event, supported the WorshipFestival. He gave a short speech and after that the representatives from the churches prayed for him as well. It was a very powerful moment and very important for the city. We are very grateful to the Lord for the unity, friendship and trust among the denominations there in Kosice.
In addition to great music and a blessed prayer time, we also had a great response to the main speaker, one hundred and eighty people responded to his challenge to find their identity in Christ and to separate themselves from this world and twenty people prayed for the first time to start a relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Most Centrum” - The Bridge Center
The past months have seen a lot of progress in the work on the Center here in Presov. After a year of working in a construction zone and trusting God for His timing and provision, all of the major work is complete with just a few final touches left.
The studio in the basement is complete and Vlado is already starting to work with the queue of bands that have reserved time there.
The attic is two thirds complete. Only the conference room lacks carpet and furniture. Marian, our national director, moved into his new office upstairs earlier this week.
The Café is almost ready to open. The walls are painted, the chair rail is up, and all the furniture is just waiting for people to come. Rado is ordering and receiving the things needed to run a café. Roman is finishing the menu design and Ludka is completing the artwork for the walls. The only major thing left is a final inspection and certification to have a café here.
If you have internet access, you can go on a photo tour of the building at my flickr site in the set “Most Centrum: Before and After”

YFC Ranch at Kralova Lehota (formerly Svarin Ranch)
The first time I was at the ranch I felt that it was a place where God’s Spirit wanted to work. We have a vision to see this place used to touch the lives of young people and their families. We believe that God has provided the ranch for this purpose and as a home to CampFest. I believe that Satan also knows this about the Ranch and he has been throwing up roadblocks left and right.
The big thing is to secure permission to have CampFest at the ranch. The ranch is partly on protected land and so getting permission to host a tent city for a weekend requires special permission. We trust that CampFest is one of the reasons God provided us with this land.
In order to have CampFest at the Ranch we need to update the septic system and build shower and restroom facilities to accommodate about 5,000 people. Getting the building permits and finding both the manpower and funding to complete this task before August has been a concern. Plans are in place for a couple mission teams to come and help with the work.
Another obstacle we have faced is that because it’s out in the middle of nowhere the ranch is an easy target for thieves. We have lost some valuable property and recently just over $1,000. Again in this we trust God’s faithfulness to prevail.
God has provided so far and we trust Him to do so again.


What’s Coming Up! (This is the really exciting part.)

Leaving & Coming Home
It seems like the longer I’m here, the more I add to my list of things to do in Slovakia. Some of it is just things I want to do, like visit Spis castle and Poland and Austria while I am so close, plus I have two or three video projects on my “wish I had time” list. Some of the things are more urgent like packing and wrapping up the loose ends of projects that I have already started.
But regardless of what gets done from my ever-growing list, in two weeks, I’ll be back in the states. I booked the flight, I have the ticket and I will fly out of Kosice the morning of the 28th. I will make my way through Prague, Dublin and Boston and finally come into Pittsburgh (either 11 or 17 hours later depending on your definition of time), at around 8PM.

Redefining “Home”
Coming back to the states is a mixed bag emotionally. Presov and Slovakia have become “home” so I am in the odd position of leaving home in order to come home.
One thing that is making leaving much easier is that Micah and I believe that God has called us to come to Slovakia as a couple after we are married. We have been invited to live and work at the YFC Ranch in Kralova Lehota. Micah will take care of technical and maintenance work on the ranch as well as the renovations and improvements that are planned. I will continue to work with video and photography, from the ranch instead of the main office here in Presov.
This makes the next 4 months after I return to Pennsylvania very busy ones. Micah is in the process of joining YFC World Outreach staff and is planning to attend Candidate Orientation at the end of April and MTI cross-cultural training at the end of May. We are planning our wedding for June 30th and hope to be at the Ranch in time for CampFest 2007 at the beginning of August.
The need here is immediate and we can’t think of a better way to start our life together than on this great adventure that God has laid out in front of us. Would you please pray for us as we go through this busy time and also start to think and pray about continuing to support us as I finish up my year of adventure here in Slovakia and Micah and I start our ministry together.


Thank you
As my time in Slovakia comes to an end for now, I know that I have never been alone this year. I have been held up daily by your prayers. Every one of you who supported me through your giving and prayers has been a part of the work that God is doing in Slovakia through Youth For Christ. As sad as I am to leave, I can’t wait to come back to the states and show you a more complete picture of the difference that you have made this year.

Love from Slovakia,
Stasi.

3.20.2007

Barnyard Imagery...

In the last few days before I leave (I only have EIGHT!!!!!) my typically ambitious to-do lists have taken on epic proportions. Some things are necessary; find out about the airline restrictions in each of the 4 airports and countries I’m flying through, do two loads of laundry, start and finish packing, figure out what to store here and where, deal with my bank account and cell phone, clean my room and bathroom, finish Katka’s DVD, find thank-you gifts for people here.
Some are just things I want to do or thought that I would be able to do; visit the O’Connells one more time, bake a last batch of cookies, start on my taxes, finish the layouts for my wedding invites, get my hair trimmed so i look good when i get home, clean out my hard disk and archive everything before I take my laptop on a plane

“Like a chicken with it’s head cut off.”
During some quiet time this morning, I had that thought. It came in direct contrast to the picture of us as sheep that shows up in the bible so often. I cant speak for anyone else, but my inclination (especially recently) leans more toward the headless chicken than the sheep. (You have heard that expression right? I used it this morning, and then had to explain it to a room full of Slovak speakers. I will miss constantly clarifying my language.)

Some contrasts I thought of:
~The chicken can’t see of hear where it’s going, it’s head is somewhere else.
~The sheep is following the shepherd and it hears his voice.
~The chicken is running around but it keeps running into walls and making a mess everywhere in it’s futile efforts.
~The sheep may not know where they are headed but they don’t have to as long as they follow the shepherd they will end up exactly where the has planned to take them.
~The chicken is going to die. You can’t just run around without a head forever
~The sheep has someone looking out after it.

In the words of the VBS song: I just wanna be a sheep baaa baa baa baaa.


*edit* i keep editing this entry to add things to my to do list :)

.

3.19.2007

payback

i played with Klara tonight while her parents went to their bible study. Paly paid me with a pudding cup. I am not complaining. it came with whipped cream right in it. plus it was chocolate. also it was a big pudding cup, 200 grams. just to give you an idea, the chicken leg i haad for lunch today was 150g :)
everyone should get the occasional paycheck made entirely of chocolate pudding. just because i said so.

3.16.2007

T minus 2 weeks

Dear friends and prayer warriors,

There is so much to update you on.

This past week Roman and I finished editing on the 26 minute video from CampFest 2006 that will be on the DVD along with photos, promotional shorts for CF07 and the messages from the main tent. It took longer than we hoped because of some technical glitches, but it is finished and we are very proud of it. I‚ll bring back a copy and you can see it if you‚d like. Unfortunately, as of now, it hasn‚t been translated and subtitled yet so it‚s all in Slovak. Hopefully that will happen in the next 2 weeks so I can bring home an English version.

My next project is shooting some interviews for a video that will be shown at the CB Family Conference on conflict and emotional healing. Since I am not fluent enough to to edit a piece made up mainly of interviews (understatement alert!) Roman will put all the pieces together, probably after I leave.

This will be my last free weekend here in Slovakia. And I plann to bake cookies for the office onelast time and try to get a good start on packing. I am pretty overwhelmed with that thoutht.

Next weekend will be a WorshipFestival in Vsetin in the Czech republic. I planed my departure date so that I could be here for this last festival. It will be a roughly 6 hour trip across the country for the festival on Sunday. I‚m short on details, but your prayers will most certainly be appreciated.

We have been having weekly work days here at the center to try and put all the finishing touches on the work here. The Studio is done and looks great. It is already in use! The attic is two thirds done with just the conference room lacking carpet and furniture. Marian has already moved into his new office. The café is finished except for light fixtures and cushions on the chairs. We still need to be inspected and certified to run a café here. Yesterday we worked outside some to clean up the mess that was left from all the construction. We have a new fence and the place looks good.
For a photo tour please check out the „Most Centrum: before and after‰ album on my flickr site. Just click here(or copy to the address bar on your browser: http://www.flickr.com/gp/63912494@N00/85hgVx

On Monday I had a free day and met up with a youth group of Baptists from Texas who are here teaching english and building relationships. Monday was their sightseeing day and was able to do some of that with them. We climbed the bell tower in the Catholic church for great view of the city. I have wanted to do that since I got here, but never had the time and opportunity to do it at the same time before now.

It was a nice break from all that is flying around in my head now. There is so much I still want/need to do here before coming home. It seems like the longer I‚m here, the more I add to my list of things to do in Slovakia Some of it is just things I want to do, like visit Spis castle and Poland and Austria while I am so close, plus I have three or four video projects on my „wish I had time‰ list. Some of the things are more urgent like packing and wrapping up the loose ends of projects that I have already started.

But regardless of what gets done from my ever growing list, in just under two weeks, I‚ll be back in the states. Coming back to the states is a mixed bag emotionally. Presov has become „home‰ so I am in the odd place of leaving home in order to go home. A year ago I was nervous that I would never remember everyone‚s names, and now I am a part of a community here. I have built friendships.

For those of you who have been praying for God‚s guidance for Micah and Me as we decide what comes next, I have some exciting news. We have been invited to come back to Slovakia to work at the YFC Ranch in Kralova Lehota (central Slovakia) and are currently in the process of getting everything together for that. Our plan is that Micah will attend YFC‚s Candidate orientation at the end of April, and the MTI training at the end of May. We will get married of June 30th. And then head to Slovakia together as soon as we have the funding in place. So between that and planning a wedding my time at home will be pretty busy.

At the same time I‚m sending this out I am also typing up my last Letter from Slovakia with more info on the big picture here and what is visible of the road ahead. If for some reason you receive this update but not my mailings, please let me know so that I can add you to that list and you can get the whole picture of what‚s going on.

3.02.2007