Thursday, January 28, 2010

Missionary Training International

Here's a little glimpse into what we are learning and experiencing at MTI. MTI is what Josiah Venture requires all MIT (missionaries in training) to attend. It has exceeded our expectations in what we are discovering about ourselves and how we feel God is preparing us to move to the Czech Republic to serve with Josiah Venture:

When I first arrived, I was not excited about learning the Czech language at all (having a lot to do with mourning not learning Polish). Now, I cannot wait!

Brian and I discovered through the language learning activities that we learn well together. (We're both a little competitive, but it works well for us). In fact, we got invited to our language-helpers' house for dinner. We were the first ever in the program to be invited over for dinner by our language helper.

Brian and I learned that we have very different conflict management styles! Good to know after five and a half years:), but I really understand why he does some of the things he does (meaning, it's not wrong, just different from me).

I should have listened to Brian about letting Cece nap in the nursery days ago. Not only is she not screaming when we drop her off anymore, she's walking there (yep, walking) on her own. When I ask her if she wants to go to class, she shakes her head and says, "yeah!" Then, today, she took both naps just great in the nursery (instead of me picking her up, putting her down in our room, and listening to her on a monitor).

Both Brian and I were challenged today regarding healthy Sabbath rest.

Cecelia is having a great time with the kids here--they just love her! I am officially "Cece's mommy" and not Aleisha anymore.

I was challenged through our personal coaching time that I need to be passionate about making sure that Brian has time for himself.

"How many people do you think about when you buy a toaster? How many people will come into consideration when you buy a toaster as a missionary?"

I handle stress better than I thought--like having a pillowcase over my head in a role-play (I was keeping my eye on the "bad-guy's" fake gun the whole time. I totally would have kicked it out of his hand if it were real life.)

I found out that Brian thinks I'm strong. Brian got a little testy with this one guy that tried to argue with him about why he should be "executed" (in the role-play) and not Brian. The guy tried to argue that his wife was stronger and could handle it better--Brian strongly disagreed.

Brian is really good at foosball.

I really like good coffee.

It is interesting because a lot of this is about us, but in so many ways, it will be important for us to know and respond to these things about ourselves to maintain longevity in ministry.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cece's First Time Sledding

This past weekend, we had the privilege of staying with my "aunt and uncle" Cora Jean and Jerry in the mountains near Golden (more on them later). Jerry showed us the perfect "first sledding hill" and provided a great sled for Cece to go for the first time. I think this video is just hilarious! Listen closely at the end.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our Journey: We Are So Very Close

We have begun Our Journey to serve with Josiah Venture in the Czech Republic. We are almost there; watch our video to see Our Journey and to hear about our support raising and how very close we are! (Cece is in here a lot:))

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tampa--Stop Two on our Way to Czech

Right after Christmas, we flew to Tampa where Brian's parents live. Brian has three brothers and three sisters; Cece is the nineteenth grandchild. All 30+ of the Stephens' family came to Tampa from many states (Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Missouri) to say good-bye to us! We cannot put into words what it meant to have Brian's whole family together one more time before we leave for the Czech Republic. Here are some highlights:

The bi-annual Stephens' football game:




Cece's godmother, Jamie, giving her her first Christmas presents (in Brian's family, Godparents buy Christmas presents and have a special place in each child's life). Jamie is Brian's oldest niece:


Karen and Andy had a dedication ceremony for all their children, very similar to Cece's dedication. Brian is Kendall's godfather, and I am Courtney's godmother:
Christmas 09-2 001

Christmas 09-2 015

Christmas 09-2 025

Here are some precious pictures of Cece with her cousins (Kendall has been mentioned before on this blog--she is about eight months older than Cece):



As far as visiting us in the Czech Republic, Brian's brother Mark, his wife, and their five boys, Brian's mom and dad, and Brian's niece Katherine are all coming to serve and see us the end of July. And, Jamie, Brian's niece/Cece's godmother is going to culinary school (Cor Don Bleu) is Paris this fall!

We just love that we were able to spend GREAT time with both our families! The last night in Tampa after balling my eyes out after saying good-bye, I whispered to Brian, "we have great families!!" We would not be making this journey to become missionaries serving in Eastern Europe without the love, support and examples of both our families! To whom much is given, much is required!