Yesterday morning I went to the International Church of Prague. The non-denominational church I have attended while in Prague. When I arrived, I started chatting with a couple in the lobby while grabbing some coffee. Their names were Tom and Christian, and they were from Washington state. They’ve been on a three week trip in Europe and Prague is their final stop. They were at a conference in Germany and someone told them they had to attend ICP for Easter while they were here. I was glad to meet them and talk to them for a while. They too commented on the weather. It was the coldest Easter in Prague in over 200 years. This winter also saw less than 100 hours of sunlight in Prague. People are saying it will get warmer in April, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
The children’s group spoke at the beginning of church about the importance of Easter and then passed out chocolates and a bookmark to the entire congregation.
Pastor MacHarg preached on Luke 24 and John 20. He talked about how when Mary Magdalene looked in the tomb and saw Jesus was gone, the two men asked her, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” He asked how we look for Jesus in others. Normally, this is through my family and friends and their love but being away from them has forced me to look for Him in other people. Prague is known to be a secular city with less than 10% of it’s population claiming a religion. A majority claim to be atheists, but they cannot prove there is no God so really they are agnostics. It is not a topic brought up in normal conversations and when you ask locals about it they give you a one sentence answer and move on. I will never take for granted my community in my hometown or in Tuscaloosa. Growing up in a city with at least one church on every block, sometimes two, access to religion in the States is almost limitless.
After church, I was invited over to a couple’s house from church for Easter lunch. Phil and Coleen Janzen have been living in Prague since August with their daughter Carter. Phil works in the army and his new assignment was stationed in Prague for the next three years. They have previously lived in DC, Germany, Italy, Washington, and a few other places. They have a daughter who is in college in North Carolina and she was going to a family’s house for Easter so they were happy to have two college girls with them.
It’s the little things you didn’t know you missed until you have it again. It was so nice to ride in a car. It’s a totally different view than going by trams. I also enjoyed just being in a house. Being there made me realize how small my apartment really is. They live about a 15 minute ride out from the center of Prague. With trees and grass and animals. I felt like I wasn’t even in Prague anymore. I’ve always said I wanted to live in the city but I’m slowing realizing, I like the way of life much better in a small, Alabama town. They even has two cats named Cookie and Bailey that I got to play with. Coleen made a wonderful Easter lunch. We had baked ham, mashed potatoes, carrots, cinnamon apples, rolls, SWEET TEA! and a bread pudding with bananas and strawberries. The week before, she asked Kathleen and I if we were missing anything from home and we both said sweet tea. Nothing beats it. She admitted to having to look up a recipe and check when to add the sugar because she had never made it. It tasted amazing. The best drink I’ve had in two months. We chatted for a while a little about everything: school, family, movies, future jobs, hometowns, Christianity, and much more. It was so nice to be taken in by such a caring family for the day. Coleen even sent Kathleen and I back with leftovers, including the sweet tea and homemade chocolate cookies!! She also gave us a hand painted Easter egg from the markets in town.
While I was at the Janzen’s house, they allowed me to use their phone that doesn’t cost anything to call internationally. I got to talk to my family for a little while that afternoon, their morning. I also got to call my grandmother, Memom. I hadn’t talked to her since I’ve been in Prague so it was nice to talk to her for a while. She’s having a tough time with her cancer but she is a strong woman and fighting it. I got to spend some time with her before I left. Something I wish I had more of was time with my grandparents. When you are young and growing up, you forget your parents and grandparents are growing up too. And sometimes, they are gone before you realize what are blessing they are to have. So don’t forget them.
That is the leftover sweet tea I will be rationing for the next week.
Easter is a really neat time in Prague. A lot of people in the surrounding countries come to Prague during this time because of the festivals and activities that happen all over town. Here is a link if you would like to read more about the Easter traditions in Prague: http://www.pragueexperience.com/events/easter.asp
Today has been a lazy day. I should be studying for my Czech test and marketing presentation but it’s a lazy day. I will kick it in full gear on Tuesday. Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. Miss you all.
In other news, the Jonas Brothers are back! http://telly.com/B3T7BX