2010 - sounds quite futuristic and yet here we are.
December was a blogless month for us - sorry about that - but still a full one. There were some great personal highlights for us as we were able to spend time with some of Amber's cousins as they visited a nearby part of Europe, connect with some Slovene friends, and gain the honourary title of "Aunty and Uncle" as good friends of ours had their first child.
Here on the homefront things were still full steam ahead. We were able to wrap-up PotichuNahlas for the semester with a Christmas party before university students took their winter break. Also, Mozaika's "I Love my City: Christmas Express" was able to further our connections and impact within Nitra. Whether it was cleaning up after city Christmas events or running kids programs, Mozaika was able to make a positive difference. Along with his friend James, Matthew was able to go and collect over 100 gifts donated by Samaritans Purse to use at Mozaika's kids programs in a community centre and a girls home. Amber also performed as part of a small ensemble on stage at the downtown Christmas market singing Christmas and worship songs. Mozaika also had a Christmas lunch and Christmas Day service (a staple tradition here in Slovakia). Matthew's scabs are still healing from cutting out the decorations for the lunch ("Merry Christmas" in 9 different languages seemed like such a good idea before all of the cutting and laminating).
Christmas also brought the unexpected for us. At 2am on December 18th our phone rang letting us know that Matthew's Nana had passed away. There was not much sleep to be had after that and we had invited almost 30 people over for a Christmas party. So we hosted our party (the last guests departed at 1am), booked a flight, packed (more like dumped things in a suitcase), showered and Amber drove Matthew to the Vienna airport to fly to Toronto on the most overpriced ticket we hope we ever purchase.
We wavered over whether we were doing the right thing, but as soon as Matthew opened the front door and hugged his Mom, he knew the right choice had been made. Nana was a huge influence on our lives, and the lives of many. Few people can say they read about their Nana while studying the history of the Pentecostal church in Bible College. In all honesty, there is still a lot of processing to be done - it was such a whirlwind trip. 4 days in Canada flew past and Matthew's only suitcase arrived the evening before he left for Slovakia. Matthew's Dad, who had been preaching in Nain, Newfoundland, was prevented from attending the funeral by bad weather, but Matthew was able to have lunch with him before he returned to Slovakia. It was the first time since our wedding that all 5 members of the family had been together in one place.
Matthew was home by 3pm on Christmas Eve and we celebrated traditional Slovak Christmas that evening with friends. We spent the remainder of the holiday season surrounded by friends. We especially love New Years Eve here as Slovaks are a firework loving people.
We can only imagine what adventures God has for all of us in 2010.