Wednesday, January 31, 2007

End of January Wrap . . .

Hey guys,

Just thought I would put a little post up here this morning before devotions on this beautiful Wednesday, the last day of January, my 6th month here in Vienna.

It is amazing to think that I have been here six months already. I know that the Lord has done some amazing things in my life as well as in the students lives through my working here at VCS. This year has been really interesting. The most recent thing was just officially announced to VCS staff a couple days ago was that the school is in the process of purchasing property just down the street from the current school for a new Gymnasium. It would be a joint venture with the church, International Chapel of Vienna, but it would possibly bless both of us. VCS has been in need of a gym for quite some time now. We have had no place to play basketball or have inside gym classes and have had to rent places or use the very small "gym" that we have right now. That "Gym" is really, or was, a garage and still has a large garage door. The new property would pretty much house or athletic and physical education departments. It is only one U-bahn stop down the line and just over a 10 minute walk. It seems to be a really great deal that the Lord has truly blessed our school to have. I know more details so if that in particular interests you please ask me any questions you may have. Please keep it in your prayers as it is something that we feel led into completing and would appreciate your prayers for the completion of purchase and successful building of our new Gymnasium.

Well, I have to get going now, I have 5th grade, 1st grade, and 6th grade back to back to back. Have a beautiful day everybody! :)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pleasing God or men? . . .

Hey guys here is a verse that blessed me today. . . "Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."
What is it about being a missionary that makes it feel like in some small way we are here so that our supporters will be pleased with what we are doing. With things happening to some missionaries like supporters choosing not to support another amount of time because that missionary did not meet their expectations. Or like when the host community that the missionary goes to live in sees that their expectations are not met. Is it possible to be a missionary and please God while remaining at peace with your supporters and not having a feeling of guilt much of the time? These are all questions that I have found myself thinking at times, but what I keep coming back to is the fact that the Lord wants us to trust Him and not just strive to please him. Sometimes we need to face the fact that with our sinful human nature we cannot fully please Him so we should maybe spend more time trusting in Him and letting Him remake us and work through us like He really wants to. Isn't it funny sometimes how we strive so hard and against all odds to work for Him and to please Jesus when in reality He just wants us to focus and live our lives with Him by our side all the time.

Check out this link. Be prepared though it is a heart tugger. Its like the video about this man and his disabled son. God's love is like that. We are really like that son that can't do much but lie there and soak in His grace. We are most of the time unable to bless Him and He is ok with that, He just wants our trust and love and for us to show that to others that he already loves and cherishes but they are unaware. God bless you guys today! :)


Monday, January 22, 2007

Da Bears!

We're going to the SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!

I can't believe it, it is really happening? I saw it . . . is it real? Awesome! :) Be blessed everyone! :)


Friday, January 19, 2007

New Semester, New Happenings . . . .

Hey there again folks!

I just thought I would post another update with a little more of my own thoughts. The past week has been pretty hectic for me personally because my workload and schedule have changed almost completely. Last semester I only had two classes total, 8th grade art and 6th grade beginner ESL. This semester. . . the entire elementary school art, K-5th grades (one class of each grade), and 6th grade art. I started new with elementary art when we got back from Christmas break January 8th and just started with 6th grade this week on Wednesday. That in it self is not bad because each grade only has class twice a week, for elementary, and 6th grade alternates weeks at 2 to 3 days each week. What made things tough this past week was the fact that I wasn't sure when exactly my 6th grade class met. I went into Tuesday, this week the first day due to our work day Monday, and was preparing for 6th grade and they did not show up. I found out that is because they have it 3rd block(third class) on Blue days (Monday, Wednesday and sometimes Friday). So Wednesday comes and I am expecting the 6th graders at around 1PM, but I learned that 6th grade art was moved to the first half of second block which meant they were to come at 11:00AM. What made it worse was since I was expecting to not have class until 1:00 I volunteered to substitute Biology for a teacher that had to go home. So I had to find someone to cover for my covering of that other person's class so I could go to teach my class that was coming earlier than I knew it was. Sound confusing? Yeah it was, but somehow it worked out. Thanks Stephanie for covering Biology for me! :) The best part of all of this is that when I was teaching the 6th grade class another teacher came in and asked if I was planning on coming to do lunch duty which of course I couldn't because I was teaching art. I guess that day wasn't one of my best days. I am very sorry to anyone that might have had a more difficult day because of me. Lesson learned. Better planning and I wouldn't have to worry about all of this happening. Thanks everyone at VCS for understanding.

I also want to take this time to thank those of you that are faithfully contributing to financially keeping me here in Vienna. It is amazing to see how the Lord provides what I need for the day to day. Praise be to Him.

On a local note back home . . . congratulations to The Chicago Bears on their getting this far in the NFL playoffs. I had no idea what was going on until a friend told me that the Bears were in the NFC Championships! Go Bears! FOr those of you that are wondering . . . yes I will be watching the game. I will also be sporting my brand new Bears banner as a cape. Should be awesome even if the Bears lose. I remember there was a time when another Chicago sports team won a championship when I was away in a foreign land (White Sox). I hope this will be a repeat and I do hope that some day I will be able to experience it on American soil.

Betka and I are still getting ideas together and are finally starting to get the legal end of things for the wedding together as January slowly comes to a close. We hope to have electronic save the date cards and some paper copies sent out to here in the next couple of weeks. Then closer to the date we will have formal invitations made and send them to those. If you just simply must have a copy of them please let us know either by email or comment on the blog. We will make sure you get one. We are just trying to make things as cheap as we can but as nice as possible. I will say that as of now the event will be on Saturday, June 9th, 2007 in the church house in Valtice, Czech Republic. If you are not sure follow this link and it will show you a fairly decent map of the area. The nearest airport to fly into is Vienna, Austria and then it is a short hour train ride to CZ where Valtice is easily accessible. If you are wanting to come to Europe it would be excellent to have you celebrate our wedding with us and if not, no worries, we will have a reception Stateside in Late June or early July. Stay tuned to hear more. I will hopefully post a copy of our invitations and Save-the-date cards ASAP.

Love you guys. Just remember the best way to really know how we are truly doing is to contact us. The best way is by email because I check it every day except weekends. God bless! :)

B & B

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pray for my dad and my family . . . oh heck and me as well, its gonna be a tough January and february.

Alright guys, it is time I ask you to seriously pray for my dad this coming 24th. He is going to have open heart surgery and I for one am trying my best to not worry. You all know how that can be though. I am scared for my mom and brothers. Luckily though my brother Chris might be up there with my mom, but he is down in Champaign, IL at school. My dad had heart surgery about 10 years ago and had a valve replaced then. The doctors say that if everything goes as planned that he should be healed and healthy enough to come to Europe in June for the wedding, but we'll see. My mom's email explains it to the best of her knowledge and mine.

I just wanted to let you all know about Alex's (Dad's) upcoming 'stuff'. I will try to be brief but complete. I know that some of you may not know what is going on (Barb, Anna, and whomever is 'in the dark') and I apologize. It is hard to keep everyone in the ever expanding loop.
Alex is scheduled for his heart surgery (he has to have the aortic valve replaced) on Jan. 24 but first he has some things to take care of. It has been almost 10 years since the last surgery so this is not unexpected from the Drs. point of view - even though is not welcomed from our point of view!

1. on Wednesday, Jan 17, I think, he will have a root canal and a temporary crown. I know Mom had a one day thing. that sounds good but we do not have that yet! He has several other teeth that neeed work but this was the most urgent. The dentist had to sign off on him before the hreat guys would do their thing! of course, dental work is no easy task. he has to have an infusion of antibiotics no more than 1.5 hours before his dental work begins. soooooooooo we will go to the infusion center at the hospital between 6:30 and 7am and be at the dentist by 8am. If all goes well, I may not be too late for work! Since Alex can't drive down to the hospital, I need to take him. But the dentist is only a few blocks from home so all is good.

2. On Jan 23 we will go to the Univ of Chicago and he will have a angiogram to check for blockages. I think they may do a carotid atery check (in the neck) too. If they find anything they will take care of it on Wed during surgery.

(Chris, don't get all excited by this. If you don't want to come home that's ok!) I think Chris may come home and be with me on the 24th. He has no classes on Wednesday. (well, none on Mon or Friday either - ohhhh to be a Senior. He does have classes alllllll day on Tuesday and Thursday though!!!) Chris, if you decide not too that is ok. Paula has offered to come to the hospital on Wednesday. I know that this is a long way for you to travel. I am not sure of the time but will let you know.

So, I think that is it.

Love to you all, :) Ruth (and Mom)

So yeah we can really use your prayers in the upcoming weeks. This is "very unwelcome" as she has said in her email and we are all praying that he will come out of it alright.

Thank you in advance for all of your prayers,

Brian and the Reynolds Family

Friday, January 12, 2007

Matthew's Visit . . . finally pictures! :) Lots of them!

I was looking through my massive amount of pictures the other day on my computer (I really need to get an external hard drive sometime) and realized that I hadn't posted any pictures from Matthew's visit this past New Year's. How strange! Most of the pics that are uploaded here are taken by him, except the ones that are of him, I did those. We really enjoyed our time together. It seems as life goes on we see less and less of each other. Sad fact, but it makes the time together much more valuable, at least to me.

Above: Matthew sportin' the new dome cover purchased in one of Vienna's hat shops.
Below: A sweet picture before the tunnel leading to Heldenplatz. The sun was just right that it casted an awesome outline on everyone walking through.

Above: Another picture where I played with the backlighting. I love the glowing feather. :)
Below: Matthew's idea. Reflection in an expensive store's display on the Graben.

Above left to right: Betka in her element. Mmmm potatoes, she is a really good cook. Matthew in Stephansdom, the Cathedral in Wien. Spooky pic.
Below left to right: Matthew and Jan are reading the "Bunny Suicides" book. Hilarious, definitely check it out when you have the chance. It is similar to the Far Side. Matthew cold in Lednice, the name actually means "ice box" or something like that. Matthew's pic of Betka and I waiting for the bus.

Above left to right: Matthew's reunion with Jonas and Krystof, Krystof and Jonas' Christmas present, Betka and Matthew holding our stuff in the van after our trip to the mountains.
Below left to right: Betka, Darca, and I hanging out at the Vaselka, the cottage that the church owns in the Sumava mountains. Thats me on the ground after my future wife made me fall, she loves me sooooo much. :) Me matching my good looks with the statue in Chateau park, Lednice.

Above left to right: Matthew and Ondra, Komrads after a wrestling match that wasn't won by either side. Matthew's awesome hiding place when we played "Sardines".
Below left to right: Matthew . . . "dancing". Her royal Highness Alzbeta (Elizabeth) the Great . . . and her dog.

Above left to right: Matthew and . . . that dog again! :) Group picture with the Broz boys, Simon and Kristian in froont of the Chateau Lednice greenhouse. My beloved brother on the way back from Sumava in the van.
Below 2 rows: Pictures from a hike that Betka and I and some friends of ours took on New Year's Eve day. It was Mount Bobin, I think 1,367 meters high. At the top there was this tower. I went half way but Betka went all the way up. My best pictures were on Matthew's disposable camera that Brooke gave him. Get those to me ASAP bro! :)

Above: What a weirdo! :) I like the pic though.

Well thats about it for the trip. He took alot of photos, but these were my favorites. Ask him to see the rest. Talk to you all later! :)

In Him,

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My Humble Abode's New Look

Hey there again everyone! This past weekend brought a new sense of settled-ness into my life. The main reason for this being
that she came for the weekend to visit. Mainly what that means is that we spent the good majority of the time together each working on our respective work. Her on her University term paper and finals preparations and I on my graduate school paper and preparations for this next semester.

I wouldn't say that this past weekend was "fun" in the sense that we didn't do alot of tourist-type stuff but we did get a sense of what married life will really be. We got alot of work done and to take a break from the computer work on Sunday we went to church together in the morning then for lunch cooked spaghetti for lunch and began to clean out my apartment and re-arrange it to make it feel more like home for the both of us. Up until now my apartment has been very lived in. I haven't really kept things in one place and among my three beds I haven't actually chosen one to sleep in all the time. I have a fold out double bed in the living room area and two single ones in the little side room. What Betka and I did (well Betka handled the organization part) was organize the apartment by taking care of my accumulated evidence of being "lived in" AKA trash and arranging the furniture to a set-up that we both agreed on. The pictures to the left are what the rooms looked like when we finished. The pics with the chandelier are our living room half with the free rug that I got. The other half of that room is where the double bed will fold down when Betka and I are married. I think that deep down I wanted her to help me do this kind of thing there just wasn't a really good way to express those feelings in a way that wouldn't seem male chaevenistic (sp?). We both hope that now that I have a presentable room that we will have more guests. Our house is yours! :)

The following pictures are from the left: Picture of the beautiful Czech countryside up near Poland taken by my brother's friend Brooke (if it is Brook please let me know.) Thanks for the beautiful pictures Brooke! :) Then a photo collage that I did of the Rathaus, city hall, my favorite building in Wien. Then a picture from back in czech. I don't know where that hat is but I loved it! :)


God bless!,


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Prayers needed . . .

Please pray for a friend of a co-worker of mine. One of the teachers at VCS has a family that she was close to growing up. They have kids that are the same age as this teacher and this teacher's little sister. The mom in the family passed away just a few days ago. Please pray that they would get the strength from God to get throuhg this very difficult time.

Also I would humbly ask for prayers for myself and my own family as we deal with my father's imminent heart surgery that will happen in the next couple of months. His valve that was replaced in his last surgery 10 years ago is leaking fairly badly. It has to be replaced and that means open heart surgery. I fear that this surgery will be much harder for my father as he is now much older than he was last time. I pray that the Lord would come along side not only my father but also my mother, and everyone else that stands by my family stateside. Part of me totally wishes I could be there by my mother's side while my dad goes through this again, but right now the financial situation is not where I can afford to do that. Please pray that the valve gets replaced, he heals well and comes out of it renewed with a joy for the life that is such a precious, precious gift to us all. Thanks guys for staying in prayer about all of this. This next semester is going to be really really busy for me and I will desperately need each and every one of your prayers. God bless you guys!

In His unfaltering grip,

Ushering in the New Year Czech style!

Happy New Year ya'll! Sorry I wasn't able to get back on her and get an update out sooner, but this is the first time I have been able to get on the computer this year . . . seriously, 2007 that is. Anyway, it was a great time in the Czech Republic for my brother Matthew and I. Heck, it was just a great time hanging out with him. He has grown up since I last saw him. The man he is becoming now is a far cry from who I remember him as. Matthew, it was wonderful to have you as my guest and to share my European family with you. I pray that we will meet again soon in the Lord's timing of course! :)

The last week or so it has been really difficult to keep track of what exact day it was but I have the dates filed away in my memory. So while we spent a long wekend in the mountains it was really only marked by what I remember as 29, 30, 31, and 1. Matthew arrived on the 26th of December and I met him at the airport. He was starved so we grabbed a pizza schnitte at the nearest restaurant after he had exchanged some money. By this time it was later and we headed back to the apartment to get some sleep in preparation for the next day's fun of sight seeing and such. We didn't go to sleep right away because we had to open gifts that he ahd brought and that I had for him and so forth, but we eventually fell asleep about 11:00 I think it was. The next morning the 27th we had the entire day to hang out in Vienna. After waking up around 10:30 we headed to school. There we got the train times for our trip the next day to CZ. We also dropped off the sweatshirts that he had brought with him for the school.

After school we headed out and as we were leaving we ran into two of my friends from VCS. S. V. was coming to school I think it was to help with setting up for the 20th anniversary reunion and she was then free. Matthew and I were not sure what we would be doing all day so we told her we would call if there was something she could come do with us. On the way to the Ubahn we ran into another friend, J.H. who was also heading to school to help. He said that some of the guys would be playing poker that evening and M and I thought we might want to play so we said that we would call after we were done at the thermal bath that we were going to. So after meeting JH we headed downtown to see the sights on the ring and so forth. Then we headed out towards to outside part of town to the Thermal Bath Oberlaa. We then spent about an hour and a half relaxing there.

Oberlaa had everything. They had saunas (wet, dry, and herbal) that could fit 20 people or more. They also had three swimming pools that were different temperatures. The first one we went in was the warmest and was outside. You walk out the door and down a ramp into the pool that is so warm and the outside air is so cold that there is a foggy mist that surrounds you. Then we walked over a bridge outside to the other pool that was slightly less warm and had spouts that created a whirlpool-type thing. That was neat, but what the coolest thing about these pools is that the third pool, the inside one, was connected to the outside on via a door in the wall. You could literally swim from outside to inside. How sweet is that! Anyway that was part of our time together, at Oberlaa. If any of you come and visit me here in Vienna in the winter we can go there, its awesome!

We finished at Oberlaa about 7ish then I called JH. He said that they were doing poker at TG's about 8ish. So we went right to TG's from Oberlaa. It was about 40 minutes on public transportation until we were there. So Matthew got to meet TG, MG, ThG, and TG's B in L and S in L. JH won poker although the Reynolds boys put up a good fight. Matthew lost to me and I went on to get second. It was great for Matthew to meet some of my "family" here in Wien.

The morning of the 28th M and I headed by train to Breclav where Betka's grandpa and mom were waiting to pick us as well as Martina up to bring us back to Lednice. We spent some great time with her family and Matthew got to meet his future sister for the first time and confirmed again that I am marrying the right person . . . .

I will edit this post later with the rest of our adventures, but right now I need to plan out the next semester's work.