Friday, February 29, 2008

Funny IKEA thing . . . .CAR!?!?

Hey all,

I thought I would share this that I got in an email. The email said this and include the following 2 pictures:

IKEA is planning to sell cars ... but only to experienced IKEA customers . . .

It helps to understand what IKEA is all about. They sell household things that you really only need a wronch like in the picture and some other basic household tools to put together.

Betka and I really love IKEA and do most of our home shopping there. Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Is it really only 5 months away!?!?!?

So to mark the day of 5 months until our due date I have a picture of Betka thats been approved to show that she is showing a little. We are both dreading the point where old ladies on public transportation start patting her belly. That should be fun . . .and a lil awkward also. Have a great day all!


Walk in the park . . .Lednice, CZ . . .and Vienna, Austria

Hey all,

One of Betka and my favorite things to do in our spare time is to take walks in different parts of Vienna. Because the public transport system is so amazing we are able to very easily get to the outskirts of town and places we otherwise would not be able to go to without a car. We also like to walk when we are "back home" in Czech Rep.

Below are 2 pictures from a walk that Betka and I took in the Chateau park of her hometown Lednice, Czech Republic.

Just last Sunday Betka and I went for a walk to explore another part of this great city of Europe. Most people when they visit Vienna only see one side of Vienna, the downtown historic parts. Vienna also has many wonderful parks and things that make this city of 1.6 million seem a little bit less urban. They are all over the city and we happened to stumble upon one very interesting park in the south west corner of the city. We really enjoyed our walk and here are some pictures from that time.

Left: I didn't even notice it when I took the picture, but there is a red cross spray painted on the wall of these ruins.

Below: These are pictures that I took when we took off from Vienna International Airport. It is beautiful how you can see the mountains (Alps) with the sun rising as my flight left at 6:40AM Vienna time.

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoy taking them. Blessings!:)

Brian & Betka

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Where exactly in Vienna do we live? . . . Where is the school?

I was surfing the net today and I found a really good map of Vienna. It illustrates the districts of Vienna and the way they break the whole city up into 23 different districts. We currently live in the 2nd district, Leopoldstadt (Leopold's city), near the city center and the school is in the biggest and fastest growing district, the 22nd district, Donaustadt (Danube City). The city of Vienna used to have little villages all around it and when the city grew outwards it swallowed up the individual villages and those town centers have become neighborhoods now. It is really very interesting. We have about a 20 minute commute to work each day on the U-bahn (subway). Life here is really quite good. It isn't cheap though. I was thinking about our budget the other day and how its amazing that the Lord continues to provide just as much as we need, not more, not less. We have faith that He will continue to provide and we let you as supporters know our budget so that you can be more informed givers. We also believe that if you know exactly where the need lies you will be more willing and able to help us in the Lord's service in the future.

Our current budget as far as we know is somewhat like this. Granted some things like phone bill, food, and extras vary month to month, but basically this is what we need as of right now.

Reynolds Family Budget in Vienna Monthly (with exchange rate as of 2/26/08)

Rent======================================= $566/380Euro
Utilities(Gas, water, electric, etc)=================== $150/100Euro
Transportation (Public)========================== $ 137/92Euro
Phone Bill (land line)============================ $45/30Euro
Brian's Student Loan============================ $170/114Euro
Food (Including for Bible study meal)=================$298/200Euro
Discretionary Fund (Travel to Czech, big purchases, etc.)=== $150/100Euro

Total budget: $1516/1,019Euro

This is a rough estimate of our budgeted expenses. Obviously with our baby coming we will have more costs that are not currently budgeted. We would also like to point out that currently our support level is poised to put us in the negative with RCE and that can happen for a couple of months, they step out in faith with us, but in order to keep serving here we need to try to stay in the black. The Lord has been faithful and we praise Him for providing what we need when we need it. We would definitely like to see some more monthly supporters. If you believe that the Lord is pursuing you to become one of them please contact us ASAP. Blessings all!:)

Brian & Betka

Monday, February 25, 2008

Life is really hard sometimes . . .but with Jesus it doesn't seem so bad . . .

Hey all,

Life has been really interesting the last few weeks. February started off in normal fashion as far as school is concerned. In our personal lives things have been really tough for the Reynolds side of the family. February 4th my father, Alex, was hospitalized for his heart/cancer/other medical problems and he was in the hospital for about a week when he "took a turn for the worse" and my mother called me home from Europe because as she said "If you want to say good bye to your dad, then you should try to come." Really it was the best possible timing for my dad to "get bad". . . .if one can even refer to something like this as good. On the 7th or 8th of this month it seemed that he might not live to see me or my brothers one last time. My mom called me to call me home on Sunday the 10th and I returned to the Chicago area on one of the first flights from Vienna through Amsterdam in the morning of the 11th. I was picked up by a family friend around 1:30 in the afternoon from O'Hare and I was at the hospital by my dad's side by 3:00ish. The flight from Amsterdam to Chicago was very nerve racking because I really had no idea what to expect when I touched down. Would my dad be there? Would he have already passed away? I had no way of knowing.

Well, he was there and in decent spirits considering he was dying. He was very glad to see me (Brian), he was talking, and he was even cracking jokes. This was from Monday through the following Saturday I think . . . the days blur together. Early in the week of February 17th he began to fade. Me and my brothers had already been to see him pretty much every day and I had even slept over in the hospital with him. It was very humbling for me to take care of the man that took care of me when I was younger. He was so helpless to do anything for himself . . . it was an honor to serve . . .

Monday, February 19th I stayed over night with him and he didn't wake at all during the night and didn't eat any breakfast the following morning. This also marked when he stopped talking. It became very difficult for him to breath and talking was done in only a few words and not very audible. I felt so blessed just to be by his side.

I had looked into staying longer and pushing my return flight back, but Orbitz would not allow it without charging an arm and a leg so it was decided that I would leave Bourbonnais between 12-1pm to catch my 4:30 flight. I left my father at the hospital in a spacious double room being taken care of by wonderful hospice people. I made sure that when I left that my dad knew that I loved him and that I, we would be fine when he is gone, that he could leave us in the arms of the same Lord that he was going to be with for eternity. I couldn't have said good bye like this had it not been for something that happened the day I got to Illinois and the hospital. I wrote the following for my dad to be read at the memorial service in my absence.

Written by Brian for his dad – February 22, 2008

To be read at the Alex’s memorial service on February 25, 2008

Dear Dad,
As I flew thousands of feet above the ocean I was thinking . . . thinking of what I wanted to say to you. You see I was uncertain of where you stand . . . I don’t know why I doubt your faith. After all, it’s your faith in the Lord that encouraged me to take the path that I have taken in life. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but its there - waiting to be found out, waiting to be spoken. It’s good that I had a few hours left to think about what to say.

I finally arrived in Chicago. Boy oh boy, that was a long flight. At least the layover wasn’t too bad. I know what I want to say now; it’s on the tip of my tongue. … Now, how to say it? I still don’t know if I can. I want to ask you because I love you, but how? I need to be reassured - do you really believe?

Finally the time came that I was all alone with you, sitting by your side. . . . Can I ask you now? … No, wait, my grandpa is walking in. Somehow grandpa knows what I want to do. My grandpa asks you, “Can we pray for you Alex?” You reply with a nod, we can. My throat tightens, I can’t speak … but I don’t even know why. Grandpa started, “Alex, the Bible says ‘If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that He was raised from the dead, you are saved.’ That’s it . . . do you believe that?” You promptly said with labored breaths, “yes, I do.” Emphatically my grandpa and I rejoiced in praise to our Father in heaven! Immediately the tightness in my throat was gone and I was at peace . . . you did believe - Jesus was in your heart.

My Dad believed!

Maybe you didn’t always show it, but deep in your heart you believed. It was only a week and some days later that I received the call that you went to be with Jesus. Even now I remember lots of things about you. You weren’t perfect but then again, none of us are. But, that isn’t the point; it’s remembering that when it’s all said and done, Jesus is the only perfect one and He is the one that matters.

I love you, Dad. We all love you.

Needless-to-say my dad will be missed . . .probably more than I even know right now. My dad passed away about 12:30pm on Thursday, February 21st, 2008 at the age of 61. I had just arrived in Vienna and was getting ready to go to bed when my mom called to tell me he was gone. Honestly I expected it. He was ready to go when I left. I don't think it has even hit me yet. He is really not going to be there when I get "home" again. So yeah as I am mourning I would ask you all for your prayers and I thank those of you that have been praying . . .your prayers are surely felt and the peace that our God can give us has been given to me. Bless you guys . . . . :)


Friday, February 08, 2008

ACSI Honors choir Trip to Prague, Czech Republic and other stuff . . .

So after having tons of pictures stuck on my camera I liberated them today. The first ones are from the trip that Betka chaperoned to Prague. I'll have her write an entry here sometime explaining exactly what they did, but the pictures are taken by her or the students and I will attempt to explain some of them.

Above: Riverside School in Prague, one of the two host schools for the weekend. "The school was HUGE!" as Betka put it.

Below: Betka acts like a guard (Left) for St. Vitas cathedral(Right).

Above: Betka enjoyed taking in the sights and told me that "The baby was enjoying running around Prague!"

Below: The choir sang in two different places on Sunday, (Left) at the International baptist Church of Prague and an older cathedral in town.(Right)

And to end this post . . .a random picture (below) of me the day that Betka got back enjoying my favorite light dinner . . .toast! It was great to hear about how great her weekend was.

Vote now! . . .

Hey there everyone!

I thought I would update to let you know a little more of whats happening in our lives here in Vienna.

Obviously my wife and I are thinking alot about the baby nowadays and as we do we are realizing that there will be alot of changes in our lives and probably even more than we even dream right now. As of right now we aren't absolutely certain what sex our child will be but we should know in the next few weeks possibly. To the right on our blog there is a poll that we encourage you to take guessing what sex our child will be. Obviously just choose one. I (Brian) have been asking my elementary art kids what they think its going to be and the total right now after 1st grade alone is Boy, 13, Girl, 1. So if any of you think its going to be a girl go ahead and vote . . .as far as we know it could be either. We are never truly certain . . .God can fool even the most experienced doctors looking at the scan of our child. We are looking forward to seeing the results of this poll that EVERYONE should do!:)

As far as the other parts of our lives not consumed with thoughts of baby there is our energy break that is coming up next week. We have all week off as kind of an Austrian tradition where the kids go and learn to ski. There is no school but our kids are no longer required to ski, so it is really like a winter break separate from Christmas break. This semester we have a week off now in February, one week and a day off in March and at least one day off in each of the subsequent months afterwards.

Betka and I have been thinking for a long time how I can get more involved or have more of a personal ministry here at VCS as I usually tend to be the "helper" type person and I never really start something or organize it. Betka is "urging" me to consider doing something art-related. I would like to do that but my only concern is that there will be no students willing to show up due to the fact that their schedules are so busy at this time. Maybe it is just my apprehension at having to prepare something for the kids to do. My thought is that I need to develop an idea, get another teacher on board and then start it at the beginning of the next school year. Currently many of our elementary students are attending drama club and the woman that is organizing that is leaving after this year. I was thinking that I might offer art club instead of drama club. I am also praying that there is someone that organizes drama club as the kids are crazy about it. We'll see what the Lord leads people to do including myself. Pray for me as I contemplate what I can do.

On a more practical note Betka and I were blessed with being able to get a bed frame to actually elevate our sleeping quarters off the floor. We wanted to keep our bed in the bedroom separate from our living room and this was the only way to be elevated and do that. Our main reasoning was that when Betka progresses in her pregnancy she might not want to get up from 8 inches off the ground. we slept on it last night and it was wonderful!:) Also there are some more practical things, that you all could be praying as to how the Lord might use you to help us out with. Some of these are including but of course not limited to . . . Crib, changing table, baby clothes, diapers, crib mattress, crib sheets. We are also shopping for a good stroller good for a new born and a toddler. Betka and I think that the best way for you all to help out is to either donate to RCE and make a note to us of what it is supposed to be used for or just send a check made out to Brian Reynolds and send it to my parents home. If you send it directly to me it won't be a tax deduction but it will get straight to me and Betka. Even as we think of all the "stuff" that we'll need we are reminded that the Lord promises that all we need will be taken of. He promises again and again in His word. I read this morning in Genesis his actions with Jacob/Israel and his family as they moved from Canaan to Egypt. From chapter 46 . . .

1 So Israel set out on the journey with everything he owned. He arrived at Beersheba and worshiped, offering sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 God spoke to Israel in a vision that night: 'Jacob! Jacob!' 'Yes?' he said. 'I'm listening.'"

. . .and then towards the end of the book in chapter 47. . .

11-12 Joseph settled his father and brothers in Egypt, made them proud owners of choice land—it was the region of Rameses (that is, Goshen)—just as Pharaoh had ordered. Joseph took good care of them—his father and brothers and all his father's family, right down to the smallest baby. He made sure they had plenty of everything."

For some reason this morning the Lord impressed on me that although the word is talking about Joseph that he "took good care of them—his father and brothers and all his father's family, right down to the smallest baby. He made sure they had plenty of everything." that this could also be taken to mean that He, our Lord will take care of us. Israel/Jacob was obedient to what Joseph told him to do and went into Egypt asking for a place to settle and through Pharoah the Lord chose to bless Israel and ALL his family even down to the "Littlest baby." It was the littlest baby part that really got me. Do we really believe that if we are obedient the Lord will take care of us or is it merely us working for our blessings? Don't you think that the Lord would choose to bless us regardless of what we worked for? What I got from this piece of scripture this morning is that the Lord chooses to bless those that Love Him and not just those but their whole family as well. That is very comforting considering where I am with my family right now. With our coming parenthood on the horizon it is a great joy to know that He, meaning the Lord, will provide for what everyone in my family needs. Please keep praying for Betka and I to truly believe this in our hearts during this time that is quite difficult for us.

I (Brian) am not really sure if I have mentioned my own Dad's condition at all in this blog. Without going into very great detail to spare you the doctor mumble jumble I will just say that this whole ordeal with his health is obviously difficult on Him but it is also very trying for the rest of us his immediate family. For the first time in my life my own mortality has been truly brought before me. As I was on duty after school a few days ago,(I watch the elementary students while they play until 3:45 when they go home), I realized how they feel as kids. They don't really ever think about death . . .they've just begun this path called life. It doesn't even ever occur to most of them that this thing of life even ever ends. As I thought of my students and watched them joyously play on the playground, I began to think of the "life stages" that we all go through. My dad happens to be near the end of his journey and he is getting closer to the goal of being with Jesus, his race is almost finished. Betka and I are at the same place in our physical journey through life. We are looking to welcome a new life into this unforgiving world. Really here at VCS we can see all stages of life as many can elsewhere. It occurred to me the other day that there is only one thing that matters . . . .there really is . . .I know it has been said so many times and life so often gets so busy that we lose sight of it and we forget to save time for it. that one thing that matters is knowing Jesus better. Observing how the students love the Lord, and how my wife loves the Lord and my own struggle to fight my own selfishness to love the Lord, I have come to the conclusion that it IS really only Jesus that truly matters. God is still revealing to me the ramifications of that and many are new each day, but it has actually hit me and this is very very recent. It isn't what a pastor said, it isn't something I have read in a book. Jesus matters. That's it. It isn't what we want, its not about us being happy. Its all about us trusting Him with everything and I mean everything. I believe that we all have things that we resist the Lord on. For me its allowing Him to get into the threads of my life. Making personal decisions every day that He wants me to make. The simple fact that I struggle with things and don't run to Him first is a problem. So yeah thats my soap box for today. Jesus matters. get with Him more, talk to Him, read His word. He DOES MATTER!! :)

Well, as it appears that I wrote a book today I will bid you all adieu for now. Betka and I are continually talking about how blessed we are to be in a position to be able to spend alot of our time being thankful for all of you out there that lift us up in prayer and support. We would really love to hear from any of you out there. Just email either of us at the address that is in the right hand column. We pray that today you are extremely blessed by Jesus because it IS only He that matters the most.

In His grip,
Brian & Betka