In May 1995 I had just graduated from George Fox University and within three days of graduation, I boarded a plane for my first trip to Europe. I went with a group of students on a May Serve trip to Ukraine. Originally I was on the team for Haiti, but political instability caused that trip to be canceled and I was placed on the Ukraine team. After the month, I was smitten with Europe. I continued to return. A short term trip to Slovenia was next. Then my internship for Western Seminary in Brno, Czech Republic. I arrived sometime the first week of March 2001. Two weeks later Beth arrived. On her second day, being the savvy experienced intern that I was with my two whole weeks of experience, I was showing her the route to get to Gloria's house (our supervisor). As we walked to the bus stop at the end of our street, Kroftova, she shared how she had always expected to be a missionary in Latin America as she took Spanish in school. I explained how Europe was a perfect fit for me, and that I had taken German in high school and taken some Russian after my trip to Ukraine. My focus had been Europe for the last several years - this is where I wanted to be. And so it was. After my internship I had every intention of returning long-term within a year or so. But I needed to go home first and finish up my program and get this health issue figured out. In June 2005 Beth and I returned for a visit to Brno - a friend of ours was getting married. I still had hopes of one day returning to Brno on a long-term basis. Come summer of 2009, God had been working in my heart and I knew Brno was no longer where I would be permanently. Honestly, I didn't know if I'd ever be able to do missions at all. I was living in constant pain from my back problem and if surgery in September didn't go well, I wasn't sure what my future would hold but I knew Brno would only be a place to visit.
It is almost two years exactly since my back surgery. I have fully recovered and the surgery was a phenomenal success! I still have to be careful at times and have a few limitations (bummer! no bungee jumping!) but I have my life back! This week I am visiting Brno and Beth, who is now living her full-time, Gloria is here too - I'm actually staying with Gloria. Beth, who thought she'd be going to Latin America is living in Brno for the indefinite future, and me, who always thought she'd live in Europe is on a course for Latin America. Oh, the irony!