Debra Allison and Family

To Czech Republic and Back Again

Family letter by Debra

December 31, 2016

Dear ladies,

This year I received an unusual Christmas gift from the Mazgut family, members of the church here in Brno. At first, I noticed the beautiful artwork at its base, colorful birds and flowers framed an hour glass. Oh! This will look great in my greenroom (small indoor greenhouse) I thought. So many times I have heard people say that they live their life in a fish bowl, but as I carefully placed the hour glass on the shelf I realized that my life, this year, has been in the hour glass - squeezed in the middle.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

January, February and March- many miles of travel have already gone under our tires which became very difficult at times, but the most difficult job was to take our eldest son, James, who only just turned 17, to the college in Missouri. We pursued our travels into Texas where we continued our fellowship with our beloved brethren. We took part in a wonderful Valentines banquet, with a great speaker (yes, my husband, of course), celebrated my birthday, took romantic walks, enjoyed Easter, had target practise in the desert, froze the travel trailer twice, and more and more each day our minds and bodies did not agree on the day's activities.

April, May and June - we made a surprise visit to see our grandchildren as we travelled to Iowa for a mission's conference. There we met one of our new pastors, who has the greatest sense of humour. We were truly blessed by the meetings and the other missionaries present. Jeff, David and I enjoyed a little family time during National Park Week in the Dakotas. To celebrate the 100 years of national parks in the USA, fees were free and we just so happened to be in an area of the nation to see some amazing things. We celebrated Easter in the north, enjoyed a visit with James; who finished his first semester with excellent grades, fellowshipped with our home church, sold our travel trailer, my computer files were held hostage and all files were encrypted including all my photos, attended a wonderful Pastors' conference, and continued to run five miles a day trying to keep weight off; but still carried some pounds back to Europe with us.

July, August, and September - returned to Maryland after many months of being on the road, just a few more churches to visit on the east coast. We were able to spend time with Jeff's parents and times to visit my mother. My mother has dementia. During one of my visits she knew who I was only half the time, the other half of the time she was telling me about her daughter named Debbie. We sold our truck, packed for the Czech Republic, weighed, weighed, and then reweighed suitcases, said our goodbyes, arrived in the Czech Republic on July 21st, celebrated Jeff's birthday, celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary, lived in hotel for a week, found the Laundromat, rented an apartment, replaced non-functioning appliances, Jeff preached messages on Christian living and the power of the Holy Spirit, took David to MK camp (also went back to get him), and started the 11th grade with David, after 25 years only two more years to go in home-schooling, what will I get into next?

October, November and December - we are now settled into our apartment. We are becoming quite accustomed to the sounds around us. Jeff and I enjoyed walking everywhere, from grocery stores to our favourite hide away, but the cold temperatures and snow keep us in more often. At the beginning of November, I took ambulance ride and two day stay in the hospital after passing out and hitting the floor. I received a major concussion, three stitches and a broken tail bone. I will not tell you how they set my tail bone, but I will tell you that since my fall I have made many trips to the hospital. I had an EEG, EKG, CT, 24 hour blood pressure meter and too much blood work. After collecting all the data the cardiologist and the neurologist decided that my health was very good, but that I am not 18 years old any longer and maybe I should get up a little slower. Un-measureable sadness hit us in the middle of December when we received word that Jeff brother had died. What a family tragedy and great loss. Jeff seemed to handle it well with many daily thoughts of his brother. We were able to renew the contract for the same rooms for our church services, enjoyed picnics in the park, distributed tract, Bibles in the park, taught character building in Sunday school, memorized Psalm 23 in Czech as a church body, bought church supplies, Jeff continues to preach messages on Christian living and the power of the Holy Spirit, celebrated Thanks giving, David finished first quarter of the 11th grade, placed ads on Face book for services, James finished his first year; now he is a sophomore, distributed "homeless" bags, celebrated Christmas with a great puppet play, wonderful message on the virgin birth, special music and a delicious dinner with our church family and visitors, celebrated David's 16th birthday, hosted missionaries passing through Brno, celebrated the New Year "Czech style" by setting off fireworks and a confetti canon.

The hourglass or sand timer is used to measure the passage of time, but remember it is not the squeezing in the middle by the narrow neck of the hour glass that is significant, but the emptying and filling of the upper and lower bulbs make all the difference to those around you. Many factors can affect the time measured by the hour glass. The Lord said that there is a season and a time for everything - which is sure!

Love and prayers,