The Last of These

In just over two weeks, Lara and I will be moving out of Chicago. I’ll soon share the amazing God-story of how we found our new place, but for now, let’s just soak in these last days in the city.

Neither of us ever thought we could become “city people,” but we have definitely adapted. It’s been five years (three years as singles on Moody’s campus, two years married in two different apartments), which is a long time considering our age (that’s a fourth of our life!) and our frequent childhood moves. 

Since we both had Sunday and Monday off from work this week, we wanted to do something special and commemorate this important season of our life. 

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After a fantastic church service Sunday morning, we spent the day resting at home. I made us coffee, and then we both became engrossed in our own books. Lara is reading a book that I picked up at a used bookstore a couple weeks ago called Cafe Europa: Life After Communism by Slavenka Drakulić. Written by a Croatian author after the fall of communism, it catalogues some of the author’s experiences of transitioning to living in a post-communist world. Some things are quirky cultural observations, others much more somber stories about burdens left over from years of oppression. 

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 I spent the afternoon continuing to read through Exodus, along with some books on Hebrew grammar and syntax. It has been absolutely fantastic sitting with Exodus in the original language and getting to know God even closer through the process. In less than a month I will have to take a Hebrew proficiency exam at Trinity before being able to register for any language classes, so I’m trying to make the most of the time I have now and prepare. Just simply reading is the most helpful for refreshing vocabulary, and the supplementary textbooks are helpful for solidifying my grasp of the technical side of the language. 

After resting up on Sunday (and cleaning the house!), I took Lara downtown to revisit some of our favorite spots. When we were engaged one of our favorite things to do was to walk the city. We covered so much ground by foot in a wide variety of weather conditions! But by far Lara’s favorite place to go is Millennium Park, right in the heart of downtown.

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It just so happened that the Chicago Cultural Center was hosting a free piano-violin-flute concert that day, so how could we pass up the opportunity? We were likely the youngest couple in attendance, and were thoroughly charmed. Beautiful music in a beautiful building (look at the mosaics on the wall!). 

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We got coffee after the concert, and walked our tried-and-true paths, remembering the many dates and excursions we spent in the city. Chicago has become a kind of home to us, and will always be a place we will return to with fondness. It is in this city that God taught us so much, shaping us through our years at Moody, bringing Lara and I together, and walking with us as we learned to be married. 

After a weekend of rest and remembrance, we were so refreshed!

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A Vision for Czech Theological Education

Lara and I recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary! During our time of much needed rest and refreshment up at Lake Geneva, WI, we reflected God’s faithfulness throughout our years together; we also took time to pray and cast our gaze toward the future. Unsurprisingly, the Czech Republic remained a common theme throughout our conversation. One thing is certain: our hearts are bound together in our love for the Czech people.

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We returned to Chicago following last year’s internship in the Czech Republic to an “interlude”—in between the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. Lara had graduated from Moody in May and returned to full-time work in the city; I, Tyler, finished my degree in December and also got a full-time job. It has felt like difficult labor at times, but it has also been a time of great joy: developing rich relationships with coworkers, living life close to my brother and sister, both being in my brother’s wedding, and even presenting an academic paper at a meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.

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Through it all, we have felt that God has been using this time to prepare us for the next stretch of the race, and to give us a vision for a lifetime of fruitful ministry. He has been shaping and crafting a heart in us for His work in Central Europe, and we would love to share with you the direction He is leading us.

In short, Lara and I have a burden to have a part in training a next generation of Christian leaders in the Czech Republic—a country with rich spiritual heritage and promising new opportunities for biblical and theological training. Lara’s heart is especially for pastors’ wives and families, as she recognizes how a healthy home directly impacts a fruitful ministry. I myself would like to offer biblical and theological teaching in a variety of contexts–be it around the dinner table, through seminars, and hopefully one day in higher education. Our vision is to see Czech leaders, teachers, and pastors equipped to serve both church and society, to be faithful stewards of God’s Word, and to be effective witnesses of the Gospel. Lara and I know that others share this vision–and we look forward to partnering with them in the years to come. 

Because of this, I will be entering Trinity Evangelical Divinity School this fall to work on an MA in Old Testament and Semitic Languages. Through this degree I hope to gain the necessary skills and experience to be able to teach Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament theology in the Czech Republic, and also continue on to a PhD in Europe. The Czech Republic has very gifted scholars in the Old Testament field, and I hope to eventually enter dialogue with them, as well as bridge this scholarship in helpful ways to young Christian leaders. The Older Testament is an incredibly rich source for theology, ethics, and encouragement, and it has much to offer the Church. 

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We know that it is a long road ahead of us. But we are so excited! Would you pray for us as we open this next chapter? You have stood by Lara and I so faithfully till now; we have been so blessed by your support. In addition to prayer, would you consider giving financially toward my education in this next season? My tuition spread over two years will cost roughly $12,000. We believe that the investment we place into studies at Trinity will build into decades of future ministry. We would be honored if you would partner with us as we follow God’s call on our lives, that we may all be a part of God’s movement in Central and Eastern Europe.

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