Wow! Today 2009 will come to an end! I can’t believe it! Where did this year go? Not only does today, the 31st, close out another year but also a decade! It’s been more than a decade since I left my parent’s home and ventured out into this big world to live this thing we call life! It’s been a decade since God cornered me with his relentless love and I couldn’t help but give my life to this God. As I sit down to begin to write this and share some images and thoughts that made up the year 2009, I almost considered trying to do a “Decade in Review!” But since this decade didn’t start off digitally like we are ending it, I don’t have any pics from, nearly, the first half of the decade in a digital format! Crazy! So here we go, a year in review will have to do…
off to a fun start
Last year, at this time I was in America, after the biggest bomb-digity-dank-sneak-attack surprise of the decade! (Haven’t seen it yet, click here) With that said, I got 2009 off to a great start with my family (minus Megs) in the LG (Lake Geneva) to roll in the New Year. It was so much fun to dance with my littlest sister, my mom and also watch my parents dance! It was probably the best New Years I’ve ever had and I could not have started off the New Year any better than spending it with those whom I love and whom love me dearly!
The New Year brought me many new cool opportunities but one of the coolest had to be four guys from Rutgers University coming and partnering with me for a week over their spring break! As I look back over 2009, their week with me in Prague marks the start of a wave of momentum with my guys and with football that I have never seen here before. It was a HUGE blessing and I look forward to seeing where God takes things as I continue to ride out this wave of momentum and also I’m stoked to see more people join me in loving on the American Football world of the Czech Republic this year and for years to come!
visitors & a new life
The longer I live here in Prague, I see more and more visitors pass through. Which is always a blessing! This last spring I had the opportunity of having Aaron Slusher visit me. It was so much fun to have him hear and see what God has done in his life since I met him at Wilmington College, while I worked there for a year a half before coming back to Prague. I was so encouraged to see the growth in his life and how he still desires to grow in his walk with God. It was a nice reminder for me that God is at work, even when I forget it, as I live in a city where we see little “fruit.” Thanks for swinging through Aaron!
I also was so excited to welcome little Izaak Stewart’s (of Mark & Joanna) arrival last spring! Living so far away from my family is certainly tough on me (and very tough on my family as well, thanks for the sacrifice you make guys!), but it’s so cool to see how God provides people and a second family of sorts through His Church, well the Stewarts are part of my second family and I love being a “pseudo/faux uncle” to their little boys. So I was “pseudo/faux uncled” once again this Spring with the arrival of Izaak! (Megs & Tom when do you think I will be real “uncled”? Maybe nine months after the wedding? 😉 Hahaha….)
saying good bye
One of the toughest things about living in Prague is that in many ways this city is a revolving door! We are constantly seeing people arrive today and it is as if they are saying, “good bye” tomorrow. Well 2009 marked me saying goodbye to two dear friends (one who happened to be a dear co-worker as well). This year, I said hard “good byes” to Jason & Erin. Jason, was one of the unexpected blessings when I moved back here to Prague. He quickly became one of my best friends and closest confidants here. Mark still makes fun of us, because the first night Jason and I met we were at a concert of a friend, and instead of listening to the concert we stood in the corner and talked (sorry Ondra) about life, vision and etc. Mark said we were like “junior high girls.” Either way, Jason was a good friend and it was hard to see him leave, but I’m confident that God will use him in the next step of his life.
Then on top of saying “good bye” to Jason, I also said “good bye” to Erin, who was on staff with AIA here for about three and half years. Erin and I grew to become good friends and tight co-workers over the nearly two years we shared time here, even in the midst of differences. I think I saw how the Gospel should explode into communities and produce love, trust, respect and more, through my relationship with Erin. This is way exciting, because in the past I don’t know that I would have got to the place with Erin, as friends and co-workers, because I wasn’t living the Gospel out as much as I had to learn to live it out over the last two plus years. Thanks Erin for being used by God for this! Know you are missed here in Prague!
One of the things that’s tough, but sometimes good 😉 is that I live overseas and it keeps me from the many, many weddings that I could go, to what seems like, nearly every month. I hope that doesn’t offend any of my dear friends, who’s weddings I’ve missed. It’s just as a single person, who loves weddings and is a hopeless romantic, weddings can be very dangerous for me (i.e. zach can become bitter, anger, single guy)! However, this summer I got to attend two weddings! The first being the wedding of the Ernsters – Matt & Leanne. Matt (or Ernie) was my roommate for nearly two years here in Prague, after I moved back. It was so much fun to celebrate their marriage in Washington this summer.
Then the second couple was Lauren and Ondra, who had two weddings this summer/fall. They got married in the States and then got married again here in Czech with Ondra’s family. Ondra is a living encouragement for me in so many way, as he was the first guy, who I got to watch God bring to Himself and also because he continues to grow in his faith. Since May 2005, when Ondra came to faith, God brought a beautiful girl from America over to Czech and the rest is history. It was so much fun to join them for wedding #2 and celebrate with them. Please pray for both of these couples as they grow in their relationships with each other and with God.
my first furlough
This summer also brought my first furlough to the States. I put in thousands of miles crisscrossing America, I spoke or shared at churches 6 Sundays, had many dinners, many meetings and much more in a mere 6 weeks! I was so blessed to see old friends and ministry partners who loved on me, listened to me, fed me, prayed for me and plain and simple showed me what the Gospel played out in relationship should look like! Thank you to each and everyone of my ministry partners who gives and prays to make it possible to be here and see God move in the hearts of Czechs! Thank you, you are prized and cherished by me!
my sister & live in the same city?
For the first time in 10 years, my sister, Megan, and I live in the same city! A third of the world away from where we last shared an address! Crazy! While our jobs have completely different hours, and we don’t get to see each other as much as we would like, it has been so much fun having her here and sharing life with her. It is really a special time in both of our lives and I’m hoping and praying I don’t take it for granted! In November we got to take our first adventure together since Megs moved here! It was to Barcelona. More on it to come in the future, as I have a zhtv in the works about our trip, but I wanted to share the picture you see above of us in a Tapas restaurant in Barcelona with you. This is one of the things I love about Megs and when we hang together. We spent three hours at one of the more notable Tapas restaurants in Barcelona and after three hours we were friends with almost all the servers and the hostess too! Megs has the ability to connect with anyone is just amazing and beautiful way! I learn much from watching her interact with people. Megs, here’s to more adventures before you leave!
a new role, new lessons, new guys & a championship!
This fall brought a new role and opportunity for me – that of a head coach. Being the son of head coach, I thought I was prepared, or groomed to a degree, for this, but that was so far from the truth! I learned that my dad (and all head coaches out there) do far more than I could ever have imagined. It was tough but I loved it! Every moment of it – the ups (winning the final) and the downs (having 13 guys at practice)! As promised a blog series will be here sooner or later about what I learned this fall, so stay tuned for Missional Lessons from the Gridiron here at zACHhARROD.com!
the year closes
As this year closed I celebrated the holidays with one of my “second families” here in Prague – the Crossans (Billy serves as the AIA Czech Director & he is pretty much a stud of a friend and boss!). I had so much fun with them over Christmas, and I’m so privileged to serve with a family like them, or I should say to be served by them, because let’s face it that’s the truth. They are great. It’s so much fun to serve as a “pseudo/faux uncle” to them as well and also to be that “crazy uncle.”
Well… There you have it a quick flyby of the year, that was 2009, in a few words and pictures. There is so much I left out, but I don’t want to write a novel today! I hope you understand (If there is anyone still reading this, at this point!). I’ve been utterly overwhelmed as of late as I reflect on much of life and the happenings of this life. God’s grace is so evident and the fact that you are reading this is evident of His grace too! Thank you to you out their in worldwide-web-land who follow these happenings here at zACHhARROD.com, who join in the adventure and revolution with me! You are unbelievable! Here’s to another year, full of more memories, evidences of God’s grace in our lives, and living out the revolution that is the Gospel. Happy New Year! Št’astný Nový Rok!