General Tomas Update

So, quite a few of you have reached out, wondering how Tomas is doing. It’s been two months since he last sent a written update, but we’ve continued to talk to him on FB Messenger every week. Since he hasn’t had the time to update, I thought I might give you a general update here, to the best of my knowledge.

First up, I think the language has taken a lot of his attention. His last companion was the one who was called to speak Ukrainian, so when he arrived in Slovakia, he had absolutely no knowledge of Slovak. Tomas spent a lot of time trying to teach him Slovak while also learning Ukrainian. Because his companion couldn’t speak Slovak, that meant it was up to Tomas to do all the business side of missionary work. Setting up appointment, speaking with most people on the street, working with members. If something needed doing, it was up to him to do it.

You’d think that when he was transferred to Plsen, things would have gotten a bit more straightforward for him. For one thing, he wasn’t with a brand new missionary anymore, so that had to make a difference, right? In reality, he was with a missionary who came out the same time as his last companion, and was also called to speak Ukrainian. So the big difference was that instead of needing to be the person to do all the communicating in Slovak, Tomas had to do all the communicating in Czech, a language that’s similar to Slovak, but still very much its own thing. So he needed to get up to speed with Czech as quickly as possible, while also continuing to learn how to speak Ukrainian.

Three new languages at once? Let’s just say it’s a good thing his Slovak was already really solid.

This was all on top of the need to learn a new city, make new connections with members, and navigate a different country. To spice things up even more, the Czech side of the mission and the Slovak side of the mission generally operate separately. What I mean is that Czech missionaries typically stay on the Czech side, and Slovak missionaries on the Slovak side. So when he moved, he stopped having as much contact with all the people he’d gotten to know over the last year. He still hears from them on Facebook, but it’s different.

Which is all to say that yeah. He’s been busy.

On Monday, he got a new companion. One who honestly speaks Czech! (Or at least, was called to speak Czech on his mission. I haven’t heard yet how good his Czech actually is. I don’t think he’s been out a terribly long time.) While this means that now Tomas is the only person able to speak Ukrainian now, that should make things at least a little more straightforward. (Honestly. The amount of language challenges he’s had on his mission would have driven me batty, I think.)

How long will he still be in the Czech Republic? I’m not sure. I think there’s another transfer in about a month, and then another one . . . two or three months after that?I would expect he’d leave during one of those two windows, but that’s not a for sure thing.

The good news is that he’s still in good spirits, healthy, and doing well. I’ve backed off on asking him for letters much recently, just because he’s had a lot of other things going on. I’ll try to keep you posted if anything changes, but that’s the latest I know of.

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