My neighbor, Pepa Janoušek shook my hand, thanked me for my service in Czech the past few years, and drove off. He was driving off in my little station wagon. I was leaving it with him to sell for me after I moved back to the US. I watched my old life in Tábor and jumped on the train. My mind and heart were flooded with a host of emotions. Lukáš was with me.
The last few weeks in Tábor were so good and filled with tears. The whole month of April was filled with goodbyes. Life got simple for me... and busy. Pack all of my belongings into a garage, say all of my goodbyes, and help Kori plan our wedding. It seemed like every meeting I had was with someone I would never see again. My friend Adam threw a going-away party for me. We grilled Czech sausages over the fire, played croquet on the church lawn, and talked. Towards the end Adam interviewed me in front of the group. People expressed some sweet things to me through out the afternoon. That evening Štěpán and I sat on the square one last time. He was one of the first students in Tábor that I connected with.
The next day was my last Sunday in Tábor. I had a bunch of the guys over to help me load up the trailer. We all went out to the pub by the river afterwards. Vítek, whom I had discipled for the past two years, came with. Philip was there too. I met him when he was a rebelious middle schooler. Now he's one of the most mature 19-year-old believers I know. Jindra, another of my old neighbors, showed up later in the evening. He has a bad habit of taking money out of people's wallets, so we all checked to make sure we knew where our wallets were. Even though we've confronted him on this he still knows he has our friendship. Štěpán and Adam were there too. This was such a sweet finish to my time in this wonderful city.
How do I sum up all that I have said goodbye to? It was in this city that had my first experience as a Czech youth pastor. It was in this city that I fought with the Czech language and won. It was here that I made my first real friendships in the Czech language. I learned to preach in Czech here. I wrestled with God here. I wept over this city. Tábor became my home.
As hard as it was to say goodbye to my South Bohemian home, I know that it was time. My friend Poky had capably taken leadership of the youth group from me. All of the kids I had been discipling were graduating and going off to college. And most importantly, my beautiful bride Kori was waiting for me in Alaska. This was a sweet, hard, and wonderful time for me. I am so thankful to Jesus for giving me the privilege of serving His body in Tábor for the last 3 1/2 years.