First of all, if you are reading this because you had anything to do with funding this project and/or praying for our family, THANK YOU!
Ever since we bought our home back in 2014, we have wanted the pool in the backyard to be G.O.N.E. Why would you not want to have a pool in your back yard, you might ask? It just was not safe for our family. For the first few years that we lived here, our youngest could not swim, so we kept the water level really low. In addition, it was a pool made out of a grain silo placed into the ground with the top sawed off, a very thick layer of concrete was poured as its floor, and then the top rim was edged with very thick concrete. So, when the water level was low, my kid might not drown, but he might break his neck if he were to fall in. In addition, I cannot even count the number of times the neighborhood kids would run around the rim of the pool when they were playing tag and hide-and-go-seek. No matter how many times I warned them not to do that, that is exactly how they played. Oh, the stress! It also did not help that Casey traveled so much, so keeping up with pool repairs…no. It literally just became a murky steel-rimmed pond with various critters living in it. One time, my neighbor even asked me if I could please get rid of my frogs because his wife could not sleep at night. My frogs? Oh, bother.
Casey even put in some ultimate effort to start the process, but as the project got more and more involved, we realized that we needed help and how were we going to afford this?
Part of the challenge of living in a foreign place is that you do not have the same tools and resources that you are used to. You do not know where to go for things or who to ask. Often we know what we would need in the States but what is it even called here?
Fortunately, during our 6-month exile outside of Czech, Casey thought to involve a few friends that we have to get their suggestions on what we could do. We ended up hiring a project manager and he hired a landscaping company that he knew. Praise God. The owner used to work for Josiah Venture and we did not even know that he owned such a company. They were great.
We mostly just wanted a safe place for our kids to play with no “ponds” or gaping holes for them to fall into. In addition, we had a greenhouse in our yard that we never used with broken glass panels, and our sidewalk pavers were all falling apart. They helped us with that too.
We also found out in the process, thanks to a neighbor that was observing our progress, that in a few years we would have to update our septic system and all of the drainage lines. This would cost us thousands extra if we had to tear up our sidewalk in a few years. I remember getting that phone call as we were driving through Slovakia heading down to Bulgaria for our first ministry stop for the summer this July. We had loads of stuff, our kids, and our intern team in the car, and were faced with the possibility that our project would have to be stopped because of these drainage lines. We just stopped and prayed that God would provide some solutions because we did not know what to do (the whole not knowing who to call, what info. you need, or where to get said resources, person or info struck again). The Lord brought a friend from Czech to mind that worked for the local septic company that served our septic tank regularly. I put him in contact with our landscaping friend. Within minutes, we got a phone call back that the project was back on. That one call saved the day. Praise God for HIS resources!
A few years ago, we realized that most of the walls on our first floor were wet and growing mold (it’s a concrete home thing) so we had to have extensive repairs done to the interior of our home. A year later, we were noticing that some of those walls were getting moist again (NO!!!). This construction helped with those problem walls because they were able to bust up the concrete on the outside of the house that was holding water against the house like a sponge. Above, that big slab of concrete by the door was one of the major culprits. It has now been smashed to smithereens and removed (YES!!!).
This project turned out to be for so much more than just beautification (even though our backyard truly does look beautiful with a nice big patio area, planters, and nicely landscaped and seeded lawn… grow, grass, grow!). I am so thankful for the repairs that will help our family to not only have a safer yard to hang out in, but it has helped us to maintain dry walls and keep mold at bay.