Yes, we had to call Czech 911 last Monday. It was our second local phone call ever. Thankfully I knew at the time that you have to actually call 112. I know that because we have a friend who was born here who keeps detailing to us the frequency of home invasions. I’ve laid awake more minutes than I care to admit wondering if that creak was a burglar and if I should dial 112 on our tiny Vodafone. But we didn’t have to call 112 over a home invasion. No, it was over a raging inferno.
Mark stayed up late last Sunday to catch the Bronco game live (so fun to kill the Raiders). When he came to bed at 2am he exclaimed, “Jennifer! You gotta see this!” He pointed out our bedroom skylight (which is eye level because we have sloped ceilings) and I was shocked to see a huge fire right across the field from our house. It was easily four stories high and wider than that and flames were shooting even higher than that into the night sky. We stared at it dumbfounded and wondered why there weren’t any emergency vehicles responding to it. We hale from dry Colorado where any flame larger than an ashtray is cause for a statewide emergency. After a couple minutes of mouths hanging open and us running from window to window to convince ourselves that what we saw was real we decided we should call 911. It was the middle of the night, we reasoned, everyone must be sleeping and we’re the only ones who see it.
After holding (yes, they put us on hold) the dispatcher who spoke English took our report and we hung up. Then nothing happened. And still, no one came. The fire raged on. About an hour later we decided to just go to bed. The field between us and the fire is quite large and it’s always raining here, so the ground is soaked. We weren’t in any danger.
When we awoke it was burning. That thing burned all day and into the next night. It finally dawned on us that it was a PLANNED fire. Doh! We felt really stupid. We spent the day cracking up thinking how the dispatcher must’ve had a good chuckle at the looney Americans who called 112 over a purposeful blaze. We did relay the story to a couple new Czech friends and they thought the inferno sounded unusual. Who knows? I wonder what we live across from?
Other than calling 911 over non-emergencies, we were delighted to have a Czech family in our home for dinner. The father and one of the three sons speak English well and we practiced our Czech as much as possible. They attend our church and the fellowship was really encouraging to us. We also were invited to a New Year’s Eve party with a few families from the church. There too were a few English speakers and super sweet families who extended warm a welcome to us. The Czech believers here are so kind to thank us for coming. One new friend remarked, “It’s really good to know that we Czech Christians aren’t alone. Thank you for coming and helping us to spread the good news here.” Lord willing, in His own amazing way, we pray God would do just that through our jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7) that can offer only Him to a lost country.
I realize it looks small in this picture, but I promise it was huge!
Again, it's hard to capture the breadth of the fire in the nighttime photo. You just have to believe me.