by Cherie Fresonke @cheriefresonke
Do your dreams and reality match? Or has reality pushed your dreams into outer space?
I must admit when my dreams and reality don’t quite line up I can get discouraged. So how do we look past the discouragement and find hope for daily living?
After countless hours of dreaming and eleven years of prayers, we purchased a tiny, tiny retreat center near the heart of Bulgaria on January 13, 2015. Yes, two years ago. (Sorry for the super slow update.) Since then, we’ve had an amazing, exhausting two years of renovations, retreats and hardly any relaxation.
We dreamt life would be a bit different. Perhaps you can relate. Since Keith retired from the construction industry we imagined we’d worked throughout the day and stop at 4pm to relax and enjoy life a bit more. I imagined taking this time to blog a paragraph about the thought of the day (as my blog post in January 2015 attests to—sorry!). But in reality, the best I could do was an occasional post on Facebook with a snippet about Village Life.
So what have we been up to?
From the missionary aspect, while settling into life in Bulgaria, we’ve built new relationships with the church in Troyan.
We’ve held nine Go in Peace Weekends, five retreats, six pool parties for the Youth Group, eight Women’s Events (in Troyan, Gabrovo, Pleven and Russe). As well as, weekly Bible studies during the warmer months, met with the couples’ ministry in Sofia and taught a Defending the Faith seminar in Troyan. We’ve hosted an intern from Biola University for seven weeks, an American man who wanted to grow in his relationship with God for three months and a construction team from Calvary Chapel Murrieta (our sending church), all while renovating our tiny retreat center!
We’ve built two new kitchens, re-tiled a shower, updated another bathroom, redid the pool deck, added two patios, rebuilt two rock walls, did major renovation on the first floor of our little house (that was built as a barn over a hundred years ago), redid the bedrooms in the Guest House, built a gazebo/swing/fire pit thingy (thanks to the team from CCM), changed out a fireplace, added a laundry room to the pool house, and the list goes on.
We torn down the old barn across the street (click above to see the video), renovated what we call the Meeting Place and began plans on a new building we hope to begin this spring, all while trying to keep up with the garden and maintenance of this amazing property.
So although our dreams and reality did not quite match up, and rest was an illusive daydream as well, we’ve had the greatest two years of learning a new language (mostly construction terms), building interesting relationships with our village neighbors (oh, the stories we could tell), and finding rest in God alone.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. Psalm 62:5
If you think of us, prayers are appreciated. We hope and, of course, dream that we’ll finish our house this year. (We need to re-tile the baths since they leak.) I imagine sewing curtains and finishing a quilt I began years ago. It would make a great bedspread and tie in wonderfully with the charm of the room, the wood beams on the ceiling and the . . . But there I go again—dreaming. I doubt I’ll have the time to even begin those fanciful aspirations. In reality, I would like to finish the Great American Novel I began before the move to Bulgaria. Or at the very least, find an hour a day to squeeze in writing.
We Want to Hear From You
Yet when dreams and reality don’t match up, it’s a good thing that my hope comes from Him, and Him alone. Where does your hope come from? Feel free to post a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.