President’s Message

Strowe Nowe Lĕto! (Happy New Year)!

It is hard to believe that 2016 is already behind us and another year has begun. What seems to me to have been just yesterday was really one year ago, when most of 2016 was still in the future. As we moved through 2016, we were witness to changes on global, national and local levels, and for many of us, on a personal level. Can you imagine the changes our immigrant ancestors confronted after they each made the personal decision to leave behind what they knew in the hope of establishing a better life in a country they didn’t yet know?

In this issue, George Nielsen addresses the need for and benefits of planning ahead – logistics – in reference to the 1854 Ben Nevis migration (again, can you imagine?). While our board of  directors is not trying to move 500+ men, women and children to a new country, we are trying to plan for the future of the Texas Wendish Heritage Society by developing a “map” that will guide us from where we are today to where we want to be in the future. To that end, during 2016 the board members began the process of developing a strategic plan for THWS. Board members spent time, individually, reflecting on their experiences as a TWHS volunteer and translating those experiences to identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Most of the input from the board members was remarkably similar, which means we are on the same page, and that is a good thing. The next big step will be taken in April of this year, when the board will meet with a strategic planning facilitator to take us to the next level – drawing our map.

Another change last year was the reduction of membership meetings from four to two per year. Members approved the proposed amendment to our by-laws at the November 20, 2016 meeting. The cover page of this issue outlines the plan for our first Membership Day, scheduled for Sunday, March 26. Future plans for Membership Days will no doubt be included in board strategic planning after we’ve held the first event and have the benefit of knowing what worked and what didn’t work.

Last May, Dr. Charles Wukasch, one of our longtime members and staunch supporters, made a big change in his life when he and his wife moved (temporarily) to Poland. But Charles has kept in regular email contact with us. In addition to informing us of his visits to Bautzen and other villages and cities in Germany, he has been sending weekly Wendish language lessons. For those of you who communicate by text messaging on your smart phone and close text conversations with “TTYL” (talk to you later), the Sorbian (Wendish) equivalent of “TTYL” is “hdp” (hač do potom).

If you are interested in trying your hand at pronouncing some Wendish words and phrases or reading Wukasch’s blog, check out his Language Lessons post. You may also purchase his book “A Practical Grammar of Upper Sorbian (Wendish)” from the museum gift shop.

Whether it is keeping a New Year’s resolution, making a big change in your life, facing a big challenge, or planning for the future, my wish for each of you is that 2017 brings you good health, success in your efforts, and the ability to keep smiling when the road gets bumpy. And we also hope you find an opportunity to visit us here at the museum at least once!