Wednesday, December 12, 2018

No Electricity

One of the crazy things about coming to this side of the island in the winter is that you are guaranteed to experience electricity outages. And no, we don't really understand why!

Sometimes they are for just a few minutes; sometimes they are for the whole day.

Good thing it's beautiful to look outside even if the electricity is off.

Today's outage turned out to be five hours long. By mid afternoon it was getting cold so Dave made a fire to warm us up as we worked!

I'm enjoying these days, even if there isn't electricity, as I write Christmas letters to all of our supporters who stand with us in ministry.

We are incredibly thankful to this group of people (you know who you are!), many of whom have been with us for even longer than we've been here in Czech (during our years of ministry in Germany).

But this is an especially significant year to send words of appreciation to them since we're celebrating twenty five years of Josiah Venture. I hope they like what's in those envelopes! 😉 Most of all I hope they know the joy of what God is doing through their prayers and gifts that keep us going.

The electricity finally came back on at 4 this afternoon, just as the sun was setting under those dark clouds.

Heavy rains are forecasted over the next few days so we'll have extra reasons to stay cozied up inside, working on our various projects.

Even if the electricity goes off again (which it probably will!), we've got all the "light" we need to keep us warm!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Man After God's Heart

Few people get to have the view that I do, of this man who pours his life out for the sake of the Gospel.

He continually speaks, leads, writes, travels, counsels, and prays on behalf of the young people of Central and Eastern Europe, and our JV team who minister to them.

Right now his pouring out comes in the form of writing eight lessons that will be part of two more four-week studies in the "Gro" series for following up new believers here.

He has no idea I'm taking pictures of him, or writing about him!

He wrote the first four week study this summer, and now is in the middle of writing these other two which will form the final product of twelve studies, grouped into three 4-week studies, to help our new believers grow in their young faith.

They'll eventually be translated into all the languages in the countries we work in.

He let me read the studies he finished today and they are so good! He has four of the eight finished, so will continue on in the coming days with the other four.

Pray for him will you? These studies are hard to write! They take an incredible amount of concentration, biblical study and heart. But they are such a needed element in our follow up of new believers.

How thankful I am for this man who is after God's own heart -- "who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:4

Monday, December 10, 2018

Mondays with Charlie

On most Mondays I get a little visit with our grandson Charlie!

He lives in Albania with his parents who are JV missionaries there, and Mondays are their day off so that's why we get in our Monday visits!

It's amazing to be able to watch him grow week by week, hearing his new words and seeing him toddle around in their home there. I wish I could video it each time to remember all the little details that make him "Charlie" these days!

Today it was his new word of "doctor" and him patting his chest with his hand when you say his full name of Charles Salem...oh my, he couldn't have been any cuter than when he does that!

Oh and he danced when I sang to him! Today it was "Baby Shark" in honor of his very cool sweatshirt. 🦈

He and his parents will be with us in just 13 days. It will be their first Christmas in Europe as missionaries here (no jet lag when they come!), and the first with us since they married four and a half years ago. I can hardly wait to see them, and Charlie, in person soon!

I sat out on the porch as I talked, wrapped in my coat, (because Dave was in Skype meetings all day and I didn't want to disturb him), watching the ever changing view here. It's chilly today since we had the storm last night.

But pretty as always!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sabbath Refreshment

While we don't have a church to go to here on Hvar, we still took today as our Sabbath, a day of rest, and "went to church" through You Tube!

At our JV fall conference this past September we had a wonderful man, Dr Michael Reeves, come to speak.

Not only is he a brilliant theologian, but he is one of the most gifted and winsome speakers that I've ever heard. I said back then, and said again today, that listening to him is like what I imagine it was to sit under the great CS Lewis!

We listened to him speak on the "Return of Christ". Oh how rich and delightful to have our attention turned completely to Jesus today as we listened to Michael.


More Sabbath continued this afternoon as I spent it curled up in the chair reading a good book.

"Uncluttered" was written by Courtney Ellis, the daughter of one of our JV A-Team couples (A stands for ambassadors and accelerators for JV!).

Her mom asked if I'd be willing to be on the release team, which means reading it early and writing a review. I didn't have to think twice about that!

What a well written book this is! Motivating, stirring, convicting, and practical. I'm ready to 'unclutter' after reading it today...and I'm not even finished yet!

At the end of this Sabbath, as we sat by the fire and talked, a huge rainstorm blew in. Like HUGE!!!! It was raining harder than I think I've ever seen it here before!

But better yet...there was spectacular thunder and lightening!!

This was taken just seconds after the above photo.

I guess I'm a bit of a storm chaser, as I chose to stand outside as the wind howled and rain poured (at least I was under a solid roof!), holding my phone as still as possible, in hopes of catching a lightening picture. That was the best one I got! Keep in mind that it was 8:30 PM and completely pitch black outside...until the lightening lit of the sky.

All of these things were so refreshing on this Sabbath day! I feel ready to get back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Shafts of Light

It started off cloudy but warm today, so taking a break from our projects, we went out to do yard work here on Hvar.

But by 1:30, the sky was looking ominous as a storm blew in from the north.

It's the craziest thing to literally watch it move across the sky, bringing raindrops that soon turned to what felt like a slow running water faucet!

And yet in the midst of it, out at the horizon, were these shafts of light shining through.

The clouds would swirl and shift at a moment's notice, while the shaft of light stayed the same.

We've often said that it actually feels like there is a "hole" in the sky above this village. Sometimes it's close to shore, and sometimes it's way out to sea like it was today.

While I ran in to get my coat on, the wind picked up, and the sky let loose with rain. I didn't want to miss a good storm from the protection of our terrace!

As the storm rolled through, the shaft of light stayed the same out on the horizon.

Right now I'm reading through Exodus, and am just at the part where God sends a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to lead the Israelites in their escape from Egypt.

Seeing this sight today, both the clouds and the "pillar of light", I could more clearly imagine what that might have been like for them.

Finally the storm passed, with sunshine and blue sky replacing the rain clouds.

And then, within just a few minutes, this sight appeared on the horizon!

Again, the "hole" that let the light shine through!

Suddenly one of my favorite songs came to my mind...

"He's coming on the clouds, kings and kingdoms will bow down..."

"...and every chain will break, as broken hearts declare his praise. Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

Our God is the Lion, the lion of Judah, he's roaring with power and fighting our battles, every knee will bow before You..."

YES!! Indeed every knee will bow.

And this is what compels and motivates us to continue sharing the Gospel and discipling young people across Central and Eastern Europe! We want SO many to bow their knee as believers in our GREAT GOD!!!