Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Obeying the Law

Coming with Dave to Chicago for his JV spring board meeting this week has an extra special twist.

I get to see Amy!

Normally I see my dear friend and fellow JV teammate often back at home in Czech as we serve together there.

But for the next six months she and her husband, Mel, are in the midst of obeying the law and in what we call "Social Security Exile" from Czech.

A new law was passed a few years ago that requires any US citizen who lives in a different country (like Czech) that has made a "totalization agreement" with the US, to leave their country of residence every five years (though you can apply for a four year extension, making it every nine years) for 6 months in order to stay eligible for US Social Security benefits. They don't have to go back to the US; they just can't live in their country of residence for six months.

Confused? So are we! If the US made you return to the States, that would make more sense. But they just tell you that you can't stay in your country of residence. Where you go is up to you.

So Mel and Amy can't enter the Czech Republic until November, when their six months is up!

Over these next months they'll spend some time in the US seeing family, supporters and churches who stand behind them. But most of the time will be spent in Europe (just not the Czech Republic!) so they can stay connected to the ministry.

Mel and Amy are not the only ones who have to leave their homes to do this - we have several other JV families who are out right now too, others who will leave soon, and others who have already completed their six months out of country.

While it's not the worst thing in the world, it's not easy, especially for those with kids. But they are all making the most of it and trusting the Lord for His plan during those six months.

For me, it was just nice to see Amy today, and I'm glad we have a few more days together this week before we're apart again!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Grand Rapids

Dave arrived safely from Europe last night, landing in Grand Rapids, Michigan to meet up with me.

Every two years we come here to a foundation located here, who invests in our ministry. We love to share stories with them of God's work among the youth of central and eastern Europe!

They are one of the ways that God has provided for some of our big projects to move forward, such as the development and printing of new training materials which happened this past year.

This foundation is so Christ-centered, working with hundreds of organizations around the world to help the Gospel go forward.

We always leave so inspired by some of the stories they tell us about what others are doing around the world to advance God's Kingdom. It's a privilege to partner with them in getting the Good News of Jesus out in our part of the world!

With about an hour before needing to go back to the airport, we enjoyed coffee downtown at Madcap. If you're ever in Grand Rapids, and like superb coffee, go hang out there!

It's so good to be back together with Dave. I sure like doing life with him!

We're headed out to Chicago from here, where Dave will have a JV board meeting in a few days. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sacrificial Love

My mom and dad were up early this morning with me, kindly and sacrificially taking me to the airport at 5:30 AM.

They have always been so helpful and supportive, standing in love and prayers with me and my family as we've lived away from them for all of my adult life. I know it's not been easy to have us live across an ocean; but my whole life they have been people who choose joy no matter what, and who have blessed me into the life that God had for me. For that I am so very thankful!

As I flew out from Eugene, headed to my next destination, I thought how kind my heavenly Father was to give me these parents here on earth!

I settled in for a long flight after my goodbye with them. The views were spectacular as I flew from Oregon across the United States.

And I landed safely in Michigan where I'm now waiting for Dave to arrive from Czech in a few hours!

He's been in Prague, Berlin, Germany and Kristiansand, Norway since we last saw each other a week ago. No doubt there will be much to catch up on when he arrives!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Saturday Market and Father's Day!

Visiting my family this week-end, we headed into Eugene this afternoon to enjoy some local culture!

The Eugene Saturday Market is the oldest weekly open-air crafts market in the United States. Opened in May of 1970, it has run from April through mid-November, no matter what the weather is, for 50 years!

Begun by hippies back in the '70's, I remember you could find a lot of tie-dye at the market back then.

And it's still here today!

But of course it's evolved into much more since then. You'll find a variety of handcrafted goods artwork, jewelry, clothing, and craft furniture here. Vendors also sell homemade jams, breads, soaps and honey.

Oh and if you're lucky, you'll see an original hippie bus here too!

I told my parents this should be their Christmas card picture this year! πŸ˜‚

I have so many memories of being downtown Eugene when I was a child so it's nostalgic to come back down here.

I can remember coming to this very fountain that hasn't changed in 50+ years!

While tie dye, and more tie dye, still abound at the Saturday market, I passed on purchasing any of it...as I have for the past 50 years! πŸ˜‚

Back at my mom and dad's in the afternoon, we got to chat with these two Patty men in Albania!

And then it was time to celebrate my dad for Father's Day (early...since I have to leave at 6 AM tomorrow).

My dad is the kindest, most generous, loving and supportive dad - it was a joy to get to tell him that in person!

And enjoy with him my mom's strawberry shortcake to celebrate!

I was watching the light outside, hoping for "golden hour" to take a few pictures. I think we got it!

My dad brought out a ladder and my brother figured out how to prop my phone up on it so we could take that family photo on this lovely evening.

And I snapped a beautiful one of my mom and dad too!

We finished out the day by looking at some old photo albums, enjoying sweet memories of the past.

There were even a few cute notes that they'd saved, like this one from Claire when she was 8 years old!

Not sure why she called my dad "Bop-it" back then! πŸ˜‚ He is always and forever Bapa!

What a perfect two days here with my family in Eugene! So thankful for them, and for these days we got to be together on this Father's Day week-end!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Family Day

What a perfectly beautiful Oregon morning to wake up to with my family here in Eugene!

My brother, Mike, took the day off from work so he could hang with us on this family day...

And my mom made her awesomely famous (in our family!) shrimp salad for lunch on this sweet family day.

And what's better on a family day than fresh maple bars for me and my dad after lunch?! πŸ˜‚

It was so great spending the afternoon here at my mom and dad's dining table, talking, laughing, and remembering special memories like the time my dad made almost a hundred candle holders for Caleb and Haley's wedding back in 2014!

My mom's amazing Thanksgiving meal (thanks Mom for making it for me!) finished out the day here. She seriously makes the best stuffing, a taste of my childhood that brings back all kinds of warm memories.

A day of just getting to be in their home, enjoying time together is the best kind of family day!