Monday, October 20, 2014

Catching Up

When life has been full, you've had guests, been away from home for a while, but suddenly find yourself with a little bit of spare time, what do you do?

I took that moment to catch up with few of our kids!

It was a day off at Moody so both Claire and Caleb had time to chat at the same time I was free. That doesn't always happen when we're all living full lives so it was a gift that it worked out that way today.

"Thanks for the photo Caleb!"

Missed chatting with Haley, Tyler and Lara. But at least it was good to talk with Claire and Caleb after weeks of being on the go. Even though our kids are all adults, I still like staying up to date and hearing all their news!

"You three...Haley, Tyler and're next!! When can you chat?!"

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall Colors in Krakow

Krakow was at its fall finest yesterday when we visited with our guests, especially up at the castle.

I felt like I was on a movie set, with color enhancement on the screen. It was just gorgeous everywhere you turned.

This fall in Czech and Poland has been especially saturated with color: rich reds, golden yellows, warm browns, vivid oranges.

The Lord didn't have to do that! Everything could've just been green, or brown, or yellow.

But no! He gave us all these glorious colors.

They make me want to say that fall is my favorite season of all.

Even the sunset was brilliantly colored yesterday.

Thank you Lord for your creativity and diversity of colors!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tasting His Goodness

"Taste and see that the Lord is good."

Over at H20, our training facility in Poland, that is just what we had the joy of doing today.

Hosted for several hours by JV missionary, Greg Carlson, and Fala (Poland's national JV organization) board member, Hanna Mrozek, we heard story after story of God's goodness, faithfulness and miracles here at H20, something I never grow tired of hearing.

I wished I'd had pen and paper, or at least my phone, to take notes on what Greg and Hanna shared with us and our guests today: stories of lives being changed, stories of God's provision, stories of reaching out to the community in this place.

In the midst of much laughter (Greg has such a wonderful way of bringing out joy and laughter in any setting - I love that about him!), we rejoiced with them in the ways this place is being used by God to change people's lives in Poland through the Gospel.

And they're still continuing to dream and believe God for more, which I shout a hearty "Amen" to!

We believe that the Lord's got even more ahead for this facility as it makes an impact on the lives of not only youth, but families, marriages, schools, teachers and businessmen too. These are all groups of people they are currently ministering to through the training center, but want to do more in order to reach them as effectively as possible.

Pray for that!

We enjoyed an incredible lunch, prepared by their new top-notch chef who is not only amazing at his job, but a believer as well who knows this is God's calling on his life. How awesome is that?!

It was pure delight to hear from Hanna at lunch, about her passion and joy in sharing Christ as she works with junior highers as a teacher, but also as a ministry with El Dorado, Fala's outreach to that age group.

Hanna (in the blue sweater) came to Christ at a JV English camp years ago and later attended Fala's year long internship program. She went to university, became a teacher and teaches in a Polish junior high school, but also serves on Fala's board of directors. SO delightful to see how God has led her all these years, and how she's now serving Him with her gifts and talents.

The Lord is so good! And we had yet another taste of that here at H20 today.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Proud Mama

I felt like a proud mom all day today.

With our guests from Louisville, KY here visiting, we arranged for a number of our teammates to come share what God has them doing in their section of the ministry of Josiah Venture.

Throughout the day I either felt like standing up and cheering, or I was overcome with emotion and just wanted to cry in thankfulness to the Lord for how He's working.

Either way, it left me with that proud mom feeling!

Credit: Exit Tour team

This morning before we left Prague, Kevin Dickson and Jéňa Pospíšil, our Exit Tour leaders, came for breakfast at the hotel to share about what happened just THIS WEEK on Exit Tour in Karlovy Vary.

They shared the Gospel face to face with over 700 students, prayed with some to receive Christ, saw God answer some major prayer, and were lights for Christ in a very dark place.

I got choked up hearing about it. I love how God is using them across the country as they've been in 164 schools sharing the Gospel over the past eight years. (Click HERE to see photos from the Karlovy Vary tour).

After a train ride back to Ostrava, and a drive up to Malenovice (our training center), we had a tour with Petr and Radek of the whole facility.

Again, another proud mama moment as they talked about how God has made it possible for us to continue building this place to accomplish God's work. He is using Malenovice for so many amazing Kingdom building opportunities!

And finally in the evening we gathered together some more of our dear teammates to share their testimonies and stories of what God's done and is doing through...too many for me to even mention! But I can tell you it was moving to hear each one of them as they shared their heart and passion to reach young people with the Gospel, and to be disciples who make disciples.

God has called together such an amazing group of people to join Him in accomplishing His work here in Central and Eastern Europe. And it was a joy to be reminded again today of ALL that HE is doing to reach this generation with the good news of the Gospel!

I am SO proud of all of them for their courage, faith and commitment to the Lord to reach the next generation for Christ.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Unexpected and Amazing

From the moment we walked outside this morning, I felt like I was in a painting.

With rain beginning to fall as we walked, it was still enchanting to make our way through the streets of Prague as we headed for the airport.

It's been a long time since I've been here in the rain, which gave a different sort of atmosphere than the sunny days we've recently had there. I was enjoying the change.

But by the time we came out of the metro at Dejvická to catch the bus, I was beginning to wonder what our guests would think if the day continued on in its wet, chilly and windy weather.

After dropping off their bags at the hotel, we took them into Old Town Square for their first glimpse of Prague as rain softly fell.

The square is enchanting no matter what the weather is, and I couldn't help myself taking photos as the light was actually spectacular for capturing the colors on the buildings.

With it still lightly drizzling outside, we stepped into Starbucks and sat for an hour telling our guests the story of how Josiah Venture started. Being in the back with no windows, we couldn't see what was happening outside.

When we finished coffee and the first part of the story, we walked out to blue sky and a completely different sort of day!

You would NEVER have known it'd been raining in the morning as the day turned into one of THE most spectacular fall days I've ever seen here!

Everything was sharp and crisp, with the colors vibrant in the clean air that'd been washed by the early rain.

Everywhere I turned, it was a photo op!

After several hours of touring while Dave told the spiritual history of Czech, we made it to the Charles Bridge with our guests, friends from Louisville, Kentucky. The men are elders at a church that partners with JV, and they, along with their wives, are here to learn more about what God is doing here.

He sure put on a spectacular display for them in Prague today!

Seriously!! It was amazingly beautiful here this afternoon!!!

I asked Dave to take a picture of me just to remember being here on such an amazingly beautiful, and ever-changing-weather kind of day!

Every few moments the clouds moved, the sun came and went, and you were rewarded with awesome views and vistas if you just waited...a few seconds!

It was the sort of day you just pinched yourself to see if it was real!

What's crazy is that I've probably been to Prague at least a hundred times over the past 20 years, and it truly never, ever gets old. I love it every time.

But today was definitely one of those "note to self" kinds of days: Don't EVER come to Prague without a camera! Sure glad I had mine today.

After walking for eight hours, with only a few stops, our guests get a big award for effort and perseverance when they were all working off no sleep on the plane last night! At least it was a spectacular day for them to be outside walking.

As we headed back to our hotel for an early dinner, I got one last photo of the day to capture and remember the goodness of the Lord: an unexpected, amazing and spectacular day in Prague.