Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Miracle of Life

At 5:30 PM today, the world and all its cares faded into the background.

Nothing else but a hospital delivery room and the immanence of a baby's arrival was in sight or mind.

I have only been at the births of my own three children, which were of course remarkable and unforgettable.

But it is completely different to be at a birth not of your own children, but of someone else's where you are one little step removed and a witness to the miracle of life emerging into the world.

The depth of emotion I experienced in this room was supernatural, delightful, all consuming and overwhelming in its depth. There were times when I cried, smiled, laughed, felt deep compassion, felt deep pain and wanted to sing to the Lord in joyous praise.

What a holy experience, to see the creation of the Creator appear!!

This sweet baby girl arrived at 7:48 PM, born to adoring parents and two little brothers who will become her playmates and protectors one day!

I'm sure I'll share her name and more photos as time passes. But for now I just want to revel in the sacredness of what God blessed me with tonight: welcoming into the world His precious, much loved, beautiful, darling baby girl.

Truly, I will never forget being there to witness that miracle.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waiting on a Baby

While the weather outside was a tad bit dreary, I spent the whole day with friends whose baby was due today.

After a drive into Ostrava, I sat with them inside one of those doors for a check-up to see how the baby was doing.

Then went for lunch in town when we got the news that baby is fine, but that the contractions aren't strong enough yet. We were all hoping that a good walk and lunch out would bring them on.

The creativity of a barista brought a smile to our face, but alas the contractions stopped and we eventually headed for home.

We spent the whole evening together, but they've now gone home to try and get some sleep. And I'm going to do the same.

I'm on call until I hear that it's time to head back to the hospital to be there for the birth of their baby. I'm so excited!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Ministry of Malenovice

On a fall day in 1995, I first set eyes on this place, having no idea how significant it would be in our lives, and in the lives of thousands of others.

Of course it looked much different twenty years ago, when it had just been restituted back to the village of Malenovice.

As Dave searched for a facility that would serve as a home for the movement of Josiah Venture, Hotel Malenovice was his first choice, and it was the first place he brought me to so we could pray and ask God if this was "it".

It took three years, through many twists and turns, before we had the keys in our hands and knew it was indeed the place God had set aside for His work in this region of the world. Today it stands as a beacon of light to reach people with the good news of the Gospel, and to train leaders to bring it to them across this part of the world.

I seriously never tire of seeing it nor of thanking God for it! It's a place full of His presence and so many lives are changed here.

This morning I had a meeting up there so parked down below and walked up since the road to the hotel was icy and snowy. Memories flooded my mind as I remembered parking below many years ago, when there wasn't even a parking lot and we just parked alongside the road!

Our family walked up and down multiple times a day for three years because we actually lived at the hotel.

It's probably no exaggeration to say I've walked by this view, in all different seasons, thousands of times.

With a few minutes to spare this morning, I walked around to the back of the hotel, to the door of the apartment we lived in for three years when two of our kids were very ill. This place was a refuge to our family in those days as they healed and we sought God's plan for a new home.

I learned so many things about the Lord and myself during those difficult years. I'll forever be grateful to Him for all He taught, showed and changed in me while we lived there. Though we were so excited when our new house was ready to be moved into eleven years ago, I also remember feeling sad to leave the hotel.

It had become very dear to me, and to all of us, during that significant time in our lives.

There is still such a sense of peace and rest when I walk in those doors, and I love nothing more than sitting in the restaurant soaking in His presence or having a good conversation with someone.

I'll be back up there later this week for JV Leadership Academy where over 200 young leaders will gather for training, and then a few weeks later I'll be there for an event with some of the JV women.

Once again, lives will be impacted in this place for the sake of furthering God's Kingdom.

"Thank you Lord for all you're doing in the lives of those who walk in the doors of Malenovice!"

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Finally Winter

When I woke up yesterday, I quickly looked out the window to see if it had snowed like the weather forecast said it would.

I was disappointed when that's all I saw at 8 AM. And even at noon, there wasn't much more.

But this morning, I had my reward!

I've always wanted to take those kinds of pictures to see the progression!

It's been snowing all day, and still is this evening. Now I'm especially glad I moved the wood pile on Friday.

From there to here! It's sure a lot nicer to get wood when it's not covered in snow.

When it snows this much it means I shovel a path around the house for our little doggie so she can go outside. She wouldn't make it very far in even that relatively small snow accumulation!

She hasn't actually been very interested in going out (I don't blame her) so she and I are tucked away inside this evening, staying warm by the fire and eating homemade tomato soup (try this recipe by Pioneer Woman - it's delicious!) and a toasted cheese sandwich with some incredible cheddar my brother-in-law Josh gave to me when we were in Slovenia a few weeks ago. Aw, the simple pleasures in life.

And by the way...Kaylee and I are both staying warm by the fire but I'm the only one eating the soup and sandwich, though she certainly wishes she was!

Dave is gone until late Tuesday night, spending a few days with his long time friend and mentor who will be the speaker at next week's Leadership Academy up at Malenovice. If the snow sticks around, or keeps going, he'll be surprised to see the change when he returns.

We've finally got winter!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Precious Afternoon

As snow fell gently outside, dear ones sat in my living room for an absolutely precious, long, wonderful afternoon of girlfriend time.

Experiencing one of those "glimpses of heaven", we talked for hours about our lives, our kids, our hearts, and the Lord whom we love - all with no regard for time, thanks to their amazing husbands who were watching their kids!

We spent a special time in prayer together as well, praying for each other and for this country we all love so much.

I am so thankful for these precious sisters in Christ who I have the privilege of walking through life with here in Czech.

"Thank you J and L for the joy of sharing life with you!"