Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Winter Academy Day Two

Although I'm at at JV Winter Academy at Malenovice, some little faces greet me each morning before I make a snowy drive there.

Instead of being at home in Ostrava, Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher are all staying at our house this week while Dave and I are at Academy.

Winter Academy is a required event for all JV missionaries, which means that if you're a parent, you have to figure out childcare so that you can be there.

Some couples choose to go on different years, with one parent staying home while the other attends. But this stretches out the process to three years since one parent attended last year (year one), the other parent is attending the first week of Academy this year (year one for that parent), and then will swap with the other parent next week which will be Week 2, for all those who came last year, (which is Tyler and Lara), and for another group of all those who are brand new on the field (which will include Caleb and Haley). But for the parents who are going separately, the parent attending this week will still have another week of Academy next year.

Hope you followed all that. It took me a while to work it out in my brain too!

Tyler and Lara offered to care for the daughter of their friends in Ostrava, Cory and Anissa, who serve in our EXIT Tour ministry. So while they are with me at Academy this week, their daughter is spending the week at our house with her little buddies!

In the meantime, her mom, dad and I are trudging up the hill every day to get there by 8 for our first session!

It is an absolutely beautiful winter wonderland up here! Today about six inches of snow fell throughout the day as we sat inside. I'm glad we had windows to look out at it!

The schedule throughout the day is full of many different teaching sessions, of all different sorts of topics related to our spiritual growth as people and growth of our ministry skills.

This morning we started off with a devotional from Ondra from Czech, about being good learners, as Jesus was a learner. Have you ever thought about the fact that he was the author of the Old Testament, from heaven, and then came down to earth as a baby and had to learn it all over again in the Jewish synagogue?

Another special part of Ondra's teaching is the fact that I've known him since he was five years old! I used to drop Tyler off at kindergarten with Ondra when we lived in Havířov! He is one of our trainers today in Czech, and is a very good, and sought after, teacher. I loved sitting under his teaching today!

Among those here at Winter Academy are some special people who are part of our JV A-Team - accelerators and ambassadors for JV. Two couples are here for both this week's academy, and for next week's as well. That is commitment!

Barb and her husband, Paul, have a daughter in the States who is just about to release her first book called Uncluttered.  They asked if I'd be willing to be on the Launch Team, which meant getting a digital copy of the book to read it ahead of time, leaving comments about it on various websites (that helps get it into the market) and sharing about it, like I'm doing with you here!

I not only enjoyed reading the book (Courtney has great humor and fun stories!), but even more so it had a big impact on me through her message of uncluttering your life in order to live in greater freedom...both in the physical and spiritual world. I've already started applying some of the truths from it and plan to read it again, this time with a pen in hand so I can write notes to myself!

To break up our long day of learning, we had some more levity in the afternoon with another "Minute to Win It" challenge of balancing a cookie on your forehead and using only your facial muscles to get it into your mouth!

A fascinating session on the 16 Personalities followed the game (I was literally so engaged in it that I never thought to take a photo, but it's one of those sessions that I'll think on for a long time!), then dinner and finally two more sessions that were led by my brother-in-law, Josh.

He was illustrating how we sometimes choose to identify ourselves in a national way that can elevate our culture and put down another, when really we should all be living out of our identity in Christ. 

This was another rich day of being trained, taught, inspired and motivated to be all of who God wants me to be, which includes being well equipped to lead in the areas that God has called me to.

I am loving being here at JV Winter Academy this week!

Monday, January 14, 2019

JV Winter Academy 2019

This morning I made my way up to Malenovice, plowing through the slush and ice, barely making it into the parking lot down below the hotel.

But the hike up the hill was rewarded by this view!

I'm up here this week for our JV Winter Academy, along with over 100 other of our staff, including Ermal from Albania who serves with Caleb and Haley there!

The Academy began last year as a means of bringing our entire team up to date on all of our training and core competencies so we are well equipped for ministry.

It is broken up into two week long courses that take place over two years time. Half of our staff started last year, and the rest are starting this year, which includes people like me and Anicka, who serves here in Czech.

Dave is doing a heavy amount of teaching this week and next when the other half of our staff are here to continue their second year of training. He told he he'll be teaching 25 times!

While this is more like attending a college course for a week (we start at 8 AM and go until 9 PM!), there are little breaks along the way, including "Minute to Win It" moments like this!

They have a minute to pick up cotton balls with their noses and transfer them to another plate! 

There are a number of people teaching this week, including my dear brother in law, Josh. I always love it when those Patty men teach!

It snowed off and on all day, but the sky opened up in the late afternoon to give us a beautiful view of the sunset (albeit through the window since we were still in "class"! )

Dave finished this evening with a session on "What is the Church", giving us a biblical view of God's heart for the church, something that we are passionate about.

We want to see the "bride of Christ" prosper, so every bit of our ministry ties back to the local church as we serve them as missionary teams (which, as Dave pointed out tonight, is also the Church!).

This is going to be a very rich, full, intense and helpful week as we systematically go through many different subjects that will be useful and enriching for our lives and ministry.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Making A Choice

It was a beautifully moody winter day here in the Beskydy Mountains. 

But instead of winter beauty winning today, winter moodiness took over.

Dave, on his way to meet me for lunch (we'd taken separate cars to church this morning since I had worship practice early), slipped off the little farm road near our house.

Between thick, slushy snow, and icy patches on the road, it was not a good recipe for driving today.

Our friend Petr, who so often comes to our rescue, came first to help solve the problem. Then a neighbor came by with his four wheeler.

But after many attempts, and two hours trying to pull the car out, it was still stuck in the ditch.

Thankfully the tractor/snowplow made a pass nearby and Petr flagged him down! It was just a matter of minutes and the car was safely back on the road.

Once Dave had brought the car back home to meet me, he asked, "What do you want to do now?" to which I replied, "Get lunch!"

So off we went...albeit on a different road...and had a nice lunch together.

The car is no worse for the wear, and we know now not to take that little road for the next few days!

But it was Dave's comment to me over lunch that really struck me.

"I guess God had other plans today. I'll accept that!"

He then said that the conversation inside his head had started with his flesh, which wanted to rant about what had happened and fling all sorts of accusations around. But because he's been teaching recently about what it means to put the flesh to death and turn towards the Spirit, he chose the latter. And because of that what could have turned our day into a bad one, kept it a sweet one.

And after all that, he said, "And I'm glad I got to meet another neighbor!" 

I appreciate Dave's cheerful choice to listen to the Spirit today!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Spring Cleaning in January

For some people, springtime is their "go to" for getting spring cleaning done at home.

But for me, it often tends to be January when that happens. And today was one of those days.

But this time I decided to try some less harsh methods for getting a few jobs done since I'm sensitive to chemicals, especially for this sort of a grimy job.

Ever tried that "recipe" for cleaning your oven? I happened to have some Dawn dishwashing soap thanks to friends who brought it for me a few years ago.

Believe it or not, the combination of those things actually worked! I had to give it a good scrub with a non-scratch scrub sponge. But that did the trick and it looks a whoooooole lot better now!

I tried another natural recipe for cleaning grout, and while it worked somewhat, it's not a "win" so I won't post that.

But I'm happy to have a clean oven, and the benefit of no fumes during or after its cleaning!

If you're local to me, and need a few drops of Dawn soap to try this, ask me and I'll bring you some!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Snow and Visitors

Oh the delight of lots of snow out our back door! I love a January like this.

And the delight of having unexpected visitors this morning!

Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher have been up at Malenovice all week with the group of interns that Tyler is shepherding this year in the "Journey" program, an internship program that Dave started over twenty years ago!

While Tyler's been teaching during the day, Lara and the boys have been playing inside and out at the hotel.

Tyler sent this picture earlier in the week of them making the trek up the hill, in the snow, AGAIN! They are all troopers!

It absolutely thrills and blesses me to see them being "family on mission" together, giving and sharing their lives for the sake of growing God's Kingdom here in this region of the world.