Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rainy Days

Driving home this afternoon I took the back way, as I sometimes do, just to see the ever changing landscape near home.

Today's scenery? Wet, wet and more wet! It's been rainy, damp, cool, misty and foggy since we saw the sun last Tuesday.

Even the ducks are looking for somewhere else to hang out other than in water.

But I must admit, there is a certain enchantment to days like this, that mostly make you want to curl up by a fire and read a book. I didn't get to do that today, but it would've been fitting to the mood of the day if I could!

At least I didn't have to be out walking in the downpour like this unfortunate soul.

Our cold day ended with warmth up at Malenovice though! Some long time friends from Colorado came to visit us for a few days.

We're hoping for sunshine sometime while they're here. But if not, they'll get a good view of rainy spring days in the Czech Republic!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Blessed Sunday in Havirov

Twenty two years ago, on our first Sunday living in the Czech Republic, we arrived here to become part of this fellowship of believers.

Církve bratrské in Havířov welcomed our little family into their midst and loved on us from day one: when we didn't speak one word of Czech, when they didn't know us, when we couldn't contribute anything into the fellowship.

Yet they hugged us each week, spoke to us though we didn't understand, held our babies, invited us for lunches, and prayed for us and the vision God placed on our hearts to reach young people in their city with the Gospel, and throughout the region.

And each Sunday I sat in church, with a child on my lap, looking up at this verse thinking to myself, "Someday this language will not look so strange to me!"

"Jesus is here and He's calling you." John 11:28

After eight years there, we moved to Frýdlant and became a part of the church here. But because our first roots were planted in Havířov, we feel such love, warmth and fondness for the people there, and how they ministered to us in our early years.

Yesterday, we were back at the church so Dave could preach ... in the pulpit where he gave his very first sermon in Czech. He began by reminiscing about all the funny mistakes he made in his first sermons, and how kindly the people there responded when he did. Much laughter ensued as he reminded them of the time he talked about Jesus healing the blind, but mixed up the word for "blind" and instead said Jesus healed the chickens!

My first Czech friends are still there...some of the precious ones who faithfully talked to and hugged me each week even when I had no idea what they were saying! How good it is now to have real conversation with them.

As if the blessing of being there at our former church wasn't enough, we had yet another one still to come in Havířov!

Not much has changed at the train station where we used to leave on youth group trips and pick up people when they were arriving.

Out on the platform, we made it just in time for the train's arrival.

Only to find out that the person we were waiting for wasn't on that train.

Thankfully another one arrived just a few minutes later with the passenger we were waiting for.

Although somehow we didn't see him get off, we ended up meeting each other at the front doors of the train station.

Yep, Caleb came up from Slovakia to see us for the night!

He and Haley have been there for a week visiting her parents, and are now just days away from the beginning of JV summer intern training which starts on Wednesday. But he was able to slip in a quick visit before that gets going!

Sunday nights were always "family night" at our house, so last night was no different (except we were missing a few family members!). What fun to sit in our living room, with a cozy fire burning, and catch up in person with Caleb.

And a little furry girl was happy to have him there too!

Caleb and Haley leave on Wednesday for Prague where they'll meet up with the rest of the JV summer interns and begin two days of team bonding through our version of the "Amazing Race". After all sorts of challenges finding their way across the country, they'll eventually make it here to Malenovice on Friday evening where they'll begin five days of training.

So very thankful for the blessings God gave us in Havířov yesterday!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Where's Dave Been?

 If you look closely, you can see where Dave's been this week.

Did you see it? Yep, he's been in Scotland! Glascow, to be exact.

He visited one of our JV families, the Cheshire's, who are Scottish, and in the process of raising support to serve with JV. Do click on the link above, with their name, to read about this dear family and what God's leading them to do with our Exit Tour ministry. We are super excited to have them part of our JV family.

Dave with Sue and the Cheshire kids, along with Terry English who is from UK and serves with JV in Czech. Pavel Schwartz is hiding behind Terry, and is also a JV missionary here in Czech.

Another reason for the visit is that JV is in the process of setting up Josiah Venture, United Kingdom (JV UK) to be a sending agent for missionaries and short term teams, like the US and Canada are. He met with potential board members and worked on plans and timing for that to take place.

We're thankful for open doors in the UK, and the possibility of more teammates coming from there to join us in reaching young people with the Gospel in Central and Eastern Europe!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Refining and Editing

The pile of papers? That's my heart, sitting right there in all those pages. Gulp.

For the past three days I've holed up at home, doing another edit through the entirety of my book, this time with a printed out version so I could look at it differently than on a screen.

Ten hours a day, for three days, I went back over the edits made by my editor and me a month ago, which was at least faster than our last edit! That makes me feel a tiny bit hopeful, like there's light at the end of the tunnel. The book is becoming more focused, refined and hopefully a better read.

Soon I'll get back to my computer and make all the corrections into the manuscript, and then? It goes to a professional proofreader to find all the mistakes I've yet to find!

One prayer request: I'm wrestling over the title, which is a little bit like naming a child. It will have that name the rest of its life! It's hard to capture the essence of your message in just a few words on a cover. Yet I know authors figure out ways to do that, so I trust I will too, eventually.

What a learning process this is! A good one. A hard one. But in all, a necessary one that is refining me more than anything else.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Malenovice: Then and Now

Fifteen years ago, in the spring of 2000, Malenovice had a very different look.

After purchasing it in the fall of 1998 and running it "as is" for two years, we shut it down for a year and began renovations that went up, out, over and under.

With the expertise of a construction company, accompanied by thousands of volunteer labor hours, it began to take a new shape.

I remember weekly trips up to the mountains from our home in Havířov to view progress.

There were some work days where we all pitched in.

And some days of just enjoying the project as it took shape.

Every time we arrived there was something new to see and even our kids loved the weekly visits!

Renovations completed in August of 2001, and since then Malenovice has served as a conference and training center for Czech, and the whole region.

A spiritual home where many have put their trust in Christ and others have grown in faith, it's a beacon on a hill with a light that cannot be hidden!

Next week 140 JV summer interns will arrive at Malenovice for training, filling every nook and cranny of this place to learn, pray, worship, receive instruction and be commissioned before they're sent out as laborers into the harvest across Central and Eastern Europe to once again share Christ from June through August.

How very thankful we are for Malenovice, and all that's taken place there through the years, accomplishing God's work in the lives of so many. And do pray for this place, that His mighty work there will continue!