Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Eyes on Jesus

How very good it was to wake up in Israel this morning! And of course, even more of a blessing to wake up to share the morning with these two.

We had a couple hours before we had to be back at the airport to meet up with our JV family, so took a walk down to the sea to enjoy our first view and the sunshine.

The rainy season is over here in Israel and it will be sunshine all week while we're here, and until October when the rains will come next.

After having come from more snow and cold at home in Czech, this is super nourishing.

Six years ago we were here with Claire...seemingly a lifetime ago! How sweet to share this trip with her as an adult who now serves with us in JV.

We stayed as long as we could, soaking in the sea salt of the Mediterranean and the fresh air in Israel.

But soon we were back at the airport and on our bus with everyone, headed for the Sea of Galilee!

We have JV teammates with us from Slovenia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech, Hungary, Serbia, Latvia, Estonia and Slovakia, as well as JV A-team members from the US, a guest from Colorado, a friend from Latvia, and long time friends of ours from the US who live in Istanbul!

It's going to be a great week together.

Our first and only stop today was on Mount Arbel, above the Sea of Galilee.

Here, Dave set the foundation for our week together by talking about what fuels a movement of God: disciple making with your eyes on Jesus. We'll be talking about that all week!

It was absolutely beautiful up there, looking down over the region of Galilee where Jesus spent so much time in the early years of his life and ministry.

This is also a very likely place where Jesus brought the disciples and gave them the "Great Commission" after he was raised from the grave. Imagine that there were just 11 guys in this spot who heard Jesus say, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

It's amazing to think that they did just that, which resulted in all of us being here today!

Looking forward to all that's ahead of us for the rest of this week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Israel Via Istanbul

The three of us left freezing cold Vienna this morning headed to a sunnier land.

We have the joy of going to Israel with 50 of our JV teammates for the next week, walking where Jesus walked and thinking about how he made disciples over 2000 years ago, that resulted in all of us following him today!

We flew through the Istanbul airport in Turkey and had a four hour layover there. Thankfully, due to all the miles Dave and I have flown this past year, we were able to wait in the lounge for our next flight.

You can't believe how excited I was to find twenty different sorts of olives just waiting for me to taste test them! I'm a big fan of any and all olives.

What does Dave do while waiting in a lounge? Work on preparing his messages for the next seven days while we're in Israel. I love this man!

We made it to Tel Aviv, along with four of our JV family who were on our same flight - though they'd come from Slovenia and Bulgaria!

Tomorrow morning we'll meet up with the rest of the JV team and begin our special time of experiencing all the Lord has for us in the Holy Land.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Delights of Family

Tomorrow, Dave and I leave for a trip to Israel with JV staff, where we will study the life of Jesus through the lens of discipleship as we walk the land where he walked.

Claire will be with us on this trip, which is a special treat this year!

But there are other family members who will be at home in Czech. It was so good to get lunch with them after church today and soak in a few last minutes with them.

This is such a season of change for these little guys. In two weeks they'll be different! So I'm just capturing a few little details about who they are before we leave.

Judah, the strong, adventurous one who seems to know no fear or limits! He saw these big "blocks" (as he called them) and knew no reason not to muscle them around the play area.

And then dear Asher, so sweet and cheerful, and so often smiling with his eyes! I caught this one of him earlier today at church, such a perfect representation of who he is right now.

And then, his sweet look a few hours later as we got ready to say goodbye for the next two weeks. He's a heart melter!

Oh how these little men have captured my heart!

When our kids were little it was always hard to leave them because I enjoyed them so much. And that's true even more with grandchildren! I miss our Charlie all the time (who lives in Colorado), and I"ll miss these little guys for the next few weeks.

Standing in Their Place

Throughout our years in Czech, Dave has served as an elder in our churches here, both in Havířov and in Frýdlant n.O.. He started preaching in the Czech language within two years, and still continues to preach in our church about once a month!

This morning after he finished preaching, our pastor brought up some other Patty's.

Tyler, Lara and the boys visited our church for the first time since arriving to Czech in January. Since they are now part of a church in Ostrava, today was a send-off for Tyler as a member of our church, to become a member of the new church he and Lara are now involved in.

Dave got to pray over them, to commission them from our church to their new one.

After they sat down, our pastor had Claire come up.

Today she became a member of our church! And Tyler had the privilege of praying for his sister, commissioning her into this body of believers to serve, love and be part of this flock.

It was a precious moment, watching our kids as adults, stand firmly as believers in the Lord. Each has been led to a church God has prepared for them, where they will give of themselves with the gifts and talents God has given to them.

I so deeply thank the Lord for his work in their lives that has led them to love the Lord with all their heart, and to serve him from that place.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Impromptu Lunch

Dave and I were heading out the door for the week-end when suddenly Lara and the boys popped in!

They'd been visiting friends during the morning, then grabbed lunch at McDonalds and brought it to our house while Tyler drove up to Malenovice for a meeting. What a treat to see them, even for a half hour!

Judah and I made the most of those minutes!

The Lord's kindness touches my heart every time I get to be with these dear ones!

I never expected to have our kids, or grandkids, live life with us. This gift of having them nearby causes my heart to rejoice in the Lord over and over!