Tuesday, May 3, 2016

He Is Able

I memorized this verse when I was in my third grade Sunday school class in Coburg, Oregon.

The pastor's wife brought in her new, green leather Living Bible that had just been published. She read various passages to us from it and then asked which one we'd like to memorize. We chose the verse above.

It's the first verse I ever remember memorizing.

I've memorized a lot of other verses through the years, but this is always the first one that comes to mind when I'm asking God to remind me of his Truth.

And I need this truth so often! Trust him, lean on him, submit to him, believe in his ways to make the paths straight, even when they seem so crooked.

I don't have many answers to the hard questions of life that either I ask or others ask of me. But one thing I do know.

God is able.

He is able to figure things out. He is able to solve problems that seem too big. He is able to point me in the right direction. He is able to communicate with me and tell me what to do. He is able to make a way where there seems to be no way.

He is able.

I wish I could solve all of my problems, all of the problems of those who are dear to me. But I am not able. Only he is.

So once again, I press into his promises, believing him at his word...which says that if I'll trust, lean, submit and believe, HE WILL MAKE A WAY.

Because HE is God, HE is able.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Fusiondary in Frydlant

What happens when six hundred and fifty teenagers descend on to the main square in your home town??

Well, in our case, it looks something like this!

If you'd been here in Frydlant this past week-end, you too might have been dressed up in the national costume of Ukraine. Ukrainian students, along with hundreds of students from six other JV countries, were in town all week-end for "Fusiondary", a spectacular festival put on by our JV Fusion team.

It was three full days of Fusion concerts, workshops and seminars, a Crazy Carnival (which is where these pictures were taken at), coffee shops, a “Divine Attraction” concert (they are our Exit Tour band), and many other activities for fun and for going deeper with each other and most importantly, with God.

What exactly is Fusion?

It's a JV led ministry designed to reach out to unchurched youth through evangelistic rock/gospel choirs and performing arts groups.

And Fusiondary is an event designed to bring together those Fusion groups to perform, inspire, learn from and encourage each other.

The theme of this year’s event was "Challenge Accepted", with the program designed to encourage students to think about accepting the challenge of taking a step of faith towards God. Excellent, relevant and powerful messages were given throughout the week-end encouraging students in that direction.

Standing in the back of our Frydlant cultural house on Saturday evening as Fusion choirs performed, I felt like my heart was going to burst from the depth of joy I was experiencing.

That night was such a beautiful representation of our vision...the one Dave penned on the shores of Lake Geneva twenty five years ago.

"A movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe ..."

It was happening, right there!!

" ... that finds its home in the local church..."

What's unique about each of the Fusion choirs is that they all have their home in a single local church. It's not a city wide choir or an unconnected youth club, but rather a ministry that is birthed in a church, among a body of believers who carry the responsibility for reaching the students.

When a church takes on a Fusion choir they provide a "home" for it, and take on all the tasks of making it happen. That includes everything from musical direction to Bible studies to food at the end! Our JV Fusion team trains the churches in how to do all of this, and some of our JV missionaries are actually in those local churches leading the choirs.

" ... And transform society."

That's what we want to see! A movement of God that brings true, lasting transformation to individuals, and to the society of these nations.

"A movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe, that finds its home in the local church and transforms society."

That vision was alive, well and active this week-end at Fusiondary!

How I praise God for what He is doing throughout this region of the world, for how He's changing the lives of young people and calling them to Himself.

I can't believe we get to be a part of His amazing work!

Photo Credit: Mára Dušek
UPDATE: May 4, 2015

I heard today that 35 teenagers put their faith in Jesus at Fusiondary!! May those decisions hold firm and may those young people stay followers of Christ the rest of their lives.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Done, Again.

One of the things I've learned along the way of writing a book is that there are multiple layers of "Done".

Done with the rough draft.

Done with submission to an editor.

Done reworking the manuscript after the editor returns it (with thousands of remarks and corrections, I might add).

Done with my edits on top of her edits.

Done submitting to her another round of edits.

Done editing on her edits again. Done, done, done, done.

Sometimes it has truly felt never-ending. This process takes months, if not years. As is my case, I started writing in October 2013, and here it is April 2016 and I've just submitted the final manuscript to the agent today, the one who is managing this process for me.

So that's another "Done".

From here, the manuscript goes to a technical proofreader and then I'll get it back to go through those edits. That shouldn't be too hard as it's a matter of accepting all her additions or deletions of commas, semi-colons, other punctuation and spelling errors. But I won't do any more editing of the text. It's as good as it's going to get. I remember reading something that Anne Lamott once said about edits - that at some point you ... just. have. to. stop.

That day came today for me. The book itself, for all my purposes, is done. And you know what? I feel good about it!

Today I received a letter I wrote to myself a year ago, sent through the Future Me website that I like to use. In the letter I said,

"I've done a number of hard things...

Birthing three precious kids...

Moving to a foreign country and learning to live there

Training for and running a half marathon...

And thousands of other things.

But today I've come to the point where I'm not sure I can do this one thing: edit this book to my own satisfaction.

I read something today that JK Rowling said...she said she couldn't stand book 3 of Harry Potter by the time she was finished. Well, that's how I feel about my book right now...and it's NOT finished. I'm tired of it. I don't like it. I don't know how to make it better."

A year ago I was completely stuck on the editing process, which is why it's taken so long to finish. The book didn't feel right and I didn't like it. So I put in on a shelf (well, not literally...just had it sitting on my computer) and let it be for many months.

After a lot of prayer and thought, I began to edit and re-write, multiple times over, last month. Thankfully, I can now say that I like it. It just took a l-o-n-n-n-n-n-g time to get here.

I'm thankful to have had these days in our beloved little village of Svete Nedjelja on Hvar to finish (to this point anyway!) a project that's been on my heart for so long. We're heading home tomorrow. I'm got done just in time!

When will this book be in print? Hopefully this summer!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Her Majesty, the Bura

Borrowing the phrase for my title from another website's post, we're in the midst of a certain phenomenon here on Hvar. More on that in a second!

With Dave studying for the six session he'll teach at our upcoming Josiah Venture spring conference in two weeks, and me reviewing the final edits of my book, this is pretty much what life looks like here on Hvar right now. Not an exciting photo, but real life!

At least one of the three of us is getting in some good snoozing! See who's getting in a nap??

Dave and I had to run errands earlier today so I snapped a couple of photos outside as we walked by.

If you've ever been to Croatia, or read my blog, you know about the "bura", a special type of storm that occurs here.

What you can't see well in these photos is the fierce northern to north-eastern katabatic wind in the Adriatic known as the bura, which has been blowing the past few days. It can bring in some fierce weather including wind, rain and cold at this time of year, and we've been right in the midst of it trying to stay warm.

There is a certain beauty to the bura, not to mention that it's known for blowing out all sorts of viruses and bacteria from the air, leaving it pure and clean. As long as you can stay inside until it passes, it's a rather wonderful phenomenon to experience from the inside looking out! Perhaps the bura will pass before we leave and we'll get to see some spectacularly clear air afterward.

If you want to see some videos and read a bit more about the bura, check out this link HERE that tells about it last month in Croatia!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Traveling Days

With the back of the car completely filled, Kaylee looks a little less than thrilled to be squeezed into the front seat with me.

But if she'd open her eyes, she would have quite a view out the window.

We left home yesterday morning bright and early and enjoyed a feast for the eyes as we passed the glowing canola fields in Czech. When the crop rotation brings these dazzling fields to us every few years, I am so happy! The incredible carpet of color fills the landscape as we drive.

But that's not the only lovely sight. From our moving car I caught this beautiful moment too.

Continuing on, we headed for the border which means driving past the Mikulov castle, first built in the 13th century. As we drive by, I smile thinking how our daughter, Claire, would love to see this as it's a favorite sight of hers.

We drive on, over the border into Austria. They too have the glowing fields.

And spring planting has begun! What a gorgeous day for a drive.

With a long day of travel ahead of us, this little one wonders how much longer she'll be on mom's lap! Sorry to say, we've got quite a few more hours ahead of us.

We made a stop to pick up yet another round of necessary items for the house in Hvar, in order for it to be ready to rent out to guests this summer.

As I watch Dave repacking the car in order to fit everything in he jokingly says, "What? You think I can't get everything in?"

Do you see why I'm wondering if it will all fit??!! :)

Amazingly, it did. Dave has seriously good packing skills!

We continued on down south and ended our day of travel in Split, Croatia where we had the joy of spending the night with our JV staff there, John and Amber Hinger. Oh the joy of swapping stories late into the night of God's work and faithfulness!

We're now on the ferry, headed over to Hvar where Dave will spend the week preparing his talks for JV Spring conference. In two weeks, over 300 of our missionaries and their families will gather at Malenovice for five much-anticipated days together of enrichment, encouragement and fellowship.

Dave is looking forward to digging into God's Word over these next few days as he studies for his theme: Milk and Honey - How to Not Get Lost on the Way to the Promised Land!