Monday, June 24, 2019

Transforming Power of the Gospel

This afternoon our friends from Jackson Hole Classical Academy arrived here to Athens!

We will be with them, and our guide who will lead us across Greece and Turkey, for this special study tour of the Early Church.

While we get started on the sites and Dave's teaching tomorrow, this evening we headed down to the area of Monasteraki, in the direction of the Acropolis, Athens' most famous site!

On this warm summer evening, it couldn't have been more fun to take in the sights, sounds and smells of this amazing city.

Athens is one of the world's oldest cities, with its history spanning over 3,400 years! While you don't feel its ancient roots in the downtown today, you sure feel it when you look up to the Acropolis, an ancient citadel overlooking the city.

We'll be up there in a couple days, but for now, I'm taking in the fun sights right in front of me. I think I want to try and do this on my patio at home!

I don't know if I can find flowers that will grow in the shade of my patio, but I hope to try sometime!

We had dinner all together at such a wonderful restaurant - truly memorable for our first night together!

If, by any chance, you're ever in Athens, Kuzina is quite a treat of what they call "Modern Greek Fusion" food!

And nothing tops off a meal like gelato!

It's so good to be with our friends, and we're all looking forward to what's ahead for us "on location" as we study God's Word about the transforming power of the Gospel!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Afternoon in Athens

Dave and I just returned from the States yesterday afternoon, and today are off on another adventure - this time, with Claire included too!

Our dear friends from Wyoming, who have been a tremendous encouragement and support to us over the years, asked us to join them, and the staff from their classical school, on an early church history study tour in Greece and Turkey.

Dave will be teaching many times over the next twelve days as we journey to these new places together, learning on location from the New Testament across these countries.

We arrived in Athens this afternoon, found our hotel and then wandered in the city that we haven't been to since 2003.

Back then we were traveling by car with our vacation family buddies, the Ellenwood's and Hash's! Most of what we remember from Athens was the 109 degrees (42.7 C) that it was up at the acropolis (seen below in the distance, at the end of that street!). 🥵

Thankfully temperatures are much more pleasant today.

Claire was just 12 years old back then so it's really special to be with her here as our adult daughter now!

The group from Wyoming arrives tomorrow afternoon, so today we had time to see a bit of the city and start getting over jet lag.

Thankfully Claire is an excellent navigator (and she'd be the first one to tell you that Google Maps is her good friend!) so found us a great place to eat lunch and get coffee!

We're tucked away in our hotel tonight, and praying for a good night's sleep so we're all fresh tomorrow when this tour begins.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Travels with Dave

Two hours after the JV board meeting yesterday, Dave and I were at the airport in Chicago to take our flight back to Europe. We arrived tired, but safe and sound into Vienna.

While waiting for our delayed flight to Krakow, Dave made a purchase he's been contemplating for a year.

After 35 years of watching him travel everywhere with his briefcase, he's made the jump to a businessman's backpack instead! 😂

That briefcase has been an extension of him for so many years! But it was finally time to retire it and get a new, and more ergonomic, version of it. Here's to hoping it lasts for as long as his briefcase did!

Once in Krakow we discovered that two pieces of our luggage didn't arrive, so went to stand in line to find out where it was.

If we hadn't done that, we would've missed seeing these JV teammates, Kevin and Daniela, who were coming back from a ten year planning summit with the leadership team of KAM, our JV ministry in Czech!

Our bags were, thankfully, found in Frankfurt and will get delivered later on today.

In the meantime, we headed into downtown Krakow by train to get some dinner before coming back to the airport to spend the night.

We're actually not even going home, but headed on to another trip tomorrow.

I am happy to be traveling with Dave these days!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Behind the Scenes

Three times a year the Josiah Venture board of directors meets in the States to provide oversight for the ministry.

Every one of these men are committed followers of Jesus, and they love, care, support and stand with Dave and his executive team as they lead the ministry (they love the JV team too!).

When we became our own organization in January 2002, the first JV board was formed, which included a very dear friend of ours that we'd gone to church with during Dave's year of grad school at Wheaton College.

Frank has been an integral and key part of the ministry ever since, serving on this board now for 18 years. That's an incredible commitment to us and to the Lord!

Dave and the exec team honored him and his wife today, with a special commemorative book that's "one of a kind", made just for them!

We are infinitely grateful for his faithfulness to stand with us in so many ways, and for our entire board and their commitment to provide godly wisdom and help in shepherding JV.

There are so many who are behind the scenes of JV, doing innumerable jobs to make sure we can do what God's called us to do on the mission field. One of those is Sarah who mans the JV USA office!

Amy and I stopped in to see her while the board meeting continued (you can kind of see them in the room that's just through the open door!).

How we love all of our JV people, importantly including the board and our USA team!!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Visiting Mozart Street

This is a very familiar view!

When Caleb and Haley got married five years ago, this was their first home here in Chicago while they were still students at Moody.

We walked through this door many times coming to visit them in those days.

But today, Amy and I were visiting one of our dearest friends, and JV teammates, who lives here now!

Geri and Dave Fuehring served in Czech for three years, but go back a lot farther than that with both Amy and I.

Amy and Geri grew up in the same town and at the same high school in southern Illinois! I got to know Geri many years ago when she was on staff at a church in the Chicago suburbs and came out on short term teams with her husband and girls.

And then three years ago, they fulfilled a dream to come serve with us in JV. Oh how we loved having them there for those years!

But they have now moved back to the States and will be serving JV from the States, helping to mobilize new missionaries to the field.

And in God's provision, they were able to move into the very same building where Caleb and Haley lived, which happens to be next door to the coolest restaurant and brewery!

Geri says it's their extended living room, and they're building relationships with the staff here, and before long will, I'm sure, be "mom and dad" to these people as they were in Czech!

She's worked with me on the Prayer Room since the early days of its creation in 2016, so has an extra special place in my heart for joining me in that project. I'll miss her being just an hour away from me in Czech, but besides staying in JV, she's also staying on the Prayer Room team so I'm thankful for that!

They'll also travel over for all the major conferences in Czech, so I'll probably see her as often as I did when she lived down the road!

She and her husband are great missionaries, and will continue to be that right here in Chi-town!

Love you so much Geri!