Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Most Refreshing Hour

As I sit at my computer today here in the Czech Republic, I know that right now someone is praying for our Josiah Venture team.

And this happens every day, 24 hours a day!

In case you missed it, Josiah Venture is in the middle of something really special this year.

On January 1st, we began a 24/7 online Prayer Room, where people can sign up for an hour of prayer for the needs of our staff and the young people that we're reaching with the Gospel here in Central and Eastern Europe.

When a week looks like this on the calendar, we pray that people will come to pray.

And they do!

We have had over 3400 hours of prayer, and are averaging 29 hours a day.

And from our built-in stats collector, we know that over 70,000 specific prayer requests have been prayed for!! That's a lot of prayer going up to the Lord on behalf of young people in this part of the world.

If you haven't already joined us, would you consider taking an hour of your day to spend with the Lord, and in prayer for our JV family? Based on what others are saying, it could be the most refreshing hour of your week!

To sign up for an hour, go HERE to log in and find an hour that works for you to join us in prayer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

God on the Move

This past week-end our JV team lead three large evangelistic outreach events in three different countries: Ukraine, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

Ukraine finished up another week of EXIT Tour in Lviv, seeing hundreds of students come to the final concert, and several putting their faith in Jesus that night.

Thanks Christy O for the photo!

Slovenia put on their first Fusion festival for choirs around the country this week-end too, seeing 99 students come, which is huge in a country with so few Christians!

Kristy P, did I get this off your FB page? If I did, thank you! :)

And here in Czech, at the same time, a Fusion Day was held for all the choirs on this side of the country, in Moravia and Silesia.

Dave and I popped in to see our staff, give words of encouragement, hug people, and cheer on the choirs who performed.

I haven't heard the final report about it, but know that there were 269 signed up to be there!

God is on the move. And we continue to pray for mountains to move, walls to fall, and live to change.

Honestly, it just keeps getting more and more exciting here as we see God on the move!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ten Years of 'Catch It'

Ten years ago, a retreat began at BMA, one of the high schools here in Frýdlant, our home town.

Our oldest son and a friend had been at a conference earlier in the school year, and were challenged to make a difference for Christ in their school. That challenge blossomed into "Catch It".

"Catch It" is a student led retreat, with peers reaching peers through sharing their own faith. They plan for and provide an environment for their friends to ask questions, discuss spiritual topics, see faith in action, as well as just have a lot of fun together!

Each year they ask a speaker to come in and share on a topic that the student leaders have prayed about. This year, they asked Dave and I to come and talk about what's beneath the surface in all of our lives, the hidden things that no one sees.

The event was held at Malenovice, with 50 students from BMA. That's almost half the school population! This is really a testimony to these kids who want to share Christ with their friends.

On Saturday morning, after Dave spoke to the group, he took the guys to another cabin to have time with them, and I stayed with the girls. Aren't they a beautiful group?!

I got to share my story of coming to Christ, and then answered their questions for an hour.

The next section of the day was just fun!

Everyone was involved in some kind of, art.

Drama, in preparation for the talent show later on in the evening!

An incredibly talented group of singers, preparing a few songs for the talent show as well.

And then...there was the sport's group.

Given that the weather was a little less than ideal, to say the least (we'd had a snowstorm earlier in the week), they didn't get to have their annual baseball game, so stayed in shape by playing a game where you had to drop and do pushups if you said a certain word! So clever!

Despite the cold, damp, icy weather outside, the attitudes of these kids was really something special!

Not a word of complaint, and in fact, perhaps an even sweeter atmosphere since they were all collected together much of the time in the big cabin at Malenovice.

This dear one was a graduate of BMA several years ago, and has been working for them ever since in administration, creating family among the BMA students, and providing spiritual oversight for the many girls in the school.

Terka is a dear friend of our daughter's, and goes to our church, so I get the joy of seeing her often. But it was really special to join her here this week-end in reaching out to the students with the love of Jesus.

We know of at least two students who put their faith in Christ during the week-end! Our prayer had been that there would be some who would hear the Shepherd's voice calling to his sheep, and he answered that prayer!

Over the past ten years, we know that many decisions for Christ by BMA students have come as a result of their time at the Catch It retreats. So we continue to pray that God will work in their hearts, and that they will respond to the call of the Shepherd who loves them and wants to lead them.

What a privilege to have been part of this very special week-end.

Friday, April 21, 2017

KAM's 20th Anniversary

It may have been snowy and cold up at Malenovice, our training center here in the Czech Republic...

But the atmosphere inside was nothing but warm, cheerful and inviting!

What was the occasion for this gathering??

The 20th anniversary of KAM, our Czech JV organization! (an acronym for "Křesťanská akademie mladých", or in English, "Christian Academy of Youth").

I remember the celebration at our home in Havířov, twenty years ago with just a handful of people, when the organization was formally started. We'd already been living and doing ministry in Czech for four years at that time, but that April 1997 saw the beginning of KAM as an organization.

Today, there are nearly 70 full time workers in KAM, all serving young people here in the Czech Republic.

The evening was full of stories and reports about what God is doing through them across the country.

As well as hearing the five priorities of KAM from our current director, as the team continues to work towards bringing the Gospel to young people: Building more partnerships with churches, providing personal mentoring to youth leaders, training in core values, bringing young people into the church, and greater spiritual faith for the building of God's church here.

We rejoiced in the resources that God continues to be so generous at providing.

And we heard personal testimonies from young leaders who are continuing the vision that KAM established twenty years ago.

Dave shared the story of JV's beginnings, and of our early days in Czech as we prayed for and worked towards a movement of God among youth in this country.

The picture is Dave and Caleb, on our first day in country, November 1993! 

We worshipped under the leadership of Cory, who leads Divine Attraction, the band that tours with the EXIT ministry here in Czech.

And we laughed and celebrated over many things, including awards that were given during the evening together.

My heart was utterly full of praises to the Lord for what he has established in this country.

We came all those years ago with hopes, dreams and prayers, believing that God had led us here to be part of what he wanted to do among the youth.

Being at this celebration confirmed that he indeed had a plan! What amazing things he's already done. And he is STILL at work here to accomplish his will of drawing young people to himself.

We pray that KAM's work will continue to thrive and grow for many, many more years!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Blessing times Three

Our Caleb and Haley are coming up on their three year wedding anniversary next month.

It's been so beautiful these past three years, watching them grow in their love for each other, in their walks with God, and in living out their faith in Fort Collins where they serve the Lord in many capacities in their local church and in their jobs.

But do you know what is coming their way soon???

Yes, it's true!! They are expecting at the end of August!

And they know it's a BOY!!!!

That means by the end of August we will have not just one grandson, but THREE!!! Tyler and Lara are also expecting a boy in June.

Our joy is more than we can recount!! How grateful we are to the Lord for the blessing of our grandson,  Judah, and now for the other two precious bundles headed our way!!