Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall JV staff Conference

Last week was our Fall JV staff training conference at Malenovice. We had 143 people from 10 countries...most of them full time JV staff! What an amazing group of people, committed to sharing their lives and the Gospel with young people.

We sure do love this group of people!

Dave was the main speaker at the conference. Some say it was the best teaching they've ever heard from him. I would have to agree!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A visit from my Brother

For those of you who don't know, I have a really great brother named Mike! He and I are just one year year and three days, to be exact!

He was just here to visit us for two and a half weeks and we had such a great time together! The kids loved hanging out with Uncle Mike because he's so much fun! I liked being with him because he always has so many interesting things to talk about. 

Lily, our dog, liked being with him because he gives the best belly rubs in the world! Dave liked being with him because he loves to hike as much as Dave does!

It was a great gift to have him spend that much time with us. Brothers like him are a gift from God. We're all so glad he came!

Airing Exit 316

Four episodes of Exit 316 have now been aired on Czech Television!

We have statistics from the first three episodes that tell how many viewers have watched either the Wednesday evening show, the Friday afternoon or the Saturday morning (at 4 AM!) show - you would be surprised at how many people are up at that time watching!

1. A different dimension - total viewers: 101,600
2. Love - total viewers: 125, 200
3. Friendship - total viewers: 111, 500

What this doesn't include is those who are viewing it on the website of Czech Television. Several thousand people are going on to watch it there as well.

The episode "Conflict" aired last night - here is the link if you want to watch it. It was very powerful!

If you are interested in the subtitles for it, I have them! Leave me a comment, or jot me a note by e-mail to let me know!

Tyler said they had their most interesting discussion last night at his small group. A new guy was there who was at English camp this summer and is now working at Malenovice. He continues to ask a lot of questions about the Lord and spiritual things, and told the youth leader that he is seriously considering becoming a Christian. However, he wants to make sure before he makes the decision that he is ready to be fully committed. Please pray for "M" as the Lord seeks Him, and as he opens his heart to the Lord.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sick Again

As many of you know, we have had a lot of health challenges with our kids through the years.

Today is no exception.

Caleb and Claire are home sick with two bad cases of strep. It's not the classic strep in their throats, but has advanced beyond that farther into their bodies...not a good thing really.
But there is good news!

Our pediatrician here has finally understood that something deeper is going on in their bodies, and that we need to get to the root of it. She has ordered cultures, put them on immune boosters (and antibiotic for the strep), and will vaccinate them against further infection as soon as they are well. Truly, this feels like an answer from the Lord!

We have way too many sick days in our house (and missed days of school) and I have been praying that God would show us what else could be done to work on building up their immunity this school year. I was so encouraged by our doctor yesterday when she began to take action.

For now they are quarantined here at home...not because they're contagious to anyone else (they're on antibiotics) but because she feels like it will be better if they have as little contact as possible right now with "outside" bacteria. So we're here at home this week. We've downloaded a few audio books, stocked up on good food, and settled in for a week of "sick days".

Even though this is JV Fall conference week and it means I won't be up there as much as I had planned, God is good and I trust Him with this change of plans. We're atually having a happy time together (even though they don't feel very well) and I expect to be surprised by God's care for us all this week.

Pray for healthy bodies!! Pray for a healthy and loving mom to care for them!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Leading Worship

A significant event happened this afternoon...Tyler fully led worship at our church here in Frydlant!

For the past three years Bogdan, the youth and worship leader of our church has let Tyler play in the worship group. He started out as a 13 year old playing bass, went on to playing electric guitar, and then acoustic just this summer. It has been a fabulous experience for him to work up close to Bogdan and be a part of this team - I've appreciated the mentoring he's done with Tyler at such a relatively young age.

This summer there were a few times when Bogdan was away and Tyler was asked to lead singing. But it was more spontaneous and spur of the moment - not on "official" position of worship leader.

Coming into the fall though, our pastor, Ken, felt Tyler was ready and ought to be given an opportunity to lead worship, and Bogdan recommended that he do it once a month. So today was his first day at it. Of course I'm a bit biased (and I was playing piano with him!) but I think it went just great! He read a Scripture in Czech, and then led six songs (one of them being in Slovak!). It was really a sweet moment for me to see him do that...there is no greater joy than seeing your child have a love for the Lord and express it in worship.

I expect this is only the beginning of Tyler's journey into worship and worship leading. That makes me really happy tonight!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More on Exit 316

There are so many more stories revolving around Exit 316 that I wanted to post a few here so that we can keep track of them!

I shared in my latest update about the level of viewership over the internet. What I didn’t say was that there are a total of 175 shows aired in a given week – this means that Exit was #2 out of 175! The one in first place is a very popular “David Letterman” type talk show hosted by a well known comedian – and a show that has been airing for quite some time!

One of our intern graduates in Prague told her non-Christian boss about the show. He watched at home with his 9 year old daughter, Valerie. When it finished his daughter said, “Daddy, could you register me in a club where I could learn more about Jesus. There has to be a club like that somewhere.”
Here in Frydlant a group of 15 gathered to watch the show in one apartment. Half of them were non-Christians. The discussion afterwards was very good – even for one 23 year old girl (the sister of one of our youth group kids) who has never been to a Christian event in her life. She took her Exit Bible (a special edition we have had published) home and started reading it the next day – and has been reading it every day since.
One girl in Pisek met individually with a friend to watch the show. Afterwards the discussion continued from the topic at hand to the very essence of Christianity. They talked about sin, Christ’s work of redemption, and the Christian girl was able to give her testimony. All the first week!
Mike Sullivan, one of our JV staff, told me that some members in his youth group in Presov, Slovakia (five hours drive from here on the far east side of Slovakia) were able to get the show on cable. They want to start Exit discussion groups in their group and are asking him for materials and Bibles. This is from the far side of another country! So glad our languages are compatible!
Last weekend another 250 small group leaders in Bohemia (the western side of Czech) went through the training for small groups (Turbo 316) – meaning that over 500 small group leaders have been through an intensive 24 training time on how to develop and lead an evangelistic small group around Exit!
In Cesky Tesin, a nearby city, there were 30 for the first Exit discussion – ten of whom were non-Christians.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Caleb's Book Report

Sometimes I am amazed at the interesting opportunities that our kids have to bring spiritual matters into their classrooms. One such opportunity happened today for Caleb.

School just started on Monday for the kids so this has not been a significantly academic week for them as they've just settled back into the routine of things. But one teacher decided there was no time like the present to hand out book report assignments for the Fall. She was reading a list of book possibilities outloud and came to "The Bible". At that point she looked up and said, "Caleb, could you do a book report for us on the Bible?"

When I picked up Caleb at school that day he told me that she'd asked him to do the book report, but not only was due on Friday. He was to be the first one to give his book report for the year!

He spent that evening and Thursday evening working on it...good thing he's already read the book!

Today in second hour he gave the report and sent me an SMS (stands for "short message system" - otherwise known as text messaging in the States) to tell me he'd finished it. I wrote him back and asked him how it went. This was his reply:

"Good. But they talk about the Bible like it's a fairy tale. It really bothers me. And especially cuz some kids seem really interested. But then she talks like people only believed in it when there wasn't any scientific explanation for like the beginning of the earth and stuff..."

And so it goes here. It's definitely an uphill climb in terms of moving people towards taking the Bible, and spiritual matters, seriously.

But still...I think it's great that his teacher asked him to do the assignment and that he did it first thing in the school year! Oh and by the way...he got a "1"...otherwise known as an "A"...for the assignment. The first "1" of the year!

Exit 316 Premiere

I wasn't prepared for how emotional I would feel at the premiere of Exit 316.

The hour before I drove into Frydlant to pick up pizza to take the hotel where we were going to watch it on the big screen downstairs. As I drove into Frydlant and saw all the people walking I started praying that many of them would head home and turn their television onto CT2 so that they'd see it...and more importantly that they would absorb WHAT they were seeing.

As I sat at Rabaka waiting for the pizzas to be done (very mediocre pizza, I might add...where is Pizza Hut when you need them?!) I prayed more for all those across the country who might be just getting home and turning on their tvs. And I wondered what they would think if they did turn them on and happen to see Exit.

Finally the pizza was done so we headed up to the hotel where Honza (the production manager for Exit) had things set up in the main meeting room...CT2 was already on when I stepped into the room. I felt a chill go through me as I sat watching the time tick down until it was 6:05...this was more than just a "premiere showing" - this was an historic moment.

And that's when the emotions, and the realization of what this moment means, hit me. I had tears in my eyes for most of the 18 minutes of the show...not for anything in particular that was being said or shown (I'd already seen the episode several times at home on a DVD that Dave had brought for us to see). It was the huge significance of this moment - one of those watershed moments - where I believe we'll look back in time and say, "It was all different from then on".

About 20 people gathered with us for the premiere and afterwards we had a time of prayer for Exit...for all the small groups that were happening across the country at that moment, for those who had just viewed it, for the team who continues in production of more episodes, and for a spiritual awakening in this small thing!

I couldn't even pray out loud because I was so filled with emotion. Dave started to pray but didn't get very far before he was overcome by emotion. He pressed through his prayer, but I know he was feeling the significance as much, if not more, than I was at that moment.

Lots of people prayed and then it was just quiet for a bit. It felt right to me that we let it be the holy moment that it was. The airing of such a straight-forward Christian telelvision program on public tv is a huge deal! A holy moment, if you will! The presence of the Lord was there throughout the premiere, but I especially felt it in that quiet moment.

And then it was over and people moved on into regular life again. I cleaned up the pizza and drinks, talked to a few people and then headed home. The evening was finished.

But the work of Exit has only begun!!

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Exit 316 Stories

Exit 316 stories are already starting to pour in...and it hasn't even premiered yet! That's tomorrow. But for today, here are a few stories of what's happening.

  • A Salvation Army leader from Opava called Petr H to say that a couple of his people were at the training over the week-end and came back so excited about Exit. He said, "We want to start 5 evangelistic small groups. Can we get material?" Petr said, "When do you need it?" Salvation Army guy said, "Tomorrow...that's when it starts!" Petr said, "I can't get them to you that fast in the mail." S.A guy said, "Can I drive down and pick them up?" Petr said yes! He got in the car and drove 2 1/2 hours one way to pick up the materials so that he'll have them tomorrow night for their small groups!
  • Petr's mom works at a grocery store. She took a stack of the flyers about Exit to work with her. Every person that came through she talked to them about the program. She's never been able to talk to people about the Lord but the fact that this is on television made it very easy. Many of the people have young people and almost all of them are having problems with their kids. When they heard the show was focused on issues young people face, they said they would make sure their kids watched it!

Living By Lysa

From where I sit at my computer, in our house, in the farmlands of Lubno, near Frydlant nad Ostravice in the Czech Republic...I look out my window to Lysá hora, the highest mountain the Beskydy range.

I see "her" every day that I'm here at my computer, watching her change through the seasons. I never get tired of this view, and thank the Lord every day that I get to enjoy it!

It seemed appropriate to name my blog "Living By Lysa" since that sums up the life I'm living here in this part of the world.

Of course life is much more complex than just living here, but there are days that I like to imagine that it's as simple as just "Living By Lysa"!

Thank you for joining me here on my blog, a place I want to capture this life we're living.

September 5, 2006

This is a historic day for me! I have been contemplating a blog for a long time but couldn't really figure out why I should do one. But after much thought I've decided that I want to write stories about what God is doing here...the small seemingly insignificant things, and the huge amazing miraculous type things. And along the way I can include stories about our family and other such things.

So that's all! Tyler is sitting here beside me (my faithful "techy" boy) to help me publish for the first time. Thanks Tyler!