The days are winding down towards Tyler leaving for college.
Next Friday we'll head down to Croatia on our annual camping vacation. Tyler will be with us for five days and then fly from Split, Croatia to Prague on the 13th, and on to Chicago the 14th of August.
Our dear friend, Theresa, "aunt" to Tyler, will pick him up and he'll spend the night at her house before she takes him to Moody the next day to begin orientation on the 15th. Whew! It's surreal that this is really happening!
Not that we talk about it all the time, but I'm definitely aware that we're in the last days as a family of five living under one roof. We've had some very sweet times as a family - in fact, some of our best days - this summer! It's nice to "end" on a high note.
Last night was one of those "lasts" as he, Caleb and our dear friend, Hannah (also JV missionary kid) lead worship at the US team training for English camps. They've been leading worship at various events over the years and had one last time to do it with Tyler still living here. I'm sure there will be more of those times later on, but this was the last of "life as it is".
We are excited about what lies ahead for Tyler...and grieving a bit too that this phase of life is coming to a close. It's a good mixture of joy and sadness...both appropriate and a reality of life. These 19 years as we've known them have been so very good.
And I'm sure what's ahead will have a new flavor or sweetness to it as well! Pray for us to savor and thank God for all the tastes of life in the days to come.
Yep, Tyler had a birthday yesterday so we were in the celebratin' mode! He turned 19...hard to believe. Seems like not so long ago that we were in Schwetzingen, Germany, having our firstborn!
He wanted to take a trip for his birthday and chose Cesky Krumlov as the destination, a place in southern Bohemia that we'd never visited.
It's GORGEOUS!!! I can't believe we've never been there before...what a little gem of a city!
We had a great family day, enjoying some of our last times together before Tyler heads to Chicago for college in August.
Though that's in my mind now and then these days, I try to not to dwell on it...just live in today. And as was the case yesterday, God gave us a very sweet day to enjoy all together, and I fully lived in it.
It's already been a week since camp ended, but God is still moving in the hearts of young people who were there!
Six young people trusted Christ at the camp, and Tyler prayed with another one just two nights ago at a follow-up evening here in Frydlant!! PRAISE GOD for these new believers!!
Saturday morning when I went to pick up the kids, our Czech youth group leader told me in all his years of ministry he'd never had an experience like what happened the last night of camp. The Gospel was presented and an opportunity given for students to stay in the room if they were interested in praying or asking questions.
Normally three or four students stay and the rest leave the room....very typical response here in Czech (coming to faith is a long process for many).
But this time three or four LEFT the room, and all the rest of the students STAYED!! For an hour and a half there were people all over the room talking, praying, crying, and rejoicing when someone would come to Christ. How I wish I'd been a little mouse in the corner to see it happening!
I woke up Saturday morning to this text message from Claire: "Just led my roommate to Christ during evening program! It went great. The program was really powerful - all God's work! I bought her a bible with the money you gave me!" I cried when I finished reading that...so precious.
Each one of our kids had the privilege of praying with someone at camp as they trusted Christ. What an awesome experience for them to be in the presence of someone going from dark to light!
We are hearing similar stories of kids coming to Christ from all around our 11 JV countries where camps are going on. Thanks for praying and standing with us to see this next generation of young people put their faith in Jesus!
PS. The picture is Patty and Till siblings who all served on the team at camp this year!
It's not often that Dave and I are home by ourselves...for a whole week! In fact, I think the last time it happened was the summer of 2004...five years ago!
While we did work during the day (lest you think we goofed off the whole time...ha ha!), we got in three date nights while the kids were at camp...definitely a record!
Tonight we finished up our date night at the mall with frappes at Tchibo. Ever had one? Oooh, you don't know what you're missing out on if you haven't! Let's just say it was a little coffee with your whip cream and caramel!
Looking forward to picking up the kids in the morning - then life will get back to normal.
But it was a great week to spend with just each other! :)
Dave and I were up at Velke Karlovice (an hour away from our house) last night to visit the kids at English camp. So fun to see them there!
But even better was hearing what God's doing in the lives of students this week. Two have trusted Christ! Several others have come back to the Lord after a period of wandering. Many are interested in coming to church. Others have questions and want to talk more about God. All are having a good time!
We were there for the evening program so got a taste of what it's been like for them all week. You can see in the picture, Tyler is leading worship, Caleb's off to the left playing bass (and running the PowerPoint!), and Claire is in there too - you just can't see her! Though it doesn't look like it in the picture, there are 62 at the camp - a nice size!
They have one more evening program tonight where they will share the Gospel and give students an opportunity to respond. Pray for that!
One of the elements of this year's program has been to tell the story of God each evening in story form - picture a dad telling his kids a story and you'll kind of have the essence of it.
Though it's not easy to see (it was dark in the meeting room!) the picture is Tyler translating as Matt (the leader from the Lancaster, PA team) asks questions and dialogues with the students about it. Loved seeing that part of the program!
Everyone will come back to Frydlant tomorrow morning (Saturday) for two days of "follow-up" with the American team still around. They'll all be at church on Sunday too - one of my favorite Sundays of the year when all those young people are there! How I pray that many of them will continue to come and hear more of the "stories of God"!