Saturday, April 30, 2011

Catch It: Take 2

I have a guest blogger sitting next to me tonight...a tired one who says he'll talk if I type!

"Caleb, will you tell me a couple of the highlights from your week-end at Catch It?"

"Lkigoine gosolidn gl kdlkshk ..l.."

Caleb's tired...can you tell?! That's literally about what he said when I first asked him the question.

But, though he's tired, this is what he had to say in answer to his mama's question about the week-end!

"One of the highlights was playing baseball might not expect that! But the things is, baseball is a great setting where we're all interacting outside of school, in a positive and team building, uplifting way...and that's a great model of what the Christian community should look like, what we're working towards at BMA...a healthy, uplifting, encouraging place where people feel accepted, loved, and believed in."

"Next I'd was great having Dad up there to share."

"From the beginning, our goal was for students to clearly hear the Gospel and dad really presented that in a clear and straightforward way. One of the things I appreciated the most about the way dad shared was that he didn't present the gospel in an emotionally charged way, but in a "you need to think about your huge life decisions" way."

"That was good for the students because Czechs are very thoughtful and intentional with their actions and decisions and often take longer to process things. So it was good that he just shared truth and let them think and process for themselves and in the discussion groups.

"We're praying for long term fruit in the BMA community, and are excited about the new relationships and strengthened relationships that were made there this week-end, as well as for the great conversations and questions that were laid out and answered. People had a lot of questions and we did our best to answer them, but also encouraged them to search for themselves, and get to know Jesus better by reading the Bible."

"Caleb, if you had one prayer request for my friends reading this blog, what would it be?

"A big one is discipleship. Even though we are together all the time at school, it's easy to forget that we should be intentional with how we spend our time with people we're praying for and investing in - we want to be active and not passive in how we pursue our friends. Also, that this retreat would spur on the Christian leaders to be more bold in their faith and in how they relate to their friends, and in how they talk about their faith."

Thanks Caleb! Now you can go to bed! GOOD NIGHT!

This is Adam (on the left), Caleb's partner in planning Catch It, as well as Jonny Lobel, one of the American missionary teachers at BMA.

Now that Caleb is upstairs and in bed, I'll just add that Dave came home from the retreat ready to be a high school youth pastor again! He so enjoyed being up there with the students, teaching, hanging out, answering questions, even being a part of a drama workshop led by a student. Dave's been doing youth work for 30 years now, and he still loves it!

Claire was an active part of the week-end as well, leading a discussion group, being up front doing motions as Caleb and Noah lead singing at the retreat, and she also was a photographer too...most of these pictures are hers, except for ones that she's in, which her dad took for her!

We are SO excited about what's happening at BMA and continue to pray for lasting fruit in the lives of students there!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Resurrection Eggs

Years ago, when our kids were little, a missionary couple came to visit us with an invaluable gift.

I've been using that gift, the Resurrection Eggs, for years now at Easter. It's a beautiful, yet simple way to talk children through the Easter story.

Since writing about it on my blog after Easter, I've had several people write to ask me what they are, and how to make their own. Since I don't know where this idea originated, I can't give credit except to Caroline Graumann who was the giver of this wonderful gift!

Since the story is told in twelve eggs, you'll need an American sized egg carton (if you're here in Europe, maybe you could use a 15 egg carton and put something else in the other three eggs since our cartons are only for ten eggs!).

Next you'll need twelve plastic eggs. Caroline's egg carton had them color coordinated, but you could do it with any colors you want!

Next you need the insides for each egg:

1 - a silver coin (she used a dime)
2 - a small piece of rope
3 - a thorn
4 - a small cross
5 - three small nails
6 - a small paper with "King of the Jews" printed on it
7 - a small piece of sponge
8 - a small piece of gauze
9 - a small stone
10 - an angel (the one in this set is cut from white felt)
11 - the inside of the egg painted black (both top and bottom)
12 - a small chick (she actually has another smaller egg inside the bigger egg which has the chick in it - the kids love opening the two eggs to find the chick! But I don't know where she found a small egg to put'll have to hunt for that!)

At the bottom of the egg carton, glue in small numbers, 1-12 to mark the place for each egg.

The green paper inside the top of the egg carton has this printed on it:

Resurrection Eggs

Each egg contains a tiny object that helps to remind us of how Jesus suffered, died and rose again.

1 - Money: the money Judas was paid in order to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16)
2 - String: the rope used to tie Jesus' hands before he was taken to Pilate (Matthew 27:1-2)
3 - Thorn: the crown of thorns the soldiers put on Jesus' head (Mark 15:17-18)
4 - Sticks: the cross on which Jesus died (John 19:17-18)
5 - Nails: the nails driven through Jesus' hands and feet (John 20:25)
6 - Sign: the sign placed above the cross: "King of the Jews" (John 19:19)
7 - Sponge: the sponge soaked in vinegar for Jesus to drink (John 19:28-29)
8 - Gauze: the burial cloths wrapped around the body of Jesus (Luke 23:50-53)
9 - Rock: the large rock rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb (Matthew 27:60)
10 - Angel: the angel who greeted Jesus' friends at the tomb and told them he was not there, but that he had risen (Matthew 28:2-7)
11 - Empty: the empty tomb - Jesus is ALIVE! (Luke 24:2-7)
12 - Chick: New life...we can have new life in Jesus if we ask Him to be our Savior (John 20:31)

I like to pass out an egg to each child so they get to hold the symbol and try to answer why it's important.

If you have kids, grand-kids, neighbor kids or even big kids...this is a wonderful way to bring the Easter into their lives! If you make one, I'd love to see a picture of your version!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Saying Good-bye

Is there ever an easy way to say good-bye?

I've been saying good-bye to my parents for 25 years, ever since moving permanently to Europe in 1986.

It doesn't ever get easier, even after all these years.

Having them here these past five weeks has been an incredible gift.

They have lovingly jumped into our life and blessed us and all those who have been with them during these weeks.

We will all miss them.

Thank you Mom and Dad for an absolutely wonderful visit...already looking forward to when we see you again!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Catch It

A unique event is taking place tomorrow, Thursday through Saturday, up at Malenovice, our JV training center.

It's an outreach event for Beskydy Mountain Academy, our kids' high school here in Frydlant.

What is unique about this high school is that it is a Christian high school, the only one like it in the Czech Republic as it is 90% funded by the government, and yet free to teach Christian values, principles and truths. The miracle of this school is definitely worthy of another blog post sometime!

Although it is a Christian high school, it was designed as an outreach high school, so 70% of the students are not believers. It is the desire of the leadership of the school, as well as the Christian students, to be a witness to the students as they live life up close to each other for four years.

Caleb and his friend Adam (in the above photo) have a passion to share the Gospel with their fellow students, and felt prompted by the Lord this year to organize a week-end retreat where they can do that in a real and personal way, laying out the whole Gospel over a period of two days in a clear and understandable way.

Two years ago Tyler and some other BMA students organized a similar event (that's where all the pictures are from!). God used those students to impact the lives of other students that year, and several put their faith in Christ at that event and are walking strongly with the Lord today.

It is Caleb and Adam's hope that God would again do a work in the lives of students this year as they spend these days together.

The guys asked Dave to be their speaker this year, so he'll be giving four messages and sharing the plan of salvation with the students over the course of those days. Claire will be there too, leading a discussion group and just being a part of the whole week-end.

There will be lots of fun activities, soccer, games, and seminars on fun topics.

But there will be plenty of time for discussion groups and one-on-one talks too.

The BMA students have been fasting and praying for a movement of God among their friends this week-end.

I hope some of you will join us and them in praying for that!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Container is Here!

The container from the US arrived today!

This is the container that is packed with everything I bought back in January for the cabins at Malenovice, along with things for H20, our JV conference center in Poland.

It arrived by truck this morning, to our parking lot at Malenovice. The crane came to take it off the truck since the container was a gift to us by Laurelwood, my home church in Vancouver, WA. Thank you for this gift friends!

It was amazing watching it be lifted off. The crane operator didn't know if his crane was strong enough to do it since the container was 4 TONS over his normal allowance...yikes!

But off it came...

With a little help from Petr! Whew! We were all glad to see if safely on the ground!

The container shipped in the middle of February, but took more than two months to arrive here. Now it's time to open the doors and see how everything looks!

Success! It looks like everything made it in one piece!

We unloaded about a third of it today, and in the coming weeks we'll do the rest as the cabins are finished up.

Can't wait to get it all in and see how it fits and looks!

Monday, April 25, 2011

He is Risen!

We had such a happy Easter celebration yesterday!

Worship service up at Malenovice in the morning...

Walking down the hill from our beloved hotel with mom and was SO pretty up there yesterday!

Getting ready for our Easter party at home!

Claire and my mom baked up a storm of Easter goodies, People were surprised when they found out they were gluten free...these are not your cardboard tasting gluten free goodies of old! NO! These are super yummy, gluten free delicacies!!

Me and my girl! We didn't exactly color or pattern coordinate but oh well! It's a picture of the two of us!

Our Easter party guests! First...the Till family...missionaries in Frydlant at BMA, our kids' high school.

Jonny and Lisa Lobel, also missionaries at BMA...with their new son, Carter and Lisa's mom, Debbie, visiting from Chicago.

The Rumbold family are with JV, serving in Slovakia!

Our dear Katka...who we've known for almost 16 years! I always love having her here with us!

And finally, the Bozon family, also JV missionaries living here in Frydlant.

Rain was threatening our annual Easter egg hunt so we got right outside to do it once everyone arrived!

I wanted to add a picture from the end of the Easter egg hunt (which was happy and delightful...what a fun time watching all those kids dash around our yard looking for eggs!), when the skies opened up and it POURED! But Blogger is being weird today and I'm having a hard time loading pictures...I've literally been at this off and on all day! So I'll just put this last one in of Dave and I and say...HAPPY EASTER! I hope you all had a wonderful celebration of the risen Savior too!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Easter

Many years ago, a friend and I started having an Easter egg hunt for our, then, little between us.

As the years went by, the egg hunt got bigger and better, the climax to our celebration of Jesus' resurrection.

But my friend's family moved, and our kids grew up.

However! There is still an egg hunt happening at our house!

This morning, Claire found me having my latte on the living room floor, filling all these plastic eggs for the 13 kids who will be here tomorrow. Lily, our dog, couldn't resist hanging out with me, hoping for a little nibble (which she didn't get!).

The rest of the day was spent working in the yard, preparing it for the crowd who will join us in the afternoon tomorrow.

My dad is not only good at mowing lawns, but also ridding our lawn of hand! I don't know how many basketfuls he has collected in these past weeks, but I will say, our yard hasn't looked this good in a long time! 

Maybe there will be some Easter eggs hidden in my flower garden tomorrow!

After having had a beautiful sunny day today, I hear rain pattering on my window ledge outside my office tonight. I'm sure hoping for some sunshine tomorrow for my little Easter egg hunters!