Friday, September 30, 2011

Off to Krakow

Caleb and I are off to Krakow this evening.

Are we going to sightsee?

Get coffee at Starbucks?

Visit friends?


Tomorrow morning, bright and early, Caleb takes the SAT there!

I took my SAT test at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. I sure never thought I'd be taking one of my kids to POLAND to take theirs!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prayer Meeting

 Our church met tonight for a special prayer meeting.

Three pastors and their wives from a church in the States that partners with our church, came this week...

...just to pray and stand in faith with us.

We prayed over maps of our region, that revival will take place in our town, the surrounding area, and across whole country.

Thank you LCBC for seeing the value of prayer and the body of Christ coming together to believe God for something big in this part of the world!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Neighbor Lady

Last week our neighbor lady, who I've written about before here and here, came to visit, with cake on a platter.

"It's my 60th birthday next Tuesday! I brought you some cake to celebrate."

I thought that was so sweet and thanked her for it, wishing her a happy birthday, albeit a few days early.

A few hours later that day, she came again - this time with a question.

"What time will you be home tomorrow?"

When I told her she replied, "I'll be bringing sandwiches for you tomorrow to celebrate my birthday"!

And sure enough, the next day, she brought a platter of "chlebičky" (little Czech sandwiches) for us. Could she be any sweeter?! I love the Czech tradition of doing something for others on your birthday.

Yesterday was the actual day of her birthday, so of course I wanted to do something for her. Claire and I picked up flowers, chocolates and a card and took it over in the afternoon.

She was delighted! Got a cute picture of her and Claire (who she loves and prays for with her brother every day!).

An hour later, she was at our door to tell me thank you, going through every part of the conversation we'd had earlier, as well as recounting what we'd brought to her (she has a sweet tooth so the Swiss chocolates were especially a hit!), and saying she liked what we'd written in the card (I told her we were glad to be neighbors with her).

In the world's eyes, she may seem odd and a bit unkempt. But in our eyes, she is our very dear neighbor who loves us, and we love her.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

JV Staff September 2011

I don't know how this photo will show up on your computer...I hope you can see it even if it's a wide angle shot (thanks to Greg Strock for the photo!)

This is our JV staff, missionaries and nationals, along with young people they're discipling and training, from eleven different countries JV is serving in:

Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Albania, Croatia, and Serbia.

These are some of the precious people God has called to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to young people (or for that matter...anyone!) throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

Each one is praying for a movement of God in their country, asking that a new generation be raised up to know, love and serve Christ.

Will you join us in praying that God will sweep through these countries with his transformational power and bring revival to our nations?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Last of Dave's Birthday

Dave left for the States early this morning on a three week trip. We're going to miss him!

(Photo by our friend, Greg Stock - taken at JV fall conference)

Before I move on to posting about other things, I wanted to add one last birthday post on Dave since this was such a special birthday to him.

I've known for months about some of the plans people had for his birthday. It's fun to be in on those kinds of things, though a little nerve wracking too...kept hoping I wouldn't somehow "slip up" and blow the surprises!

But thankfully I managed to keep quiet on all fronts concerning his birthday plans...and thus he was surprised again and again by people's love and care for him.

Two other special birthday gifts came from some of our dear Czech friends.

Dušan, with his wife Danča, told me about their idea back in April.

Last spring, a Christian artist held an exhibition at Malenovice and had one particular piece (actually two separate pieces that were part of one exhibit) that caught his eye for Dave. Rather than taking that piece, he actually commissioned her to do two different figures that were special to Dave....Jesus and Josiah!

The picture really doesn't do it justice (beside the fact that they're still wrapped in plastic in the photo). But they are absolutely spectacular works of art and so very meaningful! They will be a treasured part of Dave's JV office for years to come.

Another friend has been living in the apartment over our garage since February. He's become like a brother to Dave, a brother-in-law to me, and an uncle to our kids.

He told me in March that he had saved a watch from one of his limited edition collections (he owns and distributes one of only three Czech watch brands) to give to Dave for his birthday.

On Sunday he presented the 50th numbered watch of that collection to Dave!! PRETTY COOL!! The photo is with Radim and his son.

Thank you to all of you who sent messages of congratulations and encouragement for our birthdays, as well as the special gifts that made both our birthdays so very memorable in this 50th year!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dave's Surprise

When Dave went to his JV Council meeting (this is the group of leaders from our 11 countries where JV has ministry) last Saturday evening, little did he know it would be hijacked for a surprise 50th birthday party!

 I only have an Instagram picture, thanks to Nate Hughes, showing the beginning of the festivities!

They let Dave do his Bible study time first (with him thinking that he's going to move on with his very full agenda after that!), before Mel interrupted him and and gave the signal, which brought out all the party hats...can't you picture it? 40 hats coming out from behind the chairs, where Dave never saw them?! Dave was COMPLETELY surprised!

The celebration went on from there as each country gave creative, funny, and meaningful gifts and words of blessing to Dave.

I already posted one of the gifts yesterday, that awesome caricature! But take a look at what else Dave's guys brought for him...everything in this picture except the yellow flowers and the lamp, came from the JV council!

Thanks JV council, for showering Dave with all those awesome gifts, and giving him a birthday he will never forget!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wild and Wacky, Take 2

A few weeks ago I posted this picture of Dave and I.

It was taken on Wild and Wacky night at our JV Kid's camp in Croatia. There is no particular meaning to our you can see, they don't exactly match. However, in the spirit of Wild and Wacky, they worked. It makes me giggle every time I look at it, everything from the looks on our faces, to the flip flops on our feet!

Fast forward to JV Council last week-end, before our fall conference started. Little did Dave know that on Saturday night, his council would "hijack" the meeting and have a surprise birthday party for him on their first night together.

Every country brought gifts and words to Dave, all of them so very meaningful. He said it's the best birthday he's ever had.

While all the gifts meant the world to Dave, this one definitely gets some award for creativity! Jay Hughes, our country leader from the Ukraine, saw our picture from kid's camp on FB and decided to capture it in a different light.

What do you think?!!!

This makes me giggle even more!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

JV Fall Leadership Conference

In the midst of all the happiness of Tyler and Lara getting engaged, we are also in the midst of our fall JV conference this week!

This is our annual leadership conference, focused on training our missionaries and national partners. Every year is focused on a different aspect of reaching the youth of Central and Eastern Europe with the Gospel.

This year's theme is "Walk This Way" - disciple-making in the steps of Jesus.

In order to be most effective in equipping our JV staff, they are broken into three different tracks this year, focusing on different aspects of disciple-making.

While Dann Spader (founder of Sonlife) is teaching one track, and Josh Patty another, Dave is teaching a new course that he wrote this summer called "Shift 1/9". Its focus is on moving from being a believer, to being a disciple who makes disciples, using the passage in Matthew 4:19 as the foundation: "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men".

I only have this one shot of Dave teaching but at least it gives you a little picture of what it looks like up at Malenovice this week! Dave has his track divided up into small groups, so you can see a few of those there. I think he's got about 80 or so people but my little iPad camera doesn't take that wide of a shot...or very good quality! :)

I know it's hard to grasp from just a picture or even words, but this small sample of people from eleven different countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe (there are over two hundred in all at the conference), are standing on the front lines of ministry, having impact in the lives of thousands of young people!

Please pray as you read this, that God will equip, instruct, encourage and mold them this week for His work in their countries!

Monday, September 19, 2011


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Nothing could be truer than this one!

Our Tyler proposed to his beautiful Lara yesterday afternoon in Geneva, Illinois.

Unbeknownst to her, he brought back a special ring he had made for her in Prague this summer.

And at just the right time yesterday, he happily slipped that beautiful ring onto her finger as she said "YES" to his proposal!!

We adore Lara (and of course, Tyler too!) so are REJOICING today in the coming together of these two dear people!!!

I have prayed for our children's spouses since they were very young. How very special to see who God chose for Tyler!

We love you Lara! We love you Tyler!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dave is 50!

 The love of my life turned 50 on Friday!!!

We celebrated his special occasion in Celadna, a small town near us, at our favorite restaurant!

It was great to celebrate Dave together as a family, though we missed Tyler.

Claire blessed her dad by baking an awesome chocolate and peanut butter cake - his favorite! (And gluten free to boot!)

It tasted just as good as it looked...way to go Claire on your very first birthday cake attempt! I think you could go into business! :)

It was a great day, welcoming in a new decade with Dave, and celebrating this wonderful, faithful, godly man that our family loves so much!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Dear Friend

Twenty years ago, when Dave was getting his Master's degree at Wheaton College, the Lord led us to Grace Church of DuPage.

There we met the pastor and his wife, who became good friends of ours.

Just three, short years later, the Lord took that dear pastor home in the prime of his life, leaving his wife and three children.

This precious woman, with great faith and hope in the Lord, went on to raise her children well, and become a missionary with JV ten years ago. 

She has blessed many people by her servant gifts, including me. She is somewhere between a sister, a mentor, a godly older woman, and a very special friend.

Over the years she has faithfully served the Lord and His people, often without thought of herself. She amazes me.

A few months ago I asked Dave if I could do something special for her...take her on a little vacation, just the two of us. He quickly answered yes, as he loves her as much as I do!

So for the past week, I've been away with my friend, Theresa, letting the Lord lavish His love, goodness, rest and nourishment on her.

It was a very special week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

H20 Grand Opening

Six years ago, a camp and conference center in Poland was purchased and named H20 because of all the different kinds of water around it. But most importantly...because of the living water that would be offered there for years to come.

The JV Poland team has literally spent years of their lives, investing time, energy, sweat, money and prayer into this have thousands of others who have volunteered themselves and given generously through the years.

Today was the culmination of all that heartfelt effort!

It was the grand opening of the renovated H20!

Nearly 300 guests, some even from the States, gathered this afternoon to celebrate the goodness of God and His great provision for this amazing facility.

It was a joy-filled day, especially for Greg Carlson (shown with his daughter, Kelsey), our JV Poland country leader who has stood in faith for this project all these years, along with his team.

We are celebrating God's goodness tonight, in another step forward towards reaching the young generation for Christ here in Central and Eastern Europe!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Miss Chievous

I came up with a new name for our puppy today: Miss Chievous...we'll just call her "Miss C" for short! :)

For the first six weeks with us, we thought she was past that mischievous puppy stage - she was so good on vacation and at kid's camp.

But no! She had us fooled! She was just waiting until we got home to show us what she's really made of!

Turns out, she has a knack for finding little bits and pieces, here and there, to entertain herself!

Ha ha! I know the puppy stage won't last forever so am telling myself this is cute!

**Photos by Claire, who caught her in the act!**

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Afternoon Baking

True statement: Claire is an excellent baker!

Ever since we went gluten free in our house three years ago, she has been perfecting her skills as a baker. And let me tell you...she whips up some really fabulous things around here

She came home from school today and as her relaxing activity before she studied for a test tomorrow, she decided to make some of her really yummy chocolate cookies.

This fascinates me because while I don't mind cooking and baking, it's NOT what I do to relax!

But Claire loves nothing more than to put on her apron (Kaylie getting in on the action too!)...

Get out all the ingredients...

 And put together something yummy for an afternoon snack!

Along the way, she's found all kinds of ways to sweeten things so we watch sugars (something that's still a good idea for all our sensitive digestive systems!) she was using agave syrup.

 Of course taste testing along the way is a must!

 She's so cute when she's baking! :)

Since we can't buy chocolate chips here, she chops up her own chips from the Czech brand, Orion, baking chocolate (which I know she now prefers!)

Then rolls the dough into pretty little balls...

Puts them in the oven...

And fifteen minutes later, out come some fabulous cookies, whipped up in about a half hour! She's good!

And this mom is happy with the results!

She's got a lot of different recipes (and good thoughts and fun photography!) on her blog if you want to head over there and check it out! Click HERE!