Saturday, March 31, 2012

KPM Slovakia 2012

Dave is speaking at KPM this week-end, in Zilina, Slovakia (about an hour and a half from where we live).

KPM is the annual youth leaders conference there, with nearly 700 young leaders attending. This year’s theme is "Naskoč" (“Jump On” in English). The idea is that the bike is being driven by God and we need to jump on with Him in the front, and let Him lead in our ministries and life.

Throughout the week-end these leaders are attending one of four tracks:
  1. Moving from fan to avid cyclist - “Come and See/Repent and Believer”
  2. Moving from a cyclist to a fanatic - Follow me
  3. Becoming a trainer - “I will make you fishers of men”
  4. Becoming an Olympic Cyclist - “I am sending you”
Dave is teaching in one of the tracks today, and then has the last main session tomorrow morning.

Please pray for the JV Slovakia team as they pour out their hearts and souls into caring, training, inspiring and equipping this generation of youth leaders to reach their peers.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Only Once

You only get to celebrate 25 years together, once!

Dave and I spent two nights in our beloved Prague, celebrating all the goodness of those 25 years.

We woke up to an unusually warm spring day on Wednesday morning, the day of our anniversary...never wore a coat the entire day! That in itself was quite a gift from the Lord since we haven't seen much of the sun lately, not to mention very few warm days yet.

To separate out this memory from other times we've spent in Prague, we stayed just off Wenceslas Square, in the apartments that are at the top right, where the green shutters are, with a view across the city, and down into this garden we'd never seen before...gorgeous!

One of my hopes for the day was to find a dress for Tyler and Lara's wedding...and sure enough, thanks to Dave's prompting to go into this store, we found it! So fun to find it on our anniversary (and Lara's birthday!) as we look forward to their wedding day in June!

With that task out of the way, we just enjoyed walking through Prague for hours on end, talking and enjoying each other.

Sad to admit, but after 18 years of living here, I'd never visited one of the most famous sites of Prague - Petřín Hill. It was absolutely bursting with spring goodness!!

No trip is complete without Dave getting to look at a map!

We climbed all the way to the top of the tower on Petřín to take in this full view of Prague...LOVE!

On the way back down we had fun taking photos with the camera on a tripod - fun to just take our time and capture who we are at 25 years of marriage!

There is no one I enjoy like I enjoy Dave!!

Headed back down towards Mala Strana after that - this street is the home of the American Embassy in Prague...been there a few times over the past years for passports. That's the kind of street you want to walk up to go get your passport renewed! :)

And around the know, even though it's in Ostrava now, it wouldn't be a trip to Prague without a stop here!

The Charles Bridge was magical that afternoon...the sun was just glowing as it danced on the water and the buildings.

Then down into Old Town Square, with Týn Church in its own special beautiful!

Happy, romantic, beautiful, memorable, joy-filled, blessed. Words to describe our days in Prague.

But even more so...25 great years together!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Silver Day

Yes! Today marks twenty five blessed, amazing, wonderful years as Dave and Connie Patty!

I remember sitting in this window seat at the Schwetzingen Palace twenty five years ago, hardly believing it was our wedding day. (See here for the story of how we got there!)

Though we've aged, I look at that photo and remember like it was yesterday. I was so incredibly happy to be marrying that man!

We walked down the aisle of the Gedachtniskirche in Speyer, Germany, March 28, 1987, husband and wife...about to embark on an amazing adventure together!

It has truly been the gift of a lifetime to have Dave as my husband for twenty five years!

I love you Dave, with all my heart! It is my prayer that God gives us at least another twenty five, if not more, amazing years together!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Off to Prague

Dave and I are off on the train to Prague today.

Why? Stay tuned's a special day.

In the meantime, some shots of my beloved Prague!

* Mostly taken by Claire!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Abba's Girls retreat

Last Monday I wrote about the Abba's Girls retreat that Claire was to lead this past weekend.

She beautifully wrote about it on her blog which you can read HERE.

These are a few more photos and details about it from my perspective.

There were so many sweet elements to this retreat - details that Claire had organized to make it feel really special for the girls. They made beautiful flowers for their hair, or to wear as pins, when they arrived Friday after school.

Through the generosity of some dads in the States, each girl received a cozy blanket on Friday night, which Claire explained to them in this way:  

I told the girls that I had a special gift for them, from their Father, that came through the generosity of dads in the States. I had them close their eyes, and picture the Father coming up to them and handing them something. When they opened their eyes, there was a big soft blanket for each of them. Oh, you should've seen the joy on their faces! I could just tell they knew it was a gift that the Father wanted to give them. I asked them to picture the Father embracing them each time they used this blanket.
So Precious!

The dads who gave the gift to make this possible are part of something called "The Abba Project" that my dear friend, Michelle, leads in Portland, Oregon. While it was actually Caleb's idea that sparked the planning of the retreat (yay for older brothers with retreat leading experience!), it was Michelle who gave it its name, "Abba's Girls", and followed through with ideas and lots of prayer for Claire and the retreat these past months.

Amy Ellenwood spoke to the girls about what their needs are as young women, what they long for from their dads, and what they need to be getting from their heavenly Father. She candidly shared her journey of relationship with the Father in a way that really touched the girls.

They were able to spend good girl time, time talking together!

Another sweet detail was a group of women from a church in Wisconsin who had come to serve on a work team, but who also served at the retreat as well on Saturday afternoon! They brought all kinds of supplies for the girls to make beautiful bracelets.

There was lots of laughter, joy and delight throughout the 24 hours the girls spent together!

I'm so proud of Claire for her faith and courage to respond to the Lord's prompting to do this for these girls, her friends and fellow students at BMA.

My prayer is that the things they heard and experienced will burrow deeply into their lives as they continue to grow in their relationships with their heavenly Father.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Waiting Almost 20 Years

As Claire and I drove into Ostrava today she asked me, "Do you remember the first time you were in Ostrava?"

Oh yes, I sure do.

It was September, 1993. Dave and I were visiting the potential city we would move to (Haviřov) and went into Ostrava, the big city a half hour away, so he could assure me I'd be fine (there was a McDonalds!) living in this part of the country.

Honestly, it was very sobering to be there that day. The city was dirty, the air polluted, the smell of coal everywhere, and there was little to buy in the shops. I said "yes" in faith to living here, knowing that if God was calling us (He was) that He would take care of me (which He did).

Fast forward to today.

If this picture looks like it's smoggy, it's because it is. The air is still polluted in this area of Czech, though is much better than it was nearly 20 years ago when we first visited.

But there have been many changes here, one of which we were about to enjoy today!

Built on the site of the oldest mine shaft in Ostrava, a new, I can't even call it a mall...this is a destination!...opened in Ostrava today.

We have honestly been watching the transformation of this particular site for about 15 years. It's in a prime location of real estate in Ostrava, but when it was purchased years ago, we understand that there was contamination in the ground because of the mine, and the land had to be regenerated before it could be built on.

Today was the fulfillment of that regeneration! I am telling you...I have NEVER seen a destination shopping mall like this one. It was truly spectacular, and so fun to be there on opening day!!

Lo and behold...(okay, I knew it'd be in the mall and have been counting the months, weeks and days to its opening)...there was Starbucks, right at the top of the escalator!!!!

Happy Day!!!! I never, ever thought I'd see the day that Starbucks came to Ostrava. I'm glad they proved me wrong!

The store is beautiful (though I think they'll wish they had a bigger was completely full of people today!), and the service, magnificent!! Believe it or not, I even got to meet the Brand President of Starbucks for Europe who, ironically (or not!) is from OREGON!!!! We had such a nice chat...I felt like I was "home"!

I picked up my little tutoring buddy from his school in Ostrava today (his mom is sick) and brought him with us to Starbucks to do his reading homework. How fun is that??!!

Claire did her homework too, while enjoying a chai tea, soy, latte!!

Totally made my day to sit there and soak in this historic moment.

Our friend, Lucy, showed up as we were getting ready to leave (it's just like a neighborhood Starbucks where you see your friends!) so we asked her to get a photo of us to capture this day.

I've loved life here all these years, and didn't need Starbucks or a new mall to make life better...we have an incredible life already. But part of the joy of this day is the intersection of our American selves with our Czech selves...and somehow Starbucks just represents a part of "home" to us, both there and now here!

And...I gotta definitely makes life more fun knowing it's here now! :)

I'm sure they'll be seeing me a time or two (three, four, five...) in the years to come.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guest Blogger: Home From India

Dave is back from a week in India, spent with GYI leaders who are training youth workers around the globe, studying the rapid growth of the church in India.

I asked him to tell a little about his time there so here's my guest blogger for the day, sharing a few snapshots of his experience in India last week:

"I love all the forms of transportation! This is a three wheel taxi, and a youth group waiting to happen!"

"One day we headed on boats up a river to villages where the Gospel had not yet penetrated. The boat in the background belongs to a church planting movement that has planted 6000 churches in the last ten years, and reached over 100,000 people. We went with them to four villages where they're beginning new works."

"I always love a great adventure! Did Paul travel in one of these?"

"In the village where we landed, we interrupted school for some games with the children, and then shared stories about Jesus. A church will be planted in this village in the next couple of weeks, following up on our first contact."

"Life is tough for people who live in the slums of New Delhi, but they always seem to dress in such colorful, beautiful ways. These women live in a house not much bigger than a typical laundry room in the States."

"Another youth group waiting to happen!"

"This is our crew from JV - Terry from Slovenia, me, Mel from Czech, Dan from Poland, and Ben (thanks for the photo Ben!) from Ukraine. We are standing in front of the Baptist Missionary Society building, founded here in Calcutta by William Carey in 1828. For me, it was a moving experience to be at the place where modern missions began.

This was an incredible experience I will never forget, and now that my stomach is finally settled down, I'm beginning to process all we learned!"