Monday, November 30, 2015

Moving A Friend

For the past forty seven years, this friend has resided at my parent's house.

When I was just seven years old my grandparents surprised our family with this piano, having it delivered to our house one fall afternoon. I began lessons soon afterward, and a very special "friendship" developed between me and this lovely instrument.

The piano opened up so many doors for me, doors that eventually led me to the mission field where I am today. But while I moved to Europe, the piano moved here and there in the Northwest with my parents, who so kindly took care of it for me all these years since I left home.

But a few months ago during a phone call they told me that because of their upcoming move to a smaller home, it was probably time for the piano (which they always considered to be mine) to find its new home. They asked where I wanted it to go, and thus began the journey to another place where it could be enjoyed.

In case you can't tell, the piano is under the tarp, strapped in and loaded onto the bed of a pick-up!

While it would have been wonderful if one of our kids could have taken it, that wasn't an option due to the fact that they live over 2000 miles away from my parents.

But very quickly another name came to mind, and I quickly wrote a message to ask if she would be interested in getting it. Her quick reply back brought tears to my eyes as she spoke about what it would mean to have a piano in her home.

With that reply, the deal was sealed.

She's had to wait two months for it, but finally, two days ago, a friend of hers and her husband, came to my parent's house in Eugene. With the help of my brother, aunt, uncle and parents, they loaded the piano into his pick-up truck for a five hour drive up to Seattle.

Delivered later that night, at 1 AM, my dear "friend" is now residing with Allyson and Shane O'Regan, my daughter-in-law Haley's sister, and her husband!

Thankfully Allyson's Uncle Matt was there visiting and could assist in getting it upstairs to their apartment!

Allyson is an accomplished musician (you can find her beautiful album HERE) and I'm delighted that my piano now belongs to another who will love and cherish it like I did.

She sent pictures to me today of her playing it, and I'm so delighted to think of the beautiful music that will come out of my friend, and that it now will get the use that it deserves.

Allyson and Shane were married this past summer in Ireland and plan to move there after Shane finishes seminary in Seattle (Shane is from Ireland). Whether or not the piano will go with them is not known yet, but to think they can have it these next two years is a comfort to me. My "friend" is with family.

Allyson told me that the lamp on the piano is from her childhood home, the very lamp that sat on her piano in Colorado as she grew up (in the home of Mark and Amy Chase, dear friends who are also JV staff in Slovakia). And that the clocks outside the door are set to time in Bandon, Ireland (where Shane's parents live) and to Bratislava, Slovakia (where Allyson's parents live). I love that!

And now my friend, the piano, sits in her home. It too fits so perfectly, amidst reminders of their precious family.

This piano is a tried and true friend who brought much joy to my life long ago.

Yes, that's really me back in 7th grade, along with my brother!

And I know that my friend will continue to bring joy to Shane and Allyson's home and lives.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Language of Worship

This morning was my first time back at our church in Frydlant after many weeks of travel. Oh how I loved worshipping under the leadership of these dear ones.

Do you know that we sing in at least three different languages most Sundays? Since our church is multi-national, our worship teams usually include songs in others languages. Notice English in the above photo?

This morning we sang in Czech, Slovak and English. But sometimes we sing in German (our pastor's wife is from Germany) and we've sung songs in Polish too.

If we were to cover all the nationalities represented in our church over the years we'd sing in Russian, Korean and Mongolian as well! (and probably I'm forgetting some of the languages of people who've been in our church)

But no matter the language, singing praises to the Lord crosses over borders, cultures and boundaries, allowing us to enter into his presence with hearts that long to give him adoration. In some ways I love to sing in all those different languages, even if I don't understand every word, as it reminds me that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord.

What will it be like someday to stand around the throne praising him in every language with people of all nations? And to understand it all?!! Oh what a day that will be!

I'm thankful for the holy ground of worship that I get to experience each week at my little church here in Frydlant.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Many Talents

As always, our annual JV Kid talent show at Thanksgiving is definitely a highlight of each year's celebration! It's the hugest delight to cheer on these kids who have such a variety of talent.

While some of them perform certain skills at recitals in their own towns, often it's just parents, siblings and friends who are there for them. If they happen to have unique types of skills that aren't displayable at recitals, then the audience is even smaller.

But here at Malenovice for Thanksgiving, a JV Kid has all their "aunt, uncles and cousins" there to cheer them on, and enjoy whatever talent they want to bring - talents that might surprise you!

Four of our oldest JV Kids did a fantastic job of hosting the event, inviting up the younger kids, and honoring and encouraging their talents. It was beautiful to watch them throughout the evening!

And now for your enjoyment, I bring you the JV Missionary Kids, their first names, where they live, and a quick description of their awesome talents.

Caleb, Hungary - singing a song in Hungarian

Misa, Czech - leading Czech folk dancing with her mom and friends

Toby, Czech - singing in Czech

Hampton, Slovakia; Asher, Czech - three scenes acted out from super hero movies

Shaylee, Slovakia - super human trick of showing us a double chin!

Caden & Asher, Czech - brothers; creating a computer generated voice background and then singing along to it

Hayes, Czech - reading aloud a story he wrote

Natalia, Poland - rhythmic gymnastics with a ribbon

Former JV Kid, now JV staff! Hudson, Slovakia - lip sync to Julie Andrews "I Have Confidence"!

Beniah, Czech - Leading us in "Find the Wookie" from a special book he loves

Gage, Slovakia - Showing us his cool drawings

Lia, Czech - singing a song she prepared by herself, without her mom and dad knowing!

Jaylin and Jayce, Slovakia - brother and sister; singing and playing the guitar

David, Poland - singing a song in German, his third language!

Myah, Poland - singing, with dad accompanying her

Tate, Slovakia - playing the piano

Juliette, Czech - singing a duet in Czech with her mom

Jayce, Slovakia - playing guitar

Kelsey, Poland - showing a PowerPoint of her many types of art

Gavin and Ian, Slovakia - brothers; sax and piano duet

Caleb, Czech - dance improvisation

And there you have the talent of our JV Kids for the 2015 Talent Show!

Friday, November 27, 2015

JV Family Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our JV family who gathered at Malenovice this year!

Celebrating Thanksgiving with this bunch of JV staff from Czech, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary and Germany is quite a special occasion.

There is something really wonderful about gathering around tables and just having time for long, lingering conversations with friends over an incredible assortment of food and desserts that everyone contributes to.

You can see we are definitely not lacking anything! :)

It's a sweet time of getting to meet the newest team members, like Lydia with her mom, Miriam.

And spending time with friends of many years, Laura and Amy.

Watching families celebrate together is so delightful.

As is seeing all of our JV kids growing up so beautifully, inside and out!

Lia lives here in Frydlant with her family so I've had the joy of knowing her since birth and watching her grow up!

I'm thankful for this group of people who love the Lord and are so committed to serving him with their whole hearts. It's not easy being away from family and friends, especially on holidays, so it's all the more meaningful to gather together and be family with each other at times like this.

"JV Family: Thanks for a great time of celebrating and being family to each other! You're the best!"

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turkey Trot Tradition

On a chilly Thanksgiving morning, the fourth annual Josiah Venture Turkey Trot was off to the races, costumes and all! (Thank you Hartman's and Shelby!)

As many JV staff and kids who wanted to met up early this morning at a nearby lake with a great five kilometer path around it.

Even dogs and little ones take place in this traditional JV family event.

With no one else around since: 1. it's not Thanksgiving for anyone in Czech; 2. it's a school morning for Czech kids and 3. it's chilly out, there's no one but us to enjoy the beautiful morning atmosphere.

We gather on the hillside to grab a group photo (it's our largest turnout yet!).

And quickly "GO!" is shouted out and the race is on!

While some really do race (I never did hear the winner..."JV staff at the start of the race: clue me in to who won!"), mostly it's just a good chance for fellowship and fun to start off our day of thanksgiving.

The early morning mist, and glow of the rising sun on the lake, gives a great atmosphere for enjoying a beautiful Turkey Trot!

And there was a sense of accomplishment when we all made it around the lake!

Now that we've done our "trotting," it's time to head to the hotel and move on with the rest of our day of celebration. Thanksgiving Day is off to a great start!