Sunday, May 29, 2016

Happening Now at Malenovice

One of the most exuberant and dynamic weeks of the year is happening right now at Malenovice.

This year's group of 134 JV summer interns has arrived!

This is an amazing group of college age young people, giving their hearts and souls to a summer of ministry across Central and Eastern Europe. Listening to them worship last night was so moving. They love the Lord!!

Good Good Father from Connie Patty on Vimeo.

We have 92 North Americans and 42 Europeans serving in 13 countries this summer. They'll be involved in promoting camps in schools, building relationships with youth groups in local churches, spending weeks at camp sharing their lives and faith with non-believers, and doing follow-up after camp. They'll pray, serve, give, share, believe, trust and lay down their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Pray for them!

This year's training is led by our new English camp director, Aleisha Stephens. She served as a summer intern back in 2002, and has been here in Czech with her husband and children for the past six years serving on our JV care team. She is passionate about the Lord, about summer camps, and about investing in the lives of our interns. We're so thankful for her!

Dave has the privilege of teaching the interns this year. Over the next five nights, he'll be sharing from God's word on the Father Heart of God, the topic that he wrote his book on (and that will be published soon!). I'm SO excited for the interns to spend this time thinking about their relationship with the Father.

One of the special things for us about intern training is hearing the stories about how interns found their way to JV. Some came as high schoolers with their US church youth group to serve at camp and are now here as college students for the summer. Some heard about it on their college campus during one of our recruitment tours. Some found us online.

But then there are stories like this one.

We've never met Regent. But his dad was one of Dave's college roommates during Bible school, and we served with his parents in Germany before he was even born! He will be serving on our team in Serbia this summer. I love how God weaves all of our stories together for His glory.

Pray for these summer interns, that God will not only use them to bring the Gospel to many, but that He will accomplish His will in their lives as well.

After all, it was a summer internship where God got ahold of my life, and I was never the same!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Saving Lives

Coming in on platform 1 in Prague always touches me.

Sir Nicholas Winton organized the rescue of 669 Czech children in 1939, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War. They left from this train station, making their way to Britain where he found homes for them, thus saving their lives.

As we made our way through Prague towards our destination, I thought about how we share a likeness of heart with him.

We too long to see Czech young people saved. Spiritually.

As well as Slovak, Polish, Estonian and Croatian young people; not to mention teenagers from all the other countries here in Central and Eastern Europe where we are working to share the Gospel, and raise up a new generation that loves, follows and serves Jesus.

Thankfully Dave was well enough to come to Prague today in order to share that vision at the European Great Commission Collaboration, a group dedicated to encouraging European Christians to fulfill the Great Commission through supporting outreach, discipleship, community and church developments.

Together with some of the finest Christian leaders in Europe, we are praying for a great movement of God across this region, that will bring about spiritual transformation into the lives of people here.

It is such a privilege to be serving in ministry here in Europe at this time! We believe the harvest is white and ready, and are praying that millions of lives will be saved through Jesus Christ in our lifetime.

May the collaboration between ministries and donors have GREAT impact on this region of the world for the sake of the Gospel.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Our Plans, His Plans

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

The truth of that verse from Proverbs played out for us today.

OUR plan was to go to Prague for a conference. But the Lord had different plans.

When Dave came home from the European Leadership Forum late last night, he was not feeling well. In fact, hadn't been feeling well for two days.

He woke this morning and was so dizzy he could barely walk straight, so went into town to see our doctor. Everything showed up normal (you're always thankful for that!) so he came home and went to bed in hopes that his body would heal with some sleep.

He's doing much better this evening so we're going to try and go to Prague tomorrow for the conference.

We'll see if our plans are his plans tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fields White with Harvest

It's almost midnight and I just returned from an evening at the European Leadership Forum, an equipping conference for national Christian leaders from all over the continent of Europe where Dave has been this past week.

Held at Hotel Gołębiewski in Wisła, Poland, over 700 leaders from 45 nations gathered here to be resourced, mentored, encouraged and challenged in the task of bringing the Gospel to a "post-Christian" continent.

Tonight, Dave had the unique privilege of being the final speaker for the conference.

I arrived a bit early and noticed something familiar being prepared for the evening.

Those packets on the ground are "Look" studies that Dave wrote a few years ago, a simple tool designed to share the Gospel in what he calls "a longer conversation". Each person who arrived for the session tonight, received a packet.

Dave started his talk by having Maruska, our friend and JV teammate in Slovakia, share her testimony by video (she's sick and wasn't able to attend the conference) of using the study to share Jesus with those around her. As always, her testimony was so winsome, genuine and compelling.

"We missed you tonight Maruska, but it was beautiful to hear by video how you're using "Look"!"

Dave then continued on with his talk entitled "Two Views of Europe".

He shared the discouraging news first, about the state of the church across Europe, how seemingly hard the soil is, and that we don't expect much fruit because of that.

"Let's just be faithful, we can't expect Europeans to respond quickly, we'll just hope and pray, watch and wait to see if anything happens." These are the kinds of things that people often say.

But he went on to share a comment recently made by a Polish pastor at a church planting conference who, after hearing about truly hard soil in India, where people are losing their lives for the Gospel , said, "STOP! We do not have hard soil! We have laziness and excuses."

Dave shared from the text in John 4 about what Jesus sees: that the fields are white with harvest!

He brought our friend Jena up front and interviewed him about Exit Tour, the ministry Jena co-leads in the Czech Republic.

Jena shared how last year Exit Tour went to 23 schools in the Czech Republic to share the Gospel. Four students trusted Christ.

This led the team to reevaluate how they were going about "seeing the harvest". They made some changes in how they shared the Gospel, but even more so, in what they expected. Just since January this year, they've been in another 23 schools. And this time, 290 young people have put their faith in Jesus!

Dave concluded with "The harvest is here. We need to stop talking about it and join God in the harvest. Our view may be that it's hard and difficult. But Jesus' view is that it's time to bring in the harvest!"

There are just three imperatives in the John 4 passage: LOOK, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, SEE THE FIELDS ARE WHITE WITH HARVEST.

May there be a wave across Europe of new followers of Jesus Christ who come to know him through the witness of these leaders who heard this message tonight and put it into practice!!

Afterward, I grabbed a picture with another JV teammate, Denisa, who is one of the teachers for the Youth Ministry track that Dave leads at ELF. She, like so many of our JV family, is living this truth out in Slovakia.

May Jesus help all of us to see what he sees, and may we have our eyes and ears open to the harvest that is right in front of us.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Across the Border

Twenty three years ago, in May 1993, Dave and I walked through this little town in southern Poland contemplating what God's plan was for our family.

Wisła, a popular tourist destination, is a town not far over the border from the Czech Republic. It was one of the places we visited as we searched for where God would have us begin the ministry of Josiah Venture.

In the months following that visit, it became clear that we were to move to the Czech Republic, and that our teammates, Dan and Laura Hash, were to go to Poland. They moved to Ustron, the town next door to Wisła, and began JV's ministry to young people in Poland.

I remember meeting believers and attending a Christian concert in Wisła during that May visit, wondering if this is where we would live and share our lives. Of course that isn't what happened, but I still have a soft place in my heart for this town.

Thankfully I get to visit every now and then, such as today.

My friend Kelly, from the States, is here again with her husband for ELF, (the European Leadership Forum that Dave is at this week too), so we had our traditional afternoon together!

After a leisurely and most enjoyable lunch over in Ustron, we wandered through Wisła for a bit in search of some Polish pottery. Sadly, we didn't find much. But I had to laugh at what I DID see in a shop.

Who still knows about Barney??

I do think this toy is seriously mislabeled though. That is definitely not Baby Bop! I would know; Barney and Baby Bop were important characters in our home oh so long ago. :) How times and toys change through the years!

Yet, this town stays the same in many ways. What a delightful spring day across the border in the pretty town Wisła!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Prayer Mate

In January 2017, something is coming that I am SO VERY excited about!! Our Josiah Venture team will enter into a year of special emphasis:

The JV Year of Prayer

Even now we are actively preparing for it. God's given us a creative idea for how to be more effective and deliberate with our prayers, and we're praying it will have extraordinary impact on what God is doing here in Central and Eastern Europe. I am beyond myself with joy and anticipation about what God wants to do in, through, around and for us as we press into him in 2017!

And you, dear friends and family of JV, will have a part in this too. Oh how I can't wait for the day I can roll out what's coming!

In the meantime ... I have something to share along the lines of prayer that was introduced to me by a teammate (thanks Jonathan!) at our JV spring conference a few weeks ago. It is truly revolutionizing my prayer life.

Introducing: PrayerMate. This is an absolutely amazing, powerful app for your smart phone that I guarantee will be a game changer for your prayer life. Developed in 2011 by a man in Great Britain, it is a powerful tool for helping you consistently pray for all the people and causes you care about.

When you download the app (it's available for iPhones, Android and Google) you'll be given the template for beginning your own personalization of what you want to pray for.

You then create your own lists, such as what I have done above. Once you've created your lists, you go into each list and make a virtual "card" of something you want to pray for in that list. For instance, in my Josiah Venture list, I have a card for each of our countries.

On each card you can write whatever specifics you want to pray for, such as what I wrote for our JV team in Croatia.

Hang in there with me! There's more cool stuff!

One of the features of this app that I really love is the emphasis on praying Scripture.

Right inside the app is the ability to access Bible verses and biblical Promises of God that you can add to any card so you can pray Scripture, along with specific requests (it's called the Prayer Builder). Of course you can change the verses at any time, depending on what the need is for the person or situation you're praying for.

How do you actually access the cards? The app AUTOMATICALLY chooses a selection of "cards" from your lists each time you click "pray" at the bottom of the app. Depending on how many "cards" you want to choose to pray for at one time, it will bring them up for you, rolling through all of them before it starts over again.

I pray for 8 items at a time, but only selected one to show you since many are private and personal

I'm still adding new lists and constantly adding new cards onto those lists. But for now, this is my list index, if it helps you to have some ideas of how to create your own categories of lists.

Another great feature is that you can "archive" prayer requests yet still have access to them at any time. I'm using this feature as a way to track answers to prayer.

Can you tell I'm excited about this app?! It's been a joy to have such a well designed, easy system for praying about much of what is on my heart. It helps me stay focused and leads me to seek God for his will and way in my life and the lives of those I care about.

Oh, one last thing! You might want to know what my "Everything Prayers" list is about.

Philippians 4:6 says "Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayers and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

So that's my list where I throw any and all requests that come to my mind or are given to me.

Sometimes a request only stays on the list for a day before I archive it (because it was answered in some way). Other times it might stay there for longer. But it's been super helpful to have a place to jot down something, especially when someone asks me to pray for a specific request.

It's taken me some hours to build my prayers lists and fill in the cards, but even that has been a wonderful, worshipful experience. Once you invest the initial time, then it won't take long to add more things along the way.

I know this was a long post. But I hope you'll try the PrayerMate app and see how it works for you!

You can read more about PrayerMate HERE as I'm sure I haven't covered everything! But hopefully you'll be spurred on to increase the fruitfulness of your prayer life through this creative method.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Meeting my Goal

A text late last night from a friend resulted in this view in the morning.

Yes that's a stroller, and yes I was out for a walk this beautiful Sunday morning!

My friend was teaching the women's Bible study this morning before church, but with her husband in Poland at the same conference as Dave, she didn't have childcare for her three children. She asked if I'd take the baby and said that someone else was going to take her two boys.

That resulted in a nice long hour and a half walk through Frydlant!

Walked by the JV/KAM office building in Frydlant a couple of times!

The benefit of walking this morning was not only the pleasant sights and sounds, but it helped me reach "Fitbit Goal Day", a once a year challenge that Fitbit offers its users. You were supposed to set your goals and have done your walking on Saturday, but since I was busy yesterday, I told myself I'd do it today instead.

Anything in green means I surpassed my goal!

I reached my goal in everything but calories burned. Which I don't really understand! How could I have walked 7 1/2 miles, with 75 minutes of activity, and only burned 1982 calories?? Sure seems like I would've burned more than that! But I'm happy I surpassed my goal in everything else.

Half of my steps were this morning with the stroller, and part of them were this afternoon, trying to reach my goal. It truly could not have been a more beautiful day to challenge myself.

I'm not a competitive person; except when it comes to competing with myself! So that was a fun challenge today and I like it when I meet my own goals!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Good-Bye Migraine

Yes, I'm in the land of the living again!

The migraine that started last Sunday on our way back from the States didn't end until yesterday. That was a doozy.

It wasn't exactly the same as others I've had so I don't know what it was or where it came from. All I know is that it kept me down for much longer than usual.

But that gave me lots of time to pray and I treasure those long, uninterrupted times of talking with the Lord. And as always, there was plenty to talk with him about!

One of my all time favorite quotes from "Streams in the Desert" is this:

"The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials." (June 2nd, in the book).

Migraines have been one of those training and proving grounds for me over the past twenty years. My faith has been made stronger through the trial of that pain. And I don't regret or bemoan it at all.

But I'm definitely thankful to be feeling better!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


The migraine that kicked up on Sunday as we began our trip home from the States, returned in full force this morning when I woke up. Despite all my best efforts, it hung on all day making it impossible to do anything but stay in bed in our darkened room.

While it's painful and definitely not pleasant, I've come to peace with these migraines.

I didn't fight it, but instead focused on enjoying my little dog curled up beside me while I listened to the rain falling outside. As I lay in bed all day, it gave me time to remember the sweetness of this past week-end, and thankfully backed off enough by this evening to let me write a blog post.

We all convened at Tyler and Lara's home in Highland Park this past Friday evening for our "Patty Party" to celebrate Caleb's college graduation and Haley's upcoming birthday.

Since our family gatherings are few and far between, of course I wanted to get a photo altogether. Which is easier said than done when: A. We don't have a non-family member there to snap the photo and B. It's cold and rainy!

Thankfully Claire's camera and a tripod came to the rescue. And the rain? Well, we just had to endure it!

We ran out quickly to stand under a tree for a little bit of protection, laughing as we got into position.

What you don't see in this picture is Judah's coat, held by Tyler behind Lara's back! :) The crazy things you do for a photo!

I took the above photo on my phone.

But here's what it looked like from Claire's camera! (THANKS CLAIRE!)

We took several different poses altogether, hoping that one was a good one.

I think we did pretty good for being in the rain and using a tripod! You really can't tell it's raining, can you?!

As I lay here in bed writing this, I look at all those dear faces and think how very kind the Lord is to give me such a wonderful husband, dear children, sweet daughter-in-laws and a precious grandson.

I am grateful to Him for all these blessings.

Monday, May 16, 2016

To The Rescue

While Florida was at its loveliest and we'd had a wonderful time at a wedding the night before, something chemical at the hotel we stayed in triggered a migraine for me on Sunday morning.

The first of three flights back home was scheduled for Sunday afternoon and I was determined to make it. But after a miserable flight to Washington DC where I threw up because of the migraine's strength, I didn't know if I could make our next flight across the ocean.

Thankfully I have a husband that shines in moments of trouble and came to my rescue.

He found a quiet place for me to sit, a blanket to curl up with, and a memory foam neck roll to hold my head steady.

But that didn't take away the migraine, so he went in search of more help for me.

Twenty five years ago I was introduced to something called the "TENS unit", a method of pain relief which transmits low-voltage electrical impulses through electrodes on the skin to an area of the body that is in pain.

I first used one in a doctor's office in Chicago when I was having multiple sinus infections one winter. My doctor told me that the unit she was using on me was the very same one that the Chicago Bulls have in their locker room! She also told me that she thought the device would solve the sinus trouble, and that I wouldn't suffer from one infection for at least five years.

She was wrong. It was fifteen years before I had another one!

Since that time we've owned two small TENS units, and used them many times for various aches and pains, with good results. But it's now been years since I've used one, and in fact, I'd forgotten about it.

Thankfully when Dave saw one in a shop at the airport and explained what was going on for me, the woman selling them offered to bring it to me, hook me up, and let me use it for an hour to see if it would bring relief.

I am so happy to say that it did!

I was able to get on the plane, sleep the entire flight (a miracle...I can't ever remember sleeping that long on a flight), make it to Munich and then on to Krakow where we picked up our car and headed home.

That TENS unit was a miracle, from my God who specializes in them! I'm so thankful that we made it back and I can now recover from the migraine in the quiet of our home.