Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dropping Claire Off

After having a few special days with Claire at home, we were all up bright and early this morning to get ready to leave.

On this dark, rainy, "oh so very wet" day, Dave and I are headed to vacation while Claire is headed to JV Kid's camp in Croatia.

The skies were literally dumping buckets of rain as I dropped Claire off at the JV office in Frydlant to meet up with other JV staff she'll be driving down with.

With a van load of passengers and supplies, they'll drive 8 hours today, down to a camp on the border of Slovenia and Croatia where the kids will arrive tomorrow, Monday, to begin a week of kid's camp.

Dave and I are also headed to Croatia, but further down south to our beloved Hvar region. Let's hope there are some sunny skies down there, in contrast to these rainy ones here!

We won't see Claire again here as we'll still be on vacation when she gets back to Frydlant. She'll have just a couple of days at home before returning to Chicago to continue her support raising process.

So glad she gets this touchpoint with the JV Kids that she'll be coming to serve soon! Her hope and prayer is to be back by the end of the year. We're all hoping for that!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Just in Time

After waiting eight weeks, my car was finally fixed JUST IN TIME! We picked it up yesterday, at the very last minute before we were due to leave on vacation this week-end.

As I mentioned in THIS POST, my car has been at the mechanic as he looked far and wide across Europe these past two months, searching for the parts to fix it.

In the end, he sent one of the guys who works at his shop on an EIGHT HOUR DRIVE to northern Poland to pick up a used transmission!

From that, he refurbished all the necessary parts, put it back together and finally took it down off the lift in his garage. It'd been up there for a month (when he put it up there to take out my old transmission, he couldn't take it back down until he had the new one to put in it).

It's nice to have this "friend" back, ready to roll tomorrow, down to my favorite vacation place: Croatia. 😊

My next pictures ought to have a little more sunshine in them than what we've got in Frydlant today!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Day Out with Claire

When we moved here almost 24 years ago, I never would have guessed that FrĂ˝dek-MĂ­stek would be one of my favorite places to go! It's a town of 57,000 people, thirty minutes from where we lived in Havířov for the first eight years, and fifteen minutes from where we now live in FrĂ˝dlant nad OstravicĂ­.

Back in the day I'd go there because of an outdoor market where I could find things that I couldn't find otherwise.

But today, it's full of charm, cute restaurants, and places we've discovered that we go back to time and time again.

Today we tracked down a new cafe that opened six months ago - Kontakt Cafe. It definitely lived up to its reputation of being a very special place with great atmosphere, coffee, dessert, food and even a gift shop with Yankee Candles! If you're in the area, it's definitely worth visiting!

Frýdek-Místek is actually two towns that were combined into one back in 1943. But its beginnings go back 750 years. They're actually celebrating that anniversary this year!

Separated by the Ostravice river, Claire and I like both sides of town as each has its own charm and places that we like to visit. After being on the Místek side for coffee, we headed to the Frýdek side.

Back in January, just after Claire had graduated from Moody and had been accepted by JV for her ministry to JV Kids, we came to the Frýdek side of town in search of a place to take photos for her prayer card.

It was so fun to be back here seven months later, on a warm summer day (it was freezing the day we took her pictures, though you'd never know looking at it!), knowing that she is at 75% of her needed monthly support! She'll be back here to live before we know it!

Our actual destination today was here.

While we've been inside this church, and have walked past it countless times, we've never been up in the tower, SvatojĂĄnskĂŠ Věž (Holy John's tower).

We headed up all 211 stairs, taking in an exhibition along the way telling about its history, built in the 15th century (I think! Didn't hold that piece of info in my head...only know that it was a very   L--O--N--G time ago!).

The trip to the top is sure worth it for this view!

While there is a little walkaway around the top of the tower, the public is not allowed on it, so you have to satisfy yourself with the view through little windows. Not a bad view though!

On our way back down all those stairs, a woman stopped Claire to ask a question...which turned out to be an interview for ÄŒesky Rozhlas, the national radio station in Czech!

Claire did the interview speaking Czech, never tipping her hand that she's an American girl, born in Germany, raised in Czech, college graduate from the States, and on her way back here to do ministry!

So proud of my girl for who she is, all parts of her!

And loved sharing a day together in one of our favorite places.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Birthday at Bouzov

A few weeks ago when Dave asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year I told him, "A trip to somewhere in Czech that I haven't been before!"

He immediately had an idea, which turned into a reality today!

On my 56th birthday today, we headed to Hrad Bouzov, an early 14th century castle built northwest of Olomouc, a city about an hour away from where we live.

It is truly fairy-tale like! Never conquered, it is in beautiful condition and has passed through the hands of many owners over the past 700 years.

We got there just in time for the last tour of the day!

It's almost impossible to photograph something so spectacular (especially on my phone!), but the tour was wonderful as we walked through getting all the historical details about it.

While spectacular, it's also easy to picture how people lived here - it definitely has a livable charm about it. Imagine coming in here for a meal or a meeting.

The most spectacular room was the banquet hall, with its lavish furnishings and frescos on the walls.

I might have been a little bit giddy over this treasure of these sights!

If it all looks like it should be in a movie, you're thinking like all the directors who have come here with their ideas through the years! At least thirty films have been made here.

This sure was THE perfect place to come for my birthday celebration with Dave and Claire!

I'd definitely like to go back and explore the castle and its surroundings another time!

"Thank you Dave and Claire for making my birthday so special and memorable! And thank you Claire for bringing your camera to take some photos for us! That was a lot of fun!!!"

I'm excited about this coming year and the new, good, joy-filled things the Lord has in store for me!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Special Arrival

Even after all these years of traveling, I still get a thrill when I go to the airport!

While today was not a traveling day for me, I still enjoyed a two hour drive to Krakow this morning to pick up someone arriving from the States.

With a bit of a delay (a half hour late from Berlin), I didn't mind a quick morning cappuccino and some people watching out the window. When I'm at airports, I always wish I could know where all those people are coming and going from, and what their stories are!

Finally the plane I was waiting for arrived and a very special person came out through the doors!

Our daughter, Claire, is here for two weeks to get a jumpstart on her ministry with the JV Kids!

Every year since 2002, our JV staff have put on an incredible camp for the JVK.

Claire used to be one of those kids and went to camp for many years. But now that she is finished with college and in the process of raising her support to come on our team to work with those kids, she gets to be part of the staff at camp for the first time!

While she's still raising support (she hit 75% of her monthly just a few days before she flew), she gets to go to camp and begin building those relationships that will be the foundation for her ministry.

And in the meantime, we get to see her for a few days at home!

Just as we arrived (hadn't even gone in the door yet), our neighbor stopped by to have her first chat with Claire.

Our neighbor dearly loves Claire and prays every day for her so was very happy to get to see her and talk with her today. I'm sure she'll be back every day while Claire is here.

Someone else was happy to see her too!

She'll be here until Sunday when she leaves for camp. And we'll soak up all the goodness of those days with her between now and then!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

At the Office

Another day, another walk to the office!

Dave and I have been sharing his car for the past two months while a mechanic has searched across Europe for transmission parts for my car. Not wanting to put in a new transmission, or even a used one, we've waited for him to find the right parts that would work to fix my car.

And in the meantime, I've taken some really great walks!

It's just a twenty minute walk from our house down to the office, which always makes me smile as I come up to this building where so much background work takes place for the JV family.

About thirty people come to work daily in this building, keeping KAM, our Czech JV ministry administratively cared for, as well as the greater JV team across Central and Eastern Europe.

There's a lot of creativity, thought, plans and prayer that takes place here. And I'm jumping in to add my piece today!

I walk all the way upstairs to the top floor where Brian works in his office, and we get going on more refinement of the Prayer Room together.

I find problems, and he finds solutions!

What I love about Brian and our whole office team is that they are all committed to God-honoring excellence in whatever they do, and they do it with a happy heart. It makes coming in to the office a pleasure!

I'm thankful to be part of such a great team here at the office in town.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pure Joy Moment

I was in a parking lot this afternoon, talking on the phone while watching the comings and goings of people in FrĂ˝dlant from my car window.

I snapped a photo because it was just such an idyllic moment.

All of a sudden, the man seated on the bench in the picture above, stood up, grabbed some leaves off the tree and started tossing them in the air.

Apparently he knew what his dog would do!

It absolutely cracked me up watching him toss those leaves so that his dog would literally FLY into the air, by the power of his own legs, trying to catch them! That dog could JUMP!!

There was such pure joy in the moment, watching these two have an extraordinary amount of FUN!!

Their play lasted maybe five minutes, and then the owner sat down on the bench again. With his dog in his lap, he buried his head into its fur, obviously giving the dog some love. And you could see the dog soaking it in.

I wish you and me some moments of pure joy like that!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Church in the Park

Every summer our FrĂ˝dlant church heads outdoors for the month of August.

The worship service is held each Sunday in the lower amphitheater at Malenovice, our training center.

It is so delightful worshipping outdoors, even with a few sprinkles falling and the temperatures cooler than normal. You just wrap a blanket around you and soak in the beauty of God's creation as you worship.

We typically have a lot of guests during the summer, people who are in the area for a variety of, conferences, visiting family in the area. It makes for the best kind of atmosphere on a Sunday...the family of God joining together from all corners of the world.

Continuing in our summer series of teaching in Psalms, Dave preached yesterday.

Speaking from Psalm 3, he talked about the Lord as our shield, the lifter of our heads, the One who hears our cries, and the One who fights for us. As always, it was a powerful message!

After the service, we were all happy to go inside for a warm lunch and sweet fellowship!

I sat with one of our JV summer interns who has just finished leading an intern team here in Czech. How I loved hearing what God did in him this summer, and how God used him in the lives of many Czech young people. This is what we pray for our interns! That God transforms them, as he uses them.

Photo credit for these amazing photos goes to Honza Kabut, one of our amazingly talented JV communication team members! When I saw him taking photos, I knew they would be so much better than what I'd capture on my phone. And I was right!

Thank you Honza for sacrificially using your skills and talents to capture memorable moments like "church in the park"!