Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Imagination Help

I feel like I have an imagination, though probably it's somewhere in the middle as far as imagination quotients go.

That's why I don't mind having some help here in Israel when it comes to imagining what life was like back in the time of Jesus.

We visited Nazareth Village, an open air museum that helps to peel back the layers of time and give you a window into what life was like 2000 years ago.

They've done an exceptional job at carving out a beautiful spot, right in the heart of the city center. Although completely surrounded by modern day life, this little gem of a place sparkles as it brings to light a possibility of what the sights, sounds, smells and tastes were of the early days of Jesus' life.

After a delicious lunch, which they assured us would have been typical food back in the day, we walked through the open air museum to see what they've prepared and developed in order to help you grasp a tiny bit of this period of time.

From animals, to tools, to vegetation, they have sought to create something authentic for the visitor.

Even showing how wool was died using such things as onions, walnuts and the inside sea creature of a shell (to get the beautiful purple color!).

This dear woman, who was there a year ago when I visited as well, cheerfully greets her "guests" as she sits at her spinning wheel to show us the process of what it took to create a garment or a rug.

And with that little bit of help, my imagination is free to incorporate all I know from Scripture about Jesus to understand better where he came from, who he was, and what is so extraordinary about him today!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Full of Faith

We are in the midst of a Holy Land tour right now with a group of our Josiah Venture missionaries.

What a joy and privilege to walk in the steps of Jesus together with these people who desire to follow Him and ARE following Him as missionaries in Central and Eastern Europe.

We're on a delightfully grueling schedule (how's that for a description!) that doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging...not to mention that we haven't had great internet for a few days. So I'll leave you with just one thought I took away from one of Dave's teachings:

There is something about the power of Jesus, about "God with us". As we walk in His land, that truth is even more powerful.

Yet, often our tendency in every day life is either to forget that or to actually pull away from it. But the thrust of God's Word is the redemptive story of Jesus giving his life for us, and the FAITH it takes to believe him.

Without faith, in Jesus, it is impossible to please God.

Oh may I be found faith-filled! Not just in the days I walk in the land of Jesus, but every day, in every place I walk.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

On the Mount

Someone asked about my highlight here in Israel today. And that's a hard question to answer!

But if you're asking....

...it was walking on the traditional place where they believe Jesus gave his "Sermon on the Mount".

While we don't know for sure if it was on this hill, we know it was somewhere in the vicinity. And therefore my imagination can take over!

I felt myself wondering as we walked, "What would I have been feeling if I'd been on my way to hear Jesus teach? Would I have heard him before? Or would it be my first time? What would the circumstances be in my life that would've led me to go hear him? Curiosity? Personal need? What would I have been expecting or wanting??"

Our group stopped in a shady place along the way to listen to Dave as he stepped into Jesus' shoes for a few minutes, to make the teaching of Jesus even more real for us.

Quoting passages from Jesus' words, he said, "Why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

As we sat listening, I could feel a leap in my spirit, being drawn to Jesus' words! I could feel that Jesus was not speaking religiously or philosophically...but personally...to me...and to everyone there.

Why DO I worry?? If God can clothe this land in his beauty, and care for the birds of the air, how will he not take care of me or those I love???

Jesus is so deep, and yet so personal and practical! He knows my weakness, and yet he also has an answer for me!

Seek first HIS kingdom...

That's it! Be concerned first about what He is concerned about. And after that, ALL things will be added to me.

It's not a hard principle to live by in theory. But oh how we fight against it in real life!

But today, I again leave behind my worries and remember the flowers and the birds, that I saw and heard with my own eyes and ears today, and put all of my faith and trust in the One who holds it all.

If He asks me, "Where is your faith?", I'll tell him, "It's in you alone Jesus."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Looking for Jesus

Fifty two of our Josiah Venture teammates met up at the airport this afternoon to begin a trip of a lifetime.

We are here in Israel, Jesus' home, and where the roots of our faith are! Praise the Lord everyone arrived safely from ten different countries, with luggage. That's a small miracle in itself! But that meant we were actually on our bus on time, headed to our first location of sight-seeing and learning.

Joining us on the tour this week is our friend and tour guide from past tours, Andrey. He will be with us all week. And seriously, this man is like a walking "Google" website when it comes to knowledge about his country! It's a privilege to have him with us.

We headed to Mount Arbel, which is a great vantage point for starting out a tour of the Holy Land. With a view over the Sea of Galilee (or Lake Kinneret, as they actually call it in Israel), it was the perfect place for Dave to start teaching today. 

And getting us all to do a little Bible memorization with hand motions!

As we worked on memorizing a familiar passage, Matthew 28:16, a verse that is at the heart of our ministry (so I think most everyone knows it already!), I was reminded of two things.

One is that our mission is ALWAYS to make disciples. And who IS a disciple? Someone that takes what has been given to them and passes it on.

And the second thing is that we are always to "look for Jesus". In that verse, there is the familiar section that says, "And lo, I am with you always." In the original language, that is actually a command telling us to "Look" for Jesus...because he's with us always.

I've seen him numerous times already today, and am sure He will be with us every step of this trip!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Off to Israel

What you can't see in this picture is another 25 Josiah Venture teammates on the plane with us!

This week we are headed to Israel with 52 JV staff where we will tour the Holy Land and listen, learn and talk about how Jesus made disciples. Along with a tour guide who will give us historical context, Dave will be doing the teaching this week.

Since our tour starts tomorrow at noon, and we couldn't get a flight into Tel Aviv early enough, we came a day early with some of our teammates. Everyone found their own accommodations and are just hanging out in the city for the evening.

We had the joy and privilege of hanging out with Mel and Amy on the day of their 19th anniversary of being Josiah Venture missionaries!!!

We love serving with these dear ones! They are faith-filled and faithful missionaries who have made a great impact across Central and Eastern Europe for the sake of Jesus.

It's awesome to be in Israel with them, and all our other JV teammates, this week!

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Tucked away in this photo is a special generational moment...do you see it?

Four generations of Patty men, right there!

How kind of the Lord to allow us to overlap in Denver with Tyler, Lara and Judah so that this epic four generation photo could be taken!

He gave us just a little more than twelve hours together, but we sure made the most of it!

So thankful that Tyler, Lara and Judah had the joy of visiting grandparents, and that we got in on the joy of it too!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Best Day Ever

We received an unexpected gift last week-end.

Our Tyler, Lara and Judah (who live in Tennessee) were on their last day of visiting Dave's parents in Denver, which coincided with our last day in the States. What a treat to finish out our trip with a sweet connection with them!

One of these days, when the Lord blesses Tyler and Lara with all their needed support for moving to Czech to serve with Josiah Venture, we'll see more of this little fellow. But for now, these touch points with him mean so much.

I loved watching Judah interact with his great-grandparents. How cool is it that he got to spend time with them? And that they got to have time with him as well!!!

And you know the other cool thing?

Having Caleb and Haley drive down from Fort Collins to spend the evening with us! Family time is a treasure when you live long distances from each other.

And that's why this was the best day ever!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Locked Out

If you're one of my faithful, regular readers (thank you all!), you might have wondered why I haven't posted for the past five days.

I was locked out of my blog by Google.

To be fair, it wasn't their fault. But it also wasn't something that I did that locked me out. It was just a complicated jumble of problems that led to the freezing of my account.

Thanks to a very savvy Google wizard (aka: Brian at our JV Frydlant office), it was untangled today and I'm back in business! WHEW. "Thank you Brian!!!"

For ten years, my blog has been a way to share our lives and ministry with all of you. When I got the email saying I was going to lose my domain, I'll admit, a bit of panic rose up inside of me! It's not that all my blog posts would have disappeared. But I wouldn't have ever been able to post again on this blog domain. And you would never have known why.

How thankful I am that Brian knew how to untangle the problem and solve it. How thankful I am that God is in all the little details of life, including blog domains!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tour the Prayer Room

We are forty seven days into our year of prayer for Josiah Venture.

That is already over 1128 hours of dedicated prayer for God's work among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe! 

God is moving, truly, in unprecedented ways as you and I pray. If you haven't visited our "Answered Prayer " wall, please do so HERE! I think you'll be encouraged by reading some of the answers to those prayers.

As you can see though, we continue to have many open hours for people to sign up to pray.

In fact, there is a spot open at 11 PM tonight, Mountain time in the US. That's just two hours from right now.

Can anyone fill it???

**YES!!! Within ten minutes of posting this, someone covered that hour for us! But there are still more so read on for how to sign up and pray with us for another hour. There are two more hours that need covering TOMORROW.**

So far the Lord has prompted someone to sign up to pray for every single hour since January 1st of this year. I don't want to see that stop!

Maybe you've been thinking about signing up but are still a little unsure of what this is all about. Our JV communication's team made a video just for you!

I hope the explanation of the Prayer Room here will give you encouragement that it's not hard to do, and motivation to come on in and pray with us.

Watch it, and then sign up to join us for an hour of prayer!

The Prayer Room - Video Tour from Josiah Venture on Vimeo.

By the way, we don't limit the prayer room to one person per hour! We'll take as many people as possible each hour.

So if you have a particular hour free, and there's already someone signed up for that hour, go ahead and sign up for it too. That hour will be all the more powerful for the two (or three, or four, or twenty!) of you who are standing in faith for the young people of Central and Eastern Europe.

Thank you for your faith-filled prayers!

Got A Glimpse

I had a half hour between meetings and activities this afternoon, so made a quick beeline for downtown Jackson.

On this bright, beautiful, sunny February afternoon, where the temps were just above freezing, it was so nice to walk around the town soaking in the sunshine and beauty of this favorite little town of mine.

After a quick walk, I drove over to our friend's classical academy where Dave led the faculty in a professional development discussion. And then we headed to our friend's house for the evening.

During these days in Jackson I've been hoping that I'd get a glimpse of something in particular. But with all the snow they've had this year, I assumed what I was hoping to see wouldn't be down around town.

But then, I got my glimpse.

Do you know what it was I wanted a glimpse of??

HA! Of all the places for him to be!

Don't worry, I didn't get out of my car. My pictures were taken while I was safely inside, with the window rolled down. I do know you're not supposed to physically get near a moose. But it just delighted me that I got a glimpse from my car.

And in such a funny spot!

So now all is well. I've gotten my glimpse of a moose in Jackson!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Sweet Valentine's

While Dave and his brothers celebrated Valentine's Day together on the slopes of Jackson, I celebrated throughout the day with these precious ones.

God wove our lives together many years ago and they are family! Wouldn't have wanted to spend Valentine's with anyone else.

"You all are so precious to me!" 

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Grand Beauty

Flying over the mountains, on our way from Phoenix to Wyoming, I could hardly wait for the first glimpse of her again.

And there she was, out the window of the plane.

The Grand Teton!

She delights and fascinates me every time I see her. I've heard she's quite a climb...and surely not one I'll ever make in my lifetime. But nonetheless, I press my face up to the airplane window to get the first glimpse of her whenever we go to Jackson.

Our plane had been nearly three hours late in arrival, but it truly didn't matter. I got to see her in all her glory at sunset.

THANK YOU LORD for creating something that so reflects your majesty.

Her beauty was there to greet me at sunrise this morning.

And then was on full display as we drove towards the mountains later on. It's been an epic winter in Jackson, so she's covered in lots of white right now.

Just a little ways down from where she sits in the mountain range, I dropped off these three for a day of skiing.

Sorry for the bright sunshine, Josh! :) 

This is the first time in twenty five years that Dave and his brothers have skied together! They had an awesome day on the slopes with each other.

It's so fun to share with them this area that we enjoy so much!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Executive Retreats

For the past three days, Dave and five others from JV's leadership team have been two hours north of Phoenix on an executive retreat.

While they've been there, Amy and I have been holed up in Scottsdale on an executive retreat of our own.

Thanks to the kindness of some dear friends, we've been staying at their house to work on our upcoming JV ladies retreat, as well as spend concentrated time in prayer for our team.

What a privilege and joy to serve with these dear ones who are so committed to doing all they can to fan into flame a movement of God in Central and Eastern Europe.

Mel, Aleisha, Brian, Amy, Dave, me, Josh - missing Terry E and Kristi P