Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Thankful for Partners

Something that I don't write about very often ... in fact, I'm not sure I ever have ... is that Dave and I do one particular thing almost every time we are in the States.

We visit foundations around the United States who give generously to Josiah Venture for big projects.

I don't write about them because we always want to honor and protect the anonymity of these donors. Yet I want to say a huge "God Bless You" to them for their willingness to significantly partner with us as an organization. Without them, it would be difficult to make significant strides forward in the ministry as a whole.

They don't support us personally, as that's not the calling of a foundation. For that, we rely on the gifts of our personal donors (who we are SO VERY THANKFUL FOR!). But they care about us and the ministry, and like to hear personally from us about what God is doing. So almost every time we're in the States, we visit at least one of them.

Today was no exception! This foundation gave us their entire lunch hour to share with their entire staff, updates, stories, praises, and prayer needs.

About thirty people gathered around this table, and throughout the room, and listened as Dave shared powerful testimonies about how their resources have helped us reach thousands of young people in Central and Eastern Europe with the Gospel.

When he finished, they asked so many good questions, truly caring about all aspects of the ministry - from people to programs.

We are so grateful for God's provision of people from all means and walks of life, who partner with us in reaching the next generation of this region with the Gospel, discipling them to maturity in their walks with God, and training them to be the next leaders.

It's a privilege to partner with all those who care about the ministry God's doing in our part of the world!

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Legacy Continues

After finishing some meetings up in Michigan today, we decided to swing through Gull Lake Ministries, a special place to our family where we've served and been served over the past nine years.

Not only has Dave been the speaker there every other year since 2008, two of our kids have spent several of their summers serving on staff at this excellent family camp ministry.

And now? The Patty legacy continues with our niece, Rebecca!

Since staff are not allowed to have their phones during the week, or be on social media (leadership wants them to be fully present with the campers and families), she didn't know we were coming. How fun it was to surprise her!

We came in on banquet night, which means it's adults only for dinner (kids have their own program and dinner at a different location). So we came in to a fancy evening and enjoyed not only an excellent meal, but the best cup of coffee ever, served by our dear niece!

We were only at GLM for a few hours, so soon it was time to say goodbye to her. But I'm so glad we got to have that little touchpoint with her!

"We love you Becca!"

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chicago Days

Claire and I had the joy of spending the day downtown Chicago on Saturday with our sweet friend, Ginger!

She and her mom came all the way from Jackson, Wyoming to see us - which is quite a contrast to the big city of Chicago! Determined to show her the bright spots of the city, we headed out to Navy Pier, a famous Chicago landmark.

Last year while Claire was still a student at Moody, she woke up early one morning and came down here at 5 AM in order to ride the old ferris wheel on its last day after 20 years of rotation. Later in the day, they began the de-construction of that one (with its open bucket so you had a completely unobstructed view!) and eventually put in this new one.

So of course we had to ride it with Ginger!

Although you're now looking through some sort of plexiglass (which of course makes the ride much safer), you still had an unbelievable view of the city looking back from nearly the edge of Lake Michigan, where the ferris wheel sits on Navy Pier.

Thankfully you get the full ride around to the top several times, which allows for that magnificent view of the Chicago Skyline. I probably took twenty pictures in hopes of capturing it!

And if you're on the ferris wheel, well, how can you resist a ride of the big swing next to it as well?!

Claire and Ginger braved that together - they're "in the cloud" on the right side, middle, of the above photo!

We walked five miles that day, all in the downtown area, taking in an assortment of sights. This ten year old girl was a trooper, walking the whole way without any complaints! She's a special girl.

Our week-end with she and her mom came to a close all too soon today. We love these dear ones and are so thankful for our years of friendship and partnership in the Gospel with them.

"Already looking forward to the next time we see you Polly and Ginger!"

Friday, June 23, 2017

Downtown Chicago

For the past eight years, downtown Chicago has been a "place" for us since our kids attended Moody Bible Institute, which is located there.

Prior to those years, I'd only been downtown a handful of times, so didn't feel very confident in this big, bustling city.

But, thanks to all those times we've been there to visit our kids (who now are all finished with school), I love downtown Chicago and enjoy every time I get to be there!

Claire and I headed there this morning, while Dave was in JV board meetings, to meet up with some very dear friends of ours for the week-end!

Ginger, seated next to Claire, and her mom, Polly, are friends of ours from Jackson, Wyoming whom we dearly love!

Getting to spend a whole week-end with them here is pure delight!

As you can see, we never lack for fun and laughter when we're together!

After his board meeting, Dave took a train into the city to join us for dinner, and for a very special event.

We absolutely LOVED seeing the Broadway production of "The King and I"!! Magical, heartwarming, gorgeous, fun, beautiful and name a few of the adjectives that aptly described it! I've always loved musicals, ever since being involved in them in high school. But I haven't seen many since those years, so this was an absolute treat to get to go!

After the show, we walked all the way back to our hotel through the city, taking in the skyline and all its beauty.

This will surely be a night we'll all remember for a long time!

Those Who Care for Us

It's an ordinary beginning to what is actually a meaningful day in the life of our mission organization, Josiah Venture.

These are some of the JV board members, who fly or drive in from as far away as Czech, Poland, Texas, Michigan and Kentucky, to spend a day in board meetings three times a year, thinking strategically and prayerfully about our ministry to reach the next generation with the Gospel in Central and Eastern Europe.

Two times a year they gather at our home office in Wheaton, Illinois.

Sarah, one of our beloved JV members who serves in the Wheaton office, is there to greet everyone with her love, joy and hospitality!

Our other beloved Wheaton office and JV team member, Theresa, is also on hand to record the minutes and coordinate the workings of the day. She's invaluable!

This group of men come from their homes and workplaces for prayer, time in the Word, reports, strategic thinking, vision casting and offering their wisdom to the work of JV at these board meetings.

But this is not the only time of the year they think of us! Throughout the year they pray for us, come to visit us, and continue to think with us about the future of how to maximize resources in evangelizing and discipling the next generation. We are so grateful for them.

The board members take their roles very seriously, reading through pages of reports and updates from the field ahead of time in order to be on top of the latest details about the ministry.

Then under the guidance of board chairman, Philip (in white, seated at the far left, next to Dave) who chairs the meeting, they are wisely and strategically guided throughout the day to offer their insights and knowledge in helping us be most effective.

In what is affectionately known as "The Fishbowl" (that spot where they meet!) these men give of their time and talents to overseeing the ministry of JV.

We are so thankful for these men who care so deeply about each of our missionaries, their ministries, and the overall work to reach young people with the Gospel in our part of the world. It's a blessing to be regularly cared for and thought of by them!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Prayers for the Summer

Even when I'm here, in the suburbs of Chicago, I'm thinking of and praying for our Josiah Venture team across the ocean.

Within ten days, the season of camps will be in motion for our 24th summer!

This means...125 camps, with 6000 students, over 1000 short term workers, 105 interns, and many of our staff...too many to count!...on deck for spending a week sharing their lives and the Gospel at camp.

It's our most intense season of the year, and typically our most fruitful for the Kingdom of God.

Pray for a great harvest this summer of young people who will go from darkness to light. Pray they will become serious followers of Jesus, disciples who will make disciples.

Pray for our team, for physical and spiritual strength as they pour our their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

And join us in the JV Prayer Room HERE! If you're able, consider taking an hour once a week this summer, to bring all of these people before God in prayer. Stand with us in prayer for God's power to sweep across Central and Eastern Europe this summer!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Living Normal Life

The last time Claire and I lived normal life together (by that I mean seeing each other every day) was when she lived at home with us in Czech.

But of course for the past four years she's been in Chicago going to college at Moody Bible Institute, and working during the summers. So our "normal life" became seeing each other when we came to the States for various meetings and events, or during Christmases when she came home.

Now for this season of life, post graduation, her "normal" is living in the suburbs of Chicago while raising support to serve with Josiah Venture. And because I'm here with Dave for some of those meetings and events that we regularly come for, I'm getting a taste of that "normal life" with her!

In between both of our schedules, we've had the joy of meeting up every day, even if it's just been for an hour!

We've been to her favorite coffee spot, I took her to my favorite breakfast place, she's made me dinner, and I helped her move (our church family here is caring for her by providing new homes to live in every two months). And we've talked!

One of these days she'll be on the other side of the ocean with us, serving in ministry with us to the JV Kids. That will be very special and a new normal.

But for right now, it's meaningful to share this "normal"!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Our Growing Family

Oh how purely delighted I am to share these photos that recently came my way ... of our growing family!

Haley just entered her third trimester with their precious baby, due at the end of August in Colorado where she and Caleb live.

All babies are miracles, there is no doubt about that. But this one especially falls into that category since a year and a half ago they miscarried their first baby. While I didn't write about it on my blog at the time, Caleb and Haley have not shied away from talking about how God met and cared for them during their time of grieving, a loss we all grieved.

In God's perfect timing and sovereignty, he blessed them with this child almost an exact year after they lost their first precious one. They've been filled with love and praise for the Lord with that news, just as they were in their loss despite how painful that was.

I admire them so much for how they walked through that time of loss, as well as how they're embracing this time of new life.

And here they are now, just a little less than ten weeks away from birthing this much beloved little one, their SON!

You can imagine how much we all are looking forward to meeting this little fellow!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day with our Girl

I am pretty sure the last time Claire spent Father's Day with her dad was four years ago, before she left home for college in the US. So today is special!

After being at Grace Church of DuPage this morning (with Dave preaching on "How to Pray for your missionary", which is already on line HERE!), we headed to Naperville for lunch to celebrate Father's Day.

Truth be told, if these two could have chosen something to do today it would've been a hike. But a walk along the river after lunch had to suffice!

In all the time we've been in and out of this area (even having lived here twenty five years ago), we've never been down to the river or to the park which has this well-known landmark.

The Millennium Carillon tower actually houses a very special set of bells (72 to be exact) that span a six octave range. This is the fourth largest carillon in North American, and one of only 600 in the whole world. A very cool feature to this amazing park!

Standing at the base of the tower!

We watched boats and canoes in the little lake and river nearby, filled with dads and their kids, all celebrating Father's Day, as we were!

How thankful I am for this wonderful man who loves his kids (and grandkids!) with a deep passion, and continually invests in them with all his heart, soul and mind. He's always got them in this thoughts and prayers, and they (and me!) are his greatest treasure!

So glad to celebrate him today in Naperville!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Time-Honored Tradition

What better way to get Father's Day week-end started than heading to an Auto Parts store?

But the greater significance of this is that it's the first time Dave has ever gotten to help his girl take care of her car.

Since our kids grew up in Czech, and didn't have their own cars there, Dave has never had that time-honored tradition of helping his kids out with car issues. But now that Claire has her own car here in the US as she's support raising, he got to step in and help her out today.

And teach her a few things, like how to check the oil!

And how to change her own air filter. This is one of his favorite ways to teach...not doing it for her, but guiding her in how to do it!

I don't know why, but this was one of my favorite moments of Dave helping Claire.

Checking out a small leak together
They were back and forth into the auto store, getting the necessary supplies, with dad completing another time honored tradition: paying for his daughter's car parts. 😊

And Claire completed her part of the deal, not only doing the work alongside her dad, but getting the time-honored smudge of dirt as well!

All tasks were completed successfully! Proud of these two for a job well done.

And one more time-honored tradition before moving on with our day!!

Your dad loves you so much Claire, even filling up your gas tank!