Monday, July 31, 2017

A 20th Anniversary

Having lived here in Czech for nearly 24 years means that some of our early youth group kids from Havířov (the first city we lived in) are now in their 40's!

But the even better part, is that some of those students who trusted Christ as teenagers have now been walking with the Lord for many years into adulthood.

Today, Dave received an email from one of those former youth group kids. It was to tell Dave thank you for the impact he made on his life, and that he is celebrating his 20th anniversary with the Lord today!

He included a letter that he still has in his Bible, a letter that Dave wrote to him the day after he put his faith in Jesus, when he gave him his first Bible.

It is for this reason that we are here, doing what we do! We are still as eager as ever to be part of God's movement to raise up a whole new generation of disciples following Jesus.

What a privilege this life is, leading young people to Christ, discipling them, and cheering them on in their lives of faith.

And what joy to see fruit that lasts!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

It's a Reality

A few days ago I mentioned that Dave is traveling in Europe for the next few weeks.

His first stop?

Norway ... with his 91 year old dad (hope it's okay to say how old you are dad!) and his two brothers!

His dad has had a dream of doing this trip on a boat from Kierkenes, down the coast of Norway to Bergen. And now it's a reality! They are having a great time together, as you can imagine.

The temps are in the high 40's to mid 50's (8 - 12 C), so it's not warm, as you can tell by the jackets. But Dave says the scenery is magnificent, and the company even better! 😊

So glad they get this time with each other.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Wedding Day Delight

On a glorious summer morning, I drove down the valley from our home, headed to this scenic location.

I've driven down in the valley hundreds of times through the years, but never noticed this beautiful church on the hill above.

A friend told me that until this last year, the entire hillside that overlooks the valley, was covered in tall trees which explains why I'd never seen it! The view is absolutely stunning, especially on a gorgeous summer morning.

But I wasn't here to admire the view. I was here, along with many others, to celebrate a wedding!

Thirteen years ago an American family moved to our town, Frýdlant nad Ostravicí, as missionaries to serve at Beskydy Mountain Academy.  Their first two nights in country, they stayed at our house...a mom, dad and their three children. The youngest was Paul Hugh, an 8 year old boy.

Today, that boy is a man, marrying his beautiful bride, Kristy!

They met as students at the same school where his dad still teaches, and over the course of years, fell in love and today became husband and wife.

The setting could not possibly have been any more beautiful for their wedding day!

With many photographers to capture the day, they took their vows, sealed them with a kiss, and became Paul and Kristy Till!

Paul's dad pronounced a beautiful blessing over them...

And his siblings who came from the States, Lucy Rose and Patrick, offered a beautiful song to add even more meaningfulness to the day.

This mature, delightful couple will be living in Slovakia as Paul continues his studies in theological education in preparation for future ministry that they feel God calling them to. I have no doubt that the Lord will use them powerfully in the years to come!

Dave and I had the privilege of doing their pre-marital counseling. What joy to pass on to them what we've learned about marriage, and watch them soak in and learn so eagerly. We have no doubt they're going to have a strong, healthy, amazing marriage, and be used by God to impact lives for the sake of the Gospel.

Behind wonderful children come wonderful parents! Both sets have done an incredible job at raising these dear children, now adults.

I hope when the parents go to sleep tonight, they hear the Lord say, "Well done!"

"Paul and Kristy, we wish you a lifetime of loving each other and the Lord!! May you grow deeper and richer in love with each other and with him as each year passes. We love you!"

Friday, July 28, 2017

Happy Friday

What kind of Friday did you have?

My day started at 7 AM and I've been talking with, listening to, and enjoying people for fifteen hours straight!

Breakfast, lunch, coffee and dinner...all with different people! I'm thankful for long summer days with time to do these sorts of things with people I love.

And the above picture? Taken while on my ten minute walk with Kaylee in between coffee and dinner! Which, speaking of Kaylee...she came into our lives six years ago yesterday!

Happy Friday to you all!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ten Marriage Amendments

When Dave and I were driving back from our honeymoon thirty years ago, Dave had a burst of inspiration.

"Let's write some amendments to our marriage vows, things that we want to be true about us and our family through the years!"

So, driving from Salzburg to Heidelberg (where we lived at the time), we wrote "The Ten Amendments to our Marriage Vows", important values that we have strived to keep all these years.

Last year when I published my book, "No Less Than Yes", I wrote about those amendments in one of the chapters.

A few months later, a Czech young woman that I've known for some years, told me she'd read the book and then asked if, as her wedding gift, I'd be willing to give her those ten amendments to hang on the wall in her new home with her husband. How that blessed me!

So with the help of Avery, a friend in the States who is a beautiful graphic designer (and interior designer - see her website HERE), I gave her the text and she designed the lettering that you see in the picture above! I had it printed and framed here in Czech, and gave it to the couple last week-end on their wedding day!

While I didn't get to be at the wedding (was so sad that I was sick over the week-end), it brought a lot of joy to my heart to pass on those values to this couple who both know and love Jesus and want their lives and family to reflect the Lord and bring glory and honor to him!

Congratulations Owl and Lucie!! May you have a rich and beautiful marriage for all the years ahead of you!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Peace in Turbulence

This may not seem like a very impressive photo. But oh is it a precious one to me!

If you read about our problem with water two days ago, you know that we've been without water at our house since Sunday. I don't think I've ever gone so long without it, and now I realize just how precious running water is!!

A repairman came today, looked deep inside our pump chamber and said he'd never seen anything like this.

A section of the pump had simply fallen off.

How that happened, we have no idea.

I'm not one to quickly assume enemy forces working against us. But in the case of all the things that have inconveniently gone wrong lately, I'll tell you that I'm feeling "turbulence" in the spiritual world right now.

And with good reason, I think! There are SIGNIFICANT spiritual advances being made right now, even as I write. We are hearing about and seeing with our own eyes, a work of God among the young people of Central and Eastern Europe that is unlike anything we've seen so far.

Many are putting their faith in Jesus. Many are seeking answers to questions. Many are interested in knowing more.

So I'm okay with some turbulence! And in fact, feel a sense of peace knowing that God is on the move.

The repairman today simply put the pump back together. God is doing the same: putting people back together by drawing them to himself. There's bound to be some turbulence in the spiritual realm when that starts happening.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Traveling Dave

For 23 years I've been dropping off and picking up people at this train station, thirty minutes from our home.

And today was no different as it was another day of dropping off.

Too bad I never kept count of how many times it was Dave that I was picking up or dropping off!

In this case, I was saying goodbye to him for nearly three weeks...almost unheard of in our current season of life since I usually travel with him!

But today he's heading off to a variety of travels throughout Europe and won't be back home until August 12th.

During our kids' growing up years, I was used to him being gone and learned how to live life well whether he was home or away. But now I'm used to traveling with him! So this is different, saying goodbye for three weeks.

However, the things that he has in front of him are special on many levels so I'm glad he gets to go. And hopefully he'll send some pictures along the way to show where he's going.

Stay tuned!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hoping for a Happy Ending

If you look closely in this picture you can see the peak of Lysá hora, the largest mountain in the Beskydy range near our home.

But this is not a view from our house. Rather, I'm at a friend's home doing laundry today. Why?

Because we woke up to no water flowing at our house yesterday!

There is plenty of water in the well, electricity is working, and from our unprofessional perspective (since we aren't experts in pumps and such!) it seems like there's no reason for what happened. But surely there is. We have someone coming tomorrow to look at it.

So in the meantime, I'll be back and forth to our friends' house to shower, do laundry and cook. Dave leaves tomorrow for nearly three weeks so won't be around to see the end of this story, which I hope comes soon! 😊

Friday, July 21, 2017

While We Wait

For the past month, Dave and I have been sharing a car. Which means that sometimes I walk!

Dave left early this morning to go into the JV office, but I needed the car this afternoon so walked into town to pick it up from him.

In June, we took my car into a garage to have the transmission looked at as it seemed that something wasn't quite right. It's turned into a much bigger deal than we anticipated.

The mechanic said in twenty years of business, he'd never seen anything like what had happened inside my transmission. He said he didn't even know how we possibly could have been driving it! This is the car that we bought in Austria when my other car died. It seemed to be a good car at the time, but obviously, something was going on inside it that we didn't know about.

Currently the mechanic is trying to find parts to solve the problem, and keep us from having to purchase a whole new transmission. He's motivated to find those parts because my car is up on the only lift in his garage so he's not able to do anything else. So I'm praying for him to find those parts SOON, mostly for his sake so he can get on with his business!

In the meantime, Dave and I are enjoying walks and bike rides into town when the other person needs the car.

We live in a beautiful place so those walks and bike rides are enjoyable!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Celebrating My Firstborn

This amazing daddy is having a birthday of his own today! 😄

Twenty seven years ago, our firstborn, Tyler, made his entrance into the world on this day!

It was unexpected. He wasn't due for another month. But the Lord knew his birthday was in July not in August! And so on a hot July day in Schwetzingen, Germany, he made his appearance and has been delighting us ever since.

Watching Tyler grow through these a son, brother, husband and now daddy...has brought us untold joy.

Tyler is strong in living out his faith and has deep knowledge of God's word. He is loyal and loving to all in his life, excellent in every endeavor, responsible and conscientious, and a lifelong learner! He reads and writes Hebrew, is a talented musician, bakes sourdough bread from scratch, gardens like a Patty (you have to know our history to understand that one...let's just say he takes after his grandpa, dad and uncles!) and is an utterly devoted husband and dad!

Love this photo of the three generations of Patty boys!

Tyler is celebrating this birthday in Chattanooga, Tennessee where he's currently living with his wife, Lara, and their two boys, as they raise support to come serve with Josiah Venture here in the Czech Republic.

Next year at this time, I just might get to celebrate my firstborn in person after many years of being apart on this day. That would be a gift!!

In the meantime, I'm sending all my love and hugs to Tyler on this special day of celebrating his birth.

"Tyler, you delight me! I love who God made you and am thoroughly enjoying seeing more expressions of who you are as the years go by. I thank the Lord for giving me the privilege of being your mom and look forward to seeing what God has for you in the years to come back here in Czech!! Have a great birthday today!!"

And hot off the press! Tyler sent me this photo today, on his birthday!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dog Talk

This has been a very long week, particularly for one little member of our household who has been alone a lot as we've been busy with various things of the ministry sort.

She's spent a whole lot of hours alone at home, which I'm always so sad about. Yes, I know she's "just a dog", but still, I also know she has some feelings.

Which she expressed tonight when I got home.

No kidding, as soon as I sat down late at night after returning home, she was there, with her head on my lap, communicating all sorts of things to me.

"It's okay, I understand. You have to be gone sometimes and that's your job. But my job is to take care of you and I can't do that if you're not here. So can you stay home soon so I can do my job??" 😌

Yep, I'm pretty sure that's what she was saying. And yes, I'll be home soon!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Blog Problems

I wish I was a savvy girl with Blogger design skills. Because then I could perhaps solve this problem.

Is that what YOU see across the top of my blog too? It appeared a few days ago, and in fact, in a few other places as well on the front page. I have no idea why those "buttons" across the top are gray and blurry.

I have on my heart a blog redesign as it's been four years since the last one. But that takes time, effort and money since I need to find a new blog designer to do it for me.

In the meantime, I'll just keep blogging about life as the Lord brings it!

Though it's been chilly in the evenings (tonight it's 46F!), there sure have been some pretty sunsets!

UPDATE Sunday, July 16: I know what the problem is thanks to a friend of mine who told me what's going on. It's a BIG problem with Photobucket. If you click on that link you can read about it.

They changed their policies and are now charging people $400 a year to use their services. What were they thinking????

So, this is good prompting to follow through on my desire to redesign my blog. Could be sooner rather than later!

UPDATE #2: I've deleted all my "about" pages that had buttons using Photobucket pictures until I can figure out what to do about it. Kind of sad about that. But I'm hoping a new design is coming soon that will bring it all back to life!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

When Forever Friends Come

To have friends that you can pick up right where you left off, even if it's been twenty years since you've seen them...those are the best kinds of friends!

These dear friends have known us since before we were married! We first knew them in Germany during our early years of missionary life there, as we led Malachi Ministries and they served on the volunteer staff of one of our ministries.

After those years our lives took different paths and while we moved to the Czech Republic, they moved to the States, working and raising their family there as we did the same here.

The last time Dave saw them (I reconnected last summer) was in 1997 when they came to see us before that move!

At the time we were looking to purchase a facility to use as the home and training center of Josiah Venture, but thought it would be across the mountain from here because at the time, this place wasn't available for purchase.

Who knew that would be our last time together as couples for twenty years?? And that we wouldn't buy the other hotel, but rather this one, Malenovice?!

With so much joy, we got to show them the miracle that God worked in making this place available!

And tell them stories of all that God has done here over the past 19 years since we purchased Malenovice!

A new group of short term teams had just arrived at the hotel, so they got to see it in action, in one of its uses: preparation for another round of camps this coming week!

One of the amazing connections between us is that their daughter-in-law served as a JV intern a few summers ago, and was in this very place a number of times on short term teams like this!

For the rest of the evening we never stopped talking as we told stories and caught up on each other's lives. It felt like our friendship had never gone on pause, even though we hadn't seen each other in so long. Instead, it was so easy and delightful, as it always was, sharing our lives and what God has been doing in them all these years.

"What an incredible blessing to reconnect with you again, Robert and Sondra, after all these years! Let's not wait another twenty till we see each other again! Thank you for blessing us with your visit!"

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sweetest Gift

I'm curious...

How big do you think this jar is? And what do you think is in it?

I had the greatest surprise last night when our friend Lucka stopped by to give us this GALLON jar of HONEY!!!

Her brother has bees and this is absolutely fresh honey from his hives!

This was such a truly sweet, loving and generous gift. Thank you Lucka!! We'll be enjoying this for a long time!

If you're ever at our house, ask me for a taste and I'll be happy to let you enjoy some too!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

At the River

After church this morning, we all took a trip to the river.

And witnessed the baptism of four precious young people who have recently trusted Christ.

Three of them came to know Jesus through our church's Fusion music ministry, and one was led to the Lord by a friend.

Oh the joy of witnessing their public profession of faith!!

With the Czech Republic being one of the most atheistic countries in the whole world (it ties for number one with Estonia), you are looking at such incredible miracles each time you see and hear of someone putting their faith in Jesus.

We celebrated with them as a church family by having a picnic back in town. Thanks to Petr and Lauren for ordering turkey and putting together such a nice afternoon!

With blankets and pillows spread out on the lawn of the building where our Fusion choir meets, we sat together for several hours enjoying a summer day with each other.

My long-time friend, Danca, (who I've known since she was 13!) was there without her family so we had time to just sit, catch up and enjoy some hours of conversation.

Thanks for the photo Lauren!

There is such a fresh wind of God's Spirit blowing over this land these days, with many recognizing their sin, asking forgiveness, and receiving Jesus as their Savior. In fact, in two weeks, we'll have another baptism!

Praise the Lord for all those He is calling to Himself right now!!!