I always wish I could hear a story from each person there because I know my heart would soar with even greater love for the Lord through their testimony to his faithfulness, love, strength and power.
I did hear incredible stories from these two, on the right and left of Lina, one of our JV staff serving in former Eastern Germany. These German girls came to Christ as teenagers at a camp held once a year by an American pastor. With very little spiritual encouragement in the cities they went back to after camp, they looked forward all year to the next camp for their 'once a year' spiritual boost.
Today, they are part of leading that camp and this past year Jim and Lina joined them to help fan into flame a movement of God among the youth of eastern Germany. The faith, courage, fervor and joy in these young women is contagious!
These two are ESI's with JV, Extended Summer Interns. How we love our summer interns who choose to stay on and follow up with students they met at camp in the summer! Moody Bible Institute grads (and dear friends of our daughter, Claire!), they are serving in Ukraine and Czech through the end of this year, and praying about what God would have them do after that.
On to more people....all week I was looking for these two Albanian brothers.
Juli on the right, is our newest JV country leader for Albania!
For the past two years he's been at the European Leadership Forum where Dave goes each year to lead the youth leader training track. After coming with our JV group to Israel this past year, and a visit from Dave in April down to Albania (see HERE for that blog post), they both sensed God leading Juli to partner with us in JV to open a new work there. Juli brought Ermal, a young man he led to Christ and has discipled for the past years, with him to this conference.
Their stories are AMAZING. I can't wait to write more about them.
One of the ways we bring dynamic community (one of our JV core values) into a multi-national conference like this is to break everyone up into small cohorts. They spend the week meeting together and processing what they're learning. Even though there are 400 people, when you're in a small group of 7-8 people, it suddenly doesn't feel so large!
Throughout the week I had so many delightful, rich and even profound conversations with these dear ones who care so deeply about getting the Gospel to young people in their countries.