When I stepped out in faith thirty three years ago to spend a summer doing ministry overseas, I had no idea where that decision would lead me.
From Germany to Spain, and back again to Germany over the course of several years, I said yes to following the Lord and joyfully doing what he asked of me. I eventually married Dave, had a family, and then moved to the Czech Republic where we have lived for almost twenty four years serving in and leading Josiah Venture.
And now here I am today, in Arizona, walking alongside our daughter as she walks in faith, preparing to be launched into ministry herself.
It has been the greatest joy and privilege to walk alongside her these past weeks (well, her whole life, really!) as she's met with dear friends, churches, family and sometimes even strangers, sharing her heart, passion and calling to serve the Josiah Venture Kids.
Today was our last full day together on this trip, and most likely the last time we'll do this type of trip since she is near her goal of being at 100% of monthly support as a JV missionary.
What did we do on our last day? Visit some of our dear JV family who live in this area!
Nate came to JV as a single missionary, Emily came as an intern...and the rest is history!
They served with us for a number of years until the Lord led them back here to the Phoenix area. Today they have three darling children (one who was at kindergarten so we didn't get to see him), and Nate serves in a ministry here as well as being an elder/teacher at their church. They are involved in people's lives, serving and loving them well in the name of Jesus. How it encouraged our hearts to be with them.
Later in the day we met up with some other long time friends and former JV family members.
Sarah and Daci, along with the other three members of their family, served in Croatia for five years before returning to the States. Our son, Tyler, interned with them one summer so they're dear to us for many reasons! It totally thrilled my heart to hear Daci, one of our JV Kids, talk about her heart for leading others in their walks with God, and how she's leading a Bible study today for younger high school girls!
After these refreshing times, Claire and I headed over to the Desert Botanical Gardens to see if we could catch a glimpse of them before the sun set.
I'd been here four years ago and remembered how beautiful it was, even at sunset. It proved to be just as enchanting as the last time I visited. Oh these big, beautiful, old Saguaro cacti! How can you think of anything but how they point to the One True God?!
We wound up this very special time together by sitting outside on the patio of the restaurant here, talking about God's faithfulness, and the body of Christ that we've spent time with through our travels.
And we celebrated the joy of being on mission together, part of God's Kingdom purposes.
I truly never saw this coming thirty three years ago when I said "yes" to just a summer. I'm glad he knew then that I would see my children come to know him, and respond to his calling on their lives to serve him too.
There is truly no greater joy than to see my children walking in faith. What joy to have been in person with Claire these past weeks seeing her do just that...walk in faith for all that God has ahead for her!