Thursday, January 18, 2018

Waiting for our Travelers

This morning I woke to a picture, posted by Tyler at the Atlanta airport before getting on their flight to move to the Czech Republic. So fun to know they are on their way!

But after a quick check on a flight status app, I found out that their flight to Amsterdam left more than three hours late. That meant they wouldn't be there in time to make the connection to Krakow, where we're waiting to meet them.

Given they still had hours in the air before we'd know the rest of that story, I'm glad I had a sweet distraction for breakfast this morning!

One of our JV staff, Christy Owen who serves in Ukraine, stayed in the same hotel as Dave and I last night as she was also on her way back from the States!

I'd seen her post that she was flying in so wrote to ask if I might get to see her. Not only did I get to see her, but we had the sweetest breakfast together! Part of our JV Prayer Room team, we enjoyed talking about some new ideas and then praying together before she left.

Soon afterward, Tyler sent this photo from the airplane (you gotta love wifi in the air!). He said the boys had been awesome travelers so far!

With time to wait until they landed in Amsterdam and figured out what was next, Dave and I took up residence in the hotel lobby for however long we may need to wait.

Dave is speaking for a men's conference this week-end, so had plenty to do in preparation as we waited.

Finally news came that they'd landed in Amsterdam!

But of course they were too late to catch their flight to Krakow. They headed for a very long line to await rebooking.

Thankfully, within just one minute, a kind KLM agent whisked Tyler to the front of the line, recognizing that he had a baby with him!

"You're lucky, these are the last three seats to Krakow tonight," she told him as he was given their new boarding passes. With vouchers for food at the airport, they are now in for a six hour wait until their flight, which, Lord willing, will arrive at 10:30 tonight.

So thankful to the Lord for providing a way for them to still head our way today!

In the meantime, we're hanging out in the lobby across the street, waiting until we get to see our dear traveling family!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Patty Family in Flight

It's a quiet night at the airport in Washington, DC.

There's not even one person at the check-out counter where we'll check in soon for our flight back across the ocean to our home in Czech.

I was hanging out with our bags after Dave dropped me off so he could return our rental car. While waiting I texted back and forth with Tyler on their last night in the US. Tomorrow THEY fly to Czech! (well, technically we all fly to Krakow, Poland...but we're all on our way home to Czech!).

I sent this picture to Judah to tell him Nonnie is flying first and will see him there soon.

Tyler wrote me back with the sweetest note: "As I was putting Judah to bed I was talking to him about our trip tomorrow and I asked him, 'where are we going?' And he said, 'papa and nonnie!' I said, 'yes, but we are also going to Czech. 'No, go papa and nonnie!' He is very excited to see you both."

And we're soooooo excited to see him and his family!!

But first, we've got our own flight to take. I counted exactly one person who came through these doors while I waited for Dave. I have never seen it so quiet at a major airport before! It's a nice change from the usual hustle and bustle of airports.

Unbelievably, our flight is nearly empty as well.

Soon we'll be off the ground and headed for home!

....And that's as far as I got writing last night! I had hoped to post this but didn't make it in time while I still had wifi. So the story continues!

We took off and then Dave and I each grabbed an empty row (there were so many!), stretched out and slept THE ENTIRE FLIGHT. This never happens.

The funny thing is that I had just said to Dave as we were getting on the plane, walking through first class, "Just one day in my life I'd like to stretch out and sleep on a flight over the ocean", assuming the only way to do it would be in that section.

But no! The Lord heard that cry and made another way to answer. It was the fastest flight ever! We stopped in Munich for a few hours of layover and then continued on to where we are for the night...tucked away in the hotel across from the Krakow airport.

And tomorrow...we'll be back at the airport to greet Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher Patty as the newest JV missionaries to come give their lives for the sake of the Gospel in Central and Eastern Europe!

Monday, January 15, 2018

God's Precious Message

The battle is fierce but the Lord is mighty. I can testify to that at the end of this day!

We've spent hours in this place the past two days, doing battle in prayer with and for our dear friends. I have no details to give except to say that time spent in the presence of God is oh so powerful.

Oswald Chambers once said, "When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message."


Trusting Him to continue giving his message. Rejoicing in the power of Jesus' name. Praying for strength for tomorrow. Believing He will complete his work for this time.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pray About Everything

There are few things I enjoy more than spending time in prayer.

That's actually what we're doing here in Washington DC these next few days: praying with friends for God's wisdom and leading in their lives. It's such a sweet, rich time being in his presence together.

If you've seen my last few posts you know that Tyler and Lara, our son and daughter-in-law, are just days away from heading to the Czech Republic as new missionaries with Josiah Venture. They're in my prayers too.

Judah is feeling much better after his fever, cough and early signs of pneumonia this past week.

Asher is still fighting it, and will go to the doctor tomorrow with Lara to make sure his cough hasn't gone into pneumonia.

And now tonight, after Tyler and Lara just had their commissioning at their home church in Chattanooga, Tyler is feeling achy and unwell.

Join me in prayer for this family! We'd sure love to see them get on that plane this Wednesday when they're scheduled to leave.

God's ways and timing are perfect, but he also tells us to pray about everything. So I'm praying for our friends and for our family, believing God's ways will prevail in HIS victory, and for HIS glory!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Blue Sky to Blue Sky

From the blue skies of Orlando ...

To the blue sky of another city here in the United States.

One blue sky state was at 60 degrees today while the other was at 30 degrees! I got on the plane carrying my coat, but put it on to get off ... we are back to winter again. ❄️

If I've ever flown through here before I sure don't remember getting from one terminal to the next via this mode of transportation.

Doesn't it look like something out of a movie?!

Nope, not a movie ... just the airport in the capital of our nation!

We are here for the next few days to meet up with an old friend and meet some new ones!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Alternate Reality

While Florida is warm, sunny and friendly there is one funny/interesting thing that stood out to me while we were here.

I'm sure it had to do with the particular area we are staying in, which was a rental house arranged for us.

While there are A LOT of people out on the roads and in stores, there were almost no people in this neighborhood that we stayed in. I would expect even rental neighborhoods in Orlando to be full since it's warm here and cold in many places in the rest of the States. Don't people come here to winter?

But this one sure wasn't full! Thus it felt a little bit like an alternate reality ... as if we were the only ones in this whole neighborhood! Only a few lights are on, almost no cars are driving, and there are no people anywhere to be seen.

There's nothing wrong with that! It just struck me as an interesting fact about this particular part of Florida.

We're off to Washington DC tomorrow. A whole other region of our United States!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Core of our Lives

In case you have not been to Florida, and think it's all palm trees and Disney, I can assure you that there is more than that! 😉

Since I've only been here for a few days at a time in the past, it's been fun to be here this week to take in a little bit more of what Florida has, which includes lots of bodies of water and moss on the trees! I honestly had no idea how much there was of both of those things.

In the midst of our day I got updates on how Judah is feeling, and thankfully he's starting to feel a little bit better, though as you can see, he's still not well. Poor little buddy! Keep praying for him, and the rest of his family. They are on the countdown to leave for Czech, with just six days to go before their flight.

He was his sweet self in letting daddy take a picture for Nonnie! 😉

This evening's program at the Sonlife conference was rich, including good worship and a sweet interview with some dear people.

On the left is a Sonlife trainer from Portland, Oregon, who happens to be the youth pastor of our daughter Claire's very dear friend, Brynna, from Moody. Isn't it crazy how small the world is sometimes??

He's interviewing Ben and Sarah who have served in Czech as summer interns with JV, and now are coming on full time staff with us sometime next year. They'll be at orientation in February with our son Caleb, and his wife, Haley! And Ben and Sarah served the summer that Tyler and Lara were in Czech. Again, small world.

Dave finished up his speaking this evening with an absolutely outstanding talk on making disciples, and the importance of evangelism in that process. On the disciple-making path, you don't have anyone to disciple unless you share Christ and lead them on to that path! It was a very motivating talk and makes me want to share Christ with someone SOON.

After each evening's meeting this week there have been so many people to talk to...some of them people I've known for many years like Lori Jackson!

She and her husband, Terry, and three precious daughters served in Slovenia for fifteen years before coming back to the States to relocate a year and a half ago. She was here at this conference with a team of people from her church in Louisville, KY. Lori and I actually go back to college days, and even went on a double date one time! Now that's going back a long time!

This has been such a great conference, connecting with so many on a topic dear to all of our hearts: sharing the Gospel and making disciples. That's the core of our lives!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Prayers for Healing

As I was walking into the conference center for dinner this evening I was completely stopped in my tracks by the beauty of a Florida sunset over the top of the facility.

It was a visible reminder of God's presence at this conference, and the work that he's doing in the lives of those here.

Then, just minutes later I received a text from my son Tyler saying they were rushing our grandson, Judah, to the ER in Tennessee. "He's having trouble breathing and is very lethargic," he wrote.

WOW. In one moment the awesome power of God is displayed in a beautiful sunset, and just moments later the enemy attacks that awesomeness.

But having walked this road many times before with my own small children, I knew the very BEST place to go when under attack ... straight to my AWESOME FATHER!

A friend and I prayed right away, and throughout the rest of the evening, even as Dave spoke, I was praying for Judah and his parents.

It wasn't until tonight when I got home that I heard from Tyler: "Just got's confirmed he has a serious strain of flu... and maybe early signs of pneumonia. We'll give him antibiotics for that, and just have to wait out the flu."

From whichever side this is coming from ... an attack of the enemy on this little family who is one week away from leaving for the Czech Republic as new JV missionaries ... or a sovereign God who knows this fits perfectly into his plan ... will you pray with me for Judah's healing??

"Father, I thank you that you are the Lord who heals. I trust you with this sickness, knowing you are fully aware of what's happening right now. I ask in faith that you bring healing to Judah's body quickly. I trust you for your perfect plan for him and his family, and trust that you will use this sickness for good, protecting him and his family from the enemy's attack, and restoring his body to health in your perfect timing. You are a good, good Father who cares and loves this family - may they know that more deeply, being surrounded by the prayers of many as they walk through this sickness. Thank you for your loving care over them."

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Still Learning

Dave began his three part series of talks at the Sonlife Discipleship conference here in Orlando this evening.

He started off by telling some stories about our family moving to the Czech Republic; he shared about how he wanted to live out the great commandment and the Great Commission, and what things stood in the way of that.

And then, before I knew it, he was almost done with his talk before I even thought to take another picture!

I was honestly so captivated by his talk tonight that I took copious notes and soaked in all that he was teaching.

Yes, even after thirty plus years of listening to him speak, I'm still learning from my husband, and already looking forward to his talk tomorrow night.

Monday, January 8, 2018

In The Zone

Dave had no idea I was taking pictures of him this afternoon as he was deep in thought at a Starbucks south of Orlando.

But I just wanted to capture a side of him that few people see ... the amount of time, thought, prayer, effort and pure work he puts into preparation for speaking.

Today he was finishing up preparations for his three plenary sessions at the Sonlife Discipleship conference this week, held here in Orlando.

Think, pray, read and write. Repeat. That's pretty much how it goes over the course of hours when he's in the zone!

I love that God has gifted him to do this, and that he takes that responsibility so seriously. My joy is to sit here and pray for him, that God will use his talks to impact all those who will hear them.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Commissioning Tyler and Lara

While Dave and I were worshipping in Orlando, Florida today (Dave can listen here to his sermon on Exodus 3!), Tyler and Lara were in Chicago for this.

If you look closely you can see little Asher!

Today, their home church downtown Chicago commissioned them into ministry in the Czech Republic. Such a historic and monumental moment!

They are now within ten days of leaving the US. So these are their last days for: packing, saying goodbyes, purchasing last items...and being commissioned. They will have one more commissioning service next week in Chattanooga, Tennessee at Woodland Park Baptist Church.

And then they will make the biggest move of their lives on January 17th.

Pray for this dear family of ours!

Pray for physical, emotional and spiritual strength for all that's ahead of them: for Judah and Asher as they say goodbye to their stateside grandparents, the ones they've been living with for the past year and a half; pray for Lara as she says goodbye to her parents, sisters, grandparents and friends; and pray for Tyler. While he grew up in Czech, he hasn't lived there for 8 1/2 years. So there will be adjustments ahead of him too. Pray for those.

These are exciting days, ones they have looked forward to for more than three years since they knew God was calling them to Czech; but they are also hard days of saying goodbye to a life they've known thus far, to head into one that is unknown.

God is with them; and God has already gone before them! May they know his presence with them every step of the way.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Liking the Change

While the sun is shining in Florida, it is actually cold here. I stepped outside this morning to see if I needed my coat to run errands with my friend and I did. Brrrrrr!!!

Our friends say it's so fun to wear their winter things for a change.

And I like the change of seeing bright sunshine in January!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Dave and I arrived here late last night.

So that we could be here early this morning for Dave to meet with all the JV country leaders, via a Zoom meeting (they do this once a month, on the first Friday of the month).

He sure wouldn't need to go to the Krakow airport to spend the night in a hotel to have this meeting. Except for the fact that we had a flight to take right after he finished!

Big thank you to my niece, Becca, for the awesome new red purse she gave me for Christmas!

We are off to the States again, this time for a conference.

We flew from Krakow to Frankfurt, and then on to Florida today.

Dave is the main speaker for the annual Sonlife training conference this coming week, so we'll be in Orlando until next Saturday.

We landed safely here this evening, and are spending the week-end with some long-time friends of ours before the conference begins. It's in the low 40's here so I'm glad I brought my winter coat!

Expectant for all the things the Lord has for us in the coming week.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

In a Prayer Room

There is the JV Prayer Room, an online place to come and pray for the needs of our Josiah Venture team throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

But there is also a physical prayer room at our training center at Malenovice, which is where I was this morning.

Once a year the KAM team prepares this place in a special way, opening it up to those in this area to come pray around the clock for two or three days.

Each year it's done in a different manner, with different team members taking responsibility for it.

It was in this prayer room two years ago where God met me and brought the idea for what is now the JV Prayer Room.

This morning's time of prayer was completely different than any other time I've been in here.

And it was wonderful!

Rather than praying for specific requests for our teammates or the various ministries across the country, this year's experience in the prayer room was about being in the Lord's presence.

He again met me in the sweetest, richest and most personal way through the reading of Psalm 22 and 23.

It was an intimate, prayerful time with him; yet another time that I won't soon forget.

I wrote to our team this afternoon, sharing news and updates on our online Prayer Room, and ended with this:

As I pray for 2018, the word God’s given me is “Expectation”, particularly in relationship to not limiting God in what I think he can or can't do. Rather I want to live in faith that his word is TRUE! “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14

“Beware in your prayers, above anything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what he can do. Expect unexpected things “above all that we ask or imagine.” Andrew Murray (South African writer, teacher, pastor)

Come boldly, come often before our loving Father and ask anything according to his will - and let’s see what he does this year through the Prayer Room!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Living Room

Welcome to Tuesday's "Obývák", the 'living room' gathering for KAM's first of the year meeting for all those who serve here in Czech with JV.

The Czech team meets every Tuesday throughout the year, as does the International team who serves JV from our town of Frýdlant nad Ostravicí.

But once a year the two teams gather on the first Tuesday of the year for a time of worship, prayer, connection and to share news and updates about our teams.

One of the updates was a thank you to Milan Michalko for his leadership of KAM the past seven years.

The board and leadership team prayed over he and his wife, Zdenka, as they transition into a new role in KAM.

And there was a time of prayer for Dušan and Dana Drabina as Dušan stands in the gap as the director of KAM for the next three months.

During that time the board will actively seek who should lead KAM into the future; Dusan is one of the candidates for that role.

We're so thankful for these leaders who have, and will continue to, stand firm in faith for the work among youth in this country, bringing the Gospel discipleship and leadership training to them.

The team continues to grow and we are also thankful for that!

I remember the days when it was just Dave and I here. What a good thing God has done in 24 years, raising up so many to carry on the vision of a movement of God among the youth in Central and Eastern Europe.

And these two? They are among those who are carrying that vision forward!

Pavla was in our first church in Havířov when we moved here in 1993...she was just a baby! She and Claire have literally known each other their whole lives, though especially became reacquainted when Pavla attended high school at BMA with our kids.

And now Pavla has finished university and is coming onto the KAM team to serve as the manager of communications! She's also the youth leader at the Havířov church where we started all those years ago. I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to see these two, and so many others, going forward with a heart and vision to share the Gospel and be part of God transforming lives!