Saturday, October 20, 2018

First Snow

This afternoon as I dashed out to run a few errands, I happened to grab my coat at the last minute thinking it might be good in case the grey skies outside meant rain.

Little did I know those clouds meant more than that.

See those grasses bent over? That was because of an incredibly strong wind that suddenly blew in a storm...that turned out to be snow!

I sat inside a Starbucks literally watching a blizzard for twenty minutes! First it rained, then hailed, and then turned to snow...all the while with unbelievable gusts of wind.

They don't call this the Windy City for nothing!

Now I can say I've seen my first snow of the season. Wonder how much more I'll see this year??!!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Uber Karl Saves the Day

When Dave and I are traveling, it's sometimes tricky keeping our lives in order.

As the resident "travel agent" I book flights, cars and hotels; I watch over our schedule to make sure we don't double book; and I try to make sure we get to appointments on time.

So far, so good on this trip...until this morning.

Dave caught a ride to the office where he's having two days of meetings with our JV sending partners from USA, Canada and UK, leaving me the car so I could go to different meetings today.

That all sounded like a good plan. Until I realized Dave had the rental car keys in his pocket at the office!

To the rescue came, as my friend put it, "Uber Karl"!

Don't let his somber expression fool you! Karl is usually all smiles and laughs!

His daughter, Sarah, works at our JV office in Wheaton. I sent a message to Dave at the office asking if he did, indeed, have the keys which he affirmed. He took them out to Sarah at her desk, who wrote to tell me she had them for me.

But I had no way to get there to pick them up!

She suggested getting an Uber, but that would have meant taking it to and from the office. She thought for just a second and then said, "Let me see if my dad is available to run the keys to you..."

And he was! He dropped what he was doing, drove to the office to get the keys, and then drove on to bring them to me.

I tell ya...Uber Karl is way better than any other Uber driver! He saved the day for me, and made it possible for me to go where I needed to go today!

"Thank you Karl!! You made my day!!"

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Coffee with Eden

This morning Dave and I got to have coffee here in Wheaton with this precious young woman!

We have known her mom and dad since before she was born as they were part of the church we went to in the early 1990's, when Dave was getting his Master's Degree at Wheaton College.

I've seen her through the years, including during a week at Gull Lake many years ago!

I love that she and Claire became friends back then, and that we're still connected to her and her parents today!

She's a graduate of Wheaton College and into her first job post college. She's also a passionate follower of Jesus, and pure delight to spend time with! Can't think of a better way to spend a morning than to hang out with Eden!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Siri for Suggestions

We finished at Moody Bible Institute late this afternoon, just as rush hour traffic was hitting its peak.

Google maps said what would normally take 35 minutes was going to take an hour and a half. 😳 So we opted to leave our car at Moody and walk downtown for dinner.

One of my favorite things when we're traveling and looking for someplace to eat is to hold down the button on my iPhone, which activates Siri who asks, "What can I help you with?" I simply say, "Food near me" and up comes a whole list of possibilities.

Sometimes there isn't anything very interesting nearby. But other times, like tonight, we hit the jackpot!

This is kind of a "hole in the wall" diner downtown Chicago called "Velvet Taco". And oh my, do they do tacos well!

We asked what their most requested taco is and they said the slow roasted angus brisket, so we went for that, and a couple other ones too!

They're prices are good (seriously don't know how they can make a taco as good and creative as this for that cheap), and the tacos are really something special. We'll definitely be back.

Glad I asked Siri for a suggestion!

Downtown at Moody

We woke up to the sights and sounds of the city this morning, here in Chicago. 

Since Dave is speaking in chapel today, Moody Bible Institute let us stay in Jenkins dorm last night (where Claire lived when she was a student here!) so that we could be on campus right away.

This is the first time we've been back on campus to meet with students since she graduated. And it's the first time since 2009 that we've been here without any of our kids going to school here. It felt a little strange coming onto campus knowing we wouldn't see any of them today.

But Gavin saved the day!

He is family in more ways than one: he is our Haley's brother (Haley is married to our Caleb!), a JV Kid, and son of our long time friends, Mark and Amy Chase, who serve with JV in Slovakia! It was SO good to see him here in his first semester of his freshman year.

The student body has just returned from fall break and this is their first chapel back.

Dave powerfully spoke from John 15, on going from little fruit to much fruit.

While I recognize I'm probably biased, I would say this is the best message he's ever given at a college campus! They don't have it posted yet, but when they do, I'll put the link here. You'll want to listen to it.

It was a joy to not only meet with students today to talk about JV's summer internship program, but see some of our JV staff who have served as interns and are now in the process of raising support, like Alison, a graduate of Moody!

I also got to see dear Mrs Smith, the advisor to the Children's Ministry major who had such an impact on Claire as she studied under her.

I also had time with Kaci, who served two years ago on a short term team, and then as a summer intern this past year. A dear friend of ours who is from our home church out in the Wheaton area, she's studying at Moody as a youth ministry major. I'm so thankful for the way she poured into young people in Slovenia last summer!

We had a fantastic time on campus today with many Moody students, and pray that God will raise up a group of them to come serve with us next summer!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Morning at Cedarville

We woke up to below freezing temps this morning here in Cedarville, OH and ice on our windshield!

But by the time we headed out, the sunshine was in full force on this beautiful fall morning.

We made the short drive through town to Cedarville University where Dave was speaking for chapel this morning.

Oh the joy of my heart to walk in and see this.

Not only did I see it, but heard the worship band's fervent prayers for chapel this morning.

And chapel is something that happens every day here at Cedarville!

So to hear them praying for God to break through student's heart TODAY and speak to them as only He could do was so heartwarming.

After worship, Dave took his place on stage to deliver the message God put on his heart for this student body of 4000.

After sharing a bit about JV, and the opportunity these students could have to serve with us as summer interns, he moved on to his message from Mathew 6:25-34.

The short version of it? When you are anchored in the care of your Father, and moved by His cause to advance the Kingdom, you can shift your worries over to his care and be relieved of carrying them! If you want to listen you can click HERE.

We met with students in the auditorium afterwards, ones like Colette who served with us this past summer in Latvia.

While Dave headed to lunch with some of the Cedarville leadership team, I headed to the cafeteria to be ready for students who had been invited to join us for lunch.

And here's where the reality of recruitment comes in. No one came!

But honestly, I don't know if I, as a college student back in my day, would have gone to sit with strangers either!

So I struck up a conversation with three girls nearby, and one of them came to our display later on to pick up information!

With many college students today needing to make money during the summer to pay for school, it's not easy to "give up" a summer, raise support to do it, and leave family and friends to serve somewhere they've never been before.

But time and time again we hear afterwards from summer interns who "take the plunge" that it was the best investment they ever made. Not only do they get to do peer to peer evangelism, God so often works deeply in their lives, bringing transformation and clarification about who they are and what He wants to do for, in and through them.

We're praying for 150 summer interns next summer and hoping God raises up a number of those here at Cedarville.

Towards the end of our time at Cedarville today, a young woman came up to me and said she knew someone on our staff in Poland. It turns out she is from Canada and knows one of our JV Kids who came with her family from Canada when she was just a little girl, grew up in Poland and now has come back to serve with us!

And now this freshman is interested in missions because of hearing about JV through that JVK! She, along with more than 20 others, gave us their email information because they're interested in serving with us next summer.

I'm curious to see who all God will call to Central and Eastern Europe to serve with us as summer interns in 2019!

L-R: Mike Sullivan (serving with JV in mobilization), Mark and Charis (she served as a summer intern), me, Dave, Katka and Petr Michalcik (on JV staff in Slovakia)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Just Barely

I sat here praying this afternoon, at the last gate of Terminal B in Chicago's O'Hare airport. 

But as I boarded this small flight, I wasn't sure yet if my prayers had been answered.

Dave flew on a separate flight into Chicago, and was delayed coming in. I still don't know if it was because of the delay, or because the flight was overbooked, but I'd gotten an email from Expedia saying he was bumped off our next flight and put on a later one.

I messaged him so that he'd receive it when he landed, and hoped he could then get to a service desk and find out if there was any chance of getting back on that flight.

Thus my prayers as I now sat inside the plane!

Just a minute after I taking that photo, I got a message back from him.

"I'm at the gate!" he wrote. And sure enough, with just a few minutes to spare, there he was on the flight!

How I praised the Lord for his answer to my prayers!

Knowing he was onboard made for quite a peaceful take-off just minutes later as we flew over Chicago. We didn't get to sit together, but the fact that he was behind me made for a very restful flight.

We were on our way to Dayton, Ohio to then pick up a rental car and drive to Cedarville University.

Dave is speaking in chapel tomorrow as we come alongside some of our JV staff who are already there doing recruitment of next summer's JV college interns.

We are praying for 150 interns for next summer, and these next few weeks will be important in that quest!

Dave and I will be on three college campuses over the next days, sharing JV's vision and mission with students, along with other JV staff who will not only be with us on those campuses, but on many others throughout the US in October.

Pray with us that God will raise up another generation of young people committed to bringing the Gospel to Central and Eastern Europe, and helping us make disciples who make disciples!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

So Much For That Idea!

With a day left before heading to the States for this year's JV college recruitment trip, I wanted to go to a beautiful spot (since fall is gorgeous here right now) and pray outside while in our online Josiah Venture Prayer Room.

I couldn't think of a prettier spot to go than this.

This pretty reservoir in the village of Baška is only a ten minute drive from our home. But it always feels like I'm a world away when I'm here.

I headed up to that bench to overlook the reservoir as I prayed.

I felt like I was touching heaven as I sat interceding for my JV family from that spot.

And happened.

This man rode up on an old-time motorcycle, complete with leather hat and goggles.

He got off his bike and walked directly over to me and asked, "Do you mind if I set out all my things here? It's not problem to me if you stay. I won't bother you at all."

He then proceeded with a one-sided conversation as he pulled out his fishing gear, piece by piece, telling me about fishing here in this spot.

I didn't know whether to be mad or laugh! His presence was definitely NOT conducive to a holy moment of communion with my Father, nor what I'd planned for this hour!

So while everything in me wanted to be there in that spot, I just couldn't make it work so got up off my bench and politely said goodbye.

As I walked towards the parking lot to my car, I'm not kidding when I tell you I could still hear him talking to me saying it was okay if I stayed!🤣 🤣 🤣

Aw well, so much for that good idea!

Goodbye for now beautiful fall in this part of the Czech Republic!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Coffee and Friends

Is it just me or does anyone else wake up in the morning, look outside and immediately start singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day"?!

My high school musical days come to mind whenever I hum that tune from "Oklahoma!"

But it couldn't have been more appropriate today as I left home for a few meetings.

Eventually I ended up back here, at the same coffee shop Claire and I discovered over the week-end while visiting the vet with our dog in Ostrava-Poruba. (by the way, she turned the corner today and is feeling much better!)

But this time I had a different partner to enjoy coffee with!

Geri is a JV missionary who lives and serves with her husband in Olomouc, and is one of my main working partners on the Josiah Venture Prayer Room.

Since she's getting ready to go to the States for six months, we had some catching up and planning to do. And where better than this cute place on a warm fall afternoon?

We lingered over coffee, enjoying every snippet of conversation as the warm fall air drifted in.

After we'd been there for a couple of hours, and were starting to think about lunch, a friend of ours happened to walk in! When I told her that I was trying to remember the favorite restaurant of a JV friend, who is her friend too, she just picked up her phone and called to ask her!

We ended up at one of her suggestions just down the street, but I didn't get a picture there. We were too busy enjoying the sunshine, good food and each other's company to take pictures!

But if you want a good coffee shop, COKAFE is a sure a good one!

I'll have to savor the memory of my sweet morning there with Geri today. I'll miss her like crazy in these next six months, and look forward to when we'll be together again.