Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Winter Academy Day Two

Although I'm at at JV Winter Academy at Malenovice, some little faces greet me each morning before I make a snowy drive there.

Instead of being at home in Ostrava, Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher are all staying at our house this week while Dave and I are at Academy.

Winter Academy is a required event for all JV missionaries, which means that if you're a parent, you have to figure out childcare so that you can be there.

Some couples choose to go on different years, with one parent staying home while the other attends. But this stretches out the process to three years since one parent attended last year (year one), the other parent is attending the first week of Academy this year (year one for that parent), and then will swap with the other parent next week which will be Week 2, for all those who came last year, (which is Tyler and Lara), and for another group of all those who are brand new on the field (which will include Caleb and Haley). But for the parents who are going separately, the parent attending this week will still have another week of Academy next year.

Hope you followed all that. It took me a while to work it out in my brain too!

Tyler and Lara offered to care for the daughter of their friends in Ostrava, Cory and Anissa, who serve in our EXIT Tour ministry. So while they are with me at Academy this week, their daughter is spending the week at our house with her little buddies!

In the meantime, her mom, dad and I are trudging up the hill every day to get there by 8 for our first session!

It is an absolutely beautiful winter wonderland up here! Today about six inches of snow fell throughout the day as we sat inside. I'm glad we had windows to look out at it!

The schedule throughout the day is full of many different teaching sessions, of all different sorts of topics related to our spiritual growth as people and growth of our ministry skills.

This morning we started off with a devotional from Ondra from Czech, about being good learners, as Jesus was a learner. Have you ever thought about the fact that he was the author of the Old Testament, from heaven, and then came down to earth as a baby and had to learn it all over again in the Jewish synagogue?

Another special part of Ondra's teaching is the fact that I've known him since he was five years old! I used to drop Tyler off at kindergarten with Ondra when we lived in Havířov! He is one of our trainers today in Czech, and is a very good, and sought after, teacher. I loved sitting under his teaching today!

Among those here at Winter Academy are some special people who are part of our JV A-Team - accelerators and ambassadors for JV. Two couples are here for both this week's academy, and for next week's as well. That is commitment!

Barb and her husband, Paul, have a daughter in the States who is just about to release her first book called Uncluttered.  They asked if I'd be willing to be on the Launch Team, which meant getting a digital copy of the book to read it ahead of time, leaving comments about it on various websites (that helps get it into the market) and sharing about it, like I'm doing with you here!

I not only enjoyed reading the book (Courtney has great humor and fun stories!), but even more so it had a big impact on me through her message of uncluttering your life in order to live in greater freedom...both in the physical and spiritual world. I've already started applying some of the truths from it and plan to read it again, this time with a pen in hand so I can write notes to myself!

To break up our long day of learning, we had some more levity in the afternoon with another "Minute to Win It" challenge of balancing a cookie on your forehead and using only your facial muscles to get it into your mouth!

A fascinating session on the 16 Personalities followed the game (I was literally so engaged in it that I never thought to take a photo, but it's one of those sessions that I'll think on for a long time!), then dinner and finally two more sessions that were led by my brother-in-law, Josh.

He was illustrating how we sometimes choose to identify ourselves in a national way that can elevate our culture and put down another, when really we should all be living out of our identity in Christ. 

This was another rich day of being trained, taught, inspired and motivated to be all of who God wants me to be, which includes being well equipped to lead in the areas that God has called me to.

I am loving being here at JV Winter Academy this week!

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