Friday, February 15, 2019

Christmas Comes Late

You know you're in Jackson Hole, Wyoming when....

I know moose aren't really the nicest animals on the planet...while peaceful when left alone, if you get too close they can become aggressive. Thus just waiting on the road this morning for this "baby" moose to find his way up and over the snow bank!

I was driving Dave up to the mountain for a ski day today, a Christmas present from our dear friends that he's getting to take advantage of today.

Meanwhile, I'm having breakfast with this cutie, our god-daughter, and her mom and brother!

Jackson Hole Resort is one of, if not THE, top ski resort in the US. Full of double black diamond slopes (I CAN'T EVEN imagine!!!) Dave had an absolutely fantastic day skiing hard with this bunch.

With so much new snow in the past week he said the amount of powder on top was something he's never experienced or skied in. If you put your pole down, there was no end to powder - you never felt the packed snow beneath.

He had a fantastic day somewhere up there on those slopes!

Thank you Steve and Polly for knowing Dave so well, and blessing him with such a wonderful day!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Our Funny Valentine

When our flight was cancelled last night, we had to spend the night near the Denver Airport so that we could leave on a shuttle at 4:30 AM. 😳

Hoping we'd make our rebooked, but only standby, flight, we joined the rest of the early morning crowd to go through security.

But alas, arrived at our gate to find out the flight was delayed by an hour. So much for getting up at 4 so we'd be there on time!

The gate filled with passengers, who all eventually boarded the plane and left not one seat for those of us on standby.

The trouble is, this is a flight to Jackson, Wyoming, where they have gotten four feet of snow in the past few days.

Other flights have been cancelled too, so any and everyone who had a seat needed to get on this flight because they don't know when there will be another break in the snow to make it there.

With no seats available the rest of today, nor tomorrow, Dave called our friends in Jackson to talk through potential solutions. And this is where our Valentine's Day got funny!

In an amazing turn of events, our friend knew of a private jet that had unexpectedly flown to Minneapolis last night, and was due to return to Jackson today. She called to see if they could divert to Denver and pick us up and the answer was yes! And not only that, but said if we wanted to invite someone else to fly with us, we could.

So we did!

This dear woman had been trying to get to Jackson for three days, and was going to give up and go back home. But when we offered to have her come along with us on an adventure, we waved goodbye to the commercial flight leaving for Jackson, and headed out to find our other ride there!

Instead of flying from the Denver Airport, we took an Uber to a small airport 45 minutes away.

There we were told that the flight was logged in to arrive, but wouldn't be there for at least four hours. So we settled in to wait, having a sweet time of conversation and connection with our new friend.

Hardly believing this was happening, we all headed out to the plane when it arrived!

The last time I was in a plane this size was when I was in 6th grade growing up in Coburg, Oregon!

Would you believe my sixth grade teacher arranged for our whole class to go up, in twos and threes, in a private airplane? That sure wouldn't happen today!

The pilot, co-pilot, our new friend and us, took off for the two hour flight to Jackson, feeling very blessed that we were going to make it there.

We arrived into a winter paradise, with snow falling as we deplaned onto the runway.

We were able to drop off our new friend at her friend's house, marveling again at the miracle that allowed us all to get here.

The snow here is absolutely like nothing I've seen! It is SO DEEP!!! And of course very beautiful everywhere you look.

A box of Valentine chocolates awaited us when we arrived, from our dear friends that we are visiting for the next few days. They couldn't have been a sweeter end to this amazing, funny Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Prayer and Travel

Notice who joined us for breakfast at mom and dad Patty's this morning?

Dave's brother, Josh, who lives and serves with JV in Slovenia, was in Arizona for JV board meetings like us. He went somewhere else afterward, but then came to Denver to see mom and dad for a few days and we got to overlap for a family breakfast this morning! It still amazes me that this is the house they grew up in, and we're still getting to have these family times there!

We said goodbye to mom and dad in the morning and headed over to Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, to join the Czech Summit which has been going on since Monday.

Dave was here at CCC all day yesterday, and then last night we went together for dinner and a program with everyone who has come from around the US to be here.

The Summit is a gathering for US partner churches who come to serve with JV in the Czech Republic, and have a heart to collaborate on how to best serve our team and the Czech churches they do camps with in the summer. I'm not sure how many people were here, but I know there were churches represented from at least Alaska, Texas, California, Illinois and Colorado!

This morning after Dave spoke from the Word, I had the opportunity to talk about the JV Prayer Room -- something concrete that they can be a part of with us in praying for a movement of God in our part of the world.

I shared some about our inspiration from the Moravians (who came from just a half hour from where we live in Czech!) who started a prayer chain that lasted over a hundred years, that sparked the Great Awakening and a missionary movement that changed the world.

Every great and traceable movement of God throughout history has been preceded by a prayer movement. How I pray that God will use our prayers in the Prayer Room to spark revival and lasting transformation through the work of Jesus in young people's lives across Central and Eastern Europe!

After I finished sharing, all the participants were given an hour to go into the Prayer Room to pray. It meant the world to me that at a conference like this, an hour would be given just for prayer!

When I looked later in the day, we'd already had 54 hours of prayer in the Prayer Room THAT DAY. How I wish that were true every day!

I fully believe God is asking us to faithfully pray for HIS movement across the region of Central and Eastern Europe, and that we will see it.

Dave and I headed to the airport afterwards, only to find our flight delayed.

And eventually cancelled. 🙄

We were rebooked standby for tomorrow morning, so headed to a hotel to spend the night.

We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Family & Friends in Denver

When I heard little voices coming up the steps at Dave's mom and dad's this morning, I knew some sweet little people had arrived for their Tuesday afternoon visit to Nana and Bapa's!

That's my sister-in-law, Joyce, with her grandchildren and my great nieces and nephew! Each Tuesday Joyce takes care of her grandchildren for the day, bringing them over to visit their great grandparents in the morning. So I got to be here for their weekly visit!

Joyce told me that mom waves goodbye to them each week from this very spot, and I'm so glad I was there to catch such a sweet moment.

Along with this one, of Joyce waving goodbye to us as they head back to her home, just a few blocks away. What a sweet tradition!

Only minutes after they'd left, my long time friend, Jerri, came to pick me up for lunch. We've been in each other's lives for 35 years, since the first summer I went to Germany on the Malachi Singers team!

She and her husband have been with Cadence International for many years, serving in many roles, but most recently as alumni directors (for both missionaries and military people ministered to through Cadence Ministries). They're transitioning into a new role with Cadence which means a move to Colorado Springs soon. But they'll still be a hub for alumni, of which I'm one!

This year they minted a special commemorative coin for us alums!

In the afternoon, after Joyce had taken her grandchildren back home, we came to her house for the rest of the afternoon.

These are some of the women in my life who know me best, and who I know best! We have lived much life together, and dearly love and treasure each other. What a gift to get an afternoon with them during our time in Denver.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Coming Home to Englewood

We woke up to gray skies and a light dusting of snow in Vail, Colorado this morning after a visit with some dear friends of Josiah Venture.

But by the time we came down from the mountains to Englewood, it was a spectacularly beautiful Colorado afternoon.

And how good it was to come to Dave's mom and dad's house there!

Over fifty years of memories reside in this home where his mom and dad still live. It's the best feeling to come in to sit by the fire on a crisp winter afternoon, and enjoy time with them.

Dave remembers coming home after school as a boy, sitting in that very chair! Like I said, many, many memories here.

And mom did what she's been doing as long as I've know her (which is now 35 years!) - cooking and hosting a fabulous dinner for us!

We gathered around this familiar table once again this evening, to soak in time with them, so thankful for the Lord's kindness and faithfulness in giving them such good health and long life, into their 90's now!

Sure love being here in Englewood with them!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Off to the Mountains

Sunday came quickly in Phoenix as we finished up our time here for the JV winter board meetings and JV executive team retreat.

What a joy it is to serve with these friends in ministry!

Mel and Amy Ellenwood are headed to Chicago now for our new missionary orientation with 10 people who have been appointed to serve with Josiah Venture. That starts on Tuesday and finishes on Friday.

While Dave and I still have two weeks left in the States, Brian, our VP of Operations, heads back home to Czech today.

The others who had been here had already gone their separate ways!

Dave and I had the shortest flight of all today...just a hop, skip and jump up to Denver!

We've come to participate in a three day conference for churches around the US who partner with KAM, our JV organization in Czech.

But first, we're heading up to Vail to visit some JV donors there. What a gorgeous day for a drive!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Blessings in Arizona

Truth be told...

I'm writing this on February 13, over a week later than it occurred. But since it happened earlier, I'm posting it earlier!

This past week life has been so full speed that I haven't had a spare moment to write. But for me, capturing even just a few memories of it is important, as these are the things that make up our lives and remind me of how great God is!

We arrived into Phoenix late Monday night, and then drove north to the home of some friends who have let us stay in their place here. It's a little "home away from home" as we've been staying here for the past six years, each time we've come for JV board meeting. It means the world to us to come back here!

The contrast between having just come from Albania to landing in Arizona was great! But then again, coming from anywhere in the world would be a contrast since you'll only find the famous saguaro cactus' here!

I had a little reminder of Albania today as I was in a store.

That's the song that Haley started singing in the car as we drove from the restaurant to the airport on our last night in Albania. I loved seeing that sweet little reminder of our family that we'd just left!

(Don't know that song? You can listen to it HERE!")

On one of our days here, Dave and I made it in to the Apple store for me to replace my computer which has been on the edge for quite a while now. A special gift to me for this replacement had come in December and today was the day to pick it out!

That's another reason why I haven't blogged for over a week...I haven't had a computer! We had the store do a full "data migration" that took longer than expected. But now I've got everything again (well...except for my photo editing program!) so hopefully will be more up to date on my blogging!

While in Phoenix, I drove over here one afternoon.

I was here last year, per my Austrian doctor's prescription, to pick up some special vitamins that come in a "mist" (they are very helpful for anyone who has a hard time swallowing pills - see HERE for their website which I can't recommend enough!).

But this year I had a great surprise, besides just picking up an amazing product again.

After meeting the company's new CEO, he went back to get help from the order desk for me. While back there, another man came into the waiting room and we started chatting.

He asked me what I did (missionary in Czech, I said), and I asked him what he did (new investor in this company). When he mentioned that he was actually from Fort Collins, CO I told him my son and daughter in law had lived there. And that actually I'd just come from visiting them in Albania.

"Their names aren't Caleb and Haley Patty are they???"

Yes, that's exactly what he asked me! Turns out, he has started attending their sending church in Fort Collins just in January and has heard about them often in the past six weeks! What an incredibly small world!

Speaking of small was so good to meet up for dinner with our JV board members, and some of our team who'd come in for these meetings!

I actually came to the States this time with a prayer that God would give me glimpses of Him everywhere we went.

And I can say, He's showing up everywhere!

Many thanks to you Lord for showing yourself to me in all these places.