Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Afternoon with the Council

It might have been dreary and rainy up here at Malenovice today, but inside it was anything but that!

The room was warm and cheery in the lodge as JV country leaders and their wives met for an afternoon session at JV Council.

This council functions as the leadership team for JV, shepherding staff in their countries, and thinking strategically about the ministry with Dave and the executive team.

Dave led a session for them this afternoon on staff development, asking the questions: What's going well? What needs repair or fixing? What is missing?

What a fantastic group of people in this room, all thinking on these questions and helping to work towards greater effectiveness in the ministry, as well as personally for themselves and their teammates.

Dave's brother, Josh, is the Council Chairman, and his wife, Kristi, helps to shepherd the country leader wives.

Kristi caught me taking a picture of them! 😀See the resemblance between Dave and his brother?!

They, along with everyone else in this room, are doing such an incredible job of thinking strategically about how to be more effective at reaching young people with the Gospel, and training them up to be disciple makers. I admire and appreciate every one of them.

And especially this one!

Looking forward to our spring conference that starts tomorrow, and hearing Dave's teaching once again!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Suchdol nad Odrou

On the train back from Prague today, we happened to make a stop here.

A town of just 2500 people today, Suchdol nad Odrou is one of the key towns where the Moravian Brethren fled from back in the early 1700's.

Persecuted for their faith, whole households from this town, and a few others nearby, fled to the estate of Count von Zinzendorf in 1722 and founded Herrnhut, which eventually sparked a spiritual awakening that led to the first modern missionary movement, and the unbroken prayer chain of 100 years.

Who would have ever guessed back then, that revival would spread from this little town?

In just three years, 2022, it will have been 300 years since those people fled for refuge and freedom of their faith. When they left they no doubt prayed that God would preserve a hidden seed, like John Amos Comenius, the pioneer of modern education and the last Bishop of the Bohemian Brethren, had prayed when he fled a hundred years earlier in 1627.

And now today, here we are in answer to their prayers: part of God's revival once again in this part of the world.

Just this past week-end, 45 minutes south of Suchdol, 1000 young people and their leaders gathered for the Fusiondary festival, where God's name was lifted up and proclaimed.

And this week, 45 minutes to the east of Suchdol, 350 JV missionaries and children will gather for our Spring conference, where again God's name will be lifted up.

Oh that a new revival would pour out from this part of the world! We continue to pray and believe God for it, standing in faith, action and prayer for it.

If you haven't joined us yet in the JV online Prayer Room, please come in this week to pray for this region and for our JV team! You'll be joining a long lineage of prayer warriors, believing God for His movement here.

Not only that, but I think it will be one of your most refreshing hours of the week!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

It Takes A Village

This week around 350 JV staff and their families, as well as child care workers, will gather at Malenovice for our annual 2nd culture spring family conference.

What is second culture? These are our staff and kids who are serving in a country other than where their passport is from. Throughout the year we have different events that train, equip and care for our JV staff, and this is the one that focuses on the needs that second culture missionaries and families have.

Preparing for this conference involves lots of people who work on a myriad of details to make it happen!

Dave prepares for the teaching, Amy and Martina coordinate all the housing, hotels and registrations, Claire is helping oversee the program for JV Kids, Denny arranges for everyone to pitch in for pick ups and returns to airports and train stations, our Communications team prepares the stage and oh so many other details, Ed gets sports tournaments coordinated, and a worship team led by Tyler is preparing to lead us into God's presence each day. And that's not even everyone! There are more people who are investing time and energy into preparing for this conference as well.

I don't know who coined the phrase, "It takes a village..." but it's certainly true when it comes to prepping for JV conferences, that it takes a village to pull them off with God honoring excellence!

I happened to be tasked with running an errand to Prague, so hopped on a train this afternoon to head there.

It's been five months since I was last in Prague, so I was happy to do my part, making the most of my errand running by walking on the Charles Bridge, despite the rain-laden clouds that were threatening to let loose any moment!

Tomorrow our country leaders, their wives and families will arrive to begin JV Council, meetings for leadership that take place ahead of every spring and fall conference. They too are doing their part in this movement of God that we all pray for.

I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone in a few days, continuing our press towards knowing Christ more, and being part of his transformational work here in Central and Eastern Europe.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Fusiondary in Vsetín

Lara, Judah, Asher and I were up and out of the house early today to head to Vsetín, about an hour away from our house.

Dave and Tyler had left even earlier so they could arrive in time to prepare for the morning at our JV Fusiondary International festival.

What is Fusiondary?

Yesterday nearly 1000 students and leaders arrived in Vsetín, from ten countries, to participate in Fusiondary, JV's largest event ever - a coming together of nearly 50 Fusion choirs from the countries where our staff leads this exciting ministry of evangelism and discipleship, through music.

They did a parade of nations through the streets of Vsetín, ending up in the cultural house where the event is taking place.

It was absolutely thrilling arriving here today to see and participate in this awesome event!

Tyler and a group of musicians from JV, led worship to start off the morning.

Over half of those here for Fusiondary don't yet know the Lord. Throughout the school year they've all been part of their Fusion rock/gospel choirs, attending weekly rehearsals and hearing gospel centered messages in devotions from their leaders.

Over the past ten years many young people have put their faith in Jesus through Fusion choirs, and we're praying that more do this week-end!

Throughout the week-end, all the choirs will perform for each other, music they've prepared throughout the year.

During the year when they're in their Fusion groups, they have the opportunity to not only sing, but learn instruments and how to direct the choir. With no music classes offered in high school it's super exciting for them to be part of a supportive community, creating music together!

Shelby, a gifted musician on staff with JV, is the head of Fusion International. So proud of her for organizing her team to put on such an amazing event this week-end!

Dave and I got to have lunch with some of the Fusiondary participants...do you see any similarities between us?!

This is our nephew, Luke and niece, Kendra, from Slovenia!

After lunch I ran into one of our JV staff who told me that one of her girls had just put her faith in Christ here at Fusiondary!!

The festival is an incredibly creative event, with not only the performances going on throughout the week-end, but special "inspiration stations" happening as well. Claire and Judah took advantage of one of those, adding on to a painting happening out in the foyer!

Many different seminars were offered throughout the week-end as well, with Claire teaching one about understanding the mind of a child, and Tyler teaching on "Does God speak through the Bible today?"

It's pretty special for Dave and I to be here in support of our kids, our staff, and our grandkids!

They are definitely living "family on mission" with their parents by going to events like this!

More concerts took place in the late afternoon.

And then it was time for the evening program!

The organization of this event was astounding! There were so many pieces to each section, including this evening's program chock full of fun and joy.

Shelby and one of our other staff, Cory, had written a song for the event that everyone was learning throughout the week-end (that's what they're doing in the above photo). Tomorrow they'll sing it and record it live! And there was lots of fun singing more worship songs all together.

But the most significant part of the evening came when Korban, JV staff from Poland, gave the Gospel message.

Students had an opportunity to respond with their leaders, or others who were available to talk with them. I don't yet know how many put their faith in Christ tonight, but for sure there were some. Praise God for these new brothers and sisters who met Jesus tonight!

The evening continued on with a celebration of ten years of Fusion choirs.

And thank you's to all those who lead and make these choirs possible.

I saw this from one of our staff, a post she made late tonight on Facebook that really sums up JV's Fusion ministry.

How we pray that these stories of lives changed and transformed by Christ will continue as the students and their leaders head back home to their countries tomorrow after Fusiondary concludes.

While the big event will be over, the weekly discipleship and care of these Fusion groups will continue!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday at Nonnie's

For the past ten years, traveling for JV usually meant getting to see our kids (and their kids, once they had them!) somewhere along the way.

But now, coming home means getting to see some of them!

Tyler, Lara, Judah and Asher came to spend the night last night so that Tyler could be up and out by 5:30 AM for an all day meeting a few hours away

That meant all day with these three at our house!

These two little guys are early risers...but today, Asher was up even earlier than usual.

At this point in the morning (9:30) he'd already been up FIVE AND A HALF HOURS!!! Oh bless his mommy and daddy for being so kind and loving with him at that time of day!

Thankfully it was a beautiful today so we could be outside, running off some of their little boy energy!

For Christmas, Dave gave me an awesome gift that I've been looking forward to using when the boys are over. Any ideas what it was??

What could be better than a picnic lunch out on the patio on a warm, spring afternoon, with fresh french fries from Nonnie's fryer ?!! 🤣 🤣 🤣Yes, I love french fries, and love that the boys do too!

The afternoon in the yard brought some fun soccer playing with our neighbor boys. They're so good with Judah and Asher!

While Asher isn't quite old enough to run after the ball, he sure did enjoy being out there with the kids!

It won't be long before he too is playing! He turns 2 in June.

Late afternoon snack time brought out all the smiles. 😀

As did a video call with daddy who was still at his meeting, sharing the vision of ForMission college, the theological educational program that's beginning this fall at Malenovice for students who want to get a bachelors degree in theology, mission and ministry!

Our day of fun ended with bedtime stories before prayers, hugs and kisses.

Oh how I love getting to share life with these sweet family members!

Saying goodnight to daddy who was on his way home!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Variety of Life

When we're in the States, people often ask me what a typical day looks like, or what I do in a normal week.

I usually answer, "No two days ever seem to look the same!"

It's a good thing I like variety because that's the life the Lord has given to me!

Why the picture of the baby toys?? Because today's variety task was shopping for our upcoming JV Spring conference. One of the things I do each year is buy gifts to celebrate the new babies born into JV families. On average, we have 8-10 new babies born every year!

I didn't end up buying any of those toys as it always takes me a while to look around and decide what gift to choose each year. But I will say that it's one of the fun tasks that I enjoy doing, even if it's just once a year.

I was also on the lookout for helping Claire gather JV Kid supplies for the program the kids will be in this coming week at conference.

There are about 55 school age JV kids who will be in a program working on writing projects, and learning to do improvisational speech and drama.

There are also over 50 children in our 0-5 age range! We have 14 people coming from Arizona just to take care of them!

I loved thinking about and praying for the JV kids as I was out and about today.

And loved another day God's variety of life for me!