Sunday, May 5, 2019

Finishing JV Spring Conference

If any of you reading right now are on my email update list, you know that we were asking for prayer during our week of JV Spring Conference. Why? Because the weather forecast was for cold, rainy weather, and even with a prediction of snow! With over 115 children here this week, you can imagine why we were asking for good weather!

Day after day, the Lord answered as our conference week went by. Truly, it was an amazing gift from the Lord to have sunshine and warm days, where kids and adults alike could be outside in the free time.

So it was a surprise, albeit a hilarious one, to wake up this morning to something other than sunshine.

I saw this on Tyler's instagram story before I'd even looked out the window! But sure enough, going up to the hotel this morning showed me it was true.

While we were a little cold in the tent for our last session of teaching and worship, by the time all the kids arrived, it was nicely warmed up!

At the beginning of the second session we started with introductions of our newest JV family members: the babies! This year we welcomed eight new little ones, born since last spring conference.

Amy and Claire came next for thank you's to our childcare workers here all week to bless us with their excellent care and program.

While this picture doesn't nearly encompass all the people it took to provide care and programs, it is a little glimpse into the 24 people who came from five different states and two who came from Belgium to provide something for our JV Kids 0-18!

We love our JVK so much and as a team, invest in them in many different ways, with Spring Conference being just one of those.

A couple of these JVK even get time with their Papa!

After thank you's, these three came up to share a very exciting update on one of those ways we care for our JVK.

For nearly two years, these three have been working on something called the JVK Deep Dive study.

It is a qualitative research project to answer three questions: 1) How does the experience of being a JV Kid affect development through childhood and adolescence? 2) What contributes to the positive impact experienced by JV Kids on the field? 3) What causes JV Kids and their parents to thrive on the mission field?

They conducted individual interviews with 29 JVK and 10 JVK parents, along with 25 peer-to-peer interviews between JV kids which were conducted with the assistance and presence of JV staff members.

From there they collected and analyzed data, compiling it into eleven findings that are absolutely fascinating! In each of the findings there is a key discovery, a description of it, the significance of it, and what our response to it can be. And there are tips for helping the JVK in each of the areas.

If you're ever interested in understanding our JV Kid community, or TCK's (third culture kids) in general you can contact Claire or me. So proud of Amy, Claire and Josh Howard for seeing this important project through!

After everyone received their copy and heard about the project, it was Claire's turn to introduce the JVK and what they did this week at conference.

Our teenagers were led by a man from Colorado whose business is teaching improv for executives, corporations, schools, and even...our JVK. What an incredible experience for them.

They wrote a phrase together (see it on the screen) and then worked on improv to it throughout the week, supporting and honoring each other in the hard things they experience in their TCK lives. It was a phenomenal performance.

Our school age kids were led in a fabulous writing and theatre project led by two different teams, to help them express their journeys through life as TCK's. Five years ago they did something similar, which resulted in a book and will again this time (available on Amazon sometime in the future).

Since it was hard to express all that they wrote and did in an "on stage" program, two guys from the theater team (led by our niece Rebecca with students from her university in California!) put together an incredible video where every single JVK had the opportunity to say one line from their story. It was also amazing!

Sorry I can't share the video - EU privacy rules prohibit me from doing so. 😔

When the video was finished (which was so fun for the kids to see for the first time!) Claire brought them all up on stage.

Together they enthusiastically quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength!

(I added the exclamation marks because that's how they said it!!)

I'm pretty sure there were a number of times throughout the JVK program time where people had tears in their eyes. At least I can say that I did!

I admire and love these kids and their families who are living here, doing life and ministry together and making it work. It's not always easy, but the fruit in their lives, and in the lives of all the young people they work with, is worth it!

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