Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Time with Amy

While Dave and Mel are with the JV country leaders in Croatia this week, Amy and I are spending these days together as well.

She and Mel have been out of the Czech Republic since May because of US social security laws (a requirement if you want to keep your SS).

The US doesn't require you to come back to the States, but it DOES require you to leave your country of residence for six months. As you can imagine this is quite disruptive to life and ministry for our teammates that are under this requirement (and yes, it applies to us too).

Mel and Amy chose to stay in Europe, camping (since that's one of the least expensive options), so that they could be in the same time zone and continue their ministry with our JV team by Skype, FaceTime and all of other means of communication!

When I realized that Amy would be alone during these days that Mel was on the country leader summit trip, I happily offered to come be with her.

We've been talking, reading, cooking and praying together every day this week which has been the sweetest! But tonight we took ourselves out to dinner and sat for hours in this magical outdoor restaurant perched on the side of a hill.

It's been a restful, nourishing time, full of kindnesses from the Lord each day.

We won't see each other again until October so we're fully taking advantage of this time with each other, face to face, never seeming to run out of things to talk or pray about.

I've missed Amy these past few months so this has been a nourishing and sweet time to spend with her. Twenty one years of friendship, ministry and life together is a treasure; I am glad we got to make another memory with each other this week!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Rain and Shine

Early this morning Dave and I left Frydlant, heading south to catch a plane in Vienna.

This is not Vienna! It's Mikulov, at the Czech border.

While Dave finished preparations for his JV country leader summit, I drove... pouring rain!

Don't worry...I had Dave take this both my hands are on the wheel!

I kept thinking about our church's Family Fest still happening in Frydlant, hoping that this storm wasn't headed their way. (Update: It didn't!)

We made it to the Vienna airport, ready for our flight, with hopes of finding sunshine in the next location.

The skies here were definitely not promising it any time soon.

But, an hour and a half later, the sun was shining here!

We landed at the Split airport, with a good reason for me to be wearing a hat. It was hot, humid and sunny!

All the JV country leaders, plus the JV leadership team, are arriving at the Trogir marina this afternoon to head out on a boat for their training, equipping and coaching week.

I wanted to see what it's like to be at the helm of a sailing boat!

One of our board members flew in from the States today to also join them this week.

While they got ready to head out, I made my way to another boat down at the port of Split...

...with my dear Amy!

She and Mel are in "exile", as we're calling it, for the next six months, unable to be in the Czech Republic due to a totalization agreement between the US and Czech in regards to US Social Security laws. This requires you to leave your country of residence every 5 years (though you can apply for an extension up to nine years) for six months. You don't have to return to the States; you just can't stay in the country of your residence. They've been gone from Czech since May.

When I realized that Amy would be alone this week while Mel's at the country leader summit, in a campground by herself (they are camping so they can stay in Europe to continue their ministry, long distance, with JV), I said I'd come down to be with her.

So here we are, ready for some sweet times of fellowship together this week. It's so good to see her again!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Kuzko the Alpaca

For three days this week, our church is doing a super fun outreach for our town called Family Fest!

There is a photo booth (as shown above!), carnival games, food, drinks, bouncy houses and...

One lovable alpaca!

The man on the far left, just behind my friend Veronika who's posing with Kuzko the alpaca, is from Peru but lives here in Czech with his family...and their pet alpaca!

You wouldn't believe what a hit he was...and how huggable too!

Everyone wanted a turn, either hugging or walking the alpaca, who was, surprisingly, quite agreeable to it all!

After dinner, everyone gathered for another family game - this time water balloon toss!

I was opposite Dave, so didn't dare have my phone out too long as I needed to catch the next balloon coming my way!

After the kids left and went inside for a movie, Dave gave another talk for all those who had come - this time about the secret to a healthy marriage!

In case you're wondering what the secret has to do with giving each other the right kind of "water"!

Again, we were so happy with the turnout tonight and it's been easy to have good conversations with people that we've just met. We're praying that these will lead to deeper relationships that allow us to talk about our faith, and how knowing Jesus changes everything.

Family Fest will continue on tomorrow, with more fun for the families; but Dave and I have to leave early in the morning for something else so said goodbye to people tonight. Hopefully we'll see some new ones in church the next time we're there!

Until then, a picture and a hug with Claire finished out our Family Fest days!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Frydlant Family Fest

Earlier this year our church began to dream about an outreach into our town that would reach families in a fun and friendly way this summer. After much thought and prayer, an idea was born and Family Fest became a reality!

Kyle and Amy, a JV couple who started attending our church this year (after they moved from another town and church) agreed to take leadership for it. And today, the vision became reality!

Our church rented the recreation center in town, and this week a team of people from a partnering church in the States, Christ Community in St Charles, IL, joined church members in building and setting up the facility for our three day Family Fest!

A "bouncy house" supplier agreed to bring in different playhouses for the kids every day, and then there were games for the whole family spread throughout the facility.

Many church members came as helpers, to both set up and run the booths.

With my background in childhood baseball games of my brother, and a Triple A farm league in town  (Go Eugene Emeralds!), I chose to run the "baseball toss"!

We opened our doors to friends, townspeople and our church family at 3 PM, with a planned program that ran until 9.

The carnival games were so creative, and the atmosphere just perfect for a summer afternoon of fun.

After dinner, catered by our best restaurant in town, everyone gathered in the field where benches had been set up for the evening program.

After a super fun game of pocket scavenger (where items are asked for from the audience out of pockets, purses and backpacks!), and after the kids had gone inside for a fun movie, Dave spoke to the audience about how to be good parents.

Here, he's interviewing a man from our church, a psychologist, who will give 2 of the 4 talks at Family Fest

This is the first time our church has done anything like this, so it was encouraging to see so many people come!

Our goal is to provide a fun, happy and loving environment to build relationships and open doors to talk about the Gospel.

I'm excited for what God has for us these next few days!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Best Ice Cream in Town

Amidst a long list of things to work on today, I took a break to go into town to pick up a few things.

After waiting in long lines, and encountering more people and traffic than I could ever imagine around here, I decided to detour before going home.

Yes, I've posted about this place before! But when you know a good thing, you want to share it! 😂

I was here for just one thing today; and it's not what she's scooping!

It was this: točená zmrzlina - soft serve ice cream!

I don't know what their recipe is, but it's been tried and true for many, many years and there's nothing quite like it.

A mix of pineapple and vanilla was just the needed motivator on this warm afternoon to get back to work...after I'd finished every last lick, of course! 😁

If you're ever in town, during the summer/early fall (they don't have it the rest of the year), please do yourself a favor and stop to enjoy some.

They even have gluten free cones that are better than the regular ones, so ask for that if you're there!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Some days I have good, long, conversational prayer times with the Lord.

The words flow, I have specific things I'm praying for, and I finish feeling satisfied that I've been in communication with him.

But other days? Many days,'s more like this.

Either I don't know what to pray, or the words just don't come.

Or more typically, I feel so deeply about something that I don't know what to say, or even how to pray about it.

In those times I often just sit and BE. Be in his presence. Be in his comfort. Be in communion with him.

Because I have such a heart for prayer people might imagine that I always know what or how to pray. But really, so much of the time, my prayer is like that picture. There's so much inside me, but it doesn't all make sense.

If I were the one who had put all those letters on the board (a friend posted this picture on FB so it's not mine), I would end with one more set of letters before AMEN.


Probably many of us have a "constant" that we pray. For some people it's simply, "Jesus". For others it's something else. But years ago I was actually reading a book, a novel, and the main character often expressed his agony in prayer by those letters.

Thy. Will. Be. Done.

Sometimes that's all I know how to pray. And I actually know he understands.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Enduring Friendship

These two have known each other, and been friends, for more than FIFTY years!

Dan and Dave's dads were part of the founders of OCSC (now Cadence International) in the 1950's. Fast forward to the 1960's, Dave and Dan met as young boys and a friendship was formed that has lasted over fifty years.

These two have shared friendship, ministry, family, and life in a deep brotherhood kind of bond, as well as beginning two full time ministries together - Malachi Ministries, under OCSC in 1985, and then Josiah Venture in 1993.

And that friendship continues to this very day, when Dan got in his VW bus at 6 AM in Katowice, Poland (where he lives) and drove over to our house just so he and Dave could go running together this morning at 7:30!

They clocked 11 kilometers, probably talking the whole time! Three hours later, after the run, breakfast and more conversation, they went their separate ways and won't see each other again until sometime in September (Dan and his wife will be in the States for a month).

Their deep friendship is such a strength to them, and a joy to watch all these years! 😊So thankful for Dan, and Laura too, for our friendship that has stayed constant and enduring.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Forty Years: A Child of God

Yesterday, these two couldn't get enough of playing with and in the water at our house!

So that continued this morning until it was time to leave for church.

Don't you love how clever kids are at coming up with new ways to enjoy the simple pleasures of water?!

Speaking of water...and particularly its cleansing power...that reminds me of something!

Today is a very special day for me!

On July 21, 1979 - FORTY YEARS AGO! - the blood of Christ cleansed me of sin and I put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior! That day changed my entire life. It's like everything before that is in one book, and everything after that is in another!

I was sharing my testimony with someone the other day and told them, "From the moment that my eyes were opened to the cleansing power of Jesus' blood shed for me on the cross, and his resurrection that conquered sin and death and paid the price for my sin, I have never looked back! I have only and ever wanted to know, love and serve Him."

All that my heart was longing for began to be found that day when I gave my life to Jesus, and asked him to not only cleanse me from sin, but lead me from that point on. I'm still on that journey of finding out all the treasures to be found in life with Him...and what a great journey that has been.

Amazingly, this morning at church Dave preached on how to share the Gospel, telling the very same message I heard on this day forty years ago!

And again today, I got to share my testimony with someone else, as well as explain the Gospel to them.

It changed my life then; and it's still changing my life now!

We took this team out to lunch today after church; they're here from Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL, for our church's outreach event this coming week called "Family Fest".

Beginning on Thursday in our town, we'll be providing space for our church community to interact with friends that we all are inviting to share in these days with us: through children's activities, games, interactive family times, and an evening program with practical talks (by Dave!) on parenting, marriage and conflict resolution, and movies for the kids while their parents are listening!

And of course, we'll be sharing the Gospel, like someone did with me forty years ago.

Oh how I pray that there will be some this week who will come to know Jesus as their Savior like I did all those years ago. I have never been the same since then, as His light overcame the darkness of sin in my life.

"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." John 1:12-13

THIS is exactly what happened to me forty years ago and I am forever grateful to have been called even since then, a child of God!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Water All Day

Morning coffee on the patio with family was a perfect way to start Tyler's 29th birthday!

While we had the festivities for Tyler here last night, the celebration is continuing on today with a bike ride that is being readied.

Yes, helmets are in place and we're ready to roll for the day!

Oh but wait! It's not us going on the bike's Tyler and Lara! 🤣

They headed off for his birthday bike ride, planning to be gone for a good part of the day.

Whoopee! That means a fun day at Papa and Nonnie's house for these little guys!

And the order of the day? Anything with water!

Though the day started out cloudy and looked like it might be stormy, it thankfully passed by us so our water fun continued.

Right on out to the little pool that I've been waiting all summer to get out!

And oh boy, what a hit that was!

In and out, in and out, in and out - they couldn't get enough of it!

I had to make them get out to come eat a bite of regular fare, when they're at our house, of chicken, blueberries and freshly made french fries with ketchup!

The water fun the fountain that Papa got working again!

And hose time in the yard!

They did push pause on the water and take the net to go bug hunting for a little while. 🤣

But then they were right back to it!

"Hey Judah! I caught a big bug!!"

It was just about as sweet as it gets, playing in the water and yard all day long, never getting out of swimsuits, even for naps!

By bed time they were all tuckered out, as were their mom and dad who had ended up ditching the bikes and climbing Lysa Hora, the mountain nearby that my blog is named after!

I will never stop giving thanks to the Lord for the gift of having family nearby. It's just about as sweet as it comes!