Friday, May 8, 2020

Remembering God's Faithfulness

Our JV spring conference "online", a new experience since we're not able to gather staff from around the region this week for our annual gathering, started at 9 AM this morning in our home with a familiar face!

The first two programs of the day were led by Claire for our JV Kids! The first half hour was for the preschoolers.

I know I'm her mom...but she did SUCH a great job with those little ones (and with the school age kids next!). If by any chance you want to "drop in" on those programs, you can find them HERE on our JV spring website under "Kid's Program".

There was also a special message from Janice, one of the team members from Scottsdale Bible Church who would have been here this week with our preschoolers. She has come every year for around 15 years!

She is very beloved by the JV Kids - the little ones and the big ones who remember when they were little ones! She told a story for our preschoolers today, that she illustrated herself, that honestly made me get teary! She loves our kids, and communicated so well with them in these circumstances.

After those programs, everyone was on their own for the day, which had been structured for families or groups of JV people, to make memories together, and participate in a few online things that were offered.

Or not!

Do you know how much I loved watching Dave read a book today?? He only does that on vacation or if he's studying for something! Granted it was Randy Alcorn's book, "hand in Hand", on the beauty of God's sovereignty and meaningful human choice!

But Dave was so enjoying it that he was still reading by the middle of the afternoon (albeit, with shorts on since the temperature climbed today!)

Yes we had a fire, because it made for such a cozy reading environment!

I opted to join in on one of the "coffee shops" offered by some of our JV staff this afternoon. I happened to find a bag of precious coffee to enjoy that had been tucked away after a previous trip to the States.

So I grabbed my cup of coffee and went into the "Introvert Coffee Shop"

Shelby, who was leading it, had written as a description: "Do you love people but sometimes they exhaust you, especially on Zoom? During this “introvert coffeeshop” we’ll enjoy “structured social solitude” – a combination of time together and alone, a time to recharge in ways you enjoy (including but not limited to: music, nature, your hobby) and also enjoy the feeling of being in community with others. Does it sound like a paradox? Well, come give it a try."

And lo and behold, it was JUST Shelby and I in there for a whole blessed hour! What could be better for two people loving introverts?! She is one of my dear friends (was in Prague with her just before the lockdown occurred in early March) and we had the most meaningful talk - definitely a highlight of spring conference!

While that was happening, another event was taking place outside, but I'll write about that in a separate post!

At 6:30 we gathered for another Family Huddle, which started out with a super fun slide slow of JV gatherings and conferences starting back in 1995!

L-R  Top row: Dave, me, Lina Miller, Laura Hash, Kim Platt, Andrea Pitcher
L-R Bottom row: Susan Ellis, Andy Abramson (intern), Jim Miller, Dan Hash, Wayne Platt
(Ken Pitcher was taking the photo!)

We said goodbye to three JVK who are graduating, and showed clips of people's memory making throughout today, including a huge, crazy scavenger hunt that many participated in!

Parents put little ones to bed, and then we all gathered back again at 8:30 PM for our final evening program.

There were really meaningful goodbyes with several families that have already returned to the States.

And more worship from the teams who had joined us last night. The group from Poland did an amazing song, recorded in three different locations with the Miller family, Elliott, one of our single missionaries, and a violinist who recorded in her home! The compilation of their musical gifts into one worship song was absolutely amazing!

And finally, Dave taught his second, and final, session for our team, teaching again from Deuteronomy 8, reflecting on the faithfulness of God, and the importance of remembering what He's done.

If you only have time to listen to one thing, this talk would be my suggestion! He starts teaching about halfway through video, which is listed on the website under "Evening Program - Friday".

Mel wrapped up the program at the end, and when the screen went dark, both Dave and I felt both sadness and joy. It had been as good of a program as it could possibly be, for an online conference. But it reminded us that this is not the way things are supposed to be.

A key phrase that Dave gave during his talk still rings in my mind though: The key to my faithfulness in the future is remembering God's faithfulness in the past.

HE HAS BEEN SO FAITHFUL!!! And although we are in strange times now, God does not change. Therefore my faithfulness to him, that rests in his unchanging nature, is possible. If I purposefully remember his faithfulness in the past, I can anticipate his faithfulness in the future, whatever may come.

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