Wednesday, October 21, 2020

To The Airport

While the weather is still beautiful, I headed out this afternoon on a walk in our neighborhood. 

I used to walk this path much more when we still had our sweet little Kaylee dog. I do miss a walking buddy like her on days like this!

We're heading into stricter lockdown these days, and in fact, the malls close tomorrow so we're nearing the kind of lockdown we had in the spring (without the borders closing and travel restricted...yet). Grocery, pharmacy and drugstores will still be open. But all other stores, small and big, will be closed for now. 

We had our highest number of cases yesterday - 11,984. For our country of 10 million, that's an awful lot in one day. 

A number of our JV teammates right here in Czech are in the middle of their bouts with Covid, having come down with it in these past few weeks. One of our Czech missionaries lost his dad a week ago to it. He was just 61 years old, with no underlying heath issues. 

It's sobering.

Our tiny little airport at the end of the road was busy with planes today, taking off and landing, though no one was here to watch. I was thankful to just sit, without a mask, and enjoy something normal.

One day this time of difficulty will be just a memory that we'll talk about from time to time. 

For now, we're doing what we can to live well, walk with God, and pray for the well being of those around us, knowing that God is working in this difficult time, and about things we can't yet see. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Stay at Home Retreat

On this chilly Saturday morning, look who's here to visit.

That's our daughter, Claire who lives here and who I see often. But the other one in the picture? 

That's my sister-in-law, Kristi, who lives in Slovenia! And I don't see her very often (especially in these days when we're not gathering as JV staff because of coronavirus) so this is super special that she's here this week-end.

Why is she here? And why are we outside on a cold morning?

Claire wanted to be super sensitive to Kristi, who already had to have a COVID test just to come visit, to make sure that there was no way she, Claire, passed on anything to her. Claire doesn't think she's sick! She just wanted to take every precaution to make sure that Kristi stayed well while here. So I made homemade Pumpkin spice lattes and Pumpkin doughnuts, and we sat out at the table to two hours with blankets to keep us warm!

And the reason she's here is twofold: Josh had a leadership team retreat with Dave, Thursday through Sunday this week-end so was already coming. The second part of that reason is that Kristi celebrated her 50th birthday in April and I'd planned to take her away for a celebration back then. Of course we weren't able to do that because of the lockdown, nor have we been able to figure out another plan since then. 

When I realized Josh was coming, I asked if she could come with him and we'd go to Prague for two days to celebrate. However, due to rising cases of COVID here in Czech, that didn't work either.

So in the end, we decided on a three day "stay at home" sister's retreat! And we're having the best time talking, laughing, praying, cooking, staying up late and enjoying each other. 

Happy Birthday dear sister! It's so special to have you here for these precious days!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Treasuring Claire

 Yesterday we celebrated our Claire's twenty sixth birthday.

She and I started the party in the afternoon at a cafe, but Dave joined us for the rest of the celebration, beginning the evening with that beautiful bouquet she's holding in her hands!

He also wrote her a sweet letter to go with it, telling her all the things he loves about her. 

It melts my heart to see how much these two love and enjoy each other!

When Claire was growing up here in Czech we never thought that she would end up living here, let alone, serve with us in Josiah Venture. 

But I am so incredibly thankful that God that He led her back here, and that we get the joy of living near her!

She's a gem, and we treasure her! 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Birthday in Hukvaldy

What a glorious day to visit beautiful Hukvaldy.

And best of all, it's a special occasion for this dear one!

I brought Claire here for coffee and French macarons to celebrate her 26th birthday!

We made our way to Ráj na zemi, an absolutely lovely cafe and hotel that just opened a few days ago here in Hukvaldy, after being closed for two years to reconstruct and renovate. 

It is so charming, and best of all, there were people of all ages here this afternoon, enjoying it along with us!

When we gave Claire her name 26 years ago at her birth in Schwetzingen, Germany, we knew that her name meant "bright" and "clear". How fitting that name is for her today! 

She is a bright light for the Lord, and seeks to live her life clearly before Him in ways that bless people around her.

What joy to celebrate this beautiful woman of God that we were entrusted with all those years ago! She's definitely a treasure, and I loved celebrating her here today.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Paying Attention to Nudges

This afternoon I was doing what I would call, "minding my business", as in getting work done at the computer from my kitchen table. 

All of a sudden I literally had a nudge to go outside. Yes, I'd seen a bit of sun peek through, but I was in the middle of work so hadn't really paid attention (probably should have!). But when the nudge came quickly again, I got up without thinking too much and went outside.

Good thing!

We've lived here sixteen years and I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen a rainbow seemingly right in our backyard!

And just when I thought it couldn't get any more beautiful...this appeared!

Wow! It was breathtaking! 

I stood there until the light faded - which was only about five minutes. If I hadn't paid attention to the nudge, I would've missed this. 

It made me wonder how many times I've missed something literally, or not, "right outside the door". 

Oh Lord, make me more attentive to your nudges!!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

New Church Space

Our little church here in Frýdlant nad Ostravicí is growing! In the 19 years that we have been a part of this beautiful body of believers, we've had to move locations at least seven times, to have more space for people.

 We've now made our eighth move to this location.

Actually, that's the view from inside our new location! (The view is looking out at one of our little shopping areas in town, and the Catholic church). 

This is the view inside, as things were getting set up for church today. 

This is a room in our cultural center, where some of our town's government offices are. There's also a big event room downstairs that we've used through the years for JV events. It's right in the center of town so is a great location!

Today Claire led our service (welcoming people, reading Scripture, giving announcements), and Dave preached. I forgot to get a picture of him, but captured Claire as she was introducing our worship team for today.

Today is the last day that we'll be able to sing (and even then, we were all wearing our masks) for a while, as we go into stricter restrictions tomorrow because COVID cases are on the rise here in Czech. 

But we're thankful to have such a great meeting space...and at the same time, honestly pray that we'll outgrow this too one day! 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Earnest Prayers

This afternoon I was at the home of one of my JV teammates, and in the course of the conversation she remembered something she wanted to show me.  

She has just moved into a new apartment here recently, and this had come in the mail to her from someone in the States.

A card like it had come from her parents, and another from her sister. This was the third, and only other card she had received. And it was from someone who has come to know her through the JV Prayer Room!

Over the course of the past four years that the Prayer Room has been open, online, it has been so beautiful to watch the people that God has brought to us, who pray, and even engage with us in personal ways.

The man who had sent her this card has never met her, but because of her requests in the Prayer Room, he has not only prayed for her, but given to her and written to her! These kinds of connections are invaluable! 

I was recently reading the book of Acts where it says, "...the church was earnestly praying to God for him..." (referring to Peter). Two verses later it says an angel of the Lord appeared and led him out of the prison to safety. In Peter's case, those earnest prayers saved his life! 

We never know what our prayers might mean for others. Thank you to you all who pray earnestly not only on our behalf, but for other JV missionaries, for your pastors, for your leaders, for your friends, maybe even for your enemies! You may never know this side of heaven what those prayers meant. 

But let's again covenant together to pray earnestly for God's movement around the world!