Hi, I'm Connie...if you look hard, you can see that's me over on the right hand side of the photo with my little doggie!
I live in the Czech Republic, and look out of my office window at that gorgeous view, the highest mountain in the Beskydy Mountain range, Lysa Hora, which is why my blog is named "Living By Lysa".
We moved to the Czech Republic in November, 1993 as missionaries with Josiah Venture, an organization that we founded and serve with.
I started blogging in 2006 as a way to capture our family's life and what the Lord is doing through Josiah Venture. I wish blogging had been invented earlier! There are so many beautiful stories and small details that make up the rich mosaic of what God has done, and is doing, here and throughout Eastern Europe - and those are the things I want to capture and remember.
It's my heart's desire to faithfully capture those details, along with the journey of our lives. I don't want to forget all these precious, beautiful and meaningful memories, people, and events.
If you're curious about my beginnings, you can read on for my story, or skip to the bottom and just see a few facts!
You can reach me at:
cpatty@josiahventure DOT com
Born in Eugene, Oregon on August 17, 1961 to Jim and Linda France, I spent my elementary school years in a small town called Coburg. It was an idyllic childhood...living in a small town where everyone knew everyone. Summer afternoons were spent outside all day, on bikes with friends, playing with our cousins who lived nearby, and coming home to fresh baked cookies from mom. Nights were often spent out on our porch listening to the radio with my brother as we lay in our sleeping bags trying to swat away mosquitoes!
In 1973, our cozy, small world changed when my dad was offered a job promotion. In October of 7th grade, we moved to Vancouver, Washington where I settled into a big junior high, "double shifting" (going to school in the afternoon because another junior high did the morning shift). It was a huge change after having grown up in a small town, and it took me several years to find my footing in school.
High school years were spent at Evergreen HS, 1975-1979. I got involved in student government, choir, and drama. Having played the piano since I was seven, I became the choir and jazz band pianist/keyboardist, as well as the rehearsal pianist for the musicals our drama department put on each year. Those were great times! We put on South Pacific, Brigadoon and Oklahoma my first three years of high school. Then in my senior year, I actually auditioned for a part and was cast as the Mother Superior in "Sound of Music".
After graduating in June 1979, I was suddenly out of my element and looking towards heading off to college, alone.
That summer, a friend of mine invited me to "Jesus Northwest", a Christian music festival. Amy Grant was the warm-up, at seventeen with just her guitar. The main concert was Andre Crouch and the Disciples. It was Andre who shared the Gospel that night, and for the first time my eyes were opened to my sin and my need for a Savior. Though I told none of my friends who were there (they all thought I was already a believer, thus I was too embarrassed to tell them I wasn't), I put my faith in Jesus Christ that night.
I had grown up going to church, to Sunday School, to VBS, even to summer camps - so knew a lot about God. But I had never personally asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins. When I did, it was everything my heart always longed for...to know I was forgiven, loved and called to belong to God, forever. From that day forward, there was never any looking back. I knew who I was...a sinner, saved by grace, set free to live in relationship with God forever.
Heading off to my freshman year at the University of Oregon, I was a changed person inside my heart. Maybe I didn't look different on the outside, but I was definitely different on the inside!
I transferred to Eastern Washington University my sophomore year, got involved in a local church and Bible study, and began to really grow in my walk with God.
During my senior year, I attended a Keith Green Memorial concert and was challenged, for the first time, with the thought of giving my life to sharing Jesus with others - to the very ends of the earth. I remember Keith saying, "If you're not called to the U.S., then you'd better be asking the Lord where you ARE called to." When he gave the invitation to stand in obedience to go wherever God asked you to go, I was compelled by Him to stand. Little did I know where that would lead me!
After finishing student teaching in December 1983, I attended KC '83 (a Campus Crusade event with 17,000 college students) where again, I was challenged to missions. Thinking that the right thing to do for the Lord was the hardest thing I could find, I signed up to go to Argentina with a Campus Crusade jungle film team! But the Lord had another plan which led me to Germany with Malachi Ministries, the youth arm of OCSC (today, Cadence International) in the summer of 1984.
There, sharing Christ with US military dependent teenagers, I found my calling...to "share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well..." (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
That's been my prayer all these years...that I would truly be gentle, like a mother caring for her little children, sharing my life and the gospel with whomever God brought into my life.
I went to Rota, Spain the following year as a missionary teacher for three families, and worked with the youth group on the Navy base in my off time. During that year God really solidified in my heart that I wanted to be in missions and share Christ with young people, so went to Multnomah School of the Bible for their graduate program in 1985/86, and then left for Germany as a full time OCSC missionary in September, 1986.
For the next part of my story, see "Our Romance" and "About JV".
Quick Facts about me
Born: Connie Catherine France, August 17, 1961 in Eugene, Oregon to Jim and Linda France
Raised: in Coburg, Oregon (town of 822 when we were growing up there!) with my brother, Mike, just a year younger than me.
Moved: to Vancouver, WA in 7th grade and went to Cascade JH and Evergreen HS (graduated in 1979)
College: University of Oregon my freshman year, Eastern Washington University sophomore through senior year (graduated in 1983 with a BA in Education)
Grad School: Multnomah School of the Bible
Married Dave: March 28, 1987 in Speyer, Germany
Gave birth to: Tyler: July 20, 1990, Caleb: January 20, 1993, and Claire: October 8, 1994 - all were born in Schwetzingen, Germany
After marriage lived in: Heidelberg, Germany (1987-1991), Wheaton, IL (1991-1992 while Dave got his master's degree), Heidelberg, Germany (1992-1993), Havirov, Czech Republic (1993-2001), Malenovice (2001-2004), Frydlant n.O (2004-present)