S.

Spring Conference Day 4

It’s weird that Saturday feels like Thursday. I’ve been thrown off with the days all week because the conference started on Wednesday night and the days have been full. Today was probably the fullest day yet, but it was another good one!

Last Full Day of Conference (5/9/15)

Today was just non-stop with two main session in the morning. During the first session this morning our friend Tanya Miller who serves in Poland did this incredible recitation of Scripture called The History of Redemption in which she literally was just quoting a series of Bible verses for at least twenty minutes straight, all set to music and accompanying artwork. It was a very moving and rich time of just listening to God’s Word being recited. The verses are all organized in such a way that it goes from Creation to Revelation and walks through the redemption story. Towards the end when she was reciting from Revelation I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the room including her own. It was an incredible thing to witness and both Bethany and I were in awe of the amount of work that must have taken, but more importantly with the truth of the Scripture.

After lunch today I went from rehearsal to a meeting and then to a larger “Communications” meeting that I spoke at. As the director of the communications team for JV I got the opportunity to speak to a number of different communication areas and get the whole JV family excited about different things we’re working on and serving them in. I had fun with them and hopefully they enjoyed the meeting and left with a few things that are helpful to them in the future.

Last Full Day of Conference (5/9/15)

Tonight we had a special worship night in the big tent that we’re meeting in and I again had the privilege of playing the drums and being part of leading people in song. It was a family-focused event and so all the kids were with us and I got the above photo of them singing and playing in the front of the room near the stage. A little later they all congregated on the actual stage and we sang worship songs that were for kids and then for everyone. It was a sweet time tonight and I had a lot of fun.

Bethany has been having a lot more discomfort today than previous days in this pregnancy. She has been an absolute trooper with taking care of the kids and other things while I have been involved with various things at this conference. I have been so impressed with her this week and she heart has not been one of complaint. She’s a model of sacrificial love to both me and the kids and that couldn’t have been more true than today.

I really haven’t had much sleep this week, but I believe the Lord has really sustained me and given me the energy needed to serve the Josiah Venture family this week. It was one of my joys to serve and support others and I have been blessed this week just to be part of the conference. I go to bed tired tonight but hopefully that’s because I spent my energy on others and not on my self. As I’ve heard said by others, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

O.

Our First Thanksgiving in Czech

Our First Thanksgiving in Czech (11/27/14)

Above is the view we woke up to this morning. We’re staying at what is called Hotel Malenovice. This building has a story of it’s own, but it’s basically the Josiah Venture training center where all of our major training events are held here in Czech. As I type the sun has gone down, and this view has turned in to sparkling lights over the city. We just finished our big Josiah Venture family Thanksgiving meal downstairs and it was a wonderful time. Dave Patty, president of JV, led us in a little devotional out of the Psalms and we spent a few minutes sharing with each other how God has been faithful this year to each of us. Before we started eating, Dave also led us in prayer and the singing of the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Here’s a little video I took of us singing.

The food today was incredible to say the least. It is a rare moment where you can gather so many people from so many different places and enjoy home made food from each family. Most of the people here this week are American missionaries so they all brought their own family’s traditional dishes and let’s just say I did a little sampling. Oh, and the turkey…amazing. There’s a local guy here in Czech that cooks the turkeys every year for JV and they are delectable. I don’t know how many turkeys it takes to feed 100+ people, but here’s one of them in it’s glory.

Our First Thanksgiving in Czech (11/27/14)

I also got this photo of Bethany and the kids as we were finishing up our meals. Clearly, Avery is not finished yet.

Our First Thanksgiving in Czech (11/27/14)

Here’s a couple photos of the kids playing outside today. Avery loved the swingset, and you can see Titus with his toy light saber while playing with the other boys (who were hiding from him).

Thanksgiving in Czech (11/27/14)

Thanksgiving in Czech (11/27/14)

What you’re seeing in the photos and video above are about as much as I was involved in today’s events (actually less because Bethany took the photos of the kids playing outside). Pretty much every other moment I was laying on the bed in our room. Even though I went down for breakfast in the morning, I came right back up and slept. I remained in bed right up until we went down for the Thanksgiving meal at 1:30. Today was just the worst of my sickness. I’ve got antibiotics working their magic, but the sinus pressure and overall energy sap really did me in. It really bummed me out and I was sad to miss the football game they had outside and just spending time with my family and other people. In some ways, I feel like I missed Thanksgiving and that’s definitely not fun.

The night ended with a talent show put on by all the third culture kids (TCKs), where they performed and sang in front of everyone. Think of it like a recital, but not as serious. The kids were great and there was a lot of amazing talent up there and definitely a lot of laughing going on. Our kids were pretty tired afterwards so we rushed them upstairs to bed where I’m finishing this post while they are fast asleep.

Besides being tucked away in bed most of today, I’m thankful to have been here. It really is a special time where a lot of families can just be together while they are so far away from their own families. That’s really just a testament to God’s grace for bringing so many like minded people together, in a land far away from their own, to share the Good News of Christ to such a dark place like Central and Eastern Europe. God has a big vision for bringing more people in to his family which involves all of the families here today. Now that’s something to be thankful for.

F.

Fall Conference: Day 1

Today was the start of the Josiah Venture fall conference, which is what my team and I have been preparing for for a few months now. Tonight, at 7pm, we had our first session complete with an introduction to the theme, a time of worship, and even a few games. After the session, all the attendees met in their assigned small groups for some discussion.

JV Fall Conference: Night 1 (9/22/14)

It was an exciting night with tons of energy with people from a lot of different countries. For me, it was my first time experiencing all of the leaders from Josiah Venture and their teams. Josh Patty, the country leader in Slovenia, led tonight’s session on why we’re naming the conference “Re-Jesus” which is really just about going back and looking at how Christ did ministry and modeling our own ministry after his. Even though I couldn’t be in the big meeting tent for the entire talk, what I caught I thought was great and am excited for those who will be here this week.

These are long days during conference for me, and Bethany and the kids are back at home. I’m driving to and from the conference to be home at night with them. Bethany said the kids and her had a good day today and tonight they had popcorn on the couch and watched a movie together. Titus has been wanting to eat popcorn for a few days now, so I know he enjoyed that.

Kids Eating Popcorn (9/22/14)

It’s late, so I’m cutting this blog short tonight, but wanted to say thank you for many who have prayed for us. My health is improving, but still not 100%. I’m hoping I will get better as the week goes on. It’s actually a blessing that I got sick last week and am recovering, than being full sick now while trying to help run a conference!