A Love Story

One of the great joys of working with Josiah Venture is being part of seeing lives changed, especially among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe. The above video was created for our annual conference back in September and it’s one that has always stuck out to me from the first time I saw it. This girl is from Slovenia, a spiritually dark country, and her short testimony is one that’s full of life and joy. I find myself often quoting this video because there’s a line where she says, “I love love stories” that has always stuck out to me. More than anything it’s the heart of a teenage girl putting the pieces together in her mind of God’s love for her. She sees it as a love story and that’s exactly what it is.

I just reading about love last night in John 17. At the end of Jesus’ high priestly prayer he talks about it. Here’s that last part of the chapter and Jesus’ prayer,

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.

I’ve bolded the word “love” for emphasis. Verse 23 is so clear: God the Father loves Christians the way He loves Christ. I say Christians because it’s clear from verse 20 that this is about “those who will believe in me…” That’s the context and those are the people of whom Jesus is praying. One of the most famous passages in the Bible says the same thing. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” There’s no doubt about it–it’s a love story.

Mostly tonight I’m just thankful to be part of that love story. Not only did God show His love toward me by saving me, but He continues to pour out his love of many all over the world. Like the young girl from Slovenia, Christ continues to transform lives and change hearts in a way only He can do. It’s that great love that compels me forward daily and gives hope for the future.


Czech Swing

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

It was beautiful day in Czech. The weather was amazing, not too hot and not too cold, and the sun was out. Bethany went to Poland this morning with a friend to do some shopping there so I took the kids for a walk to the park. There were a lot of people out jut walking and I could see many of them carrying shopping bags, including one couple that was carrying a little table and chair they had just purchased. Although, I’m not exactly sure where everyone was doing all of this shopping? Above is a photo of a building next to the park. I think I take photos of the buildings to remind myself how amazing some of this old architecture is.

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

Do you see anything familiar in the photo above? You ever heard of “TK Maxx?” Now I’m sure you’ve seen “TJ Maxx,” but in Poland they call it “TK” and it’s the exact same store we have in the States but with a different name. Apparently there’s another brand in Poland with the name “TJ” so they didn’t want to be confused so they changed the “J” to a “K.” That’s where Bethany went this morning and did a little shopping. She got some great deals on winter clothes for the kids and a nice, small purse for herself. A lot of women wear smaller long strap purses as opposed to a hand bag. Some of that is for security, I guess, and a lot of ladies have recommended she get one too. I’m glad she was able to take the morning off and just enjoy some shopping.

Below is a video I took of Titus at the park. I had never seen him do this until today but he’s figured out how to pitch to himself. This is both amazing and depressing to me. Amazing because I didn’t know a 4-year-old could do that and depressing because I don’t know if he’ll still need me to pitch to him anymore!

Unfortunately for me we tried the same video again later this evening and I forgot how close I was (below). For the record he got me square in the chest as I was squatting and it stung for about 10 minutes. Had it been any lower I think we would’ve been making our first Czech hospital run and you would be seeing us on Czech’s Funniest Videos. Hey, “If you get it on cam, you could get it in crowns.”

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

A few weeks back we had seen that there were a few tree stumps left in the ground and that they had removed a couple larger trees. I was definitely confused by this until today when I realized what became of those stumps (photos above). Now standing beside the park is a wood carved jester, a squirrel, and what I believe to be a large snail (not pictured because it creeped me out a little). I don’t know if they are permanent installations or for something else, but they are pretty good size and I guess a mystery solved regarding those trees.

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

As I write Bethany is baking fresh bread in the kitchen. I joked that we’ve “gone full on Czech” with Bethany baking bread because they love fresh bread here. She’s making white bread I think mostly because she misses it. They have lots of different kinds of bread here, but I feel like everything we’ve tried has a distinct sourdough type taste to it. We probably haven’t exhausted our options but Bethany had yeast and dough so she’s giving it a try. It looked really yummy as it was rising in the bowl (photo below) and I hope it turns out great.

Saturday in Czech (8/23/14)

Early to bed, early to rise (bread pun intended) is how the old saying goes. Tomorrow is Sunday and we’ll be back in the pews at church doing our best to listen through a translator and hear God’s Word taught in a place that doesn’t have a lot of it. Sunday is always a reminder of the great needs for the gospel here. Even though we go to a great church, it’s the exception, and we will continue to pray for God to do a mighty work in the lives of millions in this country


The First Wednesday of Every Month

People told us it would happen. They said the first Wednesday of the month at around noon you would hear a loud alarm. After talking to Bethany neither of us could remember where were on July 2nd which was the first Wednesday that month, but then I checked the blog and we were actually in Poland that day. That makes sense because even the most jet lagged person on the planet wouldn’t be able to sleep through or forget this noise. And thanks to modern technology we can share the wonders of this amazing sound with all of you through video. Consider yourself warned (pun intended).

The speakers for this warning system are literally across the street from us on top of the fire station. It’s the kind of sound that blankets your entire body. There’s no escaping it. Thankfully it only last for about a minute or so. To be honest, even though I’ve asked I still haven’t really gotten a straight answer as to what exactly it is. Some other missionaries from the mid-west are used to that kind of noise because of tornado warnings but us West Coast kids just didn’t grow up with any kind of public warning system. The only warning we got growing up is “Hey! We’re having an earthquake!” Which now that I think about it, why didn’t they just let me sleep through it!

Always Moving (8/6/14)

This morning I had an early, but short meeting with Dave Patty. He was preparing to teach at a reunion event for leaders at Malenovice which is a hotel/camp center/training center that is owned by Josiah Venture. Malenovice (pronounced MA-LEN-O-VEE-SEH) was where Bethany and I came and stayed on our first trip to Czech. I hadn’t been back in 3 years and I think I just forgot how incredible the view is from up there. The hotel sits on the side of a mountain overlooking a few different valleys and it’s just breathtaking. I had a moment before Dave was free to chat so I snuck out on the balcony at grabbed a panoramic shot (above).

Back at the JV office it was “moving day” so to speak as we changed around most of the offices to accommodate our team. It was a lot of manual labor and moving desks, tables, and bookshelves up and down the stairs, but in the end my team has a bigger space and I think everyone else is happy with their new spaces. Below is the room we have been working out of which is now Mel’s office and below that is a photo of our new space on the 2nd floor.

Always Moving (8/6/14)

Always Moving (8/6/14)

On the home front Bethany has been working really hard to continue to empty boxes and clean, clean, clean. We had a language lesson this afternoon and when I got home the place looked amazing and Bethany even had lunch waiting for me. Who deserves such a humble, selfless, and sacrificial wife? I sure don’t, but I’m super thankful to the Lord for who she is and how she serves me and the kids.

Speaking of the kids, they tried on silly glasses today.
Always Moving (8/6/14)

They also enjoyed playing in the drying rack. In their minds it’s only a fort and serves no other purpose.
Always Moving (8/6/14)

Tonight we had our friend and teammate Rachael over from the late afternoon through dinner. Rachael is a joy to be around and you can’t help but enjoy her Northern Irish accent. Bethany and her just spent a lot of time hanging out and chatting but one of things that excites me the most about their time chatting was that Rachael is going to help us get better connected to the youth ministry at our church here. She said there are actually no married couples currently on the youth staff which hopefully means they may have a need there just for some balance to the leadership. The youth meet on Saturday nights at 6pm which isn’t the best for our family, but we’re going to see what we can do to get involved there and what God might have for us. This is really something we have hoped for, prayed for, and our excited about pursuing!

Finally, tonight as Titus and I were playing outside the sun peaked through the gray clouds just before sunset. Our place sits right next to a huge Catholic church and the sunlight shown directly on it making it look incredible. I took the photo below of the reflection off of our window.
Always Moving (8/6/14)