Papa and Nana Go Home

There was a moment about half-way home on our train ride this morning when Avery said, “Where’s Papa and Nana?” Clearly she didn’t understand what we were doing a few hours earlier when we said goodbye to them in Prague. But that’s just what we did. We said goodbye.

Goodbyes are never easy. We left pretty early today and we’re still suffering from minimal sleep with a newborn, so that’s probably why I wasn’t as emotional as I can be at times when we say goodbye (I honestly felt like I was more in survival mode). But now as I write it’s getting to me. Papa and Nana are special people and we’re so thankful they were able to with us these past few weeks. It really seems like it flew by in a flash, but that’s to be expected with all that has gone on with Karis’ birth and us traveling a little bit with them. Just a few days ago when we were with them and our friends Zach and Kara, Zach said to me, “Isn’t it cool to have family here?”

Papa and Nana Left (6/13/15)

As another missionary who lives here in Czech, Zach understands the flood of familiar that washes over you when someone you know, and know well, visits you here. It’s really cool. Finally you can show them your house which they have only seen through the periscope lens of video chat. Then you can show them your town and where your kids go to school and what you do to buy food. You can laugh as they too experience what it’s like to live in another culture, not know the language, and fumble your way around just to buy a few things at the store. Even with all the language apps on our phones and modern advances, it’s still hard. And even more than all of that, you get the opportunity to have those late night chats and catch up on life and talk about what God is teaching you and share about life here. For a moment you feel like they might understand better the things you say because they can see it happen and are experiencing it too. You know when they leave that you can talk differently with them because they actually have some point of reference for what you’re talking about and that’s just somewhat comforting.

If all has gone as planned, Papa and Nana are somewhere over the Atlantic en route to their final destination on the West Coast. And as we walked home today from the train station as a family I said something to Bethany to the effect of, “And then there were five.” It’s just us now. For the first time since Karis was born we’re back on our own. Bethany said to me, “We can do this.” We both laughed. What she means is, “We can handle this. We can be a family of five. We’ll make it.” Yes. By God’s grace, we’ll figure out how to function as a family with our newest daughter. We’ll manage to get through those sleepless nights, still get up to take Titus to school, make time for language learning, and do all that God has called us to do. But the Lord in his good grace gave us Papa and Nana to get us jump started in that process and we couldn’t be more thankful. Thank you, Papa and Nana, for your kindness to us, for sacrificing your time and energy for our family, and for loving us so well. We love you.


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.