Josiah Venture 2019 Ministry Report

IMG_2076Please click here to see Josiah Venture’s beautiful (I am serious) report that will inspire and encourage. Included in this report are links to JV’s President’s Letter, Annual Report, and 2020 vision. Enjoy!

Oh, and those are some snowdrops from our yard here in Czech. They are kind of at the end of their awesome, have nothing to do with the report, but my ADHD ruled out, and I just had to share. Yay spring!

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Slovakia floorball league, March 2020

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Last week, Dave Patty, Josiah Venture’s president, interviewed Slovakia’s JV Edge Sports director, Ed Rumbold, about their recent floorball coaches’ training back in February and he had some really positive things to say. 27 coaches, assistant coaches, and church leaders attended the training (representing 11 Slovak churches). It was a very fruitful time of getting these churches excited about what the Lord could do through sports in Slovakia.

In addition, the Lord is growing his own team. In the past, they had a hard time getting at least 10 players to come to a practice. Now, they are consistently having 10 or more at their practices and often have to split their players up into 3 teams to do scrimmages.

As the Coronavirus rages and these practices are not able to take place, please pray that the momentum Ed’s team, as well as others, have gained since the training course will not be lessened, but increased as the Lord moves in the lives of these young people. God is good!

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The borders are closed, we are under quarantine, but we are not trapped or in despair.

Our friend Rachael Davison took the above photos while on a walk in our town on Sunday. We live on the Czech/Polish border, thus the barriers.

It is so easy to get caught up in the crazy of the sickness ravaging the world right now. Every day there is a new crazy story or a new thing to stress about. I am so thankful that we believe in a God that loves and cares about us. He cares if we are scared or stressed and tells us to give it all to him.

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:4-9

For so long, I just focused on the prayer part of Philippians 4:6-7, but I was still not letting go. What about giving thanks, focusing on what is true and good, and obeying God stuff? Whoa! So, that’s the whole package of how you let go of worry and stress. Sign me up!

Here are some of the true and good things:

We have time to get organized. From left to right: our disaster of an Edge Supply closet, Paja (the newest member of the International JV Edge Sports team) and Casey putting together a second rack, and then the finished product of all the uniforms and supplies on happy little neat shelves.

 

Although Casey often travels to support our greater JV Edge sports team in many of the countries where JV staff serve, Casey can still do a lot from our home office, and, thankfully, technology makes that possible.

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Time to really disinfect all of the workout equipment in our garage that was being used multiple times a week for Warrior training. We are expecting those workouts to start again once they are allowed. Look at all of the kettlebells that are so excited for their next Warrior training!

Time to make Yorman Family workout videos to encourage the Josiah Venture teamIMG_2101

So far the Czech government has not said that school will be extended into the summer, and the boys’ teachers have been sending home tons of homework (all in the Czech language, of course…minus their English classes) via email and other means. We are so thankful that our friend Misa is coming every day and helping our boys with their work. So far, in Czech, quarantine means controlled movement, not 100% isolation. Misa can come to our home because it is her work. Things might get more strict, but we will take her help while we can get it.

The boys are helping out around the house more (emptying the dishwasher, among other things).

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We are getting out on more walks than ever on days with nice weather. Every afternoon means another walking adventure in our village (all the flowers and WWII bunkers!). Going on walks is not yet forbidden, so we are taking advantage of that leniency.

In Czech, they are requesting that people just cover their faces when they are going to stores and/or must be around others. That could be special face masks, but it could be a scarf or even a handkerchief. Casey decided maybe it was time to bust out some of his supplies.

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Church service at home. No churches are allowed to meet in Czech anyways, but our church in Poland is especially off-limits due to the border closure. We do not wish Corona Virus on anyone, but it is convenient that the U.S. is in the same boat. We had the opportunity to watch the North Coast Church sermon (including awesome worship) this weekend together as a family. Our friend Mike even joined us—who is living in the third-floor apartment of our home. We have always had access to the NCC sermons online, but now they are tailored to people who cannot get out. It was a great experience. It feels like we are all together in this. I was very thankful for the experience. We are looking forward to “church” again this weekend!

We just showed you what blessings we are counting. There are several more that we could mention. If you find yourself worrying about the things and wondering if God really is in control, try thinking about what you are thankful for and what the Lord has already done for you. You may be surprised with a bigger list than what you expected at first. Of course, praying, focusing on what is good and true, and obeying what the Lord has already said to do in his word for sure help all of the things too. He really cares about you!

 

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JV Edge League in Moldova, March 2020

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Just this week, there was a JosiahVenture-wide Webinar where we had the opportunity to hear updates from our teams in several of our JV countries. One of those was our JV Edge leader Ion in Moldova (far right, front row with a beard in the photo above).

We were so excited to hear Ion talking about the training course that he did just a few weeks ago. JV Edge Sports started in Moldova in just one church that was big enough to have a few evangelistic soccer teams of their own. Now, praise the Lord, Ion has been able to cooperate with three additional churches in Moldova. And, 10 church leaders from those churches participated in his most recent course in addition to 10 leaders from his own church.

We are so excited to see how the Lord is using Ion to spread his good news through sports in Moldova.

Please pray for Ion as he continues to develop his relationship and train these 3 new churches and seeks to create new relationships with others. Please pray that these churches will get the vision to reach people that do not know Jesus through soccer.

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Passports and History

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Ok, I don’t know about you, but when I lived in California, one of my most dreaded places to visit was the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when I needed to renew my license or update things (affectionately called “Satan’s lair” in our home). All the lines, waiting, occasional surprises with not having the right documentation and having to come back… That’s pretty much what it’s like to visit the U.S. Embassy or the Czech foreign police. Over the years, the dread has lowered some, but it is always quite the experience. Fortunately, our most recent experience was free of surprises.

At the end of December, Casey and our boys needed to renew their passports (yes, I am finally writing about this in Feb.). Our closest embassy in Czech is 4 hours away, so we opted for the one 1.5 hours away in Krakow, Poland. We decided to not forget any documentation (which of course we did not know for sure until we got there), so the dread dropped to very little. There was only 1 family waiting before us and we had an appointment. Ok, it really was not bad at all. And we had decided to make a day of it, have lunch there, and even go to a museum. So now we flew past dread, skipped mediocrity, and landed on a very nice day indeed.

The only museum that we had visited in Krakow in the past was one in the Jewish quarter that showed photos of the places that used to be busy with Jewish people, and now very vacant and decaying. It was very sobering, eye-opening, and truly very sad, but not something that we could visit with our kids.

We opted to go to Schindler’s factory. Have you seen the movie Schindler’s List? Yes, this was his factory where he had employed many Jewish people and saved them from the Nazi death camps. It was a great experience. Most of the former factory was converted into a museum dedicated to showing the contrast of Polish people’s loves before, during, and after the Nazi invasion, but a small portion of the factory was specifically dedicated to the memory of what Schindler did. Aside: We live about 40 minutes from the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, so World War II and it’s past atrocities are a very present and felt thing in our world. When our boys are old enough, we will take them on the Auschwitz tour. Not yet…

IMG_1265Above: One of the presses used to make a cooking pot out of a sheet of metal.

Weapons! The boys love to learn about the past and seeing weapons. It really confused them, though, that Hitler and the Nazis could hate people because of their race. That’s right, boys, keep thinking like that.

Some of the pots that Schindler’s Jewish employees made, Schindler’s office, and a room with a big long list of all of the people that Schindler saved from the Nazi death camps. It was hard to walk out of that room with dry eyes. Anyone that saved even one Jew during that time was a hero. He saved so many…

And that’s how a potentially mediocre day turned into a very meaningful one. That is one museum that we will not soon forget.

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JV Slovakia Edge Floorball Training Course and League Launch February 2020

Last weekend, Casey returned home from a few days at the JV Edge Slovakia Floorball training course and league launch.  It was such a pleasure to have Casey come home and tell me all of the things that he experienced at the course. These were the things that he was most excited about:

  1. Casey did not need to be present for the whole course because he had trained enough JV Edge sports staff to very effectively do the training on their own. He was present, however, for some of it as he has promised to be at any and all league launches for JV Edge Sports.
  2. Andrii, the leader of the JV Ukraine Edge Floorball league came to train the Slovak guys (black t-shirt above). This was amazing for 2 reasons: 1. He has more experience with successfully leading an evangelistic JV Edge Floorball league than anyone 2. He did all of this while teaching in English, which was then translated into Slovak. When he took over the league, he could not speak more than a few words of English. He was asked to hit English hard and he did this while in Ukraine (meaning no English-language immersion program…not so easy).
  3. Two Swedish men that Casey met through his connection with the European Christian Sports Union (ECSU), and all of his collaboration with them, came to train our Slovak coaches in excellent floorball coaching tactics.
  4. All of the coaches gave great feedback and felt so honored that they were being given such professional and excellent training.

Since many of these coaches are coaching teams consisting of mostly non-believers, this was also a course for these coaches to learn ways to introduce the gospel, start spiritual conversations with their players, and disciple those young players as they start to spiritually mature.

We are so looking forward to seeing the spiritual fire that the Lord will ignite in the hearts of Slovakian youth through these floorball teams, this league, and the churches that have formed these teams. Praise God and please pray for JV Edge Sports in Slovakia. To the glory of God!

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Executive Functioning, my old enemy, we meet again or How my kid chose to be like Batman

Lately, I have been trying to wrap my mind around Executive Functioning as it pertains to the special needs of my family. Last week I watched a webinar on the subject that said that people affected with ADHD and/or the autism spectrum often, if not always, have executive functioning challenges. One of the ways this manifests itself is not being able to do hard things well, or not being able to overcome life challenges that present themselves without outside prompting/help.

This is hard for both of my boys, but especially hard for my Caleb. We have been working on this for years. When he brings home a homework assignment, for example, that he has dubbed a challenge, he will talk negatively about it in a state of emotional paralysis waaaaaaaay longer than it takes to get the assignment done, effectively wasting an hour instead of getting the assignment done in 15 minutes. I am still working on this with him and I know that we will triumph in the end, but it is a process. This affects all areas of life, however,  and I was reminded of this when Caleb went on a ski trip with his 7th-grade class this last week.

Caleb likes to ski and was looking forward to getting to ski for a whole school week with not one dreaded homework assignment, but his trip presented another big challenge.

On day one, he skied on a hill that he was quite comfortable with. On that same day, he had a ski lesson, teaching Caleb and all of his classmates ski techniques and how to use their ski poles effectively on some of the higher, steeper slopes.

On day two, the kids were required to ski only on the steeper slope, and they could not go back to the smaller slope. This presented a problem. It was hard. Caleb and his classmates were repeatedly falling over; it was super challenging. Caleb was not feeling confident in what he was doing at all. On day two, Caleb was 100% ready to throw in the towel. He was so over it. After two emotional phone calls to me from the slopes (both asking me, imploring me, to pick him up), I made the decision to play tough love and told him that I would not pick him up. He needed to figure it out.

Uuuugh! You guys, this was so hard. Other kids without special needs were being picked up by their parents because they were scared and did not want to face the steep slope. I, however, felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit, or maybe just the recollection of what wiser parents before me have done, and made the decision to say no. I knew/hoped that the Lord had a great lesson in store for my boy. I immediately wrote to my bible study group and a group of 2 ladies that I meet with on a weekly basis and asked them to pray with me over my boy. I did not want him to just come home at the end of the week totally bitter that I did not pick him up; I wanted him to do well and see what he could do when God would help him through hard things. And God answered our fervent prayers in a way that brought me great joy…tears, in fact.

By Thursday, he sent me this text message:

This is my Caleb on Friday when I picked him up. Look at that smile.

Casey went to see the new Joker movie. I was sure that I would not like it, so I have not seen it. Everyone was saying that it just takes one bad day to go bad like Joker, but I really like what Casey said about that. He said, “yeah, but Batman had a bad day too.” Caleb did not lose both of his parents to a gunman in an alley (thankfully…since I am his mom), but he did have a really bad day or days, and he was able to choose joy and overcome the challenge, instead of focusing on bitterness in the end, so in a way, he chose to be like Batman. And for him, this is part of his road to overcoming some of his life challenges, becoming more of a man, and step-by-step more like Jesus.

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