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Innovation Station

Casey at a Zoom meeting/call ALL day today

I have not been writing blog posts for a while because I have been trying to think what might actually be of interest in our day-to-day life over here in Czech. I suppose that most of our days look like yours (unless you are still working outside of the home). Our kids are home and are getting loads of school work to complete each day, Casey and I are home, I am baking too much, we go on walks, Casey does his job through ZOOM every day, my kids push all my buttons, I yell at my kids, I apologize to my kids, I get some work/household things done when I can, our dog gets out on walks twice a day, and I meet with people online when time permits. Probably same ole’, same ole’ just like most families everywhere. Despite lockdown, Casey and the other JV staff have not been idle.

The president of our organization (Dave Patty) has been really pushing in to the idea of innovation and how we can be proactive, not reactive, in the wake of all things COVID-19. So, last week Casey, along with a select group of JV staff, were asked to be a part of 2 day-long innovation meetings last week and this.

Even though all of the American, Canadian, and UK teams that typically come over will not be coming this summer to help run camps across all of our JV countries, what about the local churches? What about all of the local Christian leaders in these churches that long to see their neighbors fully grasp the love of Jesus and that forgiveness is available to them? For many years, JV has relied on the help of the short term teams from our sending countries (US, CA, and the UK) to help these churches share the good news, but what do we do when they do not come? I, like you, am very interested to find out what solutions they come up with and how the Lord will lead this group of leaders to support the bride of Christ in this part of the world. God is still in control.

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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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