Thursday, March 23, 2017

New Believers, Jesus House and Interns

I want to start out with an exciting update from my last post.  Two of the girls from our Girls' Weekend have become believers!  This is so exciting, as we and you have been praying for them!  Please, continue to pray that they will grow and reach out to tell their friends about Jesus!

We are doing something called, "Jesus House" this whole week at church (March 21-25).  It is coordinated with other youth groups here in the city and is an outreach for the teens to invite friends.  Last night we had over 100 people there.  Pray that more teens will come and hear the good news of Jesus.  Here are a few pictures from the last two nights! 

View of the Stage

Round-Robin Ping-Pong -- Our kids' favorite game!!!

Hawaii Bread - A piece of bread with ketchsup, ham, pineapple, cheese, then toasted.  Quite tastey!

We sit around tables and on couches.  Notice me in the background, at the back with the glasses on! :0)

The first night was a short talk about Jesus coming to earth, then a time for questions and answers. Here are kids lighting candles around a crèche (manger).

Teens putting their names on a cross.

A great, comfortable atmosphere, as our sanctuary was changed into a "livingroom"!

We are so excited to see what God will do through this week of outreach!  Please, pray as our kids invite their friends!

We are also so excited about our 4 summer interns!  Please pray for each of them as they raise their support and prepare for coming this summer!
Steffen Kellner from Leipzig

Emily Sherek from Michigan

Brittany Hoogstraal from Florida

Sam Meisenhelder from Oregon

Also, please pray for us as we need to make a short, unexpected trip to the US April 15 - 30 to take care of our house. Pray that God will give us wisdom as to if we need to sell it or to continue renting it out. Pray that as we make repairs and updates that all will go smoothly and as inexpensively as possible. Thank God for our friends in the area that are willing to help us out, as well as Emily and Alpha, as they are now living in the house and Nate and Raine, as they plan to fly out from Colorado to help us get things done and go through our stored belongings. 

Lots of things to pray for this time!  Just to recap the prayer requests:
  • Pray for the two girls who have become believers
  • Pray for our trip back to the States and wisdom about selling or renting out our house
  • Pray for "Jesus House" outreach
  • Pray for our four interns

Friday, February 17, 2017

Girls' Week-end

Welcome to our Girls' Week-end!

Before you step inside, take a look at this beautiful building, the "Pioneer House".  It was once the place where the Communist Youth Pioneers met.  Now look what God is doing with it!!!

Come on in and join the girls!
Everyone helps out with making breakfast, that makes the eating all the better!

And what is a retreat without a rousing game of Capture the Flag?

We had an incredible time discussing our week-end theme of "Heaven"!  What will it be like?  How can we be certain we will go there?  How do we live our lives right now with heaven in mind?

What a great time of fun, bonding, learning new things and praying for each other.

We even went out for pizza to celebrate Jasmine's s16th birthday (the girl above in the center)!

Niya says to come soon to visit us again! 

God truly blessed our week-end, as the girls thought deeply and some thought more about if they truly have a relationship with Christ!  Please pray that all of them will make a decision to put their trust in Christ!

Prayer Points:
  • We have 4 interns for this summer!!!  What an answer to prayer.  Three are from the US and one is German.  Please pray for Steffen, Sam, Emily and Brittany as they raise their support by May 1 in order to come!
  • We are having an outreach with our youth group partnering with "Jesus House".  The next 5 weeks are preparation in our teaching every Friday night with the youth group, encouraging them to invite their friends.  The outreach is on March 24.  Pray that our young people will grow during this time and will invite their friends to the outreach.  Pray that many non-believing youth will come to the outreach and that many of them will come to camp this summer and continue on in the fellowship of the youth group!
  • Pray for me as I am doing an "intensive study/writing time" from now through March 1. Pray that I will be able to get a complete rough draft for my thesis finished in this time.
  • Please, continue to pray for team mates for the JV German team.  Specifically, someone who has a heart to take over the country leadership, so that we can fulfill our original roles of mentoring the team and getting it established!
Thank you for your prayers!  We love being here and seeing what God is doing!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cowboys, Christmas and Jared

What a wonderful time we had with Jared over Christmas break!  He was able to come for three weeks and was such a joy to us!

Hard to believe this amazing young man was once our "baby!"
We celebrated Christmas Dinner with three remarkable young men who are refugees from Iran.  It was wonderful hearing their stories and getting to spend time together.
We had Raclette, a Swiss meal that is grilled at the table!  It's delicious, as well as an experience!

We saw the New Year in with our House Group, having a "Cowboy Party", complete with Cowboy hats, BBQ'd ribs and line dancing!  (Kind of hard to do in a small living room, but there was no lack of laughter!)
Watch out for the tough Cowboys! But how can you take them seriously when they are all in slippers or stocking-feet!?!
And of course, Cowgirls!  And we had on boots!!
Our Pastor, Thomas, with his son, Noah, the roughest-toughest cowboy of all!!!
Of course, we had to spend time with Jared at the Christmas Market!  No German Christmas is complete without it!
View from the Feris Wheel
We also had the opportunity to spend 5 days in Switzerland.  We were there for the first snow-fall.  It was absolutely beautiful!  We stayed near St. Gallen and were able to tour their famous Library!
I imagine Gandalf from Lord of the Rings hanging out here!
Jared and me in front of the "selfie" background!  Notice the beautiful headband Emily knit me for Christmas!  It certainly is coming in handy!!!
What a great time with our boy!  We already miss him!  Thanks for coming, Jared!!!

Prayer Requests:
  1. We have a city-wide youth prayer night at our church tonight (Jan. 13).  Pray for the teens that come, that they will get a deeper understanding of God's grace!
  2. Pray for me as I hunker down to write my Master's Thesis!  It is due April 28 and I need to have the rough draft done by the end of March.
  3. Pray for the new students and the refugees we have coming to youth group, that they will continue to come and will be fascinated by a relationship with Jesus!
By the way, don't forget to check out our online Prayer Room!  I just spent an hour there this morning!  What an incredible experience!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Invitation to Our Prayer Room!

Jim and I are so excited to invite you into our Prayer Room!  Josiah Venture believes in prayer so much that they have set up a 24/7 virtual ONLINE Prayer Room and we invite you to come and spend an hour of guided prayer for Josiah Venture ministries, including Germany!  Once you have experienced your first hour of prayer, we are sure you will want to become a regular prayer warrior in the JV Prayer Room!

Mountains move. Walls fall. Lives change.

We believe that when God's people pray, He does more than we can ask or imagine.

This was true in Acts, when the early church devoted themselves to fellowship and
prayer and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. We can
also see the power of prayer in the Moravian revival. In 1727, an around-the-clock
prayer watch began in Herrnhut, Germany that lasted over 100 years and helped to
send the gospel around the globe, even planting seeds for the "Great Awakening."

JV's vision is to see a movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe
and we believe God's movement is fueled by prayer. That's why starting January 2017
we are inviting you to join our own prayer watch. The Prayer Room is a new online
24/7, 365 day experience. Beginning this December, you can sign up for one hour time
slots by going to On the site, you'll be guided through different
elements of prayer and current ministry requests from Josiah Venture missionaries in
our 13 countries.

Let's pray that God's kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. Surely, He will show
up in big ways when we do.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Marriages and a Funeral

We had the incredible opportunity last week to attend a Marriage Coaching Training in Poland.  Marriage Team's Al and Autum Ray did a training for 11 couples from Josiah Venture and we were priviledged to be one of those couples!  We came from Latvia, Czech Republic, Poland, Solvenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and, of course, Germany!  I love that Josiah Venture is commited to the health of their missionaries and to the health of their marriages!  Check out Marriage Team's website!

Joshiah Venture Couples at the marriage coaching training
Jim and I were able to go two days early and spend some much needed time together at beautiful Selah, the cabin Josiah Venture provides for their missionaires to "get away"!

We returned in time for youth group on Friday.  We had gotten the word a few days earlier that my mother's cousin, Wilhelm Kaiser, had passed away at the age of 93.  Many of you may not know, but most of my mother's family still lives in Germany, as her father was the only one who immigraged to the United States.  So, on Tuesday, we drove the 4 1/2 hours to the little village of Raibach near Schw√§bisch Hall.  What an incredible time with my German family!  There were about 200 at the funeral and afterwards was a dinner for "family only" which numbered about 120 people!  I was so thankful my German has improved so much, as this was the first time that I could actually understand and interact with them on a visit!

Wilhelm in front of the tree he planted in 1949 in the yard of the family home.

Frieda Feichter (spelling may be wrong), oldest living relative at 96 and the cousin my mother was named after!
What a special time with family!

Next week we fly to Latvia to celebrate Thanksgiving with our JV Latvia missionaries.  The weather should be in the low 40's and 30's and we are told there is snow.  Looking forward to it!

Even though we will not be able to be with our immediate family during Thanksgiving, as I told Jim on the way home from Raibach, "I am full to over-flowing with the joy of being with family!"  God is so good to me!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Church Retreat and Youth Group Event

We had a great time at our Church Retreat last week-end.  It was at a beautiful conference center in the woods and near a beautiful lake.  130 from our church went.  It was very good and very challenging for my German language!  At times I was surprised by how much I understood and at other times I was surprised by how much I didn't understand! :0)

The Beautiful Conference Facility

Looking down from the facility to the playground and campfire site.
Leo and Vincent at the campfire!  Thanks to Leo for these pictures!
The Church around the campfire.
 Next Friday evening, November 4, we are having a "Youth Event" at our church.  It is specifically designed as an opportunity for the young people to invite their friends to hear the gospel.  We are having a special speaker, Rico Rau, a young father that broke his neck in a swimming accident.  You can watch a short, 5 minute video here. Although it is in German, it is pretty easy to figure out what they are talking about.
Please pray: 
  • For Rico as he speaks to our young people
  • For our students as they invite their friends this next week, that they will have boldness
  • That many of their friends will come
  • That the Spirit will use this time to bring all those present closer to God, whether they come not beleiving at all in God or wherever they are on their Spirtual Journey, that they will come away from this evening changed and more receptive to God
  • That the visitors who come would continue coming to youth group in the following weeks.
We are excited to see what God is doing here in Leipzig and look forward in anticipation to His continued work!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Baby Blankets and Baptisms

When we initially came back to the States after living in Czech 16 years ago, I took some time to write my personal mission statement.  Since that time it has helped me when I begin to wander and wonder what I am doing.

My mission statement is this:

To bring people closer to God through Community, Communication and Creativity.

This past week was all about being able to participate in each part of that statement!

It started a week ago Sunday with "Creativity."  Two girls from our youth group came over and we each made a baby blanket!  Wow!  How does that bring someone closer to God?  It's amazing how much you can talk about behind a sewing machine!  Creativity often seems to loosen the tongue and gives plenty of time to listen!  Because of that time together, we are looking to start a weekly girls' time to talk about significant issues and one of these meetings every month be a "creative" time!  The girls can take turns teaching some creative skill and we can all have fun and learn!

Johanna and Clara sewing
Cutting and Measuring
Clara's finished product

My finished product
Don't you just love the little dogs peeking out of the center!

Friday night was the "Communication" piece, as I had the privilege to lead the "Girl's Only" part of youth group that evening at our house.  We talked about some of the lies the world and the enemy tell girls.  Two of the lies we talked about were that "beautiful girls are worth more" and "I need to perform to be accepted."  Even though most of my communication was through a translator, we had a great discussion! 

Then on Sunday we truly experienced "Community" as we gathered around one of our youthgroup guys, Vincent, as he was baptized! 
Vincent and our pastor Thomas

The baptismal is a garden pond form!  Not any extra room!

Wow!  You can feel the excitement when you look at everyone's faces!!

A prayer of blessing for the two baptized
This weekend we will have much more time for community, as we head out for our all-church retreat!  I'm excited and a bit nervous as to all the German I will have an opportunity to speak!!

It's great to know that God uses each of us in the specific and creative ways He made us, no matter where we happen to be!  So, I will carry on with Community, Communication and Creativity to bring people closer to Him!