Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Back from Germany Camps!

Even though we are now in the Czech Republic, we still have the privilege of doing camps in Germany!
Our first camp was an English camp with our church in Leipzig. There were 19 campers and we had a bit of a rocky start, as some of the older boys weren't really sure if they wanted to be there. We ended up having some good talks individually with each of them and they each responded well. We also had 3 Ukrainian kids. By the end of camp 2 kids accepted Jesus and a couple of others want to get baptized. God certainly changed what we thought at the first of the week would be a disaster, into a camp where He truly worked in the lives of the kids. 

The group on our hike day

Doing the Mexican Hat Dance at Mexican Fiesta Night

We ended up changing the second camp into a Discipleship Camp just a couple of weeks before it started. (the campers were 19 - 29 years old) This was pretty stressful, as we made the final decision only 2 or 3 days before we left for the first camp, so had very little time to figure out what to make as the theme. It ended up being an incredible time, as we went through the Psalms with one of Dave Patty's teachings called Burden to Blessing. We did the talks ourselves (you could watch Dave's original ones here if you want), then had small-group discussions in the evening after the talks, an hour every morning for personal journaling time with questions on the talk, then getting back into small-groups to talk about their times with God. It was soooo good! Even the unbelievers enjoyed and got a lot out of each part of the program. We also had afternoon sports, as well as late-night party-type activities. Emily did all of the PowerPoints and graphics for the camp book/journals from Bangladesh! We couldn't have done it without her! 
One of the young men got baptized in the lake. We also had some young adults that have attended our English camps for 4-5 years and have never made a decision. One of them said she now believes in God! After we decided to make it a discipleship camp, some of the young adults go so excited, they invited their non-believing friends! It was a very sweet time! Almost all of the young people seemed to make movement toward God! 
Welcoming everyone the first night with a Rain Gutter Banana Split!!!

Who gets food like this at camp? The Kitchen staff out-did themselves for banquet night!

We're pretty exhausted now and trying to unpack all the camp supplies, but feel so blessed to still be part of what God is doing in Germany!

Monday, March 13, 2023

My Favorite Cup of Coffee

We've had "Coffee in Leipzig" for such a long time, it has been hard for me to change that. God gave us such a blessed ministry, life, and community in Leipzig, that it seemed too hard to think of giving it up. Then, I re-read my very first post on this blog:

My new coffee space in our house!

"Last year when we were visiting Leipzig for the first time, we met with a man from a local ministry.  He asked what our plans were.  As we shared our vision, we talked about the importance of learning the German language and culture as relationships are of such importance to us as we anticipate ministry.  He listened and said, "So, you will be starting your coffee ministry."

 I liked that!  Coffee speaks to me of relationships.  How often have I told a friend, "Let's get together for coffee!"  It's not the coffee, it's the conversation, the ease with which we can drop our facades and be real.  The abandonment we feel with a coffee cup in our hands as it seems to give us a kind of license to say things you wouldn't normally say."

 Wow! That was back on May 25, 2014! A lot has changed since then, but my love for coffee and relationships has not changed, and I realize just how much of these God has provided in this new season! 

We have so many new relationships!

Yes, that's right! We are so excited that God is allowing us to work in our "sweet spot"! We are the Shepherd Care Providers for all the KAM Second Culture missionaries. Let me define a few of these terms. 

"KAM" - (Křesťanská akademie mladých - Christian Academy of Youth) Much easier to say "KAM", right? KAM is the Czech entity of Josiah Venture, making it a legal and viable ministry here in Czech.

"Second Culture Missionaries" - any missionary that ministers in Czech, but comes from a different culture (such as the US).

"Shepherd Care Providers" - building relationships and caring for the missionaries (yes, drinking coffee), as well as looking to set up a long-term care framework that goes beyond our time here (yes, we are grandparents now and have to realize we are getting a bit older and will not be here forever).

We have the joy and responsibility of shepherding 51 missionaries, including adults and children! What a blessing! We have already started visiting each family individually, as well as connecting at conferences.

One of our incredible KAM missionary families!

We don't have to give up our Germany relationships!

Yes, it's true, we still get to spend 20% of our time on the Germany ministry! This means that we will still have 2 German camps this summer, as well as various trainings, retreats, on-line mentoring and continued networking and search for a German JV Country Leader. 

So, our job description and place of residence has changed, but our relationship building has not!

A recent retreat in Guban, Germany!
We have expanded grandparenting relationships! 

You didn't think you would get out of here without "Omi" sharing pictures of her grandchildren, did you? Our newest grandson was born less than a week ago to Nate and Caitlin. Emma Grace is so proud of her new baby brother "Alaric Joseph"!

So, here are the pictures:

Alaric Joseph Miller, born March 7, 2023

Emma with her new baby brother. She is obsessed!

A very colorful Noah!

We love our relationships with YOU!

Thank you so much for your continued support, prayers, and most of all, relationships. We are so thankful for each one of you.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for each of our KAM missionaries, that God will continue to use them and that He will use us to help strengthen their resilience. 
  • Pray for our two German camps, Leipzig and Brandenburg, that God will start working in the hearts of the young people He wants to attend.
  • Pray for health and strengthening of Emma Grace's heart and lungs.
  • Healthy delivery and birth of Alaric Joseph.
  • Jim's and my settling in well to our new roles and living here in Czechia.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Ministry and Location Change and Summer Camp News

Ministry and Location Change (Important update from Jim)

This is the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The past few weeks I have awoken each morning quoting Psalm 118:24. No matter what the day may hold it realigns my confidence in the LORD who holds me fast. We are in the midst of our busy summer season. Five interns, four Americans and one Slovak, are serving with excellence alongside us as we have taken part in a week of school visits and completed our first of three evangelistic English camps. We have jumped back into ministry wholeheartedly here in eastern Germany after our one year exile from the country to remain compliant with the Social Security Agreement between Germany and the USA. 

Upon our return Josiah Venture leadership approached Lina and me asking us to step into a role of providing missionary member care for the KAM team, Josiah Venture’s flagship national organization in the Czech Republic. In the process of seeking the Lord, He is going before us and opening the way. We are excited for this opportunity. There are some 75 members on that team and we are being asked to join them to provide needed shepherding and care. Lina holds a Master’s Degree in Missionary Member Care and currently serves on the JV Member Care team. Just this last weekend the Lord provided a flat in a house with a large garden. This will mean a move to Ostrava, Czech Republic in mid-September.

Second floor of the house where we will live in the Czech Republic.

What does that mean for Josiah Venture in eastern Germany? Dave Patty, Josiah Venture President, and I have stepped up our search for a German national country leader. We have been meeting a number of German leaders in search for whom the Lord has prepared in advance to take Josiah Venture Germany forward. As part of this process we have asked Matthias Richter to come on half-time to begin doing youth leader training here in the eastern part of Germany. Matthias has such a heart for youth and volunteer youth leaders. We are excited to have him on board with us. 

 In the interim, I am being asked to maintain the relationships we have established in Germany, to include periodic in-person visits to this region. Dave Patty is taking point on strategy and vision. Matthias will begin doing training seminars. 

 The harvest here is plentiful and the workers are few. Would you pray with us that the Lord of the Harvest would raise up a German national JV Country Leader. We are both excited about what God is taking us to in the Czech Republic and saying good-bye well to all of our relationships here in Leipzig. God has and continues to open doors in this region and we are seeing His movement advance. 

 Thank you for standing with us in prayer and financial support. God is so very faithful and we are rejoicing in all that He is doing here.
Summer Camp News

We are so thankful for our 5 Summer Interns! Because the schools have such a late summer vacation start in Germany, last week we were able helped with a camp in Slovenia. Over 50% of the campers were Ukrainian who are just learning the Slovene Language and understand little or no English. This led to some unique challenges, such as double translating of every talk and instruction. The first two days were pretty discouraging and overwhelming, but we had a great group of camp leaders that were willing to be flexible and change many big pieces of the camp to better fit the campers. God truly used this, and by the end of camp, many of the campers began to be open to talking about, and even the possibility of believing in God!

This week-end we are doing an outreach to Ukrainian teenagers here in Leipzig - going kayaking, having games and a bbq in a local park, and doing a big in-city scavenger hunt! Pray that many young people will come and that we can invite them to the camp with our Leipzig church and get them connected with our youth group community!

We have two more camps before our interns leave on August 17: July 25-30 is our camp in Brandenburg, near Berlin, and August 5-12 is our camp with our church here in Leipzig. We have a Short Term Team coming from Knott Avenue Christian Church in Anaheim, CA coming to help out with our Leipzig camp!

Update on Emma

Emma continues to be fragile yet resilient! We are so thankful for her medical team, but mostly for her incredible parents. Nate and Caitlin are continually so positive in every situation. When told that Emma will probably have to wear glasses, Caitlin said, "Oh, that's ok. Nate and I both wear glasses." When told that they will have to have an appointment in August to see if she has any long-term hearing loss, Caitlin said, "Oh, that's ok. She can wear a hearing aid and Nate and I have been wanting to learn ASL (American Sign Language) anyway." They continually amaze me with their attitudes toward "everything Emma"! Please, continue to pray for her heart, that she will soon be able to get off of oxygen, and that she will be able to get off of her feeding tube. She is such a delightful and happy baby, but no wonder with such delightful and positive parents! God has truly blessed us!

Of course, if we have a picture of our precious Emma, we must also include one of Noah!

Prayer Points:
  • Pray for our Ukrainian outreach July 15-17
  • Pray for our Brandenburg Camp July 25-30
  • Pray for our Leipzig Camp August 5-12
  • Pray for us as we will be packing up and moving to Czech over the next 2 months (We plan move to by September 15)
  • Pray for continued healing and health for Emma
Please, let us know if you have any questions.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers!

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Back in Germany and Emma Grace

Yes! We are back in Leipzig! It is so good to be home. We have reconnected with people every day, had youth group twice, and been to church twice! I am reminded again about how blessed we are to be here and with all the incredible relationships! 

Recent Game Night at Youth Group


Josiah Venture is very immersed in helping with the refugee situation. As of Saturday, March 26, Josiah Venture has sent 38 buses into Ukraine with over 92 tons of food, medical, and various supplies. The food brought and transported provided over 245,000 meals. Once the buses arrived, they are unloaded and returned, filled with refugees. We have five hubs where over 1,600 women and children have entered, been cared for, and are being placed in semi-permanent locations.
Since being back, Jim has driven almost 600 km helping move Ukrainian Refugees. There are many refugees here in Leipzig and we look forward to getting to meet some of them. 

At this moment, Josiah Venture has distributed over 65,000 printed booklets called "22 Days of Encouragement in Difficult Times" to Ukrainians. Every Psalm has a title at the top (such as "Hope") and an intro paragraph to prepare them for the Psalm. Pray that God's Word would speak powerfully to each soul who reads it. 

Summer Interns

We are also very excited that we will have 5 interns coming to help with camps this summer! Please pray that God will provide all the financial and prayer support they need to minister this summer, and that God will use them in a mighty way. 

They will arrive May 25 and after a week of training in the Czech Republic, will be with us until August 17. 

Emma Grace

I know that many of you have been praying for our precious granddaughter, Emma Grace. Here is the latest update from yesterday (March 28) from her mom, Caitlin: 

"Emma had her next procedure. She just came out of the operating room and is in recovery here. We are getting ready to move her to a room for over night. We are being told that we will most likely be able to go home tomorrow!
"Her procedure told us that she has still a very severe case, but we are attacking it head on. She doesn't have a large main pulmonary vein on her right side (since it detached) but there are two smaller ones that are trying to keep up. One of the smaller veins was open while the other was not, so a stent was placed in the unopen one to help it. So now Emma has two stents, one on each side of her heart. We are still praying for a miracle for her to keep her veins going." 

Please continue to pray for Emma, as the next few weeks and months are critical.

Emma after returning to her hospital room after the procedure.


Here are some prayer points:
  1. Continue to pray for Emma, that her blood vessels will grow strong, open, and flexible and stay attached to her heart.
  2. Pray for us as we continue to reconnect with people and our ministry here in Germany.
  3. Pray for our 5 Summer Interns, that they will raise all the support they need to come help with camp ministries this summer.
  4. Pray for the people of Ukraine, that God will protect them, that Believers will be strong be witnesses, and that the war will end.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Back in Europe

 Our one year out of Germany is almost finished! We are spending the last 2 weeks in the Czech Republic. Over and over again during this year, we have seen God's perfect timing. We would plan something, and our plans would be blown away, yet when the dust settled, we always saw God's hand leading us to the right place in exactly the right time. Even coming back to Czech. We had no idea when we planned coming back at this time that Josiah Venture would be receiving refugees from Ukraine and that we would be able to help in this.

Please, pray for all the refugees from Ukraine, for all their family members staying behind to fight for their country, and that God will protect Ukraine and keep it free from oppression.

Ukrainian Refugees on Bus

Coming back to Europe also means leaving family and loved ones in the US and Bangladesh. What an incredible gift from God that we were able to spend so much time with both of our grandchildren.

Noah watching TV with Daddy.

Emma Catching up on her reading in the hospital

Please, continue to pray for our little Emma Grace. She is 11 months old now and weighs 15 lbs.! What a blessing to see her grow. She is still on oxygen and a feeding tube. Pray for her heart, as the blood vessels attached to the heart are very fragile. Pray that they will strengthen and stay strongly attached. She had a stent put into one of the vessels last month and that has vastly improved her oxygen levels. We are so thankful for the good medical and therapy care that she is receiving.

We will be able to return to Germany on March 16! We are so excited to continue ministry in person, rather than on zoom. We already have two retreats planned with two of our youth groups over the next few weeks.

We are also gearing up for summer camps. We have 5 interns coming to help us out. Pray for them as they raise their support over the next few months.

We are so thankful to God for each one of you and that we had the opportunity to see so many of you in person over this last year. So many of you hosted us and provided things that we needed during our time there, including letting us borrow your autos! We are so thankful for the family of God all over the world.

Kimberlee Cather and her husband Doug open their home to us for the entire time we were in Colorado. Here is "Auntie Kimba" holding Emma Grace with Nate and Caitlin.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Where in the World are Jim and Lina Miller?

We are in the eleventh week of our one year "exile" from Germany. Just to remind you, we need to be out of Germany for one year every 5-8 years, in order to retain our US Social Security. So, here I sit in Chicago reflecting on the last 11 weeks of homelessness! 

Last time I wrote, we were in Bangladesh with our daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Alpha, along with our incredible grandson, Noah. We were to be there for 4 weeks, but just about 24 hours before we were to fly out, the airport was closed because of Covid, and we were able to stay for 2 more weeks! What a joyous time as we watched Noah learn to crawl, take his first steps, and get his first tooth! His Omi and Poppy truly love him!

Jim working hard in Bangladesh with Emily, Noah, and Ember (the dog) keeping him company!

Leaving Bangladesh 2 weeks later than planned meant we missed the time we were to spend in Idaho with Jim's parents and sister's family, as well as one of our supporting churches. We are looking to make up that trip a little later on.

We landed in Chicago May 4 and took off the next day for our Josiah Venture Spring Conference at Gull Lake in Michigan. The conference was online so that everyone from the 16 countries of Josiah Venture could attend, but we were able to gather with the over 50 other missionaries that were here in the States at the time to experience the conference together. What a blessing, especially after not being able to gather together for over a year!

From there, we visited family and supporters in Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky. During this time we celebrated Jim's 60th birthday, and our three kids got together and bought tickets for us to visit the Noah's Ark Encounter in Kentucky! What an incredible place!

The Noah's Ark replica was huge and built to the size as recorded in the Bible!

We returned to Chicago for a few days before flying out to the Josiah Venture Leaders' Meeting in Cappadocia, Turkey. Again, after over a year of not being together, the leadership team was able to meet in person. The meetings were held in Turkey because the leaders from each of the 16 countries were able to travel there while other boarders and countries were closed to many of us. 

Cappadocia is such an intriguing place! Along with the "other worldly" rock formations crowding the landscape, it is also the place where the Church Fathers hammered out the Doctrine of the Trinity! What rich history!

Cappadocia is know for its rock formations and its hot air balloons!

The people of Cappadocia would carve out the large "Fairy Towers" for their houses and even their churches! We saw many beautiful frescoes on the ancient church walls!

By Georges Jansoone JoJan - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

We are now back in Chicago since Sunday, May 30, and leave tomorrow for one week in Colorado, then 2 weeks in California, then back to Colorado to stay until September. We are so looking forward to meeting our little granddaughter, Emma Grace. Being born on April 15, almost 3 months early and only slightly over one pound, she is growing fast and doing so well!!! She is now 3 pounds 3 ounces!!!!

Emma Grace on May 23. 
Prayer Points:
  • Please continue to pray for Emma Grace, that she will continue to grow and will be able to get out of the hospital on her due date, July 4.
  • Pray for us as we continue discipleship and training sessions online with our dear friends in Germany.
  • Pray for our teammate, Rachael, as she will be heading up the two camps we will be having this summer.
  • Pray for Julie, our summer intern, that this will be a rich summer for her as she partners with Rachel to help out with the camps.
  • Pray that the camps will be able to happen and that God will bring many young people and touch their lives through the camps.
  • Pray for our busy travel schedule, that God will continue to give us health and strength.