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 josiahventure.com/pray. 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 Schwäbisch 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!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Finally Back Home!

We are finally back home in Leipzig after a wonderful and whirlwind time in the States!  What fun it was to see so many of you!

We started out with a Family Reunion.  Over 40 of us together in the Colorado mountians to help celebrate my mom's 80th birthday!

Me and My 5 Sibs with Mom!  Left back: Tim, Bart, me, Mark  Left front: Lara, Mom, Leslee
After that Jim and I got to spend some time with just our kids.

Nate, Raine, Emily, Alpha, Jared and Me in the beautiful mountians!

Then it was an open house and report about our ministry at LifePoint Church in Ft. Collins.

Next we were able to head up to Idaho to spend time with Jim's family.  This is cheating, but here are some pictures for those of you who have not seen them in awhile.

Jim's parents.  Jerry and Evelyn Miller

Jim's sister's family.  Noland and Judy Johnson, Alan, Cody and Kyle
Next we were in California visiting churches and, of course, seeing Jim's brother's family.

Jim's brother's family.  Lisa, John, Jordyn and Jena
Then it was to Chicago visiting Christ Community Church and many friends and supporters.  We are now we are back in Leipzig, just in time for our youth retreat this past week end.

Lina's team on a scavenger hunt in the beautiful city of Erfurt

Well, that's the quick version. We feel so blessed for the time we got to spend with family and friends!  And now we look forward to settling back in to life and ministry here in Leipzig.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Guest Blogger - Jim

Glorify the LORD with me;
    let us exalt his name together.
                                 Psalm 34:3 NIV

Where were you Wednesday, June 29? 

That morning I was in the Carpathian Mountains in central Ukraine praying with and being prayed for by two Ukranian 18 year old guys named Alex and Maga. 

Maga is second from left and Alex is second from right.
Kelsey Dwyer, our Josiah Venture Summer Intern from Texas, and I were helping with a Fusion (rock choir ministry) outreach camp.  The leadership team had just finished morning devotions and we had been randomly paired up to pray for each other and for the day.   After praying with my person, I noticed Alex and Maga praying and felt I should pray for them as well.  I asked if I could pray for them and they agreed.  After we finished they both looked at me and said they wanted to pray for me.  They asked how they could pray?  Immediately I thought of our daughter Emily and her husband Alpha who were still waiting for an appointment for an interview with the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh to provide a visa for Alpha to come to the U.S.in time for a family reunion.  So I asked them to pray for that.  We joined hands and they began to pray in Ukranian.

Now I don’t know Ukranian, but what I do know is that I felt like I was being ushered into the throne room of God to receive Mercy and Grace in this time of need.  It was a powerful experience. 

Later that night I received a text from Emily saying they had just received the interview appointment that day for August 1.  I was thrilled and remembered with gratitude our prayer time earlier that morning.  Praise the Lord for his provision.

Camp continued. Then on Friday afternoon I heard breaking news that a restaurant in Bangladesh, frequented by foreigners and near where Emily and Alpha live, had been attacked by ISIS.  We would later learn some 20 people were brutally killed in the attack.   Concerned I called Emily and Alpha.  They were safe.

As we talked they told me that they had been in that restaurant earlier that week as guests of some Embassy friends.  When I inquired as to which day, they said Wednesday, June 29.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:18, “ And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

We don’t know all that goes on in the Spiritual realm, yet I am so very grateful for two young Ukranian men who prayed with bold faith.  To God be the Glory!

Tomorrow, our short term team from LifePointe Church in Ft. Collins, Colorado will arrive to join us in doing our first Josiah Venture English Camp here in Germany.  Camp starts, Saturday, July 16 and goes through Saturday July 23.

Would you take some time right now to pray with us that the teens and leaders who come to camp will encounter Jesus Christ and be transformed by his amazing love.

Also would you pray the next verse in Ephesians, 6:19, “ Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel”

Can’t wait to let you know how God answers!
Jim's English Class in Ukraine

Kelsey, our summer intern from Texas, and Jim in Ukraine.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Almost Camp Time!

We are getting more and more excited as our English Camp week gets closer!  Yesterday finished a week of advertising the camp on the moniters of the local Trams and Buses!  It showed in every Tram and Bus throughout Leipzig every 15 minutes!

This year's camp logo throughout all 13 Josiah Venture Contries
Please, continue to pray that God will provide at least 35 teenagers for the camp!

We are so excited to have a team of 9 Americans from my home church, LifePointe, in Ft. Collins, Colorado come to help us out with the camp this summer!  One of the main draws for the camp is that we have "native English speakers" teaching the English classes!

Jim and Kelsey (our intern from Texas) are in Ukraine right now helping out with another Josiah Venture camp.  In the meantime, Steffen (our German intern) and I are here in the "office" (our livingroom) every day.  Steffen is continuing to work on camp logistics and I am taking the 10 days Jim and Kelsey are gone for an opportunity to get a good start on my Master's Thesis, which is due next April.

We had a "First Day of School" party at youthgroup.  It was actually a time to honor our graduating Seniors and we all dressed up as we would have on our first day of school.  Very fun! 

The whole group in "First Day of School" garb.  The colorful cones are a typical first day of school gift packet for kids.

If you ever wondered what Jim and I looked like on our first day of school...
Ministry prayer points:
  • Pray for our English camp, July 16-23, that we will have at least 35 teenagers and that it will be an incredible time!
  • Pray for safety for all those involved in helping to put the camp on, the Lifepointe team, the team from here in Leipzig, others that are also helping out.
  •  Pray that all the logistics will come together for the camp.
  • Thank God for all the things he has already brought together for the camp and the kids that are already signed up!
  • Pray for Jim and Kelsey in Ukraine that God will bless that camp and for their safety in travel.
Personal prayer points:
  • Please pray that Alpha will get an interview scheduled for his visa so they will be able to come to the US in time for our family reunion and my mom's 80th birthday!  The interview takes place 30 days after they are informed that it is scheduled and then it takes about 10 more days to get his passport back and they need to fly by Aug. 10, so they are coming up to the deadline!
  • Pray that I will make good progress on my Thesis these next few days.
  • Praise God for Jim's clean bill of health on his last check-up!
We are planning to come to the States in August for our family reunion then spending a few more weeks visiting as many of you as we can.  I will let you know our schedule soon!  Hope to see many of you then!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Storm the Sky in Prayer!

Our Youth Event went really well on Friday evening.  I can't believe I forgot my camara, so I'll just have to post pictures next week!
Each of our high school students did so much to make it a beautiful, inviting, fun-filled evening.  When we first planned these events, we had not realized that the first one fell on the Friday of the schools' Spring break.  Even so, we still had two guests attend!  They were friends of two of the girls in the youth group.  The pastor talked about evidences for believing in God.  At the end, he opened the floor up for questions and one of the guests asked why Christianity is the only way to God.  What about other religions?   It was very exciting for him to answer that he would give a short answer now, but that is actually the question he would be covering next Friday at the Youth Event, so come back!

I wish you all could have been there to see our students participate.  They set up the room, did a skit, formed a 4 person band and sang a song and MC'd the evening.  They turned the sancuary into a comfortable teen room, complete with sofas, over-stuffed armchairs, plants, small tables and lamps scattered amongst the chairs and pillows on the floor for extra seating.

Please, pray that next week we will have many more guests, as school is back in session.  We are so excited to see what God is doing!  As our youth leader wrote to the kids a few hours ago, "Let us this week again storm the sky in prayer and ask God that he will bring our friends to ring Café, even if this may seem impossible - but for him nothing is impossible and we know from the Bible that it is his heartfelt desire that all people learn to know Him! So pray, pray, pray for the Friday evening and for your friends and invite them this week again vigorously!" 
Yes, let's "storm the sky in prayer"!
I will leave you with a short video you can view here, of Jim getting the incredible opportunity to "drop in" to Dick Patty's 90th birthday party in Austria last week!  For those of you who don't know, Dick was our director for the many years we worked here in Germany with Cadence and I believe that Jim and I would never have married, had it not been for him and his wonderful wife, Margaret! What an incredible godly couple and living example of walking as Jesus walked! I hope you enjoy the surprise on Dick's face when Jim shows up unexpectedly!  What a joy!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter Celebration!!!

I have to share the pictures from our Easter Celebration!  12 of us from our German language class gathered at our home to share the celebration...and it was like no other Easter celebration I have ever attended!  We were from 5 different countires (Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, US and, of course, our token German!), ate Greek and Arab food with American pies for dessert and even got in some Frisbee at the park!!!!  What a great time!!!!  Enjoy the pictures and short (27 second) video of the international Fresbee game!!!
Sherif and and Stephania helping set up!

Stephania (from Cyprus) and I cooked her traditional Greek food the day before from 5pm until 1am!  I kept saying, "My, this is labor intensive!"  But it was SOOOOO worth it!  What a delicious meal!  We had Stuffed Grape Leaves, Moussaka and a delicious Chicken and Rice dish prepared by Amer (from Syria)!
Stuffed Grape Leaves simmering away, with Jim's incredible Cinnamon Rolls in the background!
Getting ready to sit down to our delicious meal!
Amer is the second one in.  He prepared the Chicken and Rice dish in the foreground and brought the beautiful flowers!!!
The eating begins!

As you can see, there is plenty of food!
 Can you tell from the Video that Jim is from California and the rest of us are not!!!  (And I don't mean because of his amazing sun tan!)

 Thanks to Sherif (from Egypt) for all the pictures and video!!!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Youth Event!

We are very excited that this Friday, April 1, is the first of two Youth Events for outreach with our youth group. We have been preparing for these evenings over the last year in the teachings at youth group.  At the beginning of 2015, the youth evenings were focused "My Relationship with God". Then, in the Fall the focus was on "My Relationship with Other Believers", and the beginning of this year, the focus was "My Relationship with Non-Believers".  These two youth events are a culmination of those studies and the young people have been praying specifically for their friends and have invited them to the events.  Here is a copy of the flyer:

The Flyer reads: "I do not believe in God.  Or only partially.  Maybe yes.  Or in higher beings?  Or maybe not.  Who can know if there is a God! ...Curious?  Interested to learn more?  Then you are invited in a relexed atmosphere with young Christians and Pastor Thomas Arhelger with the Themes:  'Is there a God over all?'... 'One God - Many Ways?'  With discussion to follow."

Please pray ...
...That many teens will come, especially the friends that the young people from the youth group are inviting.
... That those who come will be challenged to think about God and want to learn more about him.
... That those who come will feel accepted in the youth group.
... For Thomas, our pastor, as he prepares the talks - that God will use him to speak to the hearts of the teens.
... That we will put the two evenings deliberately in God's hands  and expect him to move.
... That the evenings will be for God's glory!
We are excited to see what God will do!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Passed the German Language Test!

Just a quick note.  I passed and head on to B1 course on Thursday!  Jim will be joining me in the course.  Thanks for all your prayers!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lina's German Test!

My German Language Class

I just want to send out a quick prayer request for tomorrow.  I am in an intensive German language course every M-F from 8am-1:15pm.  I just took my speaking test for A-2 today and did well.  Tomorrow I will take my hearing understanding, reading understanding, grammer and writing tests.  Please pray that I will pass and be able to go on to B-1!  As my teacher says, my grammar is "Katastrophe"! :0)

Jim just got back from meeting with the English teacher in a local high school.  They are excited to have him come help with their classes.  He has 3 days now on the calendar to teach in the classes.  They have asked him to talk about Alaska in one of the classes.  He lived his last year of college in Alaska, so is looking forward to that!

Well, back to studying my "Katastrophe" grammar! :0)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pray for It and They Will Come!!!!

We are so excited about our first ever Josiah Venture GERMAN Evangelistic English Camp!  That's right!  July 16-23 we embark on this adventure!  Check out this location!  It is the YMCA (CVJM) facility about 1 1/2 hour south of Leipzig.
Where we will be staying.
An indoor climbing wall!

A great high ropes course!

 The camp can hold up to 85 people and we need at least 55 to reserve the whole place.  We are praying that at least 35 of those will be high school students.  Jim is volunteering one day a week at a local high school, helping out at in the English department, so we are praying that many of the students will come from there, as well as our own youth group kids and their friends!  This is very exciting!  There are SO MANY teenagers here in Leipzig that need Jesus and this is an incredible venue in which to introduce them.

We are also very excited that Lifepoint Church in Fort Collins, Colorado will be sending a team of about 10-15 people over to help us with the camp.  This is the church Lina grew up in and they have been our faithful supporters since she left the first time for the field back in 1987!!!!!  How exciting to now have them come over and experience first-hand how God is using them and us together in His ministry!  That's one of the fun things about being a missionary, we aren't doing this alone, God has provided a WHOLE TEAM of people working with us and so many of you are a part of this team through your prayers and your finances!!!

We will also have 2 interns from the US and, prayerfully, one from here in Germany (Steffen) working with us for the whole summer.

We continue to work on the German language and serving with the youth group at the church. Jim has started two Bible Read Through Groups with high school students and is discipling 5 guys.

Also, in December Steffen finished translation work on Josiah Venture training material for youth leaders and volunteer staff!  This is very significant!  He has done all of this on a voluntary basis and we are so thankful for his work and the many, many hours he has put into this!

Please pray:
  • that God will bring at least 35 students to attend the camp!
  • that God will open the way for some of our German youth staff and kids from our youth group to attend the camp - this is very important, as we do not want this to end when camp is over, but want the new students to be comfortable in our youth group so they can be followed up!
  • that all those involved in the camp will experience the work of God in their lives!
  • that God will open the door for Steffen to be an intern with us this summer, as we need to figure out a lot of the German laws and how to receipt donations for him!
  • for Jim, Lina and Steffen as they get everything prepared for the camp in the next few months!
Thank you for your prayers and support!  Continue to pray for the teenagers of Leipzig!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas and Beyond!

We had an incredible time on Christmas with 16 international students from Jim's and my German Language classes, plus Emily, Alpha and us to make 20!  We baked 3 turkeys, had mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, homemade stuffing (no Stovetop here!), green bean casserole, broccoli salad, homemade rolls and, of course, Jim's famous pies (pumpkin, chocolate cream and coconut cream).  A true American dinner!  Afterwards we sang Christmas carols, watched a cool video about the birth of Jesus and played Bonco!  The students were from China, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cyprus, Japan, Yemen, and with one teacher and her family from Germany, us from the US and Emily and Alpha from Bangladesh, we were truly an international group!!  It was SO much fun and everyone fit nicely into our living room!  What a blessing our apartment is!!! 

2 borrowed tables from church and a bit of furniture moved around and we are ready for our guests!
Pass the turkey, please!

Get out the dice, it's time for a rousing game of Bonco!

It was wonderful to have Emily and Alpha with us for Christmas.  We even got to lead worship in church on Sunday morning.  Yes...4 German songs and 2 English songs!  Alpha played the piano and guitar, a German friend, Gudrun, played guitar and the rest of us sang!

Singing a German Christmas carol during worship.  Emily is hidden behind the pillar.
We couldn't ask for a better daughter and son-in-law!  We had a wonderful time!

 Christmas day we were able to skype with Nate, Raine and Jared as they all enjoyed Christmas together at Nate and Raine's house along with Raine's parents.  Almost as good as being together!

Thanks so much for praying for us.  Here are a few things to pray for as we enter the new year:

  • Jim talks to the local high school tomorrow about starting to help out in the English classes.  None of the kids from this school come to our youth group.  It is the school that came for the Fusion concert this summer (see story here) and the principle is excited to have Jim help out!  Pray for many relationships to be built with the students.
  • I will be continuing intensive language course starting tomorrow (Jan. 4).  Pray that I will get a good grasp of the language soon!
  • We will be starting to look for a venue for English Camp this summer.  Pray that all the details will come together.  We have one girl intern already accepted and another girl applying.  We still need a guy intern and a church team to come over to help us out.  The camp will be the first or second week in July.  Let us know if you have any ideas!!!!
  • Pray for our team mates, Reg and Kim Frank, as they finish raising support.  Pray that they will be here in time to settle in and help out with English camp!
Thank you so much for your prayers!  We are so thankful God has called us here!  We love it!!!