Monday, November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving Day Graduation!!!!

After 4 years of hard work (for BOTH Jim and me) I graduated with my MA in Member Care on Thanksgiving Day!

Jim and I flew to London, England on Wednesday, then drove to Gloucester on Thursday for the graduation. It was great to see my fellow-students and incredible professors!
All decked out for the ceremony!

I've always wanted one of these cool looking "hoods"!

I never would have been able to do it without the help of this incredible man!!
Now it's on to the next thing. In a few weeks I will be starting a monthly leadership training course with 13 students in the Brandenburg area. These are student that came to one of our camps this summer, but most of them have no youth workers in their churches. The training will be to help them lead their own youth groups! The first 2 trainings are December 15 and 16. This has been a passion of Tabea and Melli, two of the University students from that area.  I am very excited about this. Please pray for God to use this to reach this area of Germany!

Tabea, Me, and Melli
It will be exciting to be working with these two precious German girls. I know God will do mighty things!

Have a wonderful season as you prepare for the remembrance of Jesus' birth.

Monday, November 13, 2017

JV Germany Feature!

This month, the JV Blog features our ministry here in Leipzig with JV Germany! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy reading it!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

English Camp - Double the Size, Double the Fun!!!!!

What happens when you take some amazing youth group kids, mix in some totally awsome new teens, add a few extraordinary refugees and drop them into a camp led by an excited team from a Colorado church, some passionate German staff, three totally serving interns, a middle-aged missionary couple and most importantly, the Spirit of God? INCREDIBLENESS!!!!! (By the way, this is a totally American description of the camp with all the superlatives!)

We had an incredible week at our Ring Cafe English camp! The pictures will attest to the FUN, but what can't be shown is the work God did in hearts! Two campers came to Christ, while others made strong movement in their Christian lives!

Here's a small glimpse into the week!

Frisbee time!

A few of the girls! Even more beautiful than the scenery!
This is a "normal" picture of an English camp. Yes, Levi (in the back row) is normally that way!

OK, never mind, this is normal!!!!!

Time to eat!

The dining room was pretty full!

So, what's Benni doing with the balloon?

BBQ night with Jim and Craig at the BBQ!

I'm not sure if this was BEFORE or AFTER the climbing wall!
Thank you so much for your partnership! We head to our last camp in Cottbus, Germany next week (our first camp was in Ukraine). Please, continue to pray that God will use these camps! And, consider joining us next year! :0)

Friday, May 26, 2017

2:30am Phone Call with Aaron and Hur!

We were woken up at 2:30 Monday morning by a phone call. Through the haze of my sleep I heard Nate's voice, "Alpha has been in a bad ATV accident and Emily is trying to call you!"  We quickly called Emily and found out the details.  She was in the ambulance with Alpha. He had been driving an ATV around their new home in the Colorado mountains when he hit some rocks and was flipped from the ATV. "The EMT said he might have a concussion and broken pelvis. We are still 1 hour away from the hospital!"

We started calling family to get them to pray. About 2 hours later Emily called with the incredible news that there was nothing broken, he was just badly bruised and they would be heading back up the mountain to go home.
Alpha with my mom in Loveland, Co a week ago Sunday on their way moving to Westcliffe.

Jim and I have felt very attacked by the enemy in regards to our children lately, so much so that Sunday morning at church I felt compelled to go in front of the church and ask for prayer for our children. I truly believe that it was because of the prayer surrounding Alpha that day and right after the accident that he was protected!

I know for me that the easiest way for Satan to distract me from the work God has call us to is to flood my mind with anxiety about our children. I am asking you to be like Aaron and Hur as they held up Moses' arms during the battle against the Amalekites, and hold up our children before the Lord for Jim and me. I realized this morning in my devotional time that too much of my time has been stolen from the ministry here by the anxiety I have had lately over my children.

Let me give you a glimpse into why this is so important and what God is doing here:

We are entering camp season! Sunday our first intern, Emily, arrives here in Leipzig. We  leave for Intern Training and the Amazing Race on Tuesday where we, along with our German intern, Steffen, with meet our other US intern, Brittany.

This year's camp logo

We believe God has great things for this summer!  We will be helping with an English Camp in Ukraine June 28 - July 9. The English Camp with our local church, Ring Cafe, is July 15 - 27, then we have an English Camp with a church about 2 hours away in Cottbus August 12 - 19.

Things to pray for:
  1. We have a Muslim refugee family that their teenage kids come to our youth group at times. Their son would really like to come to camp. We were able to have the family over to our house on Sunday for dinner. We love this precious family! Pray that the son, and maybe even some of the daughters will be able to come to camp!
  2. Pray for our interns, Steffen, Emily, and Brittany, that God would use them in an incredible way in the lives of teens here in Germany and Ukraine and that he would also use this as a life-changing experience for them to his glory!
  3. Pray for more kids to sign up for each of our camps!  We would love to have 30-50 at each camp and over half of those to be non-believers.
  4. Pray for the planning for each camp, that we will follow the leading of the Spirit in all we do!
  5. Pray that Satan will not be able to distract us from the work God has for us here. That God would protect our children and that we (especially I) would trust him fully with the care of each of them.
Thank you! Each of you are a vital part of this ministry! Please, continue to pray! 

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!