Monday, August 20, 2018

Rejoicing in God's Provision and Protection

So much has happened this summer, I wasn't sure what to put first because I want you to read it all. I've decided to start out with what God has done through our camps, but please, read to the end to hear the story about how God saved Jim's life from a 40 meter (about 120 feet) fall down a steep mountain. (or you can just skip to the end if you don't like "cliff hangers")

We have experienced God in so many ways: through camps, through incredible relationships, and through His protection!


Let me start by introducing you to our incredible intern team!

Our Intern Team Leader was Rachel Berkebile. She was the only one of our team who has done a JV internship before. Her first was in Czech. She did an incredible job! I don't know how we would have made it through the summer without her! She is one of our 2 Extended Summer Interns (ESI) and will be with us until December 11.
Rachel (second from right) with some of the campers on "Dancing Through the Decades" night! Such great costumes!!!
 Our other ESI is Tim Jergensen. He was the only male on our team and he fit in everywhere. From helping lead and teach the camp dance, to playing the "Body" in our Clue game!
Here Tim (the blond) is, playing soccer with two of our campers, brothers who are in Germany as refugees.
Emily Jensen was the "Game Master"! Everything from Sports to Giant Clue and New York Games to leading and teaching the camp dance with Tim.
Emily giving clues during the Clue game. The kids had a blast!!!
Christi Wiggens was our bit of Sunshine wherever she went this summer! She jumped into relationships fearlessly with her limited German language, but certainly always with a smile and bringing wonder and delight!

Christi, yes the darling one smiling at the front of the line, playing a game with the campers.
Noel Weibel was a relational magnet! Weather it was deep one-on-one talks or playing games, kids were always gathered around her!
Noel with one of the crazy Americans, Nick, from our Short Term Church Team!
I could tell you so much more about these 5 incredible people. I think the things that sums it up the most was their servant attitude and willingness to help in any situation. No matter what we would ask them to do, their answer was always, "Of course! That's what we're here for!"


We were privileged to do 3 camps this summer and will have the opportunity to do one more during the school's Fall Break. During our last camp, we had a young man accept Christ. It was so incredible. At the beginning of camp he made it clear that he was just there of the English and didn't want to have anything to do with the God talk. On Thursday, right after he accepted Christ he was so excited and said, "I feel like I have a hug on my brain and on my heart!"

We also baptized 3 young people in the lake. I had the privilege of baptizing one of our interns, Noel, who had been baptized as a baby, but felt that God was asking her to take this step of obedience as an adult. Because of her courage, two of the girls from camp decided to be baptized the next morning!

Marie and Jasmine (the two on the left) giving testimony before their baptisms. Jasmine (in the middle) called her family and asked them to come. As she was giving her testimony, she told her family that she loves them so much and hopes that by seeing her get baptized that they will also believe in Jesus!
Getting Baptized
Going to church in Guben after camp. The two boys on the left on either side of Emily are still not believers, but were so touched by the love they felt at camp. One of them, during "open mic" time at the end of camp, after he commented on the love he felt said, "Oh, by the way, I know you guys are suppose to tell other people about your Jesus. You're doing a really good job!"
Corrie, our German Camp Director for our Leipzig camp. The kids LOVE her! Can you see why?!?!

Jim in the kitchen cooking for our "Mystery Dinner"!

Camp follow-up in Starbucks! Where else?!?!?

We had two experiences of God's incredible protection this summer. The first was while Jim and the Interns were gone to a camp in Poland and I was in Leipzig getting things ready for our next camp. I was on the way to the baptism of 7 of our youth group kids at a near-by lake. By the way, this is such a season of seeing God working and so many kids getting baptized!! Anyway, I was driving with two of the youth group girls in my car when I pulled out into an intersection, not seeing the car coming from the right. We were hit, as well as the car that hit us bouncing off to hit another car. Thankfully, no one was hurt!
So sad to see our little car totaled, but...
Through the generosity of many of you, we were able to buy a beautiful Ford Transit Van.

Our interns call it "JV" the "Jesus Van". It came with all this lettering already on it! This side says, "Jesus Christ said:" then has John 14:6 (I am the way, the truth, and the life) on it.

The front says, "Jesus loves you!"
...and the back says, "Jesus Christ is coming back. Be ready!" This defiantly isn't the kind of van you usually see in this part of Germany! We've had lots of stares and even a woman in Berlin blowing a kiss at us!
Jim's Great Fall

The next and biggest protection was of Jim. He was on a hike with the JV Country Leaders in Slovenia when he lost his footing and bounced down about 40 meters (about 120 feet) of an embankment before his backpack got caught in some tree roots and stopped him, hanging upside down! It took Search and Rescue about 1 1/2 hours to get him out and, as you can see from the pictures, he was amazingly stopped before going down a straight, sheer, rock cliff! We are so thankful that he only ended up with scrapes and bruises! The phone call I got that day could have been a lot different, but for the grace of God!
One of the guys at the Top!
Jim fell and bounced from where the man in the yellow helmet is to where the man in the orange backpack is standing.
And this is what was waiting for him if he had not stopped. It just keeps going! God is so good!!!
If you want to know the whole story, ask Jim next time you see him!

Thank you everyone for your prayers! It is only because of God that any of this is happening here!

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for Jim and I as we take a much-needed week vacation the first part of September, that we will be able to truly rest and spend quality time together and with God!
  • Pray for our ESIs Rachel and Tim as they continue ministry with us here through December! We are so excited! Rachel will be working with a new church plant in the city of Burg bei Magdeburg and Tim will be going weekly to help establish the youth groups in Guben and Zeeson!
  • Pray for Dave Patty as he comes here to Germany this Fall to do an intentional search for a JV Germany Country Leader! Pray that God will lead him to the right person!