Tuesday, March 12, 2019

So, Whose Birthday Is It?

You've been praying for quite a long time for our team to grow. "So, Lina, tell us, is it just you and Jim in Germany, or is God adding to your team?"

Let me unpack that question a bit, but just so you know, it is not "unpacking" in the sense of unpacking your suitcase full of dirty clothes after a long trip. It's much more like unpacking all the presents on your birthday morning!

Let me tell you a bit about how we did birthdays with our kids when they were growing up. Before they would get up in the morning, we would blow up balloons and tape them all over their chair and hang a few from the light fixtures. We would stack their presents on the breakfast table at their place setting and we would set their place with a bright red "You are Special Today" plate. Jim would usually make their favorite breakfast - I'm talking full-blown with waffles, fruit, whipped cream, bacon, eggs...the whole nine yards! Then, as they would come into the kitchen, we would all sing "Happy Birthday"! As we all waited in anticipation of the tasty things to come, they would open each and every one of their Birthday presents! This was THEIR DAY!!!

What! Wii MarioKart?!?!? What 12 year-old boy could want more than that!!!! OK, so it was 2008 and Jared has moved on to building his own 3-D Printer, but still...COOL!!!!!!

We're so excited that you have joined us at the breakfast table and can smell the waffles and bacon. So, let's start unpacking our Team gifts before we fill our "You Are Special Today" plate!

First gift - Rachael Berkebile! Wow! This is exciting and so much more that we could have anticipated when she came to serve with us as an Intern for 6 months last year! We are so thrilled that she has decided to join us full-time here in Germany! The next few months will be full of training and support raising before she joins us at the end of the year or early next year! (Sorry, Jared, this is better than MarioKart!)

If you want to read more about Rachel, check out her JV Web Page.
But wait...what are all these other gifts? Let's open this one with the incredible multi-colored wrapping. Whoa! What is that commotion come out of the box? Oh, there it is! Our group of Student Leaders we have the privilege of training to run their youth groups. Just look at all this activity going on...youth groups, worship nights, after-school sport outreach, oooh! even a Taco Night! Yes, this is certainly an incredible team gift, as it multiplies the impact we could have here in unimaginable ways!

Student-Leader Training and Youth Group dinner in Cottbus.
Youth Group in Leipzig
Let's move on to this Orange colored gift. Sounds like singing and teaching and lots of chatter coming out of this box. Oh, that's it! The greater Josiah Venture team. Wow, this gift is full of tickets to training events, invitations to coffee with friends, a CD of Multi-language Worship Music...so much more! What a rich and full package!

Josiah Venture "Winter Academy" at Malenovice, Czech.
Wow! What a birthday this has been! I am so filled up, but no...there's one more! This one looks interesting and seems to hold something very precious. It's a velvet covered box and flips open like one of those jewelry boxes from the stores I can't even afford to walk into! I crack it open slowly and out pours the most wonderful sound I have ever heard. It's an orchestra of prayers, encouragements, notes, living room visits...I hold my breath as I see every one of your faces paraded before me. Tears fill my eyes as I think about the hours upon hours you have invested in this ministry through prayer, through hard work at your job so you can give financially toward what God is doing here. You are this last precious team present I open as I humbly sit at the breakfast table wondering how God could love me so much that He would lavish me with these gifts.

Faithful supporters, Don and Marge Lear as they pray for us during their daily morning devotional time.
I sit back in my chair, feeling so overwhelmed and blessed. Thank you for joining me for this special breakfast. Now, would you, please, pass the bacon?