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.