Monday, March 26, 2012

Abba's Girls retreat

God sometimes works in surprising ways. He uses us when we feel the weakest. He answers our prayers and He knows what's best for us. He plans things ahead of us so that we can step right into those perfect plans.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to lead a 24-hour retreat for the lovely girls of BMA. Really, these girls are wonderful! This is the first time I've led anything like this, but this group made it so much easier. And on top of that, I didn't feel like I was really leading at all- I more felt like I was the messenger- just passing on what God wanted the girls to know and experience!

 "Abba's Girls" was the name of the retreat, because "Abba" is the word for Father in Aramaic. Amy Ellenwood came and taught us more about who God is as our Father, and how we can grow closer to Him. I think we all felt His love in a more personal way and I'm so glad I got to share in this with my sisters in Christ.

"And because you are sons [and daughters!], God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”" Galatians 4:6

I'll never forget how I felt before the retreat. There is no reason to worry when you know it's God's plans anyway, but I never knew all the details that went into planning a retreat! I am so thankful for this experience, and that He entrusted me with it, but it wasn't easy the whole time. But He did come through (as always), and took it all into His hands. He even cared about little things that made us smile, which I love.

The big takeaways for me from this weekend?

1. The Father loves us SO SO much...He really wants us to know that!

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

2. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called...which means there is no need to worry. Ever.

3. There are things that each of us longs for, a place in our hearts that can only be filled by our Heavenly Father. We need to allow Him to come into those places and be our all. We can receive the gift of being adopted into His family- He has already made a special place for us!

 "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12

We even got to make flowers for our hair- I loved it! It's a small thing, but it's great girly bonding time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Changing the face

"Changing the face of Ostrava."

This is the slogan of Ostrava's new building projects. Part of this expansive city project is a new shopping center- Nova Karolina. Don't picture a cute little mall with local shops and boutiques. Oh no, this is REALLY a new face for Ostrava. This is big news for us!

Nova Karolina is huge. More spectacular than we even expected. It's classy too. It will be one of those destination shopping places now, in my opinion. And it opened today for the first time!

Some of the most exciting news? They put in a Starbucks! In Ostrava. A Starbucks. 30 minutes away!! How is that possible?! I never, ever thought I would see this day come. I felt like a little tiny piece of America was set in the middle of our Czech city-- A perfect TCK blend.

Read more of the background story on my mom's blog. She writes about our (im)patient waiting and how this shopping center came to be. I really wanted to document this epic occasion in more detail, but alas, there isn't time for everything. Sometimes you just have to live in the moment.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I treasure

I treasure days like these...

Sunshine and blue sky (rare in these parts!).
A haircut in Poland (just on the other side of the border).
Time with friends.
 Tomato soup at a favorite restaurant.

It really doesn't take a lot to make a day special.

Friday, March 16, 2012

No longer so far away

So cool to see Haley over here!
A few weeks ago, our dear friends the Chases moved to Slovakia to serve with Josiah Venture! My parents have known this family since Tyler was little, but we (Patty kids) personally connected with them again in 2008 in Colorado, where they lived. Since then we've become great friends - with the help of e-mail and Skype!

Caleb and I visited them in Bratislava last weekend for the first time. It was a little surreal! It's hard to believe that God led them all the way over here to the country right next to us. We're no longer an ocean away...I like that much better!

 Haley will only be here until August, because after that she will attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago (where Tyler goes to college). I'm glad to at least get a few months with her here though. Saying goodbyes are just a part of being an MK, but they're worth it, when you get to say so many "hello's" too.

So...Welcome Chases- to Europe, and to JV!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I miss these two

Becca and Kendra are my lovely cousins! They also live in Eastern Europe, and they're JV Kids (just like me!). I love them so much.

 I don't get to see my cousins very often, so when we got to visit them last month at the end of Spring break, it was a huge highlight. There's something special about spending time with family. And these two are awesome- they're both silly, sweet, thoughtful and talented. 

Becca and Kendra (if you read this): I miss you!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring: Are you almost here?

The days are getting longer.
The sun is shining a little brighter.
Delicate white snow drops are appearing in sun-soaked places.
The crocuses will be here soon.

Spring: I know you're on your way, so please don't let winter come back!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The One who knows the plans

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11

This verse has been really encouraging to me lately. In many ways and places.
Christian Art Gifts: These journals are my favorite because each page has a verse on it. Thank you Michelle for giving me this journal!
I'm the type of person who likes to have plans. I usually like to know what I'll be doing today, tomorrow, or even next week. But God doesn't always work like that. He has His own time schedule. And He does what's best for me too. I'm the one who is sometimes impatient. 

So when I don't understand which direction I'm headed, it's challenging. I have to remind myself that
even when I may not see what's ahead of me very clearly, I do know the One who sees everything.

"This is what the LORD says— 
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 
“I am the LORD your God, 
who teaches you what is best for you, 
who directs you in the way you should go."
-Isaiah 48:17
So I drink tea while I wait on God's timing.  I need to wait for God to make His plans happen.