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Friendship is a…

Friendship is a place to hide in, to abide in – not to escape the world, but to face it well. -Betty Barnett

Summer is here! With the end of many organized church groups, we have found ourselves in a new season as we continue to share about our journey to Latvia. We have been blessed to reconnect with many old friends as well as form new relationships. We are reminded how important it is to be surrounded by people who inspire us to continue in faith as we face many unknowns ahead. It has been so fun to catch up on what people have been up to and also to be praying for the significant things going on in their lives. This stage of our lives has made us more intentional about reaching out to other people. God has helped us see that the end goal is not about our financial support, but about building relationships, and learning to give generously as well as receive. Our process of preparing to move overseas has taught us the value of community among believers. We pray that as we continue to make connections with people to share about our calling to serve youth in Latvia, that we will also build up our friends. That is true community, living life with one another. Thank you for all of you who have shared your lives with us. 

 “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” ~Galatians 6:10 ESV

A New Adventure….

What lead us to the point? Why would we willing sell all our belongings and move to Latvia? As you will see this decision was not made on a whim. Over the past 10+ years, God has been guiding and refining us for this moment. We look forward to sharing this journey with you through a pictorial timeline.

 

Tim ~ Mexico 2001 ~ Yugo Ministries

Tim served in Tijuana, Mexico with his high school youth group, helping run a VBS and reaching out to older youth through sports. God used this trip to expand Tim’s view of God’s work in the world, and began to shape his desire for youth ministry.

 

Mary ~ Slovenia 2004 ~ Josiah Venture

Mary served at an English Camp with a group from her church. God used this trip to open her eyes to the need in Eastern Europe. She was amazed to reach out to students her own age who had never heard the Gospel. During this trip, God put a desire in Mary’s heart to work as a career missionary.

 

Mary ~ Czech Republic 2005 ~ Josiah Venture

Mary served at another English Camp this year. She was really impacted as she interacted with full time Josiah Venture missionaries and interns. During this trip she started considering Josiah Venture as an option for full time missions after college. She also decided to apply to be a summer intern. 

*Unfortunately, there is no digital evidence of Mary serving in Slovenia in 2004, and in the Czech Republic in 2005. If one her friends happen to have a picture on their computer and would like to share that in comment on our blog that would be fantastic.

 

 

Mary ~ Slovenia 2007 ~ Josiah Venture

Mary served with her best friend Lindy as a summer intern in Slovenia. Over the course of her three month stint, she enjoyed investing in students through mentoring and being involved with three outreach camps. She got a better idea of what life would be like as a longer term missionary.

 

Mary ~ Serbia 2009 ~ Josiah Venture

On her second internship, after graduating from Corban College, Mary learned a lot about depending on the Lord in the unknown. She also built a lot of relationships and helped organize several camps. 

 

Tim ~ Slovenia 2009 ~ Josiah Venture

After graduating from Corban College, as an intern, Tim enjoyed building relationships with unbelievers and seeing them take steps towards Christ at camp. He was also encouraged by seeing national believers step out in faith by sharing Christ with their peers. He also was able to experience ministry with Josiah Venture after having heard about it from Mary. His eyes were opened to the need of spreading the Gospel in Central and Eastern Europe and continued to feel drawn toward youth ministry.

 

Tim & Mary ~ Czech Republic 2010 ~ Josiah Venture

 

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As a newly married couple, we were able to help lead a team from Salem Heights church to put on an English Camp. We were excited to be able to train and encourage students to be involved in what God is doing in Eastern Europe. It was rewarding to see others develop a heart for this part of the world and a desire to see students come to Christ. We were very excited to see the ways God was connecting our church in Salem to Josiah Venture.

 

Tim & Mary ~ Czech Republic 2011 ~ Josiah Venture

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Serving again with Salem Heights, we had the opportunity to reconnect with students from the previous year. On this trip, we started inquiring about what it might look like for us to serve full time with Josiah Venture. Would we be in Slovenia? Czech? Somewhere else?

 

Tim & Mary ~ Czech Republic 2012 ~ Josiah Venture

 

 

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This year we were able to see both our church and our partner church take on more responsibility as we did camp without JV Interns. We were very proud of our team. One this trip, we sat down with full time JV staff and talked about applying to serve in Czech. After various conversations throughout the rest of that year with both JV staff and our pastors, we began to work through where God might be leading us to serve.

After a few closed doors in both Slovenia and Czech, we felt that God was calling us to start the application process with Josiah Venture without knowing where. In January of 2013, we were asked to consider Latvia and began talking to the country leaders there. We were really excited to hear how God is working in Latvia and we decided to visit in October to see it for ourselves. 

Tim & Mary ~ Latvia 2013 ~ Josiah Venture Vision Trip

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While in Latvia, we were deeply impacted by the eagerness of the staff and churches to continue to reach out to lost youth. We felt that God had placed us on just the right team where we could use our gifts and experiences to help further his Kingdom. We were especially excited to hear about opportunities to continue to work with churches to host outreach camps and be involved in a weekly outreach through music. After returning from our trip, we completed the long application with Josiah Venture and were accepted as part of the Josiah Venture Latvia team in January 2014. 

 

Tim & Mary ~ Illinois ~ Josiah Venture New Staff Orientation 2014

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We are very blessed to see God’s hand over the last ten years of our lives, growing us and leading us to this point. We are now in the process of raising up a support team so that we can move to Latvia in January 2015. Before then, we will be welcoming a brand new addition to our family in September. We are excited for the opportunity God has given our growing family to boldly step out in faith and serve Him in Latvia. And this is just the beginning! Be expecting more updates from us along the way.

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Radical obedien…

Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us. ~David Platt