Remember the Alamo

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A friend recently stated, “Why do we want to remember the Alamo, they lost that battle.” Having lived the first 14 years of my life in Texas, I was a little taken aback. Of course we remember those who died at the Alamo! But she had a point. Every combatant man was killed in that final stand, women and children were taken. The famous Jim Bowie was even killed in his bed as an invalid. Not a bright spot in history. However, in the month following this defeat, Sam Houston was able to rally his rebel army under the famous cry of “Remember the Alamo” and defeated General Santa Ana’s army in a battle largely credited with winning Texas’ independence. They lost the battle, but won the war.

How often do we lose battles in our lives? We let pride creep in. We give in to fear, despair, selfishness. We try to work out our salvation on our own. We forget the Lord and fall into sin. It can feel like we will never be delivered from this struggle. We all know our own inner ugliness. Paul knew this battle well:

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:17-20, 24-25 ESV)

The battle is real, but don’t miss the victory in this passage. We are helpless to overcome our flesh and sin of our own effort, BUT thanks be to God! He has overcome, He has won the war. We can experience victory as we walk in the Spirit and not in the Flesh, because Christ has conquered sin!

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4 ESV)

Christ has done what we could not do. He has conquered sin and death, by becoming the payment required by the law and rising from the dead proving He is God. Those who have believed and have accepted this free gift of salvation can find hope in this life because of what has already been done (past tense) on our behalf.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:8-15 ESV)

Such powerful truths from Scripture. God has made us alive, He has forgiven our sins. He cancelled our debt. And then he triumphed over sin. In this life we will have battles. We will lose some. But we can take heart, we can be encouraged,

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:4 ESV)

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On a Personal Note: We are still waiting for our little son to arrive! We appreciate your prayers for continued patience as we are past the due date, and continued health for the baby! We can’t wait to introduce him to you!

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Do you love Me more than these?

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I have been contemplating this question a lot over the past week. For me, one of the biggest struggles with moving overseas and serving in Latvia is leaving my family and friends. I know I will be able to see them via Skype, and when we return to reconnect, but just the thought of knowing I will be halfway around the world without them close scares me sometimes. This is a big issue that I have had to work through over the years, but as things are becoming more of a reality that fear has been slipping back in. I hear the doubts of the tempter as he tries to discourage me away from the calling God has placed on our lives. And as the doubts come, I hear the still small voice asking, “Do you love Me more than these?” I reply, “Yes, Lord. I love You more.” “Then, follow me,” He gently responds. This is a continual process, as I work through my doubts and fears.

During this process, I was reminded of a couple interactions Jesus had with people desiring to follow Him. In Matthew 8:18-22, Matthew writes:

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (ESV)

These two men desired to follow Christ. One was asked to give up comforts; while, the other closeness of family. Ultimately, Jesus was calling them to decide. Would they follow Him no matter the cost? Would their allegiance to Him be above everything else?

Do you love Me more than these? Are you willing to follow Me where I lead? Do you trust Me? God is calling me to Latvia, and I will follow.

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~Thoughts from Tim

Family Reunion

Baby's first visit to Disneyland

Baby’s first visit to Disneyland

Family is essential because we all yearn to feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves. ~Laura Ramirez

This past week, we had the joy of spending time with Mary’s sister Rachel, Mary’s cousins Anne and Laura, Tim’s aunt and uncle and Tim’s immediate family on vacation. The end of our week in California culminated in a family reunion to celebrate Tim’s grandma’s 90th birthday where we were able to connect with 30+ relatives on the Dady side. We were so blessed to visit with many relatives Tim hadn’t seen in years, and introduce Mary to many of the Dady relatives for the first time. We both felt very welcome and at home. One of the reasons why this reunion was great was because we were immediately accepted because we are family. We were all connected by the common bond of being Dadys.

Grandma and some of the Dady cousins

Grandma and some of the Dady cousins

Tim with the nephews, CJ, Joey, and Danny

Tim with the nephews, CJ, Joey, and Danny

Sonic! with Rachel

Sonic! with Rachel

Sisterly love

Sisterly love

With Mary's cousins, Anne and Laura, and second cousin Daniel

With Mary’s cousins, Anne and Laura, and second cousin Daniel

Our relationships with these people were even sweeter when we shared another connection, a common faith in Jesus Christ. This is why the family of God is so beautiful, although we all come from different physical families,  we are one family in Christ. In Ephesians 2:19-22, speaking of the family of God, Paul writes:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

This reality is what spurs us on to serve youth in Latvia. For we long to see more and more people be added to the household of God. We rejoice that already this summer over 35 students have come to new faith in Christ through Josiah Venture camps in Latvia, and are now our brothers and sisters. We also find hope in the fact that we can find acceptance and rest in Christ. We are forever accepted into the family of God not because of any merits of our own, but only because of our faith in Jesus.

Simplify: Learning to Let Go

It is amazing how much stuff 2 people can accumulate. Especially if the yearly summer clean out was skipped over a few years in a row due to travelling overseas for camps. We have 2 really good reasons to hold on to less. 1) We need to make room for our baby (and all the gadgets and clothes that come with having a baby) and 2) We are preparing to move into a different place in the fall. So last Saturday we went at it. We took 2 car loads of stuff to Goodwill and at least 7 bags of trash out. Ahhh… so much better. We won’t miss any of it either.

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The next challenge will be selling some of our furniture and kitchen appliances. If you or someone you know is having a garage sale this summer, let us know! We are selling our round table (+ 6 chairs), dressers (x3), a cedar chest, loveseat and oversized chair, and kitchen appliances. If you are interested in any of those items and would like to support our ministry that way, send us a message and we can get you details. We didn’t show you an after picture of our storage room. That’s because, well, it is still in progress. Hopefully soon it will be a sweet place for our little one on the way. 

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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.