Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Youth Group that lives down the hall

We used to have our own youth group. 
Actually, we had two.
One for Jr. High kids and another for Sr. High kids.
Remember that?
Leading games, Josh with his guitar and a row of teenage guys standing next to him, strumming for all they were worth as we belted out, "Pharaoh Pharaoh! Oh, baby let my people go!"
(Ok so this is actually from our interning days under Steve Keels but you get the idea.  Hi Joe!)

And then somewhere along the line, we started training young leaders.  And those young leaders became very competent!  They started leading games, music, giving great messages at youth group.

We are so proud of the generation of young leaders that have grown up here in Slovenia!  Students and young adults who are loving each other and sharing the gospel of God and their lives as well.  Youth groups, music groups, sports teams, small group bible studies; all of them designed to reach out to young people. 

It's just that it happened so fast!  It turns out that I'm the mom of a bunch of those young leaders now!  Last week we were discussing getting Kendra to her Jr. High group on time.  I told her that we would just meet her brother Blake there.  I casually said, "I know he's got the message tonight so I'm sure he'll be on time." 

And then I heard myself. 
I got all emotional as I realized that even now we are turning over responsibility to yet another generation of young leaders. 
 I'm proud of these young leaders.  Especially the ones who live down the hall from us!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Days until Christmas

Before I was married I just assumed that we would spend one year with my husbands family and the next year with my family.  That's the way it was when I was growing up.  Why would it be any different when I got married?  Maybe because I married into the Patty Family!  They have always lived in different countries and been spread around the world since long before I came around!  So we have seen each other for Christmases.  Sometimes we get Christmas with one brother or the other.  Sometimes Mom and Dad have come to visit.  Once we were in the states for a couple months on furlough and got to spend the holiday with my parents.  But the idea of flying all of us back to the states at high season for just a couple of weeks has never been a viable option.  Until now.

Decorating the tree last year.  Can you see Kendra in the corner?  She thinks she's so funny!

Rebecca in 2012 decorating the tree.

Every 3 years or so the Patty Family tries to have some kind of a reunion.  Each year we get a little smaller as the grand kids are involved with jobs, getting married and starting families of their own.  We realized we are reaching the end of being able to count on all of us being there.  We sat around the lunch table with Josh's brother Dave saying, "How and when could do this with all of us?"  Christmas came up and right after it the realization that our family is the only one overseas this year.  With the rest of the siblings being in the states we wondered if this might be the year for us to do our first ever Patty Family Christmas!

So the result is that we are counting down the days until our first ever Christmas in Denver!  And we are so excited!  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

One year ago tonight.....

It was one year ago tonight that Klemen came over for dinner and joined us for family night.  That really wasn't unusual.  He's done it so many times!  We laugh because when he first started popping in on the one night of the week we reserve for just "us" time; no one really had the heart to turn him away.  When there finally was a night he didn't show up we all felt like it just wasn't family night without him!

But one year ago was a particularly special family night.  It was the night we all drew our own version of what Luke is holding in this picture:  The Bridge Illustration
We were having dinner on the back porch.... you can see everyone sitting there in the back ground.  That's Klemen in the red shirt. Josh had said to the kids, "Next week all of you (even Luke) are headed to English camp.  While you are there you will meet some people who don't know Jesus and don't realize that He died to pay for their sins.  I want all of you to be able to explain the Good News with nothing but a napkin."  

We always make a plan for family night.  Sometimes it's just a movie or going for a walk and other times it's a discussion or even a lesson.  We'd decided this would be our family night before we knew that Klemen was going to join us.  We had been sharing with him over the years but in recent days we'd been discussing more and more what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus.  So we charged ahead with our plan for the night and everyone got a marker and a napkin and started to draw.

We drew mankind and God separated by sin.  Alongside were written the verses Romans 3:23 and 6:23.  Next we drew a cross as a bridge between the two and wrote across it John 3:16 because God loved us so much that He sent his one and only Son.  Then we drew an arrow showing that while we can believe we have to respond by doing what Romans 10: 9 &10 talks about and confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.  

Klemen took careful notes and wrote down each verse and translated the important words into Slovene like Confess, Believe and Accept.  He slept over that night and after the guys had turned the lights out Blake asked him, "Where do you think you are at with God?"  They had a great talk!  And I LOVE to hear Klemen tell it.  I'll never forget him telling me the next day, "My heart just started pounding out of my chest because as Blake was explaining things to me I started thinking, 'Whatever he tells me to do next I'm going to do!'" And he did!  That night, one year ago tonight, Klemen accepted Jesus payment for his sins and asked Him to be his Lord and his Savior.  

We have seen the fruit of his decision all year long and we are so proud of him. This year Blake and Klemen are part of the Slovene staff team at English camp (and Becca too).  Would you pray for them as they continue to lead others as they follow Christ? All three of them are a part of the band leading songs at camp. Klemen will also be a part of leading the late night events.  We are praying that many more young Slovenes would know what it means to accept that gift and know and love God.   And we are praying that He'll use Klemen and people like him to do just that!  

Just one more piece..... this spring Klemen decided to be baptised at our annual church retreat to Crkvenica.  If you'd like to hear him give his testimony in person you can click on this link: here

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A fresh new look

Here's Becca back in January 2012 just before we jumped in the car to go get her braces on.  Although she has always had a pretty smile, some of the teeth you couldn't see needed the work.  I will admit I felt a bit nervous about working with an orthodontist in a second language; but since both Josh and I had braces as kids we knew it would be inevitable that some of our children would need to navigate this hurdle here in Slovenia.

The Lord led us to Dr. Pavšič and we liked him right away!  He spoke clearly and kindly and (at that time) had his grey hair pulled back in a pony tail. He has to be the grooviest orthodontist I've ever met!
It's only been a year and a half long process and I don't think Becca has minded them at all.  In fact I suspect she might even miss them.  Braces are the new black, y'know.  
But today all that changed and here is our finished product!  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Same kind of warm as Dad

Josh's brother Dave is our boss and the president of JV.  He writes a letter every month and sends it out to the folks who give and pray for the different ministries around Eastern Europe.  It's a great letter and if you are interested in receiving it let me know and I'll get you on the list.  When I read them I always get a sense of the genuiness of real people, following the Lord on His agenda. 

This month he wrote this letter.  I just had to copy it here on our blog for you all to read. I can't wait for Luke to get home from school this afternoon to read it to him! 
Dear Friends,
One of the challenges of living overseas is that family is often very far away.   Our parents live across an ocean, and now so do two of our kids, studying at college in the States.  So it is a special treat for me to have my brother Josh on the Josiah Venture team, leading our ministry in Slovenia. 
I was with him last week and enjoyed a wonderful evening being family and talking about what God is doing in Slovenia.  Relating to his delightful children was a special joy for me.
As I was on my way home to Czech, Josh’s wife, Kristi , sent me a text message with a  quote from their six year old son Luke.  “I miss Uncle Dave”, he said.  “He’s the same kind of warm as my dad.”
Way to make your uncle’s day, Luke!  I had a long drive to smile about that one. 
But then I started looking at the towns and villages I was passing through.  So few of the people who live there know Jesus.  Because of that, they are far, very far away from God’s family.  
What could possibility reach them?  For most, God is either a relic from the past, or an icon from the old, empty stone church in the center of town. 
Luke’s comment tapped into the dream I have for the Josiah Venture team.  That we would be the “same kind of warm” as our Dad, to these people. That our presence would bring the Father near to everyone we meet.  
In the middle of September our entire team gathers together for the JV Fall training conference.  Our theme is the lost, and how we can reach more of them with the good news of Jesus.
Thanks for helping us bring Him near,
Dave Patty
President, Josiah Venture

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

My Fazana!

Rebecca after her first day of school
This isn't the normal picture I've seen moms posting on Facebook for the first day of school.  But out of all the pictures we took on Monday, this just seemed to be the one that said it all!  It's the annual tradition here that the upperclassmen get to write the letter F all over the new Fazani (Freshmen) and they got Rebecca good!  But as you can see, she's loving every minute of it!

You might remember that there were some tense days for us regarding school this spring.  In April it was time to turn in high school applications.  We prayed about it, listened for the Lord's leading and Rebecca felt led to Gimnazia Poljane and specifically to the Classical Program which has a strong emphasis on languages including Latin.  Josh and I both agreed with her and so she put in her application.

During that waiting period we really felt the truth that faith is a muscle; the more you use it the more it grows!  We started to hear rumors about the point system and how high it was at Poljane.  Then we heard that all the kids who applied to Blake's school made it because they had extra space.  We began to doubt if she should have applied there.  Even some kids from school started giving her a hard time and telling her that Poljane wasn't for her and she'd never make it in.

One day she came home and told us about how she had told classmates that she felt like this was where God was leading her.  But she was beginning to get nervous.  What if she didn't make it in and He looked bad or she looked like a lunatic?  We remembered the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and how they had said, "We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Dan. 3:17-18

Rebecca joined them in saying, I know you've led me here God.  You do what you think is best.  I'm not holding you to a place where you have to do this for me.  I still trust You.
Rebecca and Josh at the Croatian coast
While we were still waiting to hear if Rebecca had been accepted she told this story and told the people at our church retreat that she wanted to mark this waiting period with an act of obedience.  So in May Josh baptised her in the Adriatic Sea and we waited on the Lord.  

The next week she met with a woman to test her to see if she should receive an exception for school entrance because it appeared she wouldn't have quite enough points for acceptance.  Rebecca said it was such a delightful experience.  This woman said she could see that despite the challenge of language that Rebecca seemed just the sort of person who would do well in high school.  And with a little bit of help from tutors she expected she would do quite well. On that day Rebecca received an exception and Poljane has accepted her.  

She started on Monday and is loving every minute of it already!  She still has to study hard and prove that she's earned this exception but our girl is growing into a young woman who is trusting the Lord with all the unknowns and believing He can rescue her at any moment and in the way that He thinks best.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Welcoming the Werdebaugh Family

Yesterday our new teammates, Shawn and Christena Werdebaugh arrived in Slovenia!  We are delighted to have them and their 4 sweetie pie kids stay with us during this next transition to their new home.   At dinner tonight I got a hint of the amazing story the Lord has woven to direct them here.  It just reminds me that when we obey He takes care of how it will all come about!