I am 37 weeks pregnant with our baby boy (yep, it's a boy). Our twins were born at 34 weeks, so we are happy to have made it this far. Much of our weekends these past two months was spent painting rooms, refinishing furniture, and moving stuff around our house to get ready for this little guy's arrival. I think we're ready.
To be honest, I have had fear that Number Four (we'll give him a name when he arrives) will limit my capacity. When our boys started preschool last January, I began to increase my involvement and expand the ways I serve in JV and in our community. A few months later, I found out I was pregnant. The truth is, my capacity will be limited, for awhile. However, this week, Brian and I had dinner with Dave and Connie Patty, and they helped us to think practically about ways I can be involved, use my gifts, and serve JV in the next few years. This conversation meant a ton to me personally.
Also, I recently finished reading The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis. After finishing the book, I began to pray and share with God all the emotions I was feeling, a lot regarding having four kids. As I was praying, I got a picture in my mind of our family of six standing on the edge of heaven (much of the imagery came from the book). I saw Brian, myself, Cece, Gabe, Alex, and this little toddler boy bounding through a field toward these mountains where heaven awaited. Then, I heard the Spirit say, "This baby is eternal."
In these next few months, I so desire to keep eternity and Christ's Kingdom in mind.
This year was JV's biggest fall conference ever, with close to 300 young leaders attending from 13 different European countries. I still remember when Brian told me, "I think there are going to be 300 people at this conference!" Because he carries a lot of details, he had excitement and a little fear in his eyes as he said it!
The first challenge was figuring out where they would even put 300 people for the sessions. The solution was a semi-permanent tent that our conference center added to their facility a few weeks before the conference started.
300 young leaders gathered in what ended up being a pretty sweet tent to receive training on how Christ modeled discipleship and how to multiply your ministry.
One of the first times I was trained in this material, ministry according to the life of Christ, was by Dan Hash in 2002 at JV intern training. I remember thinking:this is so good; why don't all ministries just study Christ and how he did ministry?
This year, JV is celebrating its 20th anniversary. During Fall Conference, one of the evenings was dedicated to a celebration of all that God has done in Central and Eastern Europe through JV in these past 20 years. (Read more about it on Connie's blog.)
While I wasn't apart of JV 20 years ago, I did start serving short-term with JV in 1998. I also lived with the Hashes in the summers of 2002 and 2003 where I had the privilege of hearing a lot of stories from those early years.
20 years ago, two families, the Pattys and the Hashes, took a step through an open door to do Kingdom work in a part of the world where the church was almost dead. They just came. They didn't always know exactly what they were doing, but they did one of the most brave things that anyone I know has ever done. I'm just walking in the path they paved.
Here's a video that shows the fruit of that bold beginning. More people in this part of the world now know Jesus. To be even a small part of that is truly an honor.