Wednesday 20 April 2016

An Online Retreat

One Sunday in April I hopped into my car and drove a few hours north to Wroclaw (which, I promise, is not pronounced how you'd think... welcome to Poland, everybody). I was, weirdly, headed to an online retreat!

The online retreat was organised by an online website and community for missionary women. And, being a website for missionaries, naturally the readers are literally all over the world! So they planned an online retreat - there were video teaching sessions and testimonies, and notes for the talks you could download to use.

The theme of the teaching and testimony times was fear. One of the key texts we looked at was Psalm 23 - I had never noticed how many verbs in that Psalm are things that God does, and how we "act" is we lack nothing, lie down, walk through the valley, fear no evil and dwell in His house. 

But they had thought through even more details than that - there were colouring in pages, playlists of music, suggested recipes (with ingredients that are easy to source, wherever you may be)... and even a "yoga" session (throughout which we were meditating on Scripture).

Kelly, my friend and a JV missionary alongside her husband in Poland, invited me to do the retreat with her and it was such a great time! I'm so grateful for our friendship and how we were able to process what we were learning together and apply it to our lives.

It also meant I was able to meet and hang out with their adorable puppy.

I even enjoyed the extended time driving (although this trip is a lot smaller than any of my summer drives will be) - it was good for time to process, and listen to music, sermons and podcasts.

I'm really grateful for people who creatively use technology for God's kingdom and to serve others! And for my time in the beautiful Wroclaw, with my friends and doing this retreat.

Sunday 17 April 2016

A visit from a friend!

My guest room all ready for its visitor!

In April I had a visitor from Northern Ireland! I'm so glad that Czech and Northern Ireland aren't so far apart and I'm so grateful for the many visitors I've had over the past three years.

It was a joy to have Rachel here for a couple of days, as part of her trip to Czech. We spent time at Malenovice (in the rain!), where our story in the Czech Republic began. There were a few other coffee shops on our agenda, as well as time wandering through the town I call home. And Rachel brought some wonderful NI treats, from herself and others, which were a really beautiful taste of home!

I am so grateful for this friendship and the time we got to spend together. Thanks for coming to visit, Rachel!

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Saint Patrick's Day!

One of the fun things about moving to a new place is figuring out how to celebrate your culture and traditions in that new place.

This year was my third Saint Patrick's Day in Czech and the Yorman family and Evans family came over to my flat to eat Irish Food (deconstructed shepherd's pie.. because when I first moved here my oven didn't work and so began another tradition). 

The Yormans have been coming over every year and each time another few people join us - usually visiting guests. It was really fun to have my home full and watch the VeggieTales Saint Patrick's Day video with everyone. Saint Patrick was an incredible man and it's great to have an excuse to celebrate where I'm from with great people!

Sunday 10 April 2016


Easter had a delightful blend of cultures and events this year. Firstly, I found these beautiful treats at Tesco this year! Such a small, little, thing in the grand scheme of things but definitely something I was very thankful for! I'm still hoping for the day that Dairy Milk is for sale here, and Creme Eggs too!

At church on Easter Saturday all the girls from youth group gathered and we had a Passover meal. It was really interesting to learn about all the different parts of the meal, and it was a good time of hanging out and celebrating our Passover Lamb who died once and for all. (And, don't worry, that is most definitely grape juice in all those glasses!)

On Sunday morning we had church! And it was a beautiful celebration of the resurrection. After church on Sunday I hopped on a train to the nearby home of some JV missionaries. We spent the afternoon round the fire pit, eating good food, spending time together, and rejoicing in all God has done for us!

It was a good Easter celebration - and I'm so thankful that we have such a glorious reason to celebrate! 

Monday 4 April 2016

S-Team Retreat

An Englishman and a Welshman making breakfast.

The result! And, yes, those are British sausages - smuggled over in airplane hand luggage.

In March we had our annual S-Team retreat. Despite how non-excited some of the people in these photos look it was a great time! I love serving alongside this team of people!

We had a really great time talking through our different ministries, the "special" ministries that exist in different JV countries. We spent time talking through Fusion, Edge, Exit, and Camps, as well as time discussing the ministries altogether. We also spent time dreaming and praying and there were some really exciting plans that came out of this time.

It is also just good for us to all be together, something that doesn't happen all that often, and eat and hang out. I love that I get to serve as part of this team in what God is doing in these nations!

Friday 1 April 2016

Advance Conference

A couple of days after returning from Israel I went to Malenovice where the Advance Conference was happening. I had heard one of the speakers, Benjamin from India, back in 2013 when he was in Saintfield and I knew I wanted to hear him again!

In our countries, where less than 1% know Jesus as their Saviour, the reality is, if we want to see these nations changed for Christ, we need more churches. As an organisation we are praying for one thousand new churches!

And that's why Advance conference exists - it's a conference for church planters or those interested in church planting in central and eastern Europe. 

Our second speaker was Olvind from Norway (and I really hope I'm spelling his name correctly).

These two men were really inspiring with what they shared about how God is on the move in Norway and in Asia. And the thing that stunned me was how wonderfully simple it is - they boldly proclaim the Gospel, take the Word of God incredibly seriously, and focus on making disciples who make disciples.

We talked about how it all comes from God - it's His movement, His Gospel and His work. But how beautiful it is that He invites us to partner with Him! And we need to be persistent and faithful in that partnership - as we disciple those in our care, and as we share the Gospel with those around us. 

Here is a simple video about discipleship from BigLife, the ministry Benjamin is involved with:

This is Discipling from Biglife on Vimeo.

And you can check out a video explaining more about BigLife here.