Leah Cox's blog of youth ministry in the Czech Republic with Josiah Venture (plus stuff)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Romama and Pichal's Wedding

Romana and Michal during the ceremony (photo by Greg Strock). Their wedding was beautiful, relaxed, and fun. They'll be living in Prague while Michal finishes seminary.

Romie and I afterwards. They got married in the park and the Lord gave them perfect weather! She looked like a elfin princess with her dress, hair, and necklace made by her husband.

Lucka and Romana at the big lunch for family and some friends.

The reception to end all receptions! The buffet and dancing were in a little wooden village in the mountains, and we kept warm with Bacchaeian-like*# festivity. A small traditional Czech folk band played and we danced like mad all night long...waltz, tango, polka or just running and spinning around the room.

* In the good sense of the word: clean, if wild, fun
# I don't know how to spell it

The Berg Girls in Czech

The Three Sisters at the Well of the Three Brothers in Cieszyn, Poland...check out that Paris Hilton, baby! The girls were here from August 9- 18 and we had a ball in Prague, Cesky Tesin, Frydlant, Krakow.

One thing that I really wanted was for my mom and aunts to be able to meet some of the important people in my life...here we are in Ebles cafe in Prague with Trevor and Cassie and Radka. In February during a camp training weekend, Romana had drawn out her discipleship web...those who had influenced her and those she influences. That got me thinking about those who have influenced me and the people who have influenced them. Aunt Sandy became a believer in the mid 70s and Aunt Barb and mom became Christians a couple years later, due to her witness. In 1979, I first prayed with Mom and asked Jesus to live in my heart. Having the three of them here was rich for me, connecting my godly heritage with the ministry I get to be involved in today. I loved having you here, Mom, Aunt Sandy and Aunt Barb (Basia:)!!!

At the party of the year at the Ellenwood's house. Nate's family was also in Cesky Tesin at that time, so we had the historic Meeting of the Moms: Janet Cox, Laura Hughes and Eva Zagorova. For over a year now, we have taken the junior high "your mom" jokes to a new level by referring to each others' mothers by name. (For example: Me: "This song stinks, who sings it?" Nate: "Janet.") It's all done in love, of course, and because of talking about Laura all year I felt very close to her when I met her. I think everyone felt the same about my mom, too, as well as being curious if my impressions of her were accurate ("Does her voice really sound like that?") I love you Mom!!!


Why Europe Rocks: Reason #15

It's a Pedestrian's Life

Before walking to the restaurant:

After walking to the restaurant:

I love walking. I think so much differently about time, speed, weight and distance now that I've been here a while...you know, the physics of walking. For example, the time it takes me to get from my grocery store, Billa, to my apartment is directly related to the weather, the amount of and distribution of groceries I'm carrying, if it's evening or day.... Also, unfortunately, the time it takes me to walk somewhere usually gets telescoped in my mind, and distances that are actually pretty substantial don't seem like much in the moment, specifically, in the moment when I'm explaining to my mom and aunts where the restaurant is and that "it's close." So when I took them to the restaurant on Petrin in Prague, I didn't expect it to be so, um, far. Or so steep. And because they're doing recontruction on the cable car that goes right to the restaurant, there was a lot of mud. And afterward, on the way down, it started to rain on us and our cute outfits, so we took a tram and the metro back to our hotel. But, like all of our misadventures during the trip, it ended up being a funny story...right, guys?


The Grandest Opening

About 150 young people gathered in the front of the room as Dave prayed.

August 6, the Sunday after Pisek camp ended, Elim church had their official grand opening of their new multipurpose building. Featuring a full on official basketball court with showers and locker rooms, meeting rooms, and an apartment, the church wants the building to be used to reach out to the community. This building project has been underway for a few years, and the church and its leadership have held on to faith through financial and governmental obstacles. Around 500 people attended the grand opening, many of them unbelievers. Dave gave the main message during the service, and after he spoke, Viktor invited all the young people in the room (25 years and younger) to come to the front and Dave prayed a blessing over them. The service was a beautiful fulfillment to a long awaited promise!

Iva, Dada, Bara and Sasa at the grand opening. Lots of students from camp came that Sunday, and many students are continuing to go to church and youth group.

Pisek English Camp

Peta, Paja and Lenka: these cute "little" girls grew so dear to my heart this week.

Kakuse and Houba living it up at the Hawaiian night party.

Pajinka spicing up her image with little umbrellas.

Petr hiding behind his camp book. He was a challenge, but a big sweetie too.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

follow up CT style

After every camp, there are 3ish days of follow up that happen in the town we had camp with. Students house the Americans and the youth group prepares fun stuff to do until the US team flies back home. CT follow up included motor cars and mini MINI bkies (lean into curves, Jarda!) and a big turkey picnic. It also included Luc and I housing some girls who don't live in CT and then having our toilet break and flooding the neighbors below us (it was water from the tank and not from the bowl, fyi, but the neighbor guy was still unhappy about it). Thankfully, Lucka's dad saved the day and now we have a new toilet. And the rest of follow up was fun. :) Ray G. and the Grace Church of DuPage team did a fantastic job hanging with the students and sharing God's love with them! AND a big thanks to Kelly and Erin from Chicago who stayed an extra 2 weeks for MORE follow up and spent time with the students from camp and youth group!

Cesky Tesin English Camp!

I love CT camp. It always feels like coming home: students that I see at English club, parties, and out and about are there and I totally enjoy being with them and our youth groups kids.

One night of Cesky Tesin camp was pretty difficult for me. The evening'’s talk was heavy, especially for the unbelieving students, and afterwards I had 2 intense discussions with some of my dearest kids about why they don't believe. That night I had a dream of film-like clarity. I was a social worker assigned to the case of a 10-year-old blonde boy who was being abused. The abuser was a massive man (also blonde) who was both scary and arrogant. For some reason, we didn'’t have enough proof to convict him. I spent the whole dream desperately looking for evidence so that the court would put a restraining order on this evil man. I found a videotape that proved his guilt, and then immediately woke up. I woke up sobbing, though, and the whole morning felt faintly depressed.

That afternoon, Mel and Amy visited the camp and I told Amy about the dream. She immediately exclaimed (referencing Mark 3:27), "Leah, YOU can't free these students from the strong man, only one who is stronger still can do that!" I started praying that Jesus would bind the strong man. A few days later, I ran across a verse that God had spoken to me in January that I had kinda forgotten about: "Can plunder be taken from the warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce? But this is what the Lord says: 'Yes, captives will be taken from the warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save'" (Is 49:24-25). That has been my prayer ever since, that the captives will be taken from the warrior and that "my children" will be saved from the strong man.

I feel expectant that this year the Lord will do just that for our Cesky Tesin students! Please join with us in praying for these kids, for our youth group, and for EXIT 316. Exit 316 is a Christian TV program that will begin airing Wednesdays, September 6 at 6pm. In CT, we plan on meeting in the youth room and watching it all together and then breaking up into discussion groups. PLEASE pray that our friends from camp will come and experience God's love and truth.