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

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Setkani: making women's ministry history

November 10-11 in CB Pardubice was the first Setkani! Setkani (which means "meeting" in Czech) is the first of four weekends that our women's ministry team will be hosting this school year. Agnes and Radka are the leaders of this time of training and inspiration, and did a masterful job teaching and guiding discussion!

Women from all ages gathered to think about how they can better serve, or begin to serve, the women in their churches. Here are some women from KrS denomination, Vsetin. About 25 women came from all different churches and from all over the country...the spirit of unity was amazing.

All of the feedback so far has been extremely encouraging. Many of us were able to connect with others and share ideas and recources. These women are, in the words of one, some of the most influential women in this country regarding women's ministry.

The training material was "Strategy of Christ's Ministry" from Sonlife as well as training in leading small groups. The teaching was interactive, with small group discussions. There was also a big discussion about the state of women's ministry in the Czech Republic. We have the freedom to serve, more materials are becoming available, but one big barrier seems to be fear. The great challenge is to formulate and keep a vision for serving women, and thereby expand the Kingdom!


the stuff of everyday life

Making covers for our journals: this year's girls' Bible study consists of me and Natalka, my lovely co-leader and 5 rockin girls from 15-16 years old. We meet on Monday nights and are going through Colossians. (L-R: Daria, Marka's hand and knee, Eunika, Aja, Noemi's arm and leg, and Natal).

Wednesday afternoon English club! Shown L-R are Radka, Johny, Linda, and Paja. Every year I vow to teach less English, and every year I end up teaching more. I have two E-clubs and three other conversation groups.

I laugh every time I see this picture! A going away party for Autumn and Jamie in Pisek (L-R: Autumn, Martina, Jamie and Martin Bauer's head).

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Heidi O in Czech!

Heidi and I on the square in Cieszyn, PL.

Heidi and ducks, during a walk in the nature (through which is being built a big highway to Slovakia, not shown)

It was one of those unexpected gifts that came at the perfect time...gifts that are so right, that it takes you a while to realize how right they are, and then you're stunned by the perfectness of them...this was what Heidi's visit was like for me. From our long talk about Pee Wee's Playhouse to our discussions on spiritual maturity, it was a meaningful time for me to relax with an old friend, laugh a lot, and mostly be spurred on by my sister. Thank you for visiting, Heidi!

In case you're like, "Where the heck is Heidi O.?" she's currently serving in Romania, and is open for whatever adventure the Lord has for her.

Why Europe Rocks: Reason #18

IKEA. Here's Heidi, Daniela, Breanne and her sister Leah at the Ikea in Ostrava. There's a million things I could write to express my love for Ikea, where to begin?...a sonnet, or hiaku...

Oh Ikea, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
I love thee for thy scratch and dent section, for the Poang design, for the sounds of children playing, for thine Swedish meatballs.
I love thee for thy primary colors and thy never-wrong instructions.
Ikea Ikea thou art to me, as a Swedish (sweetest) symphony,
of plastic trays and and a guided maze, through all that which is Ikea.



We love Beth Moore, or, BM 4-EVA!

Every Wednesday us 4 Svibice girls meet at the Ellenwoods with Amy (top right) and go through Beth Moore's "Living Beyond Yourself" Bible study. For all of us it's the highlight of our week. In case you've been following the ebb and flow of residents in our apartment, you'll recall that Monika left us last winter to get married, so for a while it was just me and Luc, and since the end of the summer we've been joined by Daniela (top left) and Breanne (bottom middle). Breanne is doing a 6 month internship with JV, which is unfortunately ending December 14th. She's a joy!

Breanne and I in Letovice, Sept 11-14

Breanne and Marketa with her friends in Lomnice

the Exit 316 group in the Lomnice high school dorm...the high school in this little town (about an hour away from Letovice) is focused on the hotel industry and tourism. It's a good school, so students come from all over to go there, hence the need for a dormitory. Sam and a team from the Letovice youth group go there every week and watch Exit 316 together and then break up into different rooms for discussion groups. When Bre and I visited, the topic was "image" and one leader made a comment about what he does in his free time with his Christian friends. One girl kinda started laughing and said, "What do Christians do in their free time? I don't even know any Christians...well, actually, now I know all of you." That afternoon she received a Bible and asked if Jesus wasn't married to Mary Magdalene, and then said that she'd never read the Bible before. Please keep praying for Exit 316 groups around the country!!!

Breanne as Vecernicek at the Letovice youth group's fairy tale character camp reunion party.

Why Europe Rocks: Reason #17

*Dada decked out as an Irish fairy*

Fairy Tales

Fairy tails are a huge part of Czech culture. Every holiday, instead of football games and parades, Czech TV stations show fairy tales. Many of these seem to have been made in the 50s-70s, so it's kind of like for young Czechs what The Sound of Music is for us...er, us who are around 30 (gosh, that sounds nice, huh? "Around thirty", like, as if I'm walking "around" it to get someplace else). When Breanne and I were at Letovice's big outreach fairy tale character party, they played this game where they divided everyone into groups and played a few seconds of the theme song for one of these TV fairy tales. The kids were going wild, screaming stuff like, "Ahhhh! 'The Proud Princess'!" (Pysna Princezna) and "Frozen Man! Frozen Man!" (Mrazik) and of course "Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella!" (Tri...you know). It was so cool to watch them bond over these fairy tales, even though for me I felt a pang of, oh yeah, I'm still a foreigner and nothing can change the fact that I grew up with Julie Andrews. But I've seen "Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella," and I liked it a lot, even though I'd never be able to recognize the theme song. And, as someone (I think Dada) said, "Now you know how we feel when we play Encore at camp training!"

For an interesting article about this in English,go to: http://www.radio.cz/en/article/74043


Trinec English Camp, Sept 27-Nov 1

Uuuunnnnooo! This English camp was a bit non-traditional. It was organized by a woman from our church who teaches Czech and English at a high school in Trinec (a city of about 50,000 right next to CT). About half of the students were from this industrial high school, and we were warned that they'd probably be rough. However, they were some of the sweetest students, and even though the collection of people at this camp was pretty random there was a real family atmosphere.

An interesting theme of the camp was that of being in a spiritual battle. It kept coming up in our conversations and Bible reading. As we talked with the students, it became clear why God was speaking that to all of us. Some of them are entrenched in some very deceptive beliefs. Even though none of them made a decision that weekend, we trust that God is working out his purposes in their lives. For sure, they experienced a love and acceptance that weekend that is supernatural. :)

Josiah Venture Fall Conference Sept 18-23

Every fall, JV hosts a training conference for its national and international missionaries and partners. This year, the theme was discipleship. The basic premise was that the source of disciplmaking is Christ in me and the goal of disciplmaking is Christ in you, and dave used this picture of a tree, rooted in Christ with 4 main roots and 4 main branches...well, I could go on and on. It was the most impactful teaching I've heard (Dave's teaching on the Holy Spirit being a close second!). I don't know how to say this without being cheesy, but since that conference I've experienced more of Jesus in my discipling relationships...most of it is because I feel desperate for him to speak and act through me, and also that HE is it, whoever I talk to really needs to meet with him more than anything. And, I love being with my kin from Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, etc etc etc!!!

NaMax 2006: Varnsdorf! Sept 11-17

Every year, Image 33 (a partner organizaton of Kam (JV/CZ) puts on a huge week-long evangelistic festival in a different city. Last year it was Cesky Tesin, and this year it was on the other side of the country on the German border in a town called Varnsdorf. I was there as the English lecturer, which meant I talked in local schools in the mornings and then hung out in the town in the afternoons, spending time with students. Tons of programs ran through out the week, such as tearooms, workshops, games, concerts and exhibitions, like this breakdancing one (above). That week the light of the gospel shone in a dark little city (17,000) that has one active church.

One of the most encouraging things from that week was the family I stayed with. The wife, Petra, told me this story about how she and the pastor's wife prayed for a year about how to minister to local prostitutes. In that area of the country, there's a highway to Germany that's notorious for prostitution. After they'd prayed, they then set out with small gifts and snacks for the women and talked to them about the Lord. Since those beginning days, the 2 women have joined forces with a group of Christian women from Germany who also want to serve the prostitutes, and are thinking even more about how to effectively serve them long term.

And a special thank you to Caroline for jetting up from Zagreb Croatia to spend some time at NaMax!

How beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news...