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

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What are YOU doing?

Ahhhh! What am I doing?

JV Kids' Camp, Croatia: August 20-26
Vacation with Lucka and Jitka, Croatia: August 26-31
Exit 316 Weekend, Tabor: Sept 5-6
NaMax Festival, Trinec: Sept 8-11
S. Bohemia Camp Reunion, Pisek: Sept 12
JV Fall Conference, Malenovice: Sept 22-27

Friday, August 15, 2008

Why Europe Rocks: Reason #34

Old Ukrainian men arguing politics on Lviv's square

Living History

"I speak German. I went to German school from 1943 to 45, but then the Americans came to Susice," the old brown eyes crinkled at the memory. "They stayed with us because we had a big house. There were tanks everywhere, and I got to ride in them and wear their helmets. I was 8 years old."

Today while Bonnie and I waited for the bus to Prague, this nice gentleman started talking to us about how his daughter lives abroad, how he wanted his children to travel as much as possible after communism fell. "[Right before communism] 22 of my friends left--America, Australia. They come back to visit sometimes. In those days, to travel you needed to have so many papers signed and then you were watched. It wasn't easy. I think about how it is for Northern Korea...."


Monday, August 11, 2008

Goodnight moon, goodbye team

Evicka hosted a garden party to say goodbye to Ben and Josh before they left. We were well loved by the Strakonice (and Pisek!) gang.

Ben and Josh go back to Amerika, Ben to school and Josh to adventure. These guys lived Christ boldly this summer and we're all going to miss them.

The most beautiful girls on the...square. On the Old Town square. Most of these summer interns flew home yesterday, but some did not, including my own Aubree (2nd from the right, purple dress) and also the amazing Bonnie (5th from the right, green paisley). These young women will be living with me and serving youth groups in the S. Bohemian region until December.

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Presov camp, Slovakia!

Team Building Exercise 99, mmm, 08. We did a lot of stuff like picking up potatoes with spoons blindfolded, putting tires over poles, throwing dough, carrying logs, shooting, running, squatting...yeah...

Nika and Anka, what dolls! Anka translated for our class and is one fabulous young woman. Nika has a heart of gold and this camp gave her a lot to think about.

Janka, me, Zuzka...these girls want to start going to Presov's youth group, yay!

Iveta and Zuzka, the sisters. Zuzka hated camp at first but loved it by the end, as well as her newfound sport frisbee :)


Why Europe Rocks: Reason #33


"I think if any youth group in the States played this, someone would get sued."

Okay, there's two teams on a small field with a line down the middle. One team sends a person across who takes a deep breath and says "Hututututututu..." while s/he is on the other team's side. That teammate tries to tag as many people as possible before running out of breath while on the opposing team's side. But the opposing team is trying to keep that person on their side as long as possible until the person runs out of breath. This is done by grabbing and tackling. If you're tagged, you're out, if you get stuck on the other team's side, you're out. Oh, and if you forget you're not supposed to take a breath and start screaming, you're out.


what I learned this summer: giving my/self away

This pic is only to illustrate, I don't think Josh and I were conflicting :)

Back in college, my favorite verses were always the radical ones, about Jesus coming to bring fire on earth or being crucified with him or beating my body to make it his slave--you know, those verses. My IV friends and I all read "My Heart, Christ's Home" and wanted to give up all for God. That theme has cycled in and out of my life, and this summer it was back in full force. Being at the Matt Redmond concert marked the advent: do I really want Jesus to take it all? Am I ready to live a life of selfless praise? What does that mean? Having Ben, Josh and Aubree with me as living reminders helped, too. Their passion and eagerness to do whatever, go anywhere, at any price rekindled something dormant. I found myself asking the Lord what the next steps are for me to live fully for him.

Coming into the summer, I felt wary and distant. I'd been thinking through the issue of trust, trusting people, for several months with no conclusion. I had this sense of holding back from others, even if I did trust them, and I couldn't get past that. I talked to Amy about it, and she asked if I was confronting others, maybe that was where I was holding back. It was.

I hate confrontation, because I don't want to be wrong and hurt someone unnecessarily. I also hate being the bad guy, and I don't like having to defend myself. So, as much as I can, I avoid conflict. But that's not life, and that's definitely not ministry. And it is also the very place God was asking me to stop holding back and to start giving my self to him and to my brothers and sisters.

So I had honest, confrontational talks with several people this summer. I neither went about it all perfectly nor was I always right. But I was obedient. And it was good. And I knew I was giving all of me away, to God and to people.

I can see, though, where my habitual lack of confronting/speaking the truth in love has been detrimental. Even at my best (most faithful) I still was a bit too passive, a bit too weak, too slow. This is an area that needs more discipline and training year round, not just seasonally. That realization doesn't sadden me, but rather resolves me to strengthen my feeble arms and weak knees. :)