JV Conference on Psalm 23

I wrote this in reflection after attending our annual Josiah Venture family spring conference. Our president, Dave Patty, prepared all the teaching for the conference based on shepherding, our Great Shepherd, Jesus, and Psalm 23.
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He leads me beside still waters. 
He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. 
I will fear no evil in the valley of the shadow of death.
  •  Going into countless high schools over the past weeks to teach English in their class periods and advertise for camps
  • working with the department of education on some volunteer projects
  • doing EXIT Tour twice in 3 months with the same city
  • scheduling Fusion concerts as follow-ups after EXIT
  • launching a new Fusion in a new town with a new Department of Education…
 Honestly, often these activities are in direct stand against the enemy of hell, who wants to ruin our ministries. It can be hard to connect these activities with still waters because often the atmospheres feel far from still. Perhaps valleys of the shadow of death is the better Psalm 23 phraseology, because the level of skepticism, fear, and even hatred toward the Protestant church, and sometimes towards us as individuals.
 
For example, all in one day…
  • Parents were making Facebook comments that our EXIT tour band, Crossfya, is a sect.
  • One school denied partnership completely.
  • Another school in another town just threatened to cancel the Fusion launch concert.
  • Meeting parents of pupils on the street, hearing that their parents won’t let them come to camp or hand out with us.
 This is the spiritual atmosphere we work in. It is exhausting all the time in this spiritual persecution-prone region of Western Ukraine. I am thankful for the rod, the staff, the banquet table and the oiled head, which we also see as word pictures in Psalm 23. Great reminders that the Shepherd is neither startled nor stressed by my above-mentioned issues, and that I really lack nothing when entering into these daily conflicts.
On a lighter note, here is a picture of my incredible husband, playing JV Pictionary at the conference with some other fearless team leaders. I so appreciate Ben’s ability to enter into all of the chaos of the spiritual climate of this region and be a firm anchor. He is steadfast and has a firm foundation in our Lord in difficult times. I am so thankful to be in this with him.
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