General Updates

Farewell Blog: All Good Things Come to an End

Wow. This has been a journey of around twelve years of writing “the early years of our family’s story as a young missionary couple headed to Lviv, Ukraine”. There are several reasons why our season of blogging has come to an end. The straw that broke the camel’s back is that we just became non-residential […]

Once-Every-Two-Year US Observations

It is inevitable – traveling fairly seamlessly between cultures still makes for some interesting discoveries/observations while being back in the US. I apologize ahead of time for the sarcasm. It is always a bit strange to come back. Even my kids experience interesting moments, like visiting a public library for the first time. I know […]

Thanksgiving and Early Dec. Holiday Videos 2017

(These are all videos prior to our home assignment in the US.) It’s always a joy to spend Thanksgiving with friends when you can’t be with family. We sometimes celebrate in Ukraine; sometimes we make the trip to Czech Republic (we had a brutal border wait on the way home that sometimes makes the CZ […]

JV Mini Videos: Part 2: Why Short-Term Teams Are Amazing

JV does over 120 camps a summer, and we are always in need of short-term teams. *Warning! Uwaga! This is not your typical short-term missions trip! Peer evangelism for teenagers in your youth group takes youth ministry to another level! Thanks to churches like EVFree Fullerton, CA, who are faithful to equip their teenagers and […]

A Series of JV Videos: Part 1

Josiah Venture is blessed to continue developing its Communications Team. This summer and fall, there was a team of very talented young artists who created some new video series for JV. I am crazy about anything JV releases, because these are faces that we know. These are young people who are part of the movement […]

Love Has No Boundaries

“Friends come in all shapes and sizes,” I remind all new foreigners who join our team. When you move overseas, the concepts of friends greatly changes. You become kind of a free agent, and you also recognize that you may not find 100% of the characteristics or qualities that you more easily could have when […]

Lunch at Yale with Dr. Powell, Anyone?

If I could be anywhere for work on December 6th, this is where I would like to be. I’ve already blogged about this book. It’s great. I’d love to publish a book like this about my findings of partnerships with churches, teenagers, and public schools for holistic youth development…someday. But until then, I can dream […]

It’s All Grace and It’s All God’s Money

When on vacation in Malta, I was rereading Ann Voskamp’s “1,000 Gifts”. It is one of my lifelong all-time favorite books.  One of my favorite parts is how she deeply ponders, if people who are spared by tragedy can proclaim “It’s only by God’s grace that ____”, then what do people who face deep tragedy […]

While Translating a Legal NFP Document…

Who are we really? This is a question that many school administers and parents ask when they see the work of our national organization, Epokha 2.2, in Ukraine. Here are just a few blurbs from our legal charter/document/statute that help put some structure around our activities in this nation, where investment in young leaders is […]

Josiah Venture Fall Conference 2017

The JV Fall Conference 2017 was one of the busiest 9 days of my life. I keep asking myself why? It was “just another trip to Czech”, for we make several trips to eastern Czechia (new name for their country!) every year. Same old, same old. But this time it wasn’t. We were leading master […]

Indian Summer Days of Hope

This week finally had some Indian Summer days. October 17th…we’ve been waiting long enough for it. Why do we love Indian summer days? Because they lift our spirits, change our moods, give us hope that winter hasn’t sunk in just yet. Indian Summer days also point us to the fields and give us another look […]

Best Summer Moments: Something Just Like This

Our family loves FUSION, the rock/pop choir ministry that invites teens into a music community and also shares love and Christ with them. They spend the school year rehearsing rock and pop songs (in their national language, as well as in English), as well as a few Christian songs. They get the chance to not […]

Another Round of Bibles

Are you familiar with the Jesus Storybook Bible? Many Christians who have something to do with children are familiar with this bestselling children’s Bible. We got it in English from my elementary school best friend, Rachel Warner, when Marissa was born. We read it often. It’s not an easy-to-read Bible, so Ben and I still […]

The Bibles Are Here!!!

Praising God today for the fact that 5,000 Ukrainian/English dual translation New Testaments are here! Thanks to incredible contacts through teammate Edik Kurat (Ternopil), we found drivers willing to drive them in with their trucks and with the status needed to bring things into Ukraine (like Bibles) without having to pay an import tax. Pray […]

When the Blog Was Young

I saved this photo for an “epic blog post” that I was going to write, which never got written. I was going through a Disney phase. And I was really loving my phone (even though I broke my screen in line for a long-awaited Dr. Pepper at EuroDisney.) I even have a half-written blog still […]

The 2017 Credo Group

We hit an all-time record of 47 people in our apartment last Thursday. (Check out the floors.) I loose track of the parties and fun we have in our flat, but I am pretty sure we’ve never had 47…although that one New Life/15-intern lunch of 2014 might have been pretty close… The following Tuesday we […]

The Emotions of August

The end of August always brings two feelings. One is pure bliss! Camp season is over; God got us through with great camps, short-term teams, interns, lots of lessons learned along the way, and tons of teenagers with whom we got to share Jesus. In August, schedules slow down. Summer vacation is right around the […]

I Got My Mind Set On You

As a child of the 1980s, this George Harrison song was one of my all-time favorites. But I am realizing its significant spiritual component as this message “setting our minds on” pertains to Jesus Himself. When you commit to being a youth leader – a discipler of the next generation – you are signing yourself […]

Friends Who Go The Distance

“Good morning, August 1st. You have been looming for quite some time now. I’m thankful that you are now in my past.” August 1 was our Year 1 paper deadline for our Fuller program. Honestly, writing a forty-page stab at the first section of a dissertation has been probably the hardest academic thing I have ever […]

How Netflix Documentaries Are Changing My Life

Do you believe that God can speak to you through any means? I was visiting a Fusion rock/pop choir camp a few weeks ago, and our youth pastor, Syava, was leading a 16-person small group(!) (We had that many kids register for both of our church’s local camps with JV, and since evening  program is […]

Walking in the Footsteps of Faith

Just recently, Ben and I were reminiscing about our Lockheed Martin days. As a part of their Leadership Development Program, we had the opportunity to sit in on executive meetings and observe high-level directors and leaders in their sweet spots. They cast vision. They appointed those who are great executors to their teams in order […]

Malenovice, CZ Event Center Fundraising

Recently our Ukraine team has been responsible for covering a week in July in the prayer room. That means finding 24 people per day to cover one hour of on-line interactive prayer, interceding for Josiah Venture and for God’s movement in Central and Eastern Europe. When it is our team’s weeks to cover, I find […]

Celebrating 10 Years of New Life English Camps!

We praise God with our whole hearts for this milestone! Ten summers ago we prepped with our New Life Church team for a “camp of a different kind”. JV Camps are unique, in the sense that they have specific themes, logos, training and strategies, in order to equip local churches to reach the campers all […]

I Love This Town!

Who remembers that line from Ghostbusters? I think it was Winston Zedemore who yelled it as they went out to fight spooks in Manhattan. I can’t agree more. I love this town. Ten years and Lviv hasn’t grown old for even a second. I have found, over the years, that I love reading about the […]