Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Johnny and I have been on this journey for almost a year now. This time last year we were planning what we thought was just our regular summer missions trip to the Czech Republic. We had no idea of the life-changing events God had planned for us on this trip.
It is always sweet to return to spend a week with our dear Czech friends, old and new. Camps are an intense week of teaching all morning, afternoon activities that usually do not include naps of any sort, evening activities of games, songs, testimonies given by different team members and talks given by Alan Carter, our pastor. After that, there is still much visiting and conversation that continues often late into the night. Then everything starts all over again around 6:00 in the morning. It is a great week filled with the sweetness of being together with friends, laughter, games, prayer times, worship and running on adrenalin.
After camp last year, maybe one of the best we had been privileged to participate in, we traveled home with Martin and
Daša Keller. We planned to take a few days and just relax. Martin and Daša are members of the little Church in Zlín, where Martin serves as a deacon. They live in the spa town of Luhačovice .

Two of the buildings we discovered in our walk along the stream in the spa town of Luhačovice .

You can find out more about the spa town if you follow this link.

The following link is to a brochure with pictures and tourist information for the area.

The spa town in the territory of Luhačovice has 16 sodium hydrocarbonate acidulous springs and one sulphurous spring which bubble to the surface. Every hour, 15 thousands litres of mineral water reach the surface, containing a large amount of dissolved mineral elements, particularly sodium, calcium, magnesium, chlorine, bromine, iodine, carbonic acid, dissolved carbon dioxide. The temperature of the spring water fluctuates between 10 - 12 °C. The most famous springs, and often the goal for many walks and obligatory stops by spa guests are Vincentka, Aloiska, Ottovka, the springs of Dr. Šťastný and St. Joseph.

A view of the spa town of Luhačovice

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How it all began: Blessing and Trouble, God's leading of a clueless people: Us

God is always moving and changing, arranging and rearranging our lives so that we can see Him more clearly. He consistently uses situations and circumstances that we think little or nothing about, at the time, to change the course of our life. If you search the Scripture, you begin to see this all throughout. People going about their life's business, only to be met with the unexpected: God.

That is the way that this journey with God began. In 1996 Johnny's company, Barron Industries, was hired to install fans in a plant in Poland. He was charged with the responsibility to secure another Polish company to build some 40% of the manufactured product. Therefore, he was required to make several trips to review and secure the services of a Polish fan manufacturer.

As God would have it, the nearest major airport in and out of the area was Prague. Our church, Faith PCA, had a long standing relationship with Sid and Louise Anderson, who at that time were living in Prague. And Johnny, being Johnny, called them up and arranged to meet with them on his way through Prague. Sid and Louise welcomed him into their home and their lives. He was able on occasion to see some of the work that they were doing to plant a church in that city. This was exciting to see, but even then we were so clueless as to just how God would use this in our lives.

Because of problems with the fan installation, Johnny had to take many trips to Poland, probably a total of 10-12 in all over the next 2 years. On each of these, he would stop and visit with Sid and Louise. Their visits became the bright spot in the difficulty with the job. All the while, little knowing that God had even more planned.

In one of John Piper's books, he makes the comment that in the difficulties of life, God is at work, moving and changing our circumstances around so that He can bless us more. That truth is very difficult to see in the midst of trouble, maybe because we don't believe that God wants more for us than what we want ourselves. For all too often, I find that I would just be content if I had comfort. That was part of the struggle the Israelites had. They would trade the presence of God in their lives for the comfort they desired. Sad to say most of us still struggle with doing the same thing. We would like heaven on earth and be quite content if we had it, even without God. But praise be to our glorious, gracious and merciful God! He does not give us what we desire, but changes our desires, so that He becomes the desire of our hearts. Christ becomes our Life.

God wants us to see Him. Everything He does in our lives is all to that one great end. That is His promise to us upon the death of His Son. So, even in this difficulty there was more than we could have ever seen. His plan was still unfolding.