Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Internationals and a Playground

Life right now is full of meeting new people. This can be a challenge sometimes, but I also get pretty excited at the opportunity to make connections and grow in relationships too! I'm about 56% introverted, after all, so that 44% extrovert has to come out somewhere...not that those tests are conclusive anyways!

I mostly get to know people in my church, but I have yet to discover the international community here in the western suburbs of Chicago. I have heard rumors that there are quite a few internationals in the area, and I have been wanting to meet them! I would love to connect with people in these local communities; and since I'm new, I figured a good place to start would be with internationals, since we would automatically have a connecting point.


I started praying a little while back, and asking the Lord for some of those relationships to form. Not only does it fill my heart with joy to connect with people from around the world, but I pray I can be of service to them too. My ears and eyes have been open towards any opportunity to meet new friends as I've taken walks and gotten to know the neighborhood sidewalks and prairie paths.

Guess what?? God is already answering those prayers. I was swinging at the playground (because who doesn't love swinging, right? I guess I am a Children's Ministry major...), when I saw a mom and her young toddler playing a little ways off. I guessed from afar that they might be Eastern European, then heard a familiar sounding language, so I went over and said hi. Sure enough, this family is from Romania, and we had such a sweet conversation.

I don't know if a friendship will come of it, but if nothing else, it was a reminder that when we pray, God hears. Even more so too, when we pray, our eyes are open to the paths the Lord opens for us to walk in.


I would not have noticed that mom and daughter if it hadn't been for God's work in softening my own heart. I don't have that kind of courage on my own to talk to "strangers" - it's all Him! It's just fun being a tiny part of what He is already doing.

Would you pray with me for continued open doors for meeting "neighbors" - whether they be from Illinois or India, pray that I can be the hands and feet of Jesus, to see them and love them with His eyes and His heart. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Citrus Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

While I was in Czech, me and my parents seemed to be on quite the salad kick. Something about those fresh vegetables from Lidl just called our names every time! We found a salad recipe (especially the dressing!) that we all really loved, so I wanted to share it with you as well. 


The original recipe calls for a mix of citrus fruits, spinach, avocado, and pomegranate.  I put a little twist on the salad ingredients to make more of a meal, so what you'll find in the photos below is this: blood oranges, avocado, goat cheese, sliced beets, spinach, rucola. 

The base of the citrus and avocado, along with the delicious dressing is what really makes this salad special. I know you'll enjoy it too!

Recipe HERE

Slight change on the dressing ingredients too - we used french whole grain mustard from Lidl, and I loved its texture for this salad. 


Friday, February 17, 2017

JVK's and JV Orientation

These were the Josiah Venture Kid girls of 1997. All six of us! 

20 years later, something unexpected has happened. 


You'll see a familiar face in the photo above - yep, that's me with my stylish 90's scrunchie. There's another face you should look for too - top row with the headband. That's Elyse.

Elyse and I haven't seen each other for quite some time now (their family moved back to Canada when Elyse was a teenager), but the Lord paralleled our stories this week for a special occasion.


Josiah Venture Orientation for new staff took place in Wheaton this past week, and both Elyse and I were there!

It's amazing to see how God weaves stories together. One of the reasons I am so thrilled to be joining the Josiah Venture staff to work with their JV Kids is because of how I have seen God work in the lives of JVK thus far. He has been faithful. The Gospel, which compelled these families to move across the world, is transforming these kids' lives too.

Many of these kids have now grown up to also be passionate followers of Christ and disciplemakers. It's a sweet blessing too that God called some of us back to Eastern Europe as well (6 from the photo below!), because it's a joy to be on a team with them. JV Kids are going to be a blessing to any workplace or ministry environment, no matter where they go.


I can hardly wait to join this team and continue to see God do amazing things among and through the JV Kids. Would you consider partnering with me in prayer and financially? (You can give online HERE.)

I would also love to talk more with you in these next weeks and months! It would be a delight to share with you not only what God is doing in that beloved region of the world, where only 1% know Jesus Christ as Savior, but also about how the Lord has led me to serving the JV Kids and their families specifically. Can we set up a time to meet in person or talk via Skype or phone?

Drop me an e-mail at clairepatty@josiahventure.com. I'm so excited to hear from you!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Landed and Adjusting

I'm in the United States!

Actually, I landed in Chicago on Monday, and have been easing into life here since then. I am living with a family from my home church here in the suburbs of Chicago. I'll be basing out of this area for the next 9-12 months as I raise support to join God's movement in Central and Eastern Europe as the JVK Ministry Specialist.

I'm adjusting to a new "not-normal". Life is not going to feel normal now, and it shouldn't. This is not the time for settling in, for feeling comfortable, for making my own "home". This is a different season with different gifts and challenges.

Guys, let me tell you something: I am SO EXCITED for what the Lord has ahead with the JV Kids. We get to go along with his work and participate in it with Him together! This is going to be quite the winding, wonderful path.

These next few weeks ahead feel a little bit like this photos I took while I was at home:


Blurry. Unclear.

And also filled with Light. With hope.

With Christ.

It's the beginning of months that will be filled with people connections, leaning on the body of Christ, serving, giving, loving, being loved, initiating, stepping out when I feel afraid. Yet God is there in all of those moments. I depend on him to keep on showing up each day like the rising sun.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Close

Today is a day of transition. Again. 

I found a quote on the last page of the book I finished today, The Suffering of God. It struck me, as it summed up what I had been reading for the previous 160-ish pages. This is the God who has been, who is, who always will be. 

His character never changes. 
Parenthesis added by me
This God of the universe, the LORD, created what we see by speaking. He is the God who makes the seas roar and mountains shake. He makes the world turn, and he knows all the stars by name. He rules over kings and nations. The earth trembles at his presence.

And he turns his ear to you.

Not only this, but his greatest desire is that you would love him as he loves you.

He desires closeness, intimacy. He always has.


On this day I have been packing and procrastinating because the inevitable awaits me - another goodbye. I leave Czech tomorrow, and fly back to the States on Monday. Although I will be returning here, and I look forward to so many people I love on the other side of the ocean in Chicago, this transition is hitting me more personally than I thought it would.

Why?

This marks yet another life stage transition. Post-college adult life actually-truly-for-real begins when I return to the States.

I will go back to Chicago and not return to Moody. I will make steps forward towards the calling the Lord has given me for this next season. I will prepare to join his movement in Central and Eastern Europe, and enter into a completely new role and world.

I am so excited, and I also recognize that with change there is always gain and loss at the same time. Loss - like of the stability of school schedules and syllabi and friends that are always nearby. Gain - the opportunity to grow in faith, connect more deeply at my church, and see what surprises the Lord has for each day in the suburbs of Chicago, and then eventually back in Europe.

It's ok to grieve the loss and celebrate the gain at the same time. They go hand in hand.

So on this day when transition is yet upon me, I cling to the Lord who actually wants to be near in times when my heart feels most vulnerable. He meets us in those places. Whether we are on mountains or in valleys, he is there. His closeness is always at hand.


The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

(Psalm 16:5-8)