Stepping into the Vision (and the work) at H2O

It’s Monday morning, July 27 and we are sitting in a beautiful loft apartment in Frydlant nad Ostravici, Czech Republic. We came here on Saturday to spend a couple days reflecting and debriefing with Dave and Connie Patty, the president of Josiah Venture. As we look back at the last 5 weeks, we feel incredibly thankful and blessed to have served here in Eastern Europe this summer. The people we met and the experiences we had will remain vivid memories in our hearts for a very long time!
Last week was filled with nearly dawn to dusk activities at Camp H2O with the team from Foothills Bible Church in Littleton, Colorado. Our primary task was to get as much renovation done on one of the “domeks” as we could. Well, this group pulled out all the stops and did much more than anyone thought could be accomplished in just 5 days!

The most encouraging part was, by far, working with such an enthusiastic group of people whose desire was to serve God by doing whatever they were asked! The process included some major tasks: like installing 50cm x 100cm x 10 cm thick Styrofoam blocks to a concrete wall, and wire-brushing, sanding and painting a metal roof!
The blocks had to be cut to fit -

... and glued on with cement mix which was “globbed on” to the back of the blocks! Pressure was often needed to get the blocks to line up straight and plumb!

After the blocks were glued in place, we had to drill a 20cm deep hole in the concrete wall and install plastic anchors through the blocks. It was really fun to work with a couple gals (actually Grandmas!!) who had never run a hammer drill before!

While the “wall crew” was busy making the domek look like and igloo, a crew was busy on a “hot tin roof” cleaning and applying 2 coats of durable paint … with brushes and 3 inch rollers! They worked early and late to get the roof done!

By the end of the week, the domek had a nice newly painted roof and walls covered with 10 cm (4 inches) of Styrofoam insulation. We were even able to put the fiberglass mesh and a layer of plaster on a couple of the walls!

There were a couple more people who were an integral part of the team … actually they are key components in the renovation of H20 and its future ministry!
Susan Ellis is a Josiah Venture missionary who has given her life to discipling young people and encouraging them disciple others as well. Her focused life and strong commitment to serve in whatever way needed was an example to all of us! We so appreciated getting to know her in some special ways.

And last but certainly not least, was Kazik, our newest Polish best friend! When the camp was purchased, Kazik came with the camp. He has worked there for 23 years and knows every aspect of the facility. Not only that, he’s a trained cook and provided delicious Polish delicacies 3 times a day (plus pastries!!!). Everyone fell in love with this “energizer bunny” of a man, whether he was welding a hole in the roof, or running and errand on his scooter!

Even though there is much left to be done at H2O, we all saw the huge potential for God to use this facility to touch lives of the 3 million people who live in this region of Southern Poland (South Silesia). All reports indicate that there is not another facility like this in this area. We were blessed to be at this place, by the beauty of the lake which is owned by the camp and by the lives we were able to connect with. We’re looking forward to telling more personal stories and casting a vision with many of you as to how you may become involved in God’s work in Eastern Europe.


Connections and Preparations

Our first week here in Silesia, Poland has gone by quickly! We're currently awaiting the arrival of a construction/encouragement team from Colorado. They will be joining some Polish youth next week to make a huge dent on some cabin (domek) renovations ... as well as some demolition on the main H2O building.

Here's a short run-down on what we've been doing since you last heard from us:

We took a trip back to Czech on Wednesday, to Hotel Malenovice, so that we could observe some "English Camp training" that was being done for the English Camps that would be taking place all around the Czech Republic this week. It was a hugely encouraging time ... to meet with Czech and American leaders as they prepared for the camps. We had one very special conversation with Greg Strock, whom Dave was in seminary with. Greg serves full time with JV and told us he's done 34 English Camps!! It was great to reconnect with a dear friend and "partner in ministry!"

On Thursday, we had a very hard-working Polish "encouragement team" show up to help us prepare cabins for construction teams to stay in.

They really pitched in to help, even in 90 degree temps to make the cabins "spic-and-span" for people to stay in! What a joy it was to hear one young man's testimony of how he came to realize the need for Jesus in his life, after hearing about God's love at an English Camp.

Rafalo and Dave hauled furniture in and out ...

... while Joyce and a number of other Polish gals chased spiders out of the long-closed-up cabins and washed them from top to bottom! With new foam mattresses and bedding, these places are starting to feel almost like home!!

Tomorrow we'll be spending the day with the team; going to church in Zory, Poland (Dave is speaking), and doing a little sightseeing! The goal is to keep the team awake as long as possible!

Watch for more updates when we get going on the work on the domky (cabins) after Monday!

Dave & Joyce - Serving this summer in Eastern Europe with NEXT International and Josiah Venture


H2O - Living Water in Skocow, Poland

Greetings from Skocow in Southwest Poland!

We arrived in Bielsko Biala on Saturday, July 11 in fine shape after a short stop in Czech Republic to do laundry and "Czech in" with our friends Mel and Amy Ellenwood. It was nice to have a couple of "down days" to recover from the Slovak English camp. We made some great friends there and look forward to hearing about the lives that are being changed because of being at the camp. There is no doubt that God will bring fruit from these experiences.

As far as what's happening here; we had a delightful Sunday with a Polish lady named Ursula and her friend, Rose, from London. After attending a Polish brethren church, we were invited to have lunch at Ursula's house and then went with them on an excursion to the nearby Beskidy Mountains. We rode a chair lift to the top of a 1000 + meter high mountain and enjoyed a short hike around the top and a delicious piece of fresh-baked blueberry cake!

On Monday (yesterday) we started our ministry here at H2O, the training, retreat, and conference center that is being renovated by Josiah Venture. We had hoped to have a team from Katowice here for this week, but they had to cancel at the last moment. In a way, that may be a blessing in disguise, because there is much planning to do and prioritizing the work for future teams. Dave has been working on outlining a work plan and itemizing the tasks that need to be done as well as how long each task may take.

Joyce has been a great second set of eyes and ears ... and has helped with the planning process and has provided some very practical ideas. It's been great to work together as a team!

Our "domek" ... or cute little house ... for the 10 days or so is a one room, two twin-bed, half A-frame cottage on the H2O property. One of our tasks is to help update these "domky" so that they are warmer and dryer. We have a team of 8 people coming in on Saturday who will help to renovate one of these by applying 4 inches of styrofoam on the outside and repainting the roof! Anyway, now you know where we are! Thanks for thinking of us ... we'd love to hear from you with a comment on our adventures!


KECY Camp - Slovakia ... CRAZY FUN!!

When you last heard from us we had hiked up to the top of a mountain to join with other Slovakian believers for an incredible day of fellowship and worship. So, just when you start to think that things can’t get any better, God brings something into our lives that completely blows us away. Such were our experiences for the last 10 days! All we can say is that God is amazing and the opportunities He’s giving us are beyond belief!

Hopefully you will hear in our stories, the echo of 1 Corinthians 2:9 – “things which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard and which have not entered the heart of man, all that, God has prepared for those who love Him.

On Monday, June 29, Pierre and Lisa Vanvuuren took us to their church in Hlinne, Slovakia. This church has been started with Roma (gypsy) believers who have to be about the liveliest group of people we’ve ever been with. As we drove into the yard of the house where the church holds services, children who had come for the children’s ministry time were waiting with eager anticipation. Joyce got out of the car and the children swarmed her and surrounded us with their excitement!

The childrens' time lasted for about 1½ hours and was full of teaching and exuberant singing! The adult (and children’s) service started after that and went for nearly 2 hours. It was obvious where the children learned to sing! Everyone in the congregation sang at the top of their lungs (in tune and harmony!) for each song! What a joy to share the word of God and encourage such enthusiastic followers of Jesus! We felt humbled and privileged to share this day with our Roma brothers and sisters!

Our next “stop” after our “mountaintop” experience in Hermanovce was Presov, Slovakia where we met our Slovak/American team who would be doing the English Camp. Connecting with the 4 other Americans and the 15 members of the Slovak camp leadership team was a real joy.

From that moment on for the next 10 days we were busy almost every moment doing all sorts of crazy activities that youth thrive on; we learned some really great games ...

We had some awesome conversations, we saw beautiful surroundings and we were amazed that we really could get by on six hours of sleep each night for over a week!

The Slovak campers were enthusiastic about every part of camp and were so appreciative of “the Americans” coming to help make the camp possible. We felt like God really enriched our lives through this experience.

The highlight for us was making connections with our group during the entire week.

At the “good-bye party” back in Presov on the evening after returning from camp, a young man from our camp group said that he was thankful every day to be at camp and that this experience showed him that life is more than girls and partying. We have many more stories about this amazing camp and lives that are being changed here in Eastern Europe! We look forward to sharing them with you after we return in about 3 weeks.