Not At The End

Dear Friends,

Gabe looked to his left, and then surprised us all with his comment. “Next time I expect I will be standing in the middle and not on the end.”

As you probably know, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Josiah Venture. We’ve been celebrating since January, but the high point was our Fall Training Conference the last week of September. At our Thursday celebration we told the story of God’s faithfulness for the last 20 years, praising God and thanking key groups of people along the way.

As I showed pictures and shared stories of the first days of JV missionaries in Czech and Poland, I was overwhelmed with memories, since my wife Connie and I were one of the first two couples. Moving through the years we added more countries to the timeline as the work expanded. Finally I asked all the country leaders to come to the stage and stand in order that matched the timeline.

Gabe leads the JV team in Bulgaria, the most recent country to be added to JV. He and his wife Melissa are passionate about bringing the gospel of Jesus to young people and full of vision for what God can do in the next generation. But when I asked the country leaders if they had any comments for the crowd, Gabe didn’t say anything about the young people of Bulgaria. Instead he raised his arm into the space to his left. No one stood there, since he was the last in line.

“Next time I expect I will be standing in the middle and not on the end,” he said, a big smile on his face. Everyone immediately knew he what he was referring to. We’ve been giving focused prayer to 11 more countries, places like Macedonia and Bosnia, Belarus and Lithuania, all nations where we would like to see JV teams serving the church and sharing the message of Jesus with young people.

It was amazing to me to look out and realize that almost 300 people now serve full time on the JV team. But I love the fact that their eyes are pointed into the future, toward what God wants to do in the next 20 years to build his kingdom and expand his church.

Thanks for believing God with us,

Dave Patty President, Josiah Venture