Why is leaving JV so hard?
Jun 17, 2020 | 5 min read | Hannah Hartman
As I zip up my suitcase, I give my room one last look. It’s all here—my time in Czech as a JVK (Josiah Venture Kid) missionary for these past nine years. I see my white desk, where I completed countless Czech school assignments, where I’ve studied for tests all in the Czech language, and where I’ve had many FaceTime calls with my best friends that are scattered across Europe. I see my pictures and paper memories that recount my journey through my time here—many display my Czech classmates and camps; some of them are pictures of people from Josiah Venture, who I’ve quickly come to love and will miss dearly when I leave for college this summer.
As I slowly rise to my feet, my mind recalls this past season in my life. I remember all the Spring Conferences, where kids get to perform (usually musical productions) for the adults at the end of the week. Together with this memory, are moments of vacations and camps spent with other Josiah Venture families. However, out of all my memories, the sweetest are always the arrivals of everyone at these events.
Arriving first, I remember waiting restlessly in the parking lot, jitters crawling up and down my spine with anticipation. I would crane my neck at every van that would pull up, searching for my friends and familiar faces. And then, as if on cue, everyone would arrive at once. Instantly, the parking lot would be engulfed with people-laughing, hugging, and rejoicing at the prospect of being together for a whole week. I love this moment because it captures Josiah Venture perfectly—along with what JV means to me. I have loved being a part of this family. The joy that we feel when we see one another is so special because it all is rooted in the blood of Christ that binds us together.
This family has walked alongside me and challenged me to live for the kingdom of God with everything I am. In my time here, I was constantly reminded that I am a part of a story bigger than myself. Josiah Venture provided a unique opportunity for everyone to be on mission together as well as watching one another participate in making disciples.
Although this journey has been challenging, it has not been lonely. In these past years, I have grown up with my JVK peers, serving in other countries in Europe. Through this, I have found companionship and strong, rich friendships that have made me who I am today. As a JVK, one factor that binds us all together is that we are all on mission side by side. We have a unique understanding that crosses borders and languages and makes us feel understood.
In our separate countries, we encourage and cheer each other on from afar and when the time comes, we send one another off into new adventures. This piece is especially essential to who we are, for we have learned what it means to say goodbye well to those we love.
At this thought, my smile fades and immense sadness tugs at my gut. I’ve walked a long and weary road in this department. These last couple of months have been full of lament and grief as I slowly realized that I wouldn’t get to say goodbye to my JV family because of COVID-19. However, during this time I’ve been learning what it means to lament through reading the book of Lamentations and how close the LORD is to the brokenhearted.
When I leave for school, I am leaving everything I know and all the people and friends I call home. However, the reason I can leave JV without reservations is that I know that my JV family is sending me off to a different mission.
I know that there will be a day when we will not have to say goodbye and I cannot wait for that day. With one final look around my room, I take my suitcase, step through my doorway, and close the door behind me as a new journey begins.
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