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Monday, September 25, 2006

24/7 Czech Prayer Vigil

Hello everyone out there in PV Land!

I've just expanded the prayer support section of our Czech mission team's website and now you can sign up to be a part of our 24/7 prayer vigil. We hope to raise enough prayer support to have someone praying for the team and the Czech people sometime during every hour of everyday for the next ten years. By signing up you're committing to pray weekly sometime during the hour you select. But, of course, in addition to that hour you're welcome to pray for us anytime!

Our idea for the vigil was inspired by the Moravian Church (Moravia makes up the eastern half of the Czech Republic), which in the 1700s set up a prayer chain that lasted 100 years uninterrupted! Amazingly, during the first fifty years, they sent out 226 missionaries from their little community in Hernnhut! Please go here to read more and to sign up. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hi, My Name Is…

Well, I suppose I’ll break the silence on this here ministers blog to introduce myself. I’m Mitch Anderson, son of Joel and Ann Anderson, brother of Link and Dev Anderson, and uncle of Reagan and Jayden Anderson, the cutest little gals at PV.

I’m part of a mission team which will be moving to Olomouc (o-lo-moatz), Czech Republic, on October 28, and you, Pleasant Valley, are my supporting church, for which I am very grateful! A cool part of being supported by PV is that I get to spend my last four months here with you. My time here will involve three things (in order of emphasis):

1. Getting ready for the mission
2. Connecting with PV people
3. Working as part of the church staff

I’ve been here just over a week and I look forward to getting to know all of you better over the next four months (though I have to admit that I wish it were October 28th now; I mean, we’ve been a mission team since 2001, which means we’ve been preparing for this for five years! Needless to say, I’m ready get over there!).

We plan to work in Olomouc for 10 years and hope to plant three churches during that time. Please keep us and the Czech people in your prayers, and when you get a chance, please check out our mission team’s website, where you can find out all about us, where we’re going, and what we hope to do: teamolomouc.com

So, what does a missionary do during his last four months before moving? Well, that’s a good question and I’m glad you asked.

As far as getting ready for the mission is concerned, I’ll be studying the Czech language for an hour a day, setting time aside for personal spiritual growth, setting up our team website with a page where people can sign up to pray for us (more on that in the near future), organizing and preparing to ship my stuff, researching housing in the neighborhood we’ll be moving to, selling my vehicle and other sundries, making last minute purchases (like power converters), getting medical checkups, setting up bank accounts and figuring out tax issues, acquiring medical and other insurance, taking part in a few team workshops, and spending time with friends and family.

Regarding connecting with my brothers and sisters here at PV, I’ll be visiting various Sunday morning Bible classes and Wednesday night small groups (to share our team’s plans and sometimes to teach), tagging along with Nick on his visitation outings, building relationships over a warm meal with PV leaders and members (including Tuesday night CEP dinners), hanging out with the singles crew, keeping fit in the Family Life Center, and hopefully interacting with you on this blog (and my own).

The connecting and working categories kind of run together, but some other things I’ll be doing as a member of the staff will be attending meetings and helping out around the office, helping out from time to time with worship services and Bible classes, and designing two newsletters to be distributed to the church (one about the work in the Czech Republic and one about PV missions in general). And one big project I might undertake is to get a recycling program set up in the church, because, as members of God’s Kingdom and stewards of his creation, I think we should be leading the way in being responsible toward the environment (but more on that later).

So, I guess that (among other things) is what a missionary does during his last few months at home. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reign-drops

One of the ways I think about the reign of God in our world is kind of silly, but it makes sense in my own head.

Robin Hood.

See, Robin Hood lives in a land where an evil villain, Prince John, is ruling. He's taxing the the people ruthlessly, exploting them for his own purposes. Robin and his men reject the rule of that tyrant, on the grounds that he does not represent the wishes of the Richard, who is the true and rightful king. So they live ina state of rebellion against the false king out of loyalty to the true king, trusting that Richard will someday come and set things to rights. So they wait for an eventual time when the king will reign again, bt in a way, they already are living in his reign by fulfilling his will while he is gone.

And so it is with us. Now the metaphor isn't perfect, but you can still see the point, right? While we live by God's will, we represent his reign in the earth in our current time, but we also wait for his eventual return when his reign will be complete. So the kingdom of God (the reign of God) is here, but not completely.

But someday, the king will return. So we Christians hope.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Burdensome

In my Bible study this morning, the following verse jumped me. It ambushed me from the thick dark bushes of the book of Hebrews. It's from chapter thirteen.

"Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you."


I've been trying to let that sink in, and am still feeling out what it means.

It's a very honest picture of leadership...leaders can't do everything on their own but depend on their followers a bit, particularly for confidence and submission (not a negative word, I believe). Leadership can bring joy, but also burden. Also, followers can make their leaders more effective (beneficial to the followers). In some ways I have a leadership role here at PV, but I think that today I rightly read this as a follower, as one who submits to a group of shepherds.

I'm trying really hard these days to figure out what it means for me to be the kind of follower that brings joy to our church leaders, and not burden. I know that while they do find a lot of joy in their work, I've seen the burden too. I know if we can learn to hear what this verse is saying, we'll be a better church. It seems close to the very heart of discipleship.

I guess this short admonition just caught me in the right place today. I pray that by God's spirit that bit of truth that it's planted in my heart can grow and bear fruit.

Thoughts?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Conversation

As we envisioned this blog, we thought it would be a great place for us to have a running conversation as a church family, and perhaps with some in other communities as well. I have to admit a little disappointment, though.

From conversations, and emails, it seems that a good number of people are reading the blog, but a quick scan shows that very few are posting...now my friends, that makes for a one-sided conversation! That might be okay, but I just wanted to say that it wasn't exactly what we were hoping for.

I figure that there may be three reasons why it's happening this way. First, the posts might just stink, so that there isn't really anything to post about. In this case fair enough. If you have suggestions about post topics you'd like to see, let us know, and we'll get something up.

Secondly, you might be intimidated about posting online, in which case I would really like to encourage you to just go for it! Believe me, we would love to see what you have to say! Don't think of this too formally, like you're posting your official position on matters...it's just a conversation! It's even okay if you misspell stuff. Watch, just to make you feel more comfortable, I'm going to misspell a word. "mountian." See, nobody assaulted me! It's just fine. So, please don't be intimidated, rise up over your fears and post a comment. Comment on this particular thread, just to prove to yourself and to me that you can.

Finally, if you're new to the game, it might eb a little confusing how it works. Here's what you do: click on the place below where it says: "3 comments" (or whatever the number is..."1 comment" etc.) It'll take you to a page that will let you see the other comments people have already made. Read through those to get a sense of the conversation, then at the bottom click where it says, "Post a Comment". That will give you a page with box in which to write your comment, a place to identify yourself, and a random word verification (that helps keep people from posting blog spam...that doesn't mean anything to you except that you need to type the word you see in the blank). You don't have to have a blogger account to post.

Okay, if you have a different reason than the three above, we have a dilemna. I could suggest that you post a comment about your different reason, but that would be illogical, since your reason would keep you from doing that. But, if you find yourself in one of the above categories, then please let me encourage you write one comment here, even if it is meaningless, so that we can get this conversation going.

-Steven Hovater (stevepvc)

Living in the Word

I've been working on a term paper for my grad school class, and as they tend to do, the subject matter for this semester's paper keeps seeping slowly into the other structures of my life, popping up in the most unuusal papers. It comes up in conversation, in classes, during worship, and in my mind during a thousand moments in each day. The great thing is, this paper's subject is simply a short passage od scripture, 1 Peter 2:1-3. Three simple verses, nothing particulalry complex about them, and although the research process is bringing up lots of interesting questions, that's not my main point here. Mainly what I want to note here on the blog is the way that living with a bit of scripture for a while can really shape the way you see things in the world. The passage I'm working on says :

"Having put off every evil, and every deceit, hypocricies, envies, and all slanders, crave true spiritual milk like newborn babies, so that by it you may grow into salvation, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good." (my translation)

So over the past couple of weeks I keep wondering, "Is this 'true' milk?" or about the kinds of hypocrisies that I'm holding on to in my life. I've thought about ways that I've found God to be tasty, and what it means to grow into salvation. Most of all I keep checking back to the word crave. That's a good word.

Finally, I want to really encourage you to post a thought. I think I'm going to make a separate post about how to do that, but here I want to suggest that if you have a passage that's been running through your mind lately, let us hear a little about it. Or maybe those words from I peter caught your eye, and you have a thought tho share on that regard, too.
Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

age is just a number

At least that's what someone has said. But after a hard workout, I feel 114. Give or take a couple of years. Yet we often find encouragement even when we aren't looking for it. Earlier today I saw Floyd Stelzer in our Seniors Bible Class. A couple of hours later, he was in our Life Center walking on the treadmill and lifting weights. I should mention that Floyd is twice my age. When I hit those Matterhorn-sized hills on the bike program, I glanced at Floyd and found reserves of new strength. Think of only a slightly heavier version of Lance Armstrong. If you would like to get the blood moving and spend time with some great people like Floyd, come on over. We'll leave the light on for you. If I have enough energy to flip the switch.

Monday, March 20, 2006

dodgeball

The youth ministers and their charges engaged in a spirited game of America's National Pasttime after evening services last night. I asked my son Nathan who dominated and he said, "I did, until the last game." Good answer. Dodge ball skills run in our family, but I am now too old, brittle and too big a target to play with my once-legendary skills. For those of you still able to bring the pain, remember Patches O'Houlihan's 5 Cardinal Rules of Dodgeball: "Dodge, dip, dive, duck........and dodge."

dodging, laughing

Last Night a strange event occurred at pleasant valley. Eighty teenagers collected in the FLC to hurl balls at each other in an attempt to make each other "out" in the classic competition "dodgeball". This provided the opportunity for many heroic events and daring plays by these atheletes. In the end, nobody won, and everyone had laughed hard.

One of the great ironies found in a game like dodgeball is that, if you want too, you can hang in the back, safe from danger from most of the game. But, if you do, two things will happen. First, you will not help your team very much. A little bit, feftching ammunition, etc, but not very much. Secondly, when the game nears completion, you may find that you have survived...only to become the last remaining target for the other team. Now, they are all trying to hit you in the head, and have little chance of winning the round. So your tactic which was to your safety, ends up creating a very hazardous situation for you.

I'm not sure if there is a life lesson there, but there may be. If nothing else, it should enhance your dodgeball strategy.
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