Josiah Venture's Home
Dec 15,2017 | 7 min read | Amy Nickerson
I grew up as a JV missionary kid, and if you know anything about kids who spend their childhoods moving around a lot, you know that for them home is often more associated with people than places. The comfort and stability normally rooted in a familiar country, city, or even building isn’t a certainty they can count on. Their hearts are more grounded in relationships that remain even when the surroundings change.
I relate. However, when I think of my childhood years, there is one place that stands out as special and consistent. A place that is the backdrop of so many of my favorite times with family and friends. A place that has helped shape me into the person I am now and has played a significant role in my development as a Christian. A place that still feels like home today.
Malenovice, Josiah Venture’s training center in the Moravian hills of the Czech Republic, isn’t just a place that feels like home to me, it’s a home to all of Josiah Venture. Over the past 19 years it has served the movement of God among the youth here in Central and Eastern Europe by being a key spot to gather together as the JV family, equip young leaders, and host a wide variety of camps, conferences, and other ministry events.
Home to the JV Family
Malenovice is home to the JV family. Staff members have gotten married there, announced pregnancies, and celebrated holidays. Kids like me have grown up running through the hallways, spending way too many hours playing the game Mafia, having sleepovers, and bonding with friends they can relate to on a deep level.
Laurel Jenkins, one of our JV missionaries, describes the impact of the place this way, “My family and I live in Slovenia. Less than 1% of the population are believers. Day in and day out we live in a culture where it really feels like you are the only one. The only one that believes in God. The only one that is raising kids to follow after Him. The only one doing youth ministry in our country… now this is not true entirely, but it feels that way often. Malenovice is a place that yearly gives us a wider perspective. When we are there gathering for a conference, we see clearly that we are not the only ones. There are so many believers from all over that come together to worship, grow, and learn at Malenovice. It is like a lighthouse for our family; a beacon of hope, if you will, that God is at work here.”
She says that when she thinks of Malenovice, she thinks of crowded dining rooms and rich fellowship, polish pottery symbolizing JV’s love of hosting people and doing it with style, and solid Biblical teachings that have brought life change to her, her family, and many others.
Home to Young Leaders
Malenovice has also been home to the young leaders Josiah Venture equips. Interns have been prepared for their summers of ministry during a stay on the training center’s hill before being sent out to share the gospel at our evangelistic camps throughout the region. Church leaders have met to make important decisions and seek God’s will together under our roof. European nationals have come from miles away to learn how to be more effective in their ministries.
Kuldar Kaljuste from Estonia has been coming to events at Malenovice since 2009, including our annual fall conference especially designed to train national youth leaders like him. He says, “Every September, I get really excited about coming there. I feel how God is asking all of us: ‘Come to this mountain, because I have something to tell you again!’ So every time we try to take as many key youth leaders with us, because each time God is talking to us there so clearly. And I usually go through the year still thinking back on what we heard at Malenovice.”
Andrejs Goloborodko from Latvia says he too has been shaped by teachings at Malenovice. “There are specific things and principles I have learned that I could immediately apply to my life and also teach to others back home…. But it is not just materials and principles that changed my life and other people’s lives. Learning from speakers and teachers while at Malenovice has built me as a whole person. A disciple of Jesus, who makes disciples who make disciples. That has become my goal --to invest in other people, no matter what my position in the Church or on the mission field will be.”
Home to the Ministry
Besides being a place where the JV family can gather together as a unified team, and a place where young, Christian leaders can come for training, Malenovice is also a place where evangelistic ministry happens and young people meet Jesus.
Tereza Steel, a Czech local who has interned with us and attended camp and other church events at our facilities, says she got to be there when her best friend became a Jesus follower in one of the cabins. “It was a clear highlight of my whole high school experience. It happened during a girls retreat…. In the evening, as we were ready to get to bed, my friend looked at me and said: ‘I’m ready to pray the prayer!’ I got to hold her hand as she was being adopted into God’s family --one of the happiest days of my life.”
A Bigger Home
These are just some of the ways God has been using Malenovice to transform people’s lives throughout the years.
But now we are facing a problem. Our home isn’t big enough to house all the JV team members, young leaders, and ministry events as God moves and we grow. Our largest meeting room holds just 150 people, when we have over 400 from across a 14 country region already interested in attending various events.
Maybe you’ve heard that our solution to this is our Event Center project. We will be building a new event center on our 17-acre property that will help us seat, feed, and house more people we want to serve. We are in the final stages of the permit process and hope to break ground this spring.
We have already raised the majority of the money needed, but we could still use your help. Out of the 5.5 million total needed, there is $850,000 to go. Currently, we have a $250,000 match out for gifts given between now and the end of the year.
Would you consider donating towards this project? Click here to learn more about the Event Center and how you can help fuel the movement of God here in Central and Eastern Europe by giving JV a suitable home.