Czech Vision Trip – Part 1

We have had an amazing week.

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A little over a week ago we boarded a plane in Chicago headed to Europe. Judah took his first international flight like a champ, sleeping the whole plane ride over the ocean. He’s already showing signs of being an excellent Missionary Kid!

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As soon as we arrived in Czech we hit the ground running. We had breakfast with a young Czech couple, lunch with a pastor and his wife, and dinner with a local missionary family. And that was just the first day!

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Ondra and Annie, church leaders in Havířov (getting married on Friday!)

We’ve been able to witness local ministry, meet with Czech leaders, and visit with some childhood friends. We have been so encouraged by what God is doing here, and are thrilled that he has invited us to be a part of it. The faith of these young leaders is contagious. There is still much work to be done, but the Czech church is up for the challenge.

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A Fusion youth choir in Frýdlant, led by friends I grew up with in youth group.

We approached this trip eager to receive clearer direction from the Lord about our future. Even with this anticipation,we have been shocked at how clearly God has led us this week! He has gone before us in powerful ways, preparing conversations and bringing wise leaders to give us counsel.

As things continue to come together, we will share more details on our near work here in Czech. For now, we want to praise God for his faithfulness in our lives. This week has stirred our hearts once again for healthy churches and biblically-empowered leaders in this country.

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A leadership meeting of a church planting team in Ostrava (ClicKostel)

 

This next week we will participate in Josiah Venture’s Fall Conference, where missionaries and national workers from all 13 JV countries will be together. Together we will learn about how to be a part of God’s movement here in Europe. Would you pray for this second half of our trip and our time with the JV team?

We have heard so many stories of God’s faithfulness this week. We can’t wait to share them with you soon!

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Thirsty for God

One of the greatest blessings of the last three years has been our church, Immanuel Anglican in Chicago. There we have found a vibrant community of faith, rooted in Scripture, rich in Christian Tradition, and infused with the power of the Holy Spirit. Saying goodbye to Immanuel is perhaps the most difficult part of moving forward in the missionary process. Yet we also know that this is just the beginning of our partnership with this church.

When our pastor Aaron asked if I would like to be a part of a summer team of lay preachers, I was overjoyed for the opportunity to give back to the community that has given us so much. What a better way to end an era than to bless this Church with the Word of God.

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My sermon, titled “Thirsty for God,” is on Psalm 42, a personal lament over the experience of feeling far from God. The psalmist models for us how to pray in our darkest nights. In Psalm 42, he composes a lament with no resolution, so that others who are in a place of unresolved pain can receive hope.

You can listen online or download the sermon through the link below. May God grant you a deeper trust in Him, even as you persevere in your thirst.

Patty’s are Moving South

Hello Friends and Family!

Tyler and I have some pretty great news- we are moving to Chattanooga, TN this July! It has been quite the journey in making this decision, but we feel that the Lord has been directly guiding us there for awhile now.

A few months ago our land lord came by and was asking us about renewing our lease. At the time we were pretty positive we would stay here in Highland Park, IL. It has felt like home, and Chicago is even more home to us since we’ve been here for 7 years this May!

However, with more thinking, praying, and life events happening we felt that we needed to move forward. Move forward with what exactly? Well, as most of you know we have the deep desire to serve with Josiah Venture in the Czech Republic. We have been praying and talking with friends and family, and now JV about what exactly we are to do there, but things are moving forward!

So, we are moving to Tennessee to spend some very precious time with my family before the big move to Czechia, to give Tyler space to finish his Thesis and graduate from Trinity International University this December, and to eventually begin the support raising process to go with Josiah Venture!

Will you pray with us? This is a big transition for us, and one of many to come. Please pray that the move goes smoothly (we have three weeks to sell all our furniture, donate what’s left and pack). Also that Judah will transition easily and enjoy our new home! And lastly, that you would pray with us and JV/KAM as we continue to talk and figure out our place in the Czech Republic so that we can come along side with them in furthering the kingdom of Christ. We are so excited to see where the Lord will place in ministry there!

With all our love,

Tyle, Lara, and Judah

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Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

A lot has changed since we last blogged! We would love to share with you how God has blessed us in these last months, and how he is leading us heading forward.

Most excitingly, we welcomed Judah Andrew Patty into the world on November 11th, 2015!

We have settled right into being parents, which is easy with such a sweet little boy. We discovered he had some infant food allergies soon after bringing him home, so Lara has been on a strict no-milk, no-soy (in addition to her own no-gluten) diet. She is an amazing mom!

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This is our first family Christmas photo, where Judah is a little over a month old!

We just celebrated Judah’s four-month birthday, and he is happy and healthy. We are finding so much delight in his inquisitive, observant, joyful personality!

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I (Tyler) am on my final semester of classes, and am preparing to take my comprehensive exams on April 1st. After I complete these, I will be able to submit a thesis proposal and begin writing. If all goes well, I will spend the summer and fall writing, and graduate with my Masters in December!

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We have reached some other major milestones recently.

On March 1st, I (Tyler) completed my 16,500 page course reading list!

This month, we will pay the last of my school bills, and will graduate debt free! The Lord has truly gone before us, and we are so grateful to those of you who helped make this possible.

In February, we began discussions with Josiah Venture and KAM (the Czech national ministry) about moving to the Czech Republic! As my studies come to an end, we are eagerly looking forward to the next step to becoming missionaries.

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Tyler and Lara in Czech three years ago

You’ll hear much more from us soon. But for now, pray for us as we raise Judah, and as I take my comprehensive exams on April 1st!

First Year of Grad School — Check!

The past two months have consistently looked like this…

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With working full time at Intelligentsia, having a full load of classes, and trying to be a good husband to Lara, life has been a bit of a juggling game. Even though it has been exhausting at times, I wouldn’t trade this for anything. God has taught me to be more disciplined, more reliant on him, and more engaged with the people and tasks before me.

I’m happy to report that my first year of grad school is complete!

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Lara has been the most incredible wife throughout this journey. She’s persevered during busy weeks, voiced her need to spend time with me when I have been distant, and really entered into this time of growth with me. We are so happy with where we are at right now, especially as we await the arrival of our little one!

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Let me share some highlights of the semester with you.

1) Studying under Dr. Averbeck, with whom I had two classes this semester. Dr. Averbeck is a leading biblical scholar and one of the top Sumerologists in the world, and also happened to be my mentor’s mentor! He is such a kind and knowledgable man. He has taught me the importance of thorough study and sound research, the necessity of understanding the Bible in its cultural context, and what joy there can be in studying God’s word. He pushed me beyond my limits —  I wrote two papers for him that I never believed I could write before.

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2) Taking a class with PhD students. One of Dr. Averbeck’s classes was titled “Literature of the Ancient Near East,” and consisted mostly of PhD students. We spent the semester reading a massive amount of primary and secondary literature in order to better understand the Bible in its cultural context. At the end of the semester, we each wrote a (long!) paper on a topic of our choice, and presented it to the class (for feedback and critique). The experience and discipline of rubbing shoulders with students of this high of a caliber was incredibly valuable.

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3) Attending this year’s Midwest Evangelical Theological Society Meeting. Last year I presented a paper at the Midwest ETS conference; this year, Lara and I got to go see my good friend John present! It was such a privilege to be able to support John and Jenna; they are both at Trinity and have been our closest friends during this season. It was so encouraging to be back at Moody for this event, where some of the greatest issues for the church and theology were discussed in an open, honest, and constructive way. We also got to meet up with Dr. Schmutzer and hear him present a paper on Creation theology and its implications for our understanding of sexuality.

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4) Becoming members at our church on Easter Sunday. For the past year, Lara and I have been attending a new church plant on Chicago’s north side. We have been so loved, fed, and strengthened by this community of believers, and felt the Lord calling us to offer our own gifts and resources during my study at Trinity. Immanuel Anglican is a liturgical church with deep roots and such vibrant faith. What a joy to join into the life of this church on the day we celebrated the power of Jesus’ own resurrection into new life!

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First year of graduate school — check!

We Are Pattys Three

Guess what?! Tyler and I are expecting a new little addition to our family in November 2015!!

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We could not be more excited! Prayers appreciated for my cravings, moods, and nausea that Tyler has to put up  with; and prayers for him too!! At least he’s getting a lot of school work done at night since I’m going to bed at 7pm every day:)

We will update as we go, but we are SO excited to share this news and to have this adventure!!

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Day Trip to Milwaukee

This past week has been the busiest we have had in a while. Lara has been working hard as the Desk Manager at Gordon Salon, I had to work an extra shift at Intelligentsia, and my school work at TEDS was especially time consuming. This meant we didn’t see each other much (and when we did, I was probably working on homework). We knew that we needed something to look forward to in order to make it through this stretch.

Milwaukee, WI is only an hour drive north from Highland Park, and since we both have Sundays off, we decided to plan a little day trip! It was so nice to get away and go on a little adventure.

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Our first stop was for coffee at Anodyne Coffee Roasters. Working in coffee, I am always curious to taste what other specialty coffee shops are doing. With Anodyne, I was not disappointed! The coffee was fantastic, as was the atmosphere of the whole shop. Their large space was incredibly warm and inviting.

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We then ventured further into the city for lunch. Based on some online recommendations, we settled on the Bel Air Cantina, and were instantly transported from the frozen northwest to a warm beach! The tacos were some of the best we have had.

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After lunch we wanted to find a nice neighborhood with shops to walk around in. Sadly, after much wandering, we found nothing. It’s always a bit of a learning curve when exploring a new city! We eventually parked and made our way to the Milwaukee Art Museum, which is right on Lake Michigan. The architecture of the building was stunning, especially with its backdrop of the water.

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And of course, a trip to Wisconsin wouldn’t be complete without cheese. We had some tonight when we returned home, and it was to die for.

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I know we only just began to scratch the surface of what Milwaukee has to offer! But it was just the day that Lara and I needed. We are thankful for these kinds of opportunities for rest and refreshment. Adventures with this lovely lady are my favorite!

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Tuesdays at Trinity

Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week. This is mostly the case because of the focused attention I am able to give to my studies. Most of the other week-days I am split between school and work, so it is really wonderful to have a whole day to spend at Trinity.

My day begins with a routine that happens most mornings — making coffee! Lara and I have time on Tuesday mornings to sit together, eat breakfast and drink coffee, and sometimes read together. This Tuesday we brewed up Intelligentsia’s February blend — a tasty mix of Bolivian and Rwandan coffees.

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While Lara gets ready in the morning, I usually study my Hebrew vocabulary, especially if we are having a quiz that day.

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Then Lara drops me off at Trinity before heading to work herself. It’s a quick walk through the cold to the chapel building, where my first class is.

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My Hebrew professor is a Ph.D. student here at Trinity. I was somewhat discouraged at first to have to take Hebrew grammar from the beginning again, but it has been such a benefit for me to sit under professor Pohl. He has given me a solid foundation for my future study, and I feel so much more comfortable with the language. He’s a gifted teacher and a kind man! Now all the grammar work is paying off as we are starting textual work on the book of Ruth.

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After Hebrew it’s off to the library. This Tuesday I finished some reading on Old Testament theology, and then moved on to an assignment for my class on the literature of the ancient Near East. Below I am reading English translations of ancient Hittite treaties that have many parallels with the material in Deuteronomy.

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After a quick lunch I head to my class on Old Testament Theology. My professor, Dr. Hoffmeier, is actually a leading Egyptologist and an active archeologist. Because of this background, he has really honed in on the importance of history for understanding the nature of God. God is not an a-historical God of abstraction, but rather a God who has made himself known through his acts and word in history. Dr. Hoffmeier is a brilliant man, but also so down to earth. He has me on the edge of my seat for the entirety of the 5-hour class!

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After Old Testament Theology, Lara drives back to pick me up. This Tuesday we had the privilege of going out with our dear friends John and Jenna Perrine for dinner. I’ve been friends with John ever since our first days at Moody, we have been involved in variety of ministries together, we both got married the same summer, and now we are both studying at Trinity (and Jenna just started as well!). We are so blessed to walk through life with them — John and Jenna are truly the best kind of friends.

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And that concludes a day in the life of a graduate student — Tuesday, my favorite day!

How About this Snowstorm?

We’ve had a relatively mild winter in Chicagoland so far. Yesterday, “Linus” finally arrived with the 5th largest snowstorm in Chicago’s history. Lara and I still remember the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011 while we are at Moody (#3 on the list), and decided to see how this one compared!

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We have been meaning to put up some wedding photos in our hallway, so we sent some pictures to Walgreens to be picked up later in the day. You can’t really tell what a blizzard is like till you’re out walking in it, so we trekked by foot down to our local Walgreens about half a mile away.

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We were happy to get back inside our warm house! Honestly, it was fairly mild here in Highland Park compared to other areas. O’Hare reports to have received 19.3 inches of snow (cancelling over 1,000 flights!) — we only (!) got about 10 inches by the time it was over. This morning the sun is out, the skies are clear, and everyone is out shoveling their driveway. It’s just a part of life!

Our Walgreens trip was a success, and we are now one step closer to a homier home.

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I’ve been working on a series of botanical watercolors for our kitchen and finished those last night as well. I was inspired by writing a paper on the psalm of Habakkuk 3. The remaining piece for me to paint the Hebrew text of verses 17-18:

Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

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Because of dangerous road conditions due to the snowstorm, my class was canceled this morning, so I am home studying and cooking. I will head to work in the city in a couple hours, but for now, Hebrew and Ugaritic are keeping me company!

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Art, a Birthday, and Family

Although we technically no longer live in the city, it is really nice to still be fairly close. I do get to drive into Chicago for work, and Lara and I go to church in the city, but it’s nice to be able to return to the quiet suburbs afterward. We love our little home in Highland Park.

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Our favorite part of living close to Chicago, however is being just a car-ride away from family. Caleb and Haley have a cute little apartment in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, and Claire lives on campus at Moody. This last week has been full of family, and all the better for it!

Last Sunday, Claire stayed over at our house, where we spent the majority of the evening painting with watercolors. Art has always been one our favorite things to do together — it’s much more motivating to have someone by your side! I am working on a series of botanical paintings for our kitchen, and Claire jumped right in. (The two left are mine, and the pine branch on the right is Claire’s.)

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The next Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which meant we both had the morning off from classes! Before work, we drove downtown to visit the Art Institute and wander around the city.

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I also got to spend some special time with Caleb as well. We don’t always get extended time together because of our busy schedules, but it worked out to grab coffee together last week. I so appreciate Caleb as a brother. We are both very different from one another, but his perspective is often so enriching and challenging. It was so good to laugh, discuss coffee, get caught up on each other’s lives, and to encourage one another.

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And finally, we were all able to celebrate Caleb’s 22nd birthday this weekend. His wife Haley was an amazing host to us family and friends — we ate a great dinner, had dessert, gave gifts, encouraged Caleb with words, and even sang some songs. I was telling Caleb and Haley that we always feel so refreshed upon leaving their home, because of the laughter and rich conversation we have just been a part of.

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We’re soaking up the time we get to have with family these days — especially the concentrated amount over the last week. We know it probably won’t be like this forever, but for now we are so thankful!

*Thanks to Claire for the majority of these photos!!