Who could have guessed that a missionary boy and a southern belle would end up with the same calling?
In fact, God has been guiding both of us toward missions from our childhood. Tyler grew up in the Czech Republic, and was strongly formed by his experience as a missionary kid. Time and time again, he saw God change lives through the ministry of Josiah Venture. As he finished high school and prepared for college in the US, Tyler sensed that one day God would call him back to the Czech Republic.
Lara grew up in Tennessee with parents in full-time ministry, and traveled regularly on short-term missions trips. When she was in high school, her family moved to Guatemala. Through the discipleship she received and the ministry she was exposed to, God began to give Lara a passion for overseas ministry. Once she and her family moved back to Tennessee, Lara knew that God was calling her to serve Him, wherever that may be.
Having both sensed God’s calling, we enrolled at Moody Bible Institute at the same time. Although we first crossed paths during the early weeks of college, we began dating in our third year, and quickly realized that we wanted to spend our lives together. We were married in 2012, and soon began praying about the possibility of serving together in the Czech Republic.
In the summer of 2013, we served with JV in Czech as intern leaders, partnering with local churches to put on evangelistic camps. As we worked closely with young church leaders, we were amazed at the vibrancy of their faith and their commitment to serving God. We were also saddened by the lack of support available to these men and women. Though they received little encouragement, pastoral care, or theological training, they continued to serve joyfully. Yet we knew that if there was a way to provide those missing pieces, they would be even more effective in their ministry.
Through this, God began to make clear our role in supporting these young leaders. We had been so blessed by the biblical education we received at Moody, and we longed to share what we had been given with others. In order to receive further biblical training, Tyler enrolled in a Master’s program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. During this program, our son Judah was born, and we eagerly awaited the day when we could return to our beloved Czech.
That time is now! God has gone before us and is opening many doors for us to use our gifts to serve the Czech church. We are delighted to be joining Josiah Venture, a ministry that seeks God’s movement through young leaders in Central and Eastern Europe, serving in the local church and transforming society. We will be serving alongside a gifted team to equip young leaders to fulfill Christ’s commission through the local church.
Our heart is to see leaders in the Czech Republic equipped with the the Word of God to serve the Church effectively. There are two ministry opportunities that will allow us to use our gifts to equip these young leaders. The first is local church ministry in the city of Ostrava. We will be partnering with City Church to teach Bible studies, develop curriculum, and disciple young leaders. We want our home in Ostrava to be a place of welcome where people can encounter the love of God. Lara will be working hard to learn the Czech language, and will also serve with Fusion, an outreach ministry centered around youth rock choirs.
The second opportunity is to facilitate new and innovative programs in theological education. JV is currently in discussion with ForMission, a ministry training school in the UK, to launch an accredited undergraduate degree in Theology and Mission in the Fall of 2017. We plan to set up a campus for this program in the Czech Republic, and it would be open to national leaders across all 13 of the JV countries. Tyler has been asked to oversee the spiritual and academic development of students, and is looking forward to putting his education into practice by teaching Bible courses.
Whether you have been a part of this journey or are just now joining us, we are so grateful to not be alone. Many of you have encouraged us, prayed for us, and given financially as we have followed God. As we continue to follow His call on our lives, we need partners like you. This is not just our work, but it is God’s work, and we hope that you will have a part in it. We want to share both the struggles and joys with you, and want you to receive the blessings that will come from this ministry.
Our needs are both spiritual and financial. Spiritually, we ask that you would stand with us in prayer. We know firsthand the battles that can beset a family on the mission field. Such opposition to God’s kingdom work can only be overcome through the prayers of God’s people. Would you stand with us in prayer for protection over our family as we follow God?
Financially, we need to raise monthly support of $6,800 and initial outgoing expenses of $54,500. The monthly support covers both our salary ($3,200) and our monthly ministry account ($3,600). Our salary will be used for living expenses, while the ministry account covers the work we will be doing in the Czech Republic. The initial outgoing expenses cover missionary training, airfare, purchase of a vehicle, and other costs associated with moving overseas.
In humility and with anticipation, we want to extend three ways you can be a part of our support team. First, you can commit to supporting our JV ministry on a monthly basis. Second, you can support our ministry with Josiah Venture with a one-time gift toward our outgoing expenses. Finally, you can commit to joining our prayer team. If God is leading you to partner with us, please visit our page on josiahventure.com.
We are delighted to invite you into what God is doing in the Czech Republic. We believe God is moving powerfully in this part of the world, and are humbled to be invited into His work. Would you pray and ask God if He is leading you to join our team?
Our goal is to begin serving with Josiah Venture by the end of 2017, but that can only happen if we are at 100% of our support. We wait expectantly to see how God provides!
Tyler, Lara, Judah, and Asher