Brad and Laurel's Blog

Brad and Laurel's Blog

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Josiah Venture Annual Report

March 3, 2014

Here is the Josiah Venture Annual Report for your viewing pleasure.  God is doing great things! We are privileged to be able to be about the good things He is doing in this area of the world.  Click the link below.

Josiah Venture 2013 Annual Report

The Amazing Race

June 18, 2013

Have you ever watched the TV show “The Amazing Race?” Laurel and I have just watched a few seasons which we found enjoyable.  I’ve heard about our organization Josiah Venture putting on an amazing race for our interns for years now, but I have not be able to be a part of it.  Well, because of my new role as the camp guy, I was able to join the crew this year.  Nathan, Matt Mormance and I drove up to Poland and parked our van (we barely made it because of car trouble), then we took a night train to Lviv, Ukraine.  This was probably the most unique part of our trip…being woken up almost every hour by customs and boarder people or the grumpy train worker lady.

After spending the day in Lviv and getting prepared for the race with other helpers, we took another night to train to Kiev, Ukraine.  There we met all the 90 or so interns who flew in at about the same time.  From the airport we sent them off in teams to go on a three day amazing race that went to Lviv (yes, another night train for all of us), then to Poland and eventually to Czech.  In Czech we stayed at our headquarters for 5 days of intern training.

All in all it was a whirlwind of unique activity, but very enjoyable.  I loved getting to know our awesome 10 interns, a lot of JV people, and experiencing Ukraine.  Some of the challenges the teams (17 total) had to do were: embroider a small Ukraine flag (the hardest station), learn part of the language, zip line across one the longest lines in Europe, an eating challenge, learn a traditional Ukrainian dance and many other fun adventures.  Here are some pictures of our experience.


the crew (Team Slovenia split into two different teams)


team #1 came in 4th place out of 17!  Nice work!


after trailing for most of the race Slo team #2 came in 5th!  Nice comeback!


one of the night trains


the zip line



the eating challenge was finishing a bowl of “pork” gelatin


the embroidery challenge.  one team went from 1st to 17th at this station and it took them over 4.5 hours.  (an all boy team)




Matt Mormance and Nathan Ghiorso…our two fearless team leaders


I was at this station. Two people were tied together with string and they had to figure out how to get out of it.


All the interns and helpers

And here is a link to a video made by one of the interns, Gieselle:

Church Signs

April 23, 2013


This post if a few years overdue.  Call it “spring cleaning” or “get the room ready for Nathan” or whatever, but I (Brad) have been on a crazy organizational kick.  I have finally and successfully organized years of stuff that I never took the time to go through.  While I was going through piles of paperwork I came across this gem.  Laurel and I wrote down different church signs that we saw as we drove across the country in 2008-2009. Having grown up in California, I honestly don’t get the church sign…and after seeing most of the country, I still don’t get it.  Here are few quotes of some beauties that we saw:

  • free trip to heaven. details inside
  • life is a test. there is a pop quiz at the end.
  • the commandments are not multiple choice
  • need directions? -God
  • crisis reveals who we are
  • the problems of psychics and horoscopes
  • find the roadmap to your purpose

and last but not least, our personal favorite (or least favorite):

  • you may party in hell, but you will be the barbecue 

Wow.  After reading that last sign, I am so incredibly motivated to go to that church!  hopefully they serve BBQ after the service.  🙂

Spring…thank you?

April 19, 2013

Want to learn a new Slovene word?  Ok, here goes…”končno.”  You pronounce it like “konchno.”  It’s meaning?  “Finally!”  Europe had a really looooooooong winter. It’s safe to say that this was the longest and snowiest winter we’ve experienced out of the 8 we’ve had (Germany and here).  We actually really enjoyed the snow, it’s just that we had a few false springs, where we thought the sun would start shining and then it would dump 2 feet.  I refused to shovel my driveway on the last snow.  But alas, spring is here.  And with it? Allergies.  I (Brad) am now carrying around a kleenex box with me, sneezing like crazy and sometimes just miserable.  Last night was my first bad spell…I’m hoping to grow out of this???  I’m not complaining though (not too much) because we are so grateful for the sun, to be able to wear shorts and  to open the doors of the house and have the kids play outside.  Here’s a few pictures from the last couple weeks.  I am itching to bring out the flip flops!

We are thrilled to be having another child in October!

We are thrilled to be having another child in October!

it's finally broken through the long dark winter!

it’s finally broken through the long dark winter!

enjoying the sun

enjoying the sun

We won our first game last week 36-6.  I am on the left in the gray sweatshirt.

We won our first game last week 36-6. I am on the left in the gray sweatshirt.

Jackson's all smiles trying to learn the bike

Jackson’s all smiles trying to learn the bike

this was very comfortable. :)

this was very comfortable. 🙂

my refusal to shovel. I thought this was pretty fun

my refusal to shovel. I thought this was pretty funny

Laurel and Trisha

Laurel and Trisha

Winter Camp

February 12, 2013

Last weekend youth from all over Slovenia gathered (about 110 of us) at Vogel for a weekend of skiing, snowboarding and fun! Our group from Maribor was just around 20 with leaders and we had a great time! The boys came with us and they did such a good job, I was so thankful! Brad was co-directing camp with his friend David and I was so impressed and proud of how well they led camp. The area we were in is breathtaking, every day I was in awe at the beauty around us! Our friend and boss, Josh Patty, spoke at camp and did a great job, his talks were awesome and I hope stirred some thoughts and truth in the hearts of those that attended. Now we are back home, trying to rest a bit and get back to “regular” life again! 🙂 We are so so thankful Camp went well, thank you to those that prayed for us!






Speed skater!

February 6, 2013

A month ago Landon went ice skating with his school and he came home raving about it! He was so pumped to go back again. When we went to Poland, Naja took him twice! When we came home that is all he talked about and is still talking about it! We made time on Sunday and all went down to the little skating rink set up in the center of Maribor. Landon and I rented skates and Brad and Jackson walked on the rink. Jackson was a little overwhelmed by all the people on the ice but he had fun walking around and holding our hands. We had so much fun! Landon has really good balance and loves to go really fast! Since we went on a sunday it was quite crowded and he couldn’t go as fast as he wanted but we still had fun anyway. We are excited to go back again sometime soon! Usually, I am always taking the pictures so there isn’t very many of me, this time since I was skating Brad took the pictures and they are all of me and Landon and none of Brad! We need to share the camera and have pictures of all of us! Oh well, next time maybe :).






Landon John Jenkins

February 2, 2013

Landon is almost 6 1/2 years old. As most of you know he started school this fall. I was very concerned and had a lot of fear walking in to this school year. I spent many a morning repenting of my fear and asking the Lord to give me peace and wisdom and to walk before Landon and prepare the way for Landon to not just do ok but to thrive! Thankfully, Landon is doing very well in his first grade class. His teacher’s are pretty kind and encouraging, the kids (for the most part) seem to get a long with him and he is taking off with the Slovene language! He talks so fast that I have to ask him to slowly repeat what he said! We are so proud of our little guy! His current interests are coloring, drawing, anything super heroes, loves riding his bike, ice skating (has gone 3 times this winter and loves it!), sledding, rollerblading, hip hop dancing, loves playing the game “guess who?”, and is a beginner reader in English and Slovene. Brad and I take turns walking or biking with Landon to and from school and we have really enjoyed this time with him. We pray together, talk together, laugh together and these walks have been so meaningful to us. We are in a new stage of parenting with him, out of the pre-school stage and now into the school age stage! We love our little man and are so proud of who he is becoming!


DSC_0286 - Version 2



Action Jackson!

January 30, 2013

Thought I would do little updates on the boys. Let’s start with Jack Attack! Jackson is not quite 2 1/2. He is a slow talker but keeps progressing more each day. He has a sweet, kind nature with a little stubborn kick thrown in every now and again. Lately the “time out” chair has been his friend but I just say to myself “this too shall pass” and “I discipline by faith that God will/can change my child’s heart!” Cars, balls, BIG stuffed animals, coloring and playdough have been a few of his favorite things lately. The last few days he has carried around glow in the dark silly putty in his little fist. It is kind of like a stress ball for him and has kept him in a great mood! He is such a sweet cuddly guy! He is always kissing and hugging EVERYBODY he says the best greetings “HI” and “BYE BYE” in such a loving fun way. Wow, we cannot imagine our family without him! We love you Jackson Luke Jenkins!





Marriage Conference!

January 29, 2013

Last week, a sweet friend of ours watched the boys for us, while we headed up to Poland for a marriage conference! We had a great time. Dave Patty taught and he is definitely one of my favorite teacher’s to listen to. I learned knew stuff and reviewed old stuff and it was all so good to listen and think about with Brad. The only bummer was that I was still sick from the colds we all had the week before and I just couldn’t get better, so for a lot of the conference I felt out of it and so tired! One good thing that came out of that was how well Brad cared for me, put me first and helped me rest. I felt so loved by him. Brad and I have been married for 10 years (well in July it will be 10) and we are determined to have not just a good marriage but an awesome marriage! I feel so thankful to work for an organization that cares about my marriage and puts on a conference for us and finds funding so that it is free for us! Wow-we are so blessed. The boys had such a great time with our friend and that was such a blessing too! Thank you JV for such a great conference and thank you Naja for taking such good care of our kids. Oh, and since it was in Poland I did a little Polish pottery shopping as well! 🙂 All around it was a great week for us and our boys too!



It’s that time of the year again!

January 28, 2013

Oh yes, flu season is back again! Two weeks ago the Jenkins household was hit hard with a bad cold/virus thingy! Yuck! Jackson ended up getting an ear infection on top of the cold but thankfully antibiotics did the trick and he is healthy and doing well. Landon also was sick but got better after a few days. Then Brad caught it and lastly I as well! Yuck, yuck! Unfortunately Brad and I got sick right before we went to Poland to a marriage conference. Brad’s body bounced back pretty quickly but I was stuck in the sickness and I could not get better! Fortunately I am now on antibiotics and already feeling a bit better. The whole time we have been sick, it has snowed and snowed! It is beautiful outside and cozy warm inside! Here’s a few pictures of the sick kids inside our cozy house and the snowy beautiful outside view!