Equipping Young Leaders
Vision: A movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe that finds its home in the local church and transforms society.
Mission: Equipping young leaders to fulfill Christ’s commission through the local church.
Dear <<First Name>>,

You've probably heard either Gabi or me say the above words once...or twice...or a few dozen times.

These are the vision and mission statements of Josiah Venture. More than just well-written marketing slogans or things that we need to have in our organizational bylaws, these statements are something we strive to live and breathe. More and more, we're trying to use them as filters in our decision-making process in ministry.

Therefore, when I was asked to lead worship at one of our evangelistic summer camps this year, I said no.

Well...more accurately, I said yes with an asterisk (yes*). I just did a quick count in my head, and I believe that since my first contact with JV in 2012, I have lead worship at something like 10 or so camps. This is something I know. It's something I do well. However, me leading worship at yet another camp doesn't really do much along the lines of equipping young leaders or empowering their local churches.

That's when I decided to ask Hania (with us in the picture below) - who is both a recent high-school graduate who I had met at one of the CSM worship training weekends earlier this spring, as well as a young woman involved in a local church where JV Poland has a large presence - to take the reins. She agreed, yet needed a bit of financial help to be able to attend the camp. This is where you come in! Many times we've shared how we get to use the "ministry budget" half of our monthly support to bless others - bringing Hania along with us to camp is just the most recent example. If you're one of our financial support partners - on behalf of Gabi, myself, and Hania - thank you!

Long story short, Hania took adversity and many various challenges throughout the week of camp in stride. She visibly grew as she led the worship team and the entire camp. I am very proud of how she met the challenge and served throughout the week! Here's a bit of feedback she had as camp wrapped up:

I am brought to tears of joy when I think about worship this week. I don't have many opportunities to lead and grow musically in my local church, and [at camp] I feel seriously amazing, because I know I am fulfilling God's calling for me. Thank you for this chance! You've been really wonderful - your encouraging words are a great help, as is the fact that you give me your time and make the difficult decisions that need to be made when things come up. Thank you!

This is what we live, breathe, and bleed for. From the depths of our hearts, thank you for the way you join us in equipping young leaders in Poland through your prayers, kind words, and financial support!

What Happened
  • Master Camp
    • Besides my work with Hania and the worship team, I also was able to teach a guitar workshop for a pair of students. Gabi spent the entire week recording well over a dozen promotional videos, as many of our JV Poland ministry leaders were serving alongside us at this camp. Go follow @fala.stowarzyszenie on Instagram and Fala on Facebook to keep an eye out for some of her work! Just a heads up - it's all in Polish, as these accounts are driven towards Polish youth and youth group leaders. PS - if you're wondering what Fala is, it means wave and is our Polish name for JV Poland!
  • Vacation
    • Gabi and I got some much-needed time off in the Polish port city of Gdynia with two of our close friends. After a jam-packed summer ministry schedule, God truly blessed us with great weather, lots of beach time, good food, and quality laughs with our friends.
  • Refresh
    • On our way home from vacation, we took a detour to Warsaw to attend Refresh - a youth festival put on by the Polish baptist denomination. We served at Refresh by making coffee with some of our fellow JV Poland staff, and I led a workshop titled Leading Up on how you can care for, encourage, and respectfully challenge your leaders to help your local church grow, even if you're not the one in charge!
  • Planning CSM 2022/23
    • Pastor Rick Gannon from Palm Valley Church in Mission, TX flew to Poland to lead our CSM team through some team-building activities, help us plan out teaching content for the upcoming school year, and spoil us with some world-class food and much-needed relational time together as a team. We spent three days in Kraków together and all left encouraged and refreshed before we kick off a new year of investing in worship leaders!
Gabi's Corner

Happy 1st of September! For those who don’t know, this date means that today all of Poland goes back to school (except university as they start on 1st of October). That means that we are preparing/starting our school year ministry. With my team for the past 2 years, we worked really hard on refreshing JV Poland branding, communication, and our online presence. We think that it’s really important to be present online, because that’s where most teenagers spend a lot of their time. We’re finishing designing a new website and we have new instagrams. Yeah - instagrams, we have two. One of them is a normal instagram to show what is JV Poland and what do we do. 

The other one we have really big dreams and hopes for. We had a crazy idea to create a place where youth leaders can come, see what others are doing, get inspired, be honest about their ministry, have a place where they can talk about taboo topics or see how to start those topics with youth, and also have access to resources for their youth group. I say it’s crazy, because it's a lot of work and we have no clue if our idea even will work, but we walk in faith holding onto that dream. We see a humongous need for that especially in Poland, where on the day-to-day basis youth leaders feel so alone and often times burned out, but they are the only person willing to do that work in their church so they keep going. Also, did I mention that we are only a team of 4 people?

We spent the last 3 days on preparing for a bunch of everything. We are sending 1500 packages to all the protestant churches in Poland, so people can hear that we exist and that we want to work with them and support them. This summer was tough and there was so much to do and there still is so much more to do. I have been working hard and right now it looks like there is not going to be a lot of time for me to rest, but I’m so so happy that this is my work. Sometimes it feels like it would be easer to have a 9-5 job, but its not about how easy it is. I’m thankful for my calling and for all of you, that you allow me to and Elliott to do this job, and not only allow it, but that you are with us by your prayers and all the support that we’re getting from you. With that, please pray for my team, that we will have strength to keep going. Pray for wisdom for us, so we will know how to create that safe space for youth group leaders and that God will get his glory from that.

What's Next

Here's what's coming up for us over the rest of the summer:

- EXIT Tour Mikołów! For the first time in 30 months 😱 we're about to hit the road for a full week of EXIT Tour. We'll be in the city of Mikołów from September 4th-10th. Please pray for all of the students we'll meet in schools. Pray for changed hearts and openness to the Gospel during our afternoon workshops. Above all, pray for young people to put their faith in Christ! This tour is extra special for Gabi and me, as the last tour in Mikołów (in 2019) played a large role in the early stages of us getting to know each other before we began dating ❤️

- Youth Group kickoff! The school year is just about to begin, and with it, our local church is kicking off our youth group season on September 2nd. We got to spend lots of quality time with our students throughout the summer, which we're both praying will lead to deeper conversations and growth throughout this next year.

- JV Fall Conference! As is the same with many things, Josiah Venture's annual Fall Conference is making its post-pandemic comeback. I'm helping to lead worship, as well as bringing along a key student from CSM - Filip - who I'll be discipling throughout this year. He's a fantastic pianist and I can't wait to see how God shapes his heart in the coming months.

Thank you as always for your continued prayer and support.

In Christ,

Gabi and Elliott

Prayer Requests
Here are some current prayer requests for the ministry and for me personally:
  1. Please pray for a healthy start to a new school year for both EXIT Tour and our youth group.
  2. Please pray for JV Poland's new website and online materials that Gabi and the Communications Team have been working so hard on. We desire to support as many Polish youth leaders as we can, and this is hopefully a new tool to inspire and care for them.
  3. Please pray for wisdom for Gabi and me. We both desire to use the way God has gifted us (creatively, musically, relationally) to the best of our ability. We want to say yes to opportunities for maximum kingdom impact, and have the wisdom to let other things in our life and ministry fall by the wayside, being wise in the way we count the cost and seek to glorify the only One worthy of glory.
Don't forget to sign up for a one-hour time slot on Josiah Venture's prayer room website. This is a great way to play an even greater role in this movement of God in Poland.
Care Packages
Please address any and all packages/letters in the following way so that they arrive quickly and without issue ❤️

Elliott and Gabi Phillips
ul. Katowicka 59/21
41-400 Mysłowice
Air Mail

We love receiving gifts from you - whatever you send is a huge blessing and always so sweet, though here are some suggestions if you don't know what we need:
  1. American spices! We particularly love Fiesta brand texmex and bbq spices, as well as Nestle semisweet chocolate chips and dark brown sugar.
  2. American sports apparel! We're both huge fans of all the Dallas sports teams, as well as Texas A&M (yes, even Gabi!). Gabi likes a loose M, and Elliott wears an XXL.
  3. Stance brand socks! There's nothing particularly special about these, we just think they're fun 😀
  4. Special requests! Every once in a while there's something random or a bit of technology that you can only get in the USA. Let us know if you have some extra space, there just might be something small and helpful we can ship alongside your package!
Don't forget to sign up for a one-hour time slot on Josiah Venture's prayer room website. This is a great way to play an even greater role in this movement of God in Poland.
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Elliott and Gabi in Poland · ul Szkolna 25/2 · Bielsko-Biała 43-300 · Poland

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