Wasn’t it Willie Nelson who sang that song – ‘on the road again, goin’ places I’ve never been, seeing things that I may never see again. And I can’t wait to get on the road again‘? Well, I know what he means, kinda. I am hitting the road again, on an outreach trip to Hungary and the Ukraine. I am looking forward to it on the one hand – love to see what God does on these trips. But also not looking forward to it because I don’t like to travel nor be away from the Phamily.
Tomorrow I take the train for 2 hours to Heidelberg to meet up with the outreach team from CC Heidelberg. From there we take a 2.5 hour bus ride to the airport. Then we fly 2 hours to Budapest, Hungary. Then we take a 3 hour taxi ride to Debrecen, Hungary. We spend Fri and Sat in Debrecen as we wait for the other half of the team coming from CC Stuttgart. Sunday morning I teach at CC Debrecen. Then after the service, we take a 3-4 hour bus ride into the Ukraine and spend the week there doing street evangelism. Next weekend we reverse the process as we head back home to Germany (more traveling – yeah! sarcasm, sarcasm). I’ll post more on the trip after I get back.
Pray for Becks as she will be alone with all 4 kids for a week while I am gone! But 2 weeks after my trip, Becks makes the same trip to the Ukraine on another outreach trip. Then I will be home with all 4 kids. (Yikes!)
Pray for my back – don’t know what I did to it, but there is constant pain in the lower back. Possibly a spiritual attack?? Never had back problems before.
Jesaiah just turned 7 on Friday…I can’t believe how the time flies! I remember when he was born like it was yesterday, I couldn’t have wished for an easier or quicker birth! (Otherwise we wouldn’t have made it to the hospital!) He is such a ‘big boy’ now. He is growing up so much, it is such a blessing to see his heart for God already, I am so thankful for him!
We didn’t do a birthday party this year because we went to Switzerland instead. Taliah’s Godmother lives in Zürich and we have been planning, since Febuary, to go and visit her and her husband and this was the only weekend that worked for everyone.
We went down on Friday afternoon and stayed the night in the youth hostel and on Saturday we went to a really cool children’s ‘museum’ called kindercity.
We spent the whole day, from 10am til 5:30pm, it was a really interesting place, lots to do!
Jesaiah and Taliah each got to do a workshop, Jesaiah did one on cars, he learned how to change a tire and check fluids and he got to build his own model car to take home. Taliah did a creativity one where she built a lighthouse out of cans and a glass jar with a candle in it. The workshops were 90 minutes long so while they were in there the rest of us went through the other part, caleed ‘wissenswege’ (paths of knowledge). There was so much to do, and Zachy just loved it, there was a water ‘game’ with balls and air pumps and everything, there was also a music area with drums and piano on the floor to walk on. Another area had ‘experiments’ dealing with physical handicaps. We could practice in a wheel chair, try walking on stilts, sack race, the whole area was all about how our body works and what it would be like if something wasn’t functioning like it should. It was very interesting. The biggest hit though were the peg boards. I don’t know what they are really called but they have pegs in them and when you press your hand or something in them the shape is pushed out on the other side, they are really cool, and as you can see in the pictures we all had a blast with them!
The kids would love to go back, maybe someday!
We really enjoyed spending time with Lia and Manuel and having fun in Switzerland…thanks Lia and Manu!
Hope you all enjoy the pictures!
This past weekend, Jesaiah turned a big 7! Becks and I had talked a few months ago about getting him a pocket knife for his 7th birthday, but had then forgot about that until this weekend. We were in Zurich, Switzerland over the weekend to visit Taliah’s godmom and her husband and had a great time with them at ‘KinderCity / KidsCity’ (Becks will post that later – thanks Auntie Lia and Manu!). Anyways the youth hostel where we spent the night had a showcase of some very fancy, world-famous pocket knives – the renowned Swiss Army knives!
So we ended up surprising Jesaiah with his very own, 1st-ever pocket knife – an authentic Swiss Army knife! And it was even bought in Switzerland! He was so elated and hugged us so hard that I thought my neck was gonna crack!
Our first project was to whittle a little something with his fancy new knife. So today, on our day off, we went into the little woods behind our neighborhood, searched for some good wood to start whittling and got started. We had a great time and are so blessed to see our little boy becoming a little man.
Here are some pics…
Looking for wood in the woods
Can you find our hidden forest friend?
Here, Taliah using bro’s knife to cut the yucky, black dead bark off
Jesaiah using the scissors in his knife to cut the sandpaper
Sanding down the wood…
Nailing the pieces together…
Teamwork – the final product!
SoFa stands for Sommerlager familie. In other words family camp! This was our first family camp with the church. Our youth pastor and his wife organize (with an army of helpers ) youth camps every year. They have teens for 10 days then have a few days break then they have kids (9-12 years) for 7 days. This year they decided to do families in between.
The campsite is in a big field on top a hill about 25minutes outside of Freiburg. The field belongs to a farmer who allows our church to use it for the month of August. The camp gets water and power from the farm which is just down the hill. It is amazing what they set up and how it all functions! There are ‘real’ flushing toilettes and a kitchen capable of cooking for 100-150 people. And it is all temporary, they build it all at the end of July beginning of August, and break it all down at the end of August. It is a lot of work, but when you see the fruit in the lives of the youth and kids, it is well worth it.
For the youth camps last year it rained pretty much non-stop and was cold. This year they had nice weather for the teens, but it started raining before family camp and rained the first day and a half. Needless to say there was a lot of mud! The kids thought it was great of course, and we adults had to just remember that ‘washing machines are made to wash clothes’ (and let me tell you, I had a TON of laundry when we got home!)
But mud aside, it was a great time. Saturday and Sunday morning there was child care and the parents had time together and the topic was raising kids. The discussions were very ‘open’, everyone was comfortable with one another and shared things from their lives. It was encouraging and challenging.
In the evenings we had a campfire where we roasted marshmellows the first night and the second night we made pancakes. We played a game where we had two teams, some from each team had to go into the forest and ‘find’ the ingredients for pancakes. There were people hiding in the woods holding the ingredients and our teams had to find them (the ones hiding were flashing their flashlights). They were only allowed to get one ingredient at a time, ie one egg, 1 cup of flour, a bit of oil, or a liter of milk. Once they collected the items they had to run them to us who were making the batter and there were others trying to catch them. If they got caught they had to give up whatever ingredient they had. It is very hard to make pancake batter when you get the ingredients all mixed up! It was a lot of fun and the pancakes were really yummy!
After 3 nights sleeping in a tent on the ground I was happy to sleep in my own bed though!
All the awnings and tents and other wooden things were all made by the teens while they were there. That is part of SoLa, they get to design and build anything they can imagine, and some of it is really cool! There was even a swing this time (I’ll try to remember to take a picture this week when we visit the kids camp)
Yes, we are still here! It has been awhile since our last post, we’ve been busy and on the road. I have lots of pictures from our many adventures recently. Uploading them and posting about them will have to wait. But stay tuned one of us will get around to it before too long!
…well, at least until we die or Jesus returns for us or God moves us on! After 11 years living in Europe, 10 years of it in Freiburg, we finally were able to apply for our unlimited, permanent visa for Germany. Up to now, we had to go back every 2 years and apply for a renewal of our visas (for the first 3 years, we had to go back EVERY year).
I know for some of you that isn’t such a big deal, but it has always been a burden at most and an irritation at least for us – the Foreign Office is not the greatest place to hang out for a couple hours on a hot, muggy summer day. We have seen fights break out because people cut in line in front of others, we have seen clueless people get yelled at and others just having grumpy attitudes (the workers sometimes also) – it’s just a plain hassle. And because it’s the FOREIGN office, there are many foreigners (go figure!) there – us included. And some of them come from cultures that are not so used to order and structure – hence the fights.
For us it has always been just an uncertainty and hassle – ‘Will they renew it this year? Do we have all the paperwork filled out? Are there any loopholes? How much will it cost this year?’ In any case, this permanent visa takes care of all that! I love the German word ‘Erleichterung’ – it means relief, like a burden taken off your shoulders. And that is exactly what it is for us – ‘eine Erleichterung’!
Check out the pictures above – because of the new EU rules for passport photos, we are not allowed to smile for the photos (mom being a rebel of course). Try to tell that to kids who are (1) natural hams (do they take after mom or dad or both?); (2) always told to smile every time a camera is pointed at them and (3) can’t sit still for more than 2 minutes! That was an adventure in itself – trying to get passport photos for all 6 of us. But thank God it’s all over now! At least until the kids turn 16 years old – then we have to bring their passports back to have the permanent visas put in.