Archive for September, 2011

Who Needs Free Time?

Of course my schedule is filling up already.  Not sure how this keeps happening, but I cannot pass up opportunities!  I found a volleyball league that meets across the street from Connections at a Baptist church.  I also joined a choir that is associated with the JFK International School.  Our Christmas concert will be in the Berliner Dom!!!  Woot!

ALSO…I am going with the Lewis family to Wittenberg on Reformation Day!  Mondays and Fridays are German tutoring sessions with a university student going into language education.  She makes it fun and easy to remember and has helped us a lot with pronunciation!

I am sitting here in the gallery looking at twenty boxes of books that were stored in the basement or recently donated which need to be sorted and shelved, sold or given away.  I have had plenty of design work to do as well!  Many more ideas are flowing for future projects and many ideas for classes I could teach here!  I think our outreach to children is a big draw for Connections.  Not too many check out books but people seem more apt to attend special events and hopefully bring friends!

Pray that our efforts are most efficiently combined and used to reach the lost and serve believers.

Food experience: Schnitzel – ground pork breaded and lightly fried over roasted potatoes with onions and chives and a red wine, bbq tasting brown sauce. yum yum!

Remembering Nana

Prayer Requests: That more people would use the resources Connections offers even if its just meeting unsaved friends for coffee in a non-threatening, non-church environment.  Also, the Lewis family still needs to find an apartment so they can dedicate all their energy to Connections.
Answered prayer: Kristi’s back is almost back to normal and she is pretty much mobile now.  God took my grandma Home and healed her.  I am truly thankful for God’s goodness to her and to our family through her.  Good bye to my Grandma who passed peacefully into heaven Friday morning. She lived 89 years, through the depression, had three children in the fifties, outlived three husbands, survived breast cancer, saw 5 grandchildren, lived with diabetes, and quietly served the Lord and her family for many years.  I was able to say goodbye to her last time I was in Indiana so my main disappointment was is not being present to support my family, but I was able to feel part of things by skyping the funeral.  My sister read the following, since I couldn’t be there:

Nana was the only grandparent I ever knew and I was her first grandchild. The reason all her grandchildren call her Nana is because I couldn’t say “grandma” and it stuck. She even called herself this, signing all her notes with the traditional “xoxo, Nana”. She didn’t pass on her height to me, but I am pretty sure my brown eyes came from her. I am going to miss my Nana, all her quirks and graces. Here are some of the many important lessons I have learned from her.

• If it is on sale, it’s worth buying.
• One can never have enough paperweights or shoes.
• Daschunds are not canines but angelic beings that grace us with their presence.
• One should wear dress clothes to go grocery shopping.
• A sister can be a best friend.
• Appreciation for God’s creation, like freshly ploughed fields and the shape of bare trees.
• If Biglots doesn’t have it, you don’t need it.
• How to show love by serving others.
• It is a bad idea to leave steaks in the trunk for a week.
• Scrapple and Scrabble are wonderful things especially together.
• Generosity
• How to graciously and patiently care for her mom for many years.
• Probably the most impact she has had on my life is indirectly: How she raised a girl who would one day be another wonderful mom to me.

I am proud and thankful to be part of a fourth generation of fine, God-fearing women. I know during her long life Nana wore many hats and was many things to many people, but I thank God I knew her as grandma. I wish I could be there to celebrate her life, but I look forward to celebrating eternally, God’s rich blessing on generations of our family. Love you and miss you Nana,

Peace With God First

International Church of Berlin for September 11 Memorial service attended by the US ambassador and the German president along with several congressmen and a military attache.   I got there and hour and a half early and they were sweeping the grounds with bomb sniffing dogs.   The service was mostly in english and was mostly focused on world peace despite diversity.   The most moving part was when a guest singer sang “The Lord’s Prayer”, then it all seemed to fit… being in an amazing cathedral and hearing glory given to the One who deserves it and yet doesn’t need us to give it to him, or congratulate ourselves for inventing “world peace”.   The world needs to be at peace with God before it can be at peace with fellow men.
Monday, which is my day off, I went to the Berlin Zoo with Micah Lewis. Its the second largest zoo in the world and is refreshingly non-commercial and most of the barriers are trenches rather than fences giving a better view. Its a good thing rhinos cannot jump. The leopard cub and arctic fox cubs were ADORABLE.

For Such A Time As This…

This morning (Saturday) I attended a Christian Women of Berlin brunch which occurs quarterly. A new friend of mine, the youth director of Crossway International church, was the main speaker and what she had to say struck a chord with me.  She spoke on making the most of the unique opportunities God has placed in my way in Berlin.  Not just coasting or trying to stay in a comfort zone.  I have already been open to venturing outside my comfort zone and it was no accident God has me here.  I am reminded to be flexible with whatever opportunities arise and not dictate to God what I will or will NOT do.

I have already had some good relationship-building conversations with people through Connections and tonight I had the privilege of meeting and accompanying the Crossway youth group on a (long) train ride to go bowling.  This is not any bowling alley, it is set up like an expensive lounge with couches and backlights on the lanes, and it is located at the top of a 4 story mall.  They have a vibrant youth group, english-speaking, made up of kids from all backgrounds and not from just Crossway.

Prayer Requests: Kristi, the youth director, pulled a muscle badly in her back and has endured excruciating pain (taking public transit, chaperoning the youth group and general movement).  Also, my grandma who is with my parents in Indiana has fallen and broken a rib and is back in the hospital with other complications too.  I know both lives are in the Lord’s hands and I don’t really know how to pray myself, but thank you for thinking of our family!

Things I am very thankful for: see food experience below.  The opportunity to be here!  I still pinch myself and can’t help feeling somewhat cool 🙂  Instant friends and support network because of the body of Christ.  A generous handful of people have offered or given their assistance already.  (The Dyes, the Goods, the Mallorys, the Lewis’s, Kristi, Christian, Matt).  I have not felt lonely or fearful yet!  Thank you for all your prayers!  The ability to be useful and in time, to fill some of the many needs I see.

Food experience: (warning, do not read this if you are hungry) roasted swedish meatballs, hot german potatoes, boiled bratwurst, roasted bratwurst (note- all “w”s are pronounced like “v”) smoked salmon, cream cheese, fresh rolls, croissants, nutella, really great coffee, fruit pastries, cherry pudding, currywurst, schinken kasse (ham and cheese baked inside cheese covered croissant)

Tomorrow will be a unique experience to commemorate that tragic day for America, ten years ago, from here in Berlin. More on that later.  I will leave you with this verse from this morning’s brunch.  Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish.  And who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this?” Make it count!

Today was an open house celebrating Connections 4th birthday! About 25 people came and the guest speaker was Dr. Bob Kuest. Against all odds Connections has remained open for this long and it will continue to thrive while Dale and Barbara retire for real, with its management being turned over to the Lewis family who arrived in Berlin from Florida, shortly before me.  Larry Lewis came from a worship pastor position and is transitioning to Director and his wife Teri will be increasing the children’s outreach side of Connections.  Their oldest daughter, Micah, will be attending college here and their youngest daughter Ericah is enrolled at the American school here.  I have found this family to be instant friends of mine and look forward very much to working together with them to unleash Connections variety of potential.

Prayer Request: The Lewis family needs to find a suitable apartment as it is taking longer than expected and is infringing on the activities they want to get started at Connections.  Also, Teri is still healing from 2 broken feet which also constrains their location.  I was informed the way apartment hunting works here is it is a sellers market no matter how many places are on the market.  There is a potential renters interview and references needed, because if the landlord has to take a renter to court later on for negligence or not paying, the landlord pays all legal costs plus a moving company to remove the renter.  All that to say, they are very picky.

Some other random trivia: when counting on the hand, thumb is 1 and index finger is 2.  Two kinds of flushes for 2 kinds of business.  On an elevator, floor 0 is street level and floor 1 is our second floor.

What Jet Lag!

Well I believe I am cured of jetlag after getting about 13 hours of sleep. Today I had other responsibilities besides staying awake as long as possible. I got myself to and from Connections without getting (too) lost. It involves getting bus 184 southeast 2 stops to the Lichterfelde train stop then heading north 4 stops to Sudkreuz then getting another train one stop to the west at Schoneberg then walking 2 blocks north and one block west. Thanks for humoring me, it helps me memorize it.

Food experience: Donerkebab (turkish pita sandwich of lamb or chicken, curry or garlic sauce, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, radish, pickles, and something pink)

(Written from the plane after leaving Newark, as Leanna headed to Berlin this past Monday where she will be filling the short term role as interim director of the Connections Christian Resource Center.   Connections is a library, cafe and arts center that is designed to encourage and enable Christians, inquirers and observers to access information relating to Christianity and the Bible, investigate the validity of the Christian faith, gain greater understanding of biblical truth, and grow in their spiritual journey.  This center appropriately serves as a connecting point for area ministries as well as a place inquirers can come seeking to connect with God.  Leanna will be serving for 4 months until the new permanent directors arrive in December.)

Right now I can see the dipper bright and sharp, poised in the atmosphere off the port bow, ready to pour out God’s blessing. Never have I felt so uplifted in prayer as I do right now! It is a little hard to describe the feeling besides a sense of rich gratitude and fearless well-being. Thank you all who are praying for me (it is 8:30pm sept 5th) Our God answers prayers above and beyond hopes! I know whatever challenges and souls God lays before me, He will provide for! Savior! He can moves mountains! My God is mighty to save. MIGHTY TO SAVE! Forever author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, JESUS conquered my grave. I am dauntless because of Him!