Arriving in Germany: Is this real?

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Can you believe this is 510lbs of luggage?  How about that this doesn’t include our carryons in the trunk of the other car?  🙂

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Our first stop was Boston’s Logan International Airport.  You can see the sign above the kid’s heads, but it’s a bit hard to read.  Frankfurt, Germany, 3671 Miles.

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Faith was very excited to change some left over birthday money into Euros.

 

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Shortly before we boarded the plane, Faith asked me, “Daddy, is this real?  Because this happens to me all the time, and then I wake up and it wasn’t real.”

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This is as real as it gets.  Somewhat the worse for wear after 15 hours of travel, we arrived in Basel, Switzerland, our luggage trailing endlessly off into the horizon…

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We looked a lot better the next day after a little bit of rest.

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Day two in Germany, after some settling, setting up a bank account, and registering with the town, we took the kids to see the storks in Holzen, a near by village.

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One of the most incredible blessings God has provided for us as we arrived here, has been the tremendous support we have received from the Greater Europe Mission staff people.  In this picture, you can see Brandy with Sara Meyer, wife of my supervisor, Jim, admiring the storks.  Because we’re such a large family, the Meyers have been driving us everywhere in two cars, which since we’re running many errands trying to work out school for the kids, navigating the German buerocracy, and get heating oil for our house (which is preventing us from having hot water) the Meyers have been a tremendous help.  Not to mention they’ve been acting as interpreters for us.  But they aren’t the only ones!  Our neighbors down the street, the Bonhams, put us up in their home for several nights, and they and the Meyers have been taking turns feeding us since we got here.

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Saturday morning, GemStone Media had our first team building event, as the whole crew traveled to nearby Switzerland to view some Roman ruins.  It was a nice time, allowing the kids to get a sense of Europe’s rich cultural history, and giving us a chance to connect with our new colleagues.

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For Isaac and Faith, it was another great excuse to have an ice cream.

In so many ways this is such a surreal experience.  We wake up each morning and look out at the farmer’s fields on the other side of the hill, and the mists make everything hazy and dream like.  I keep having to remind myself this isn’t a dream.  Part of our training was to prepare us for culture shock.  We’re in the tourist phase now, where everything is charming and wonderful.  But lingering our there in the distance are the language barrier, all the little cultural snags we’re just beginning to learn, like always saying hello and good bye, and not calling people you see in the distance.  Little things we don’t think about, but which can be very rude here.

Because I’ve been here on several short trips the last five years, I keep having the same problem Faith had in the airport.  I keep forgetting we’re not leaving in a few days.  This is home now.  It’s an awesome feeling.  After five years of working, it’s finally real.  I can pinch myself and not wake up.  🙂  Our God is so incredibly good.

Over the next several months, we have to balance the demands of language school, setting up our household, helping the kids get acclimated, and building working relationships with our team.  Unfortunately, it’s way too easy to make language our bottom priority, but we need to stay focused.  I hope you’ll pray along with us, that God will keep us focused.

Bless you all, and thanks for all the ways you have prayed us here!

One

Library Fine $0.05

Flowers for teachers $10.00

Space bags $30

Shipping boxes to Germany $340

Less than 24 hours until we leave for Germany… Priceless

Two

Some time back, the Women’s Fellowship here gave Brandy a membership to Mystic Seaport about 50 minutes down the road from where we’re living here. We enjoyed our trip to Mystic very much, and had been intending to go back for some time. On our final family outing in Connecticut, returning to Mystic seemed a fitting way to say goodbye to this place where so much has happened to us.

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Because it was Memorial Day, Mystic was reenacting a Memorial Day ceremony from shortly after the civil war, complete with a church service, parade and floating flowers out of the harbor. It was more solemn than I expected, but it was great reminder of what Memorial Day is all about.

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She’s so pretty.

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Yep. Her too.

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Yeah… And her.

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What scheme is Isaac plotting here? I see rope… This could be dangerous.

 

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Isaac wrestled a whale while Faith had a snack and Britt nearly became one.

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It was a very nice day.

Three: 40 weeks in Connecticut

God is so good! I know in scripture the number 40 is significant. In Genesis it rained 40 days and nights in preparation for the world to have a new beginning. Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days. When he came down he had the directions for making the tabernacle and the arc, in preparation for God to dwell among His chosen people. The Israelites were in the desert for 40 years before entering their promised land. Christ was in the wilderness for 40 days being tempted by satan before He began His public ministry. We left Colorado 40 weeks ago.

I have to believe that God had this move to Connecticut planned all along. Each of us has learned some extremely important lessons and some fun ones along the way. We were told over and over today that Britt was a very specific answer to prayer. The teen leaders had been praying for a “spark plug” to come and light a fire in the teen club. For all of you that know Britt and know her well, that describes her to a T. I was brave enough to take up playing the djembe. It’s great fun! Faith has learned how to make new friends and learned that “when you’re stuck and can’t really get out, God tries to help you.” Isaac has found a love for soccer and his exceptional trumpet talent while here. He also learned that he loves small communities, which is a huge benefit because our community in Kandern will definitely be small. We’ve all learned very exciting things, but what I can’t wait to find out is what was all this in preparation for? Each time in scripture the 40 days/weeks/years were in preparation for something. So what awesome ministry opportunities does God have in store for us? I can’t wait to find out and share with each of you.

But the first exciting thing we would like to share with you after our 40 weeks is this morning Pastor Paul challenged the congregation of Calvary Chapel to meet our last $95/mo need. We were hugely blessed by not only the $95/mo but $135/mo in new pledges! Our God is good. We are currently at 102%! It’s still 102% of our reduced budget which is very tight, but regardless it’s another amazing blessing from the Lord. We want to thank each of you for your prayers and support of us during these last couple of years while we worked on support-raising. God was preparing us for His work. We can’t wait.