Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Week 3

Funny how when you’re young, Christmas seems to take forever to come. Then once you get older, you blink and another holiday, month, etc.  is upon you. I’m very excited to be starting my third week at Sonne. Getting acclimated here has included getting to know a very special and unique fellowship of believers. They are open and accepting, and passionate about their part of the ministry here. I have also had some great opportunities to get to know the guys. This has gone a lot faster than I had expected. Whether it’s a little conversation here, a game there (I learned to play Risk this week), helping with homework, or whatever the situation, getting to know these people better is a continual joy. At dinner the other night I had a flash-back to my first meal here, and while it’s a good memory, I was relieved to find that I have become 100% more comfortable here. I’m really enjoying getting to know the dorm-staff here as well. While there is a definite variance in personality, the differences are pleasant ones. I’m just thankful for their patience with me. Each one has put out considerable effort to teach me, get to know me, and just help me feel comfortable. Thank you Debbie, Marty, Tommy, and Chris! Before I arrived, I had started a study of the books of First and Second Timothy, and II Timothy 2:22 has become a major catalyst in my adjusting process. It says, “So flee youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to put this verse into action each day alongside a staff that exemplifies this verse so clearly.  

The past few weeks have not been without difficulty. Nothing major, but I have to admit that I do get a bit more homesick than I had imagined I would. I suppose this is a good thing though, because I have such an awesome base of family and friends to miss. I want all of you who are reading this to know that I think of and pray for you often. I just want to take a second here to thank all of you who have written for your emails, encouraging notes on Facebook, etc. for taking the time to contact me. It means so much! Also, congrats to the BJU Chorale for what I heard from very reliable sources was a stellar concert the other night. I dearly wish I could have been there, but I hold you all in my heart! Kudos, and best wishes for a wonderful year of beautiful music!

Lastly, I'm including some pictures to help you visualize where I am a bit better. The first one is a picture of the outside of the dorm. I particularly love the clouds in this one. The next two are the valley where we are located. The last one is the sitting area in my room. It's been fun making everything fit exactly how I want it. Enjoy!




Thursday, October 14, 2010

First Days

As I sit at the desk in my room in Sonne, I can hardly believe that I’m here. The last weekend at home flew by, and before I knew it I was saying goodbye to mom, dad, and the boys, and boarding a plane for London, then Basel. The flight to London was not as long as I remembered which is always nice for a transatlantic flight. When I arrived at London-Heathrow, I was a little confused because its huge, and it was also 6 o’clock in the morning. My flight to Basel left a little late because French pilots and other flight staff had gone on strike that morning, but we still made it to Basel in good time. I was very relieved when I had pulled all four of my bags off the luggage belt. It seems that the only time I have trouble with my luggage is when flying domestic in the US. Ironic. Marty Shilling, our dorm dad, met me at the airport after customs, and we loaded my luggage into the car. Thankfully, all of it fit! They have lots of great culturally rich traditions here, and I was introduced to a new one on the ride to Mulhaus. There are farms here that grow flowers which the public can stop pick, and pay for on the honor system. I now have some lovely chrysanthemums sitting beside me on my desk. 

When we arrived at Sonne, Debbie, our dorm mom, Tommy, and Chris were there for a warm welcome. The friendliness of the other res life staff here is such a blessing. They helped get my luggage upstairs to my rooms, and I spent the afternoon meeting the guys and unpacking. Somehow, I was able to unpack everything in one shot (which if you know me well, is quite uncharacteristic for me J). Everything fits great, and I love my little set up here. I also witnessed my first creeking that evening. Creeking is a ritual accompanying the birthday celebration of any given resident here at Sonne. As soon as the candles on his cake are blown out, the birthday celebrant makes a run for the door where he is headed off, picked up, and carried out the door, down the driveway, and doused in the creek. It’s really a fun tradition here, but personally I’m glad to have a summer birthday!

Since I’m jumping into an already started school-year, I wasn’t sure how easily I would get to know the guys. But I’m doing pretty well with names so far, and I’ve had some great breakthroughs and chances to get to know some of them. There are some really special people in this student body. I’ve already discovered some that enjoy music, and for those who are wondering if I’m getting a chance to use any of the musical part of my brain, rest assured that I am! More on that later, though. Suffice it to say that I’m loving it here already. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Commissioning

It's funny to discover how God has directed our paths even when we didn't realize He was doing it. My pastor had scheduled a Commissioning Service for me during tonight's evening service on Wednesday, and we were thankful God had directed him this way when we found out I was leaving on Monday! Tonight's service was a huge blessing. A former missionary, and great student of the Word, gave the challenge to me out of Micah 6:8. This was very special because God had begun to use that verse in my life during the time at Csehy this summer. Now it's meaning is intensified for me.  


"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 


The first two commands pertain to dealing with mankind, and the last to my relationship with God. If God is first in a person's life, everything else will fall into place. This is my prayer as I enter this new phase in my life. After a time of prayer and laying on of hands, pastor delivered a challenge to the church. He emphasized their partnership with me, and with BFA, and said that by sending someone over they were sending part of themselves as well.  After the service, I was overwhelmed by the expressions of love, promises to pray, wise words, and warm embraces by many present. It was tremendously difficult to say good-bye to such loved ones, but I know that they are supportive of my going, and will be upholding me in prayer daily. I praise God for such a church family that demonstrates the love of Christ in such tangible ways.


So as the time draws near, I ask the Lord to help me walk humbly with Him. I'm looking forward to arriving in Germany, but even more, I'm excited to how I am going to grow and change. 



Thursday, October 7, 2010

Getting Ready to Go

Just when we think we know the extent of the workings of God, He makes us marvel yet again! As of today, my support has reached the point which will allow me to depart for Germany and become part of the ministry there. Lord willing, I will be arriving at BFA next week! In truth, the time since late July, when all of this started, has passed rather quickly. However, as is true when we wait for anything, I often became a bit impatient. God has been incredibly good every step of the way, which causes me to look forward to His workings in the future with great anticipation. His way is best, always. 
Packing does not excite me (I don’t know why). The destination surely does. I’m excited to be in Germany, but for some reason the prospect of figuring out what to take and what not to take is a bit overwhelming. But just as He has been guiding thus far, I know His hand is in this as well. So just a few more short days and my life will have relocated to a new country, new people, and new responsibilities. As I write this, it seems hard to believe that time has finally come. The road of support raising has many twists and turns, but God is directing each one. All that matters is that our eyes are on Him. 
Once again, I want to say thank you to my faithful support partners. I'll be flying in an airplane on Monday, but you are the true 'wings' God is using to take me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your loving support. Now that He has enabled me to go, I trust His enabling to make me fit for this position. To Him be the glory! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sharing Opportunity

I have the opportunity to share with a ladies' group at my church this evening, and I'm excited! Please pray that I will say exactly what God would have me share. My church is my primary group of supporters, so I don't have to worry about whether they are behind me or not! Pray that people will be blessed and God's name will be honored.

Still in need of about 5%, so please pray!! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Prayer Request

As we start this week, I have a brief prayer request. Please pray with me that God will protect me from fear and anxiety as this process enters the home stretch of this stage. I am convinced that this is His will for me. After a few minor seeming setbacks this morning I experienced a huge amount of anxiety and doubt. I'm so thankful for God's faithfulness to us even in things like that, and for the constant consistency of His Word.
Let me share with you some of the verses that encouraged me:

"Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours." Psalm 86:4-8


As I write this, I have the classical radio station on in the background. They are in the midst of an intense member fund-drive, and let me tell you, they are passionate about their station. As I listen it's easy for me to envy them, and the money going their way. I have to remind myself that I have the God of the universe providing my every need, and that the last bit of support will come in His perfect time and way. 


Please pray with me that the last bit of support will come in. I need about 5% more, and I'm praying for it to come in TODAY! I'll keep you updated as excitement continues to mount! God is supremely good, all the time.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Unexpected Blessings

This evening my family and I had the blessing of participating in the evening service at Grace Gospel Chapel in Rio Grande, NJ. We've been visiting this church ever since I was little with my dad's choir, for weddings, and other things. The people are wonderful, and their joy is infectious! The pastor had asked for information from me concerning BFA, and when I gave it to him tonight he asked me to share briefly with the church. I was a little hesitant to ask for support. This is such a tight economic time, and they have been so generous to us before. However, as I finished sharing I felt like I should offer some info on how people could partner and support. After the service as we greeted people, I was approached by a kind older couple. In quiet voices, they said, "We need to talk to you. We would like to support you for $100 per month. How do we go about doing that?" What a blessing, and how marvelously humbling! As of now, I need about $30 per month. God has provided so richly, and I am convinced He will bring the rest in as well in His time.
This post will seem a bit backwards, but please forgive me, as it's rather late and I'm a bit sleepy. This morning at my home church, the speaker was a guest missionary from South Africa. His wife is from our area, and I felt a particular interest because I had never heard them speak before. He spoke of surrender, of self and what we think is important. He said, "To what extent am I willing to let go of my rights for the sake of the Gospel?" At this stage in my life, I'm not headed to as obviously difficult an area as this dear couples serves. However, as I sat in the pew this morning, I was struck with the obvious necessity to leave self behind. Who I am and my wants are of lesser importance than what God wants me to be. As I go and learn to be the hands and feet of Christ to the guys in my dorm, I pray that God will give me grace and insight to dispense with whatever is necessary for the sake of His dear name.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

9%

After so many incredible expressions of love from so many friends and family, I am just 9% away from the 80% support level and a plane ticket to Germany! Praise the Lord! 
If you are reading this and have not yet decided to partner with the ministry of BFA, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider giving. Remember that by giving, you aren't just supporting an individual. You are helping to support a ministry which ministers to missionaries and their families!  If just 9 people give $20 per month, the goal will be reached. Click here to donate: Donate Online This link will take you directly to the TeachBeyond online donation page and has instructions on how to give. Thank you so much for your prayers! God's timing is perfect, and I know that the need will be supplied in His time. Praise Him!