Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Break and a New Year

We are almost finished with our 3 week break for Christmas and New Year’s, and the past days have been filled with much-needed rest and relaxation. I spent the majority of the break with a friend who lives in Kandern, and it’s been fun to get out and enjoy and get to know some more of the fantastic members of the BFA and BFCF communities. Those who have been wondering if I would be able to use my music here will be pleased to know that I was honored to participate in BFCF’s Christmas Eve service. The service was a beautiful rendering of gifts of music and Scripture, and a blessing to share in. Christmas Day, though much quieter than I’m accustomed to, was also well spent, with dinner being shared with other members of my new-found ResLife family. We laughed and talked and shared some great food. New Year’s in Kandern is like New Year’s nowhere else. Just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, people gather in the Blumenplatz, or town square and as the bells ring in the new year, firecrackers, fireworks, and sparklers light up the night. The atmosphere is exciting, though it feels somewhat like a warzone. This goes on for hours, and when the smoke clears, the sun rises on a bright new year. Throughout the rest of the break, I’ve been able to take some day trips outside Kandern, and spend quality time with friends here. I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to become better acquainted with the town, country and continent that has become my home. The other day I encountered a shop-keeper who spoke no English. Why should she? I’m in her country. I used all the German I knew, but I got what I needed. Exiting the shop, I felt empowered. I can do this. I can live here and be comfortable. This is my new reality. With the nature of dorm life and the schedules we keep, I don’t often get to interact with the community in this way, but I’m determined to consciously seek more encounters like that.

I want to thank all of my supporters, both prayer and financial, for partnering with me faithfully. Six months ago, if you had told me I’d be back in Germany, I’d have told you you’re nuts and not to get my hopes up. Now, because of your faithful support, God has allowed and enabled me to serve here, and I want you to know that a day does not go by that I do not thank God for you.

Although I haven’t done this in previous years, from lessons the Lord has been teaching me, I’ve chosen one for this year. Colossians 3:16 begins, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…” I’m aware that there is more to this verse, but this first part has stuck with me for several months now. In order for me to serve in the best way possible, I need to be submerged in Scripture. In order for the Word to dwell in me richly, I need to be dwelling in the Word. And not just occasionally. When you haven’t eaten all day and someone offers you a 4-course meal, you don’t just eat a piece of lettuce and walk away expecting to function normally. I am convinced that God wants me to function victoriously in my walk with Him, and I pray that this year I’ll be able to achieve that, or at least begin to. So my theme for 2011 is “Dwelling richly in the Word.” I am incredibly excited to see how God will bring this about in my life, and I look forward to another wonderful year of walking with Him. 

Trip to Basel, Switzerland. 

This looks scary, but it's just a firecracker in the square to celebrate the New Year. :)