Thursday, June 29, 2006

Apprehended

“Never choose to be a worker; but when once God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or the left. We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has apprehended us.” Oswald Chambers

Apprehended: to seize 1. to arrest, to seize 2 to become aware of: perceive 3. to grasp with understanding: recognize the meaning of.

He seized, I became aware, He grasped – I hold on – HE HOLDS ME.

I am called not just to bear testimony, but to preach the gospel.
You are called not just to bear testimony, but to preach the gospel.
We are called not just to bear testimony, but to preach the gospel.

Sinners, saved by GRACE.

I cannot say that I fully grasp with understanding my God. I do not completely recognize the meaning of HIM who made, came, redeemed, restored, related. I cannot. I hold on to the truths that He has walked me through. I pick up the rocks of remembrance and put them in my pocket – they remind me of His wonder, His provision, His love. I discover new truths as we travel this road together; intimate truths, blessed truths, frightening truths. I share Him with any and everyone that opens the door. But, I can only share the Him that I know. The Word shares all of Him to them. Therefore, I point to the Bible and ask them to open it, read it, meditate on it. He will apprehend them where they are. He is calling His sheep. Are we listening?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Schwarzwald Kirsche Torte

Yesterday afternoon and evening, I drove up into the Schwarzwald. (The Black Forest) A woman that I have gotten acquainted with at language school asked me to take her. She had a research assignment due...

The research: Finding the likes and differences in Schwarzwald Kirsche Torte (Black Forest Cherry Cake) – the REAL Black Forest Cake – made fresh daily in the forest!

Likes/Compare:
All have a delicious German chocolate cake
All have cream frosting to die for
All have cherries
All have liquor poured on them somewhere

Differences/Contrast:
Layers - 3, 4 (I have seen one 5 layer, but not on this trip)
Fresh Cherries vs. Bottled Cherries (Fresh are best!)
Liquor mixed into the cream to give a nice taste - but some stop you in mid bite and yell - ALCOHOL! – NO it was not an immense amount – just a taste – but all concentrated in one area… Nicht so gut!
However, I would not send any of them back to the kitchen!!!!!!

Now for those of you that might think that was an ill-spent day, please remember – I am in class daily with nothing but German going into my head and out my mouth. I have German seeping in my windows, through my ceiling (from upstairs nachbarin, i.e. neighbor, from the floor [both Chinese and German come from there]).

Enjoying a pleasant conversation with a Kindergarten teacher from DALLAS, (yes, God surprises me all the time with how small the world is) traipsing through the Black Forest discovering Titesee, St. Georgian Clouster, and St. Magreet’s ancient church; it was delightful.

I stopped awhile in the church and enjoyed a moment with my Lover!

Celebrations are going on all over Germany. It is summer (sommer). And the small dorfs in the mountains are not any different. My friend enjoyed wurst und pommes – and I chose chicken und pommes.

An interesting aside. These festivals always have food and drinks. But, when you get the food/drinks – they are served with real silver ware, breakable plates, and wonderful glasses! The consumer is charged One to Two Euros for each item. Upon returning the item, the consumer gets the money back! This is a great way to keep the trash down and to enjoy a nice picnic meal (no wet laps!) – But, I am amazed at the people in the far corner, the people taking care of the dishes that have been returned. What a service. Remember these are community events – so I doubt they are being paid.

Now that I have rambled for a while, you are probably asking – what is the point?

Black Forest Cake
There is a recipe; but with each, a different end product.
Hand made stuff is always best.

I am glad that each and every one of us is different. I am looking forward to the people that God is bringing into my world that look and act differently than me, than my friends, than my family. It will be fun to discover the likes and differences. And what is so comforting: God has a recipe that has required ingredients – they are few, but they are important – to fill that ‘God-shaped void.’ Knowing that recipe brings wholeness. That is actually the only recipe that does.

Your mutating missionary
PS we only tried 3 cakes – and we split every one of them – didn’t eat all of any!
PS 2 I am making a photo site - please stay tuned for location!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Germany Celebrates

Germany won. This is worth a two in one day post.

I am caught in the excitement of it all. I didn't see the game - don't own a TV. Didn't hear the game on the radio - haven't paid the radio tax. I simply went to the grocery store after the game was over. The spirit of the town was delightful. The honking, the Black/Red/Yellow everywhere, the flags. It was a joy to see this country celebrate.

Many of the older friends that I have met have commented on the fact that this is the first time there has been an all over country pride since the war. It is a good thing to celebrate. A healthy thing. I am glad they won.

It has been interesting to go to school in the larger town north of here. The game excitement is palpable at all times there. I have been on the Gleis waiting for my train on several occasions after a game. It has been delightful to watch the old and young alike join in the festivities.

I must go, there is a group of cars below driving through my dorf - honking and shouting Berlin, Berlin, Berlin - and singing Deutschland, Deutschland...
I head out to my balcony to watch below!

Guten Abend

His mercies are new every morning.

The most common comment that I hear from those that I talk to in America...
"I hear birds, are you around birds?"

Welcome to the Black Forest. Schwarz Wald! My windows remain open both day and night, I look out of my bedroom (schlaffzimmer) window. Below me is a small cobbled street, across from me lay the trees of another mountain, and to the left of me atop a ridge is the Castle. The sky is usually either intense Cornflower Colorado Blue or slightly overcast. Today it is Cornflower Colorado Blue. Every room in my flat is filled with light from large windows or French Doors. The windows in my home are rarely shut at this time of year. I live 3 flights up, so even when I head out to Deutsch Schule, I leave them open. The birds are incredible. I hear them all. They begin early (4:30 to 5:00 am) and don't stop until late in the evening. It begins to actually get dark here about 10:00 pm.

There is constant visiting below me. I hear the German's discussing all sorts of things. At present I can only pick out a few words (progess - 2 months ago it was only one or two!) On Wednesdays the fresh market comes and I enjoy the bantering that goes on from my balcony.
It is a new day every day - a beautiful day every day - and I am reminded of what I commented on last night. I am thankful for 'do overs.'

Every day I have an opportunity to climb out of bed and snuggle in with Him.

Recently the daily grind began to get to me. I was tired, frustrated, and basically whining. (by the way, this becomes a really easy thing to do when you can't speak above the age of a 2 year old!)

My kitchen had been delivered, installed and still unusable; someone at the factory had mislabled an oven hood as a fridge! So, instead of an oven hood and a fridge, I got two oven hoods! I was without a kitchen - but more than that I was without energy to function well.

I realized that I had spent the last several days focused on learning the German language and had little time with my Lord. Why do we do this????? What are we thinking???? I don't know, am I the only one in the world that finds myself three steps into life without the Life Giver?

Once again I participated in earning my camel knees!!!!!
Lord how can you be so patient with me?

Since then I have been meditating on God's wonderful love, His patience, and His promise that His mercies are new every morning.

I am thankful for do overs - and once again I hear the birds sing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Do Over

I am thankful for do overs.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Wetter

The 'wetter' here in Germany is HEISST! ( this double ss is one of those fun letters that I can't make with my typewriter)
OK, don't know if either of those words are spelled correctly in German. If anyone ever told you it usually only reaches in the 80s in Germany - they are speaking truth. What they fail to disclose is that with NO airconditioning one never cools off - HOT! I am thankful that I live in the mountains and my nights are at least cooler. In the Rhine valley it can be stiffling. Especially in the city.

I had an interesting conversation with the ZIVI (young man that handles activities at the Goethe Institut). He was a youth regional leader in a EVE church in Baden-Baden.

Each time I speak to a person that has been involved in any church experience I come away with the same words. "There is nothing but words from the pastors. They get paid from the government taxes of the people and no one really is concerned about whether or not the congregation is learning or growing - or even accepting Christ." The pastors/churches are taken care of and live well - financially. These are Germans speaking of German churches - with no prompting, just a simple question, "So, how are the churches in Germany?"

I encouraged him to go to a church south of here. I will enjoy getting to know him and his young girlfriend - from Korea. She, on the other hand, has a firm grasp of the importance of Who Christ is in her life...

I find that fascinating, exciting, challenging, and encouraging.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Wie geht es?

It has begun. Attending classes has sent me back to days gone by. I recall sweaty palms, head spinning, and heart palpatating -- test anxiety? I think that they wrote the book about me - giggle!
I am thankful that there is only one test upon entry into the Kingdom...
Do I KNOW HIM?
answer - Yes!

Geothe Institut hits the language hard, uses good learning strategies, and is interested in giving a full enculturation experience. I sit with many young people from the USA, a Candian, an Italian, and one young girl from Oman. There are twelve in the class. The four week program is halfway through. This has been great. I had enough of the culture/language to have some questions, some hooks to put the language learning into, and for my learning style - this has been the best way to go. I will take what I learn from this four weeks, implement it and return again for another class for four weeks later. Language learning is very difficult. Some come by it naturally, others of us... pray a lot!

Must get back to homework.

mutating missionary
Guten Abend