Friday, June 29, 2007

schlecht = bad

ok -- I just re-read some of my blogs...I am laughing...The spelling ist schlecht~bad.

Ms G had commented on my spelling this last Mai - I smiled and thought "surely it is not that bad"

Ja, meine Buchstabieren ist sehr schlecht! (Yes, my spelling is very bad!)
[I had to look that word ‘Buchstabieren’ up in the dictionary… I knew how to spell it, but couldn’t remember whether it was der (male) die (female) oder/or das (neuter) and that determines whether it is mein oder/or meine – and then there is the problem of where it stands in the sentence… is it dativ oder/or akkusativ?????] hahahahahaha!!!!!

I've struggled with spelling my own language, am known to carry a dictionary with me at all times, and have one stationed beside my Red Prayer Chair for ready use!

But OHHHHH the spelling is getting even worse!!!!!!!!!!

And then I realize, I see spelling in German and English all of the time. Notice the signs in the streets. This is so funny. Oh Lord, help this dyslexic vexed Frau!

And then I remember another thing Ms G and others have reminded me. My God-given gift…
Relationships.
I love people: all sizes, all shapes, all colors, all nationalities.

And in Europe relationships are wichtig=important. So they have patience with me.

Thank you God for giving me what You want me to have, remind me that I need not look on others and wish that I had their gifts. You gave me mine. Allow this crazy, wild, relationship-driven woman to be used for Your glory! I love You so very much.

You can all pray for my children. Lately, I have been texting them in German - and I don't even realize it. And then I was talking to one of my oldest and dearest friends in the USA. I was whining about something - I stopped in the middle of the sentence. "I'm speaking in German, aren't I. I am so sorry, please forgive me. Now, what was I saying????" We both laughed.

Your mutating missionary
Frau roro


relationship in all shapes and forms
and yet
and yet
God is the relationship we are all seeking!


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ich bin muede

My ancestor's homeland - still owned by the family...

My mom is German. She was born in the United States, but she is German. I remember hearing my grandparents speaking German. I remember sitting in my Grandma's lap and her singing German songs. Unfortunately, they passed when I was young. My mom lost the language. She swears she never 'really' knew it.

I'm very tired. I am realizing that this language is starting to make sense. And it is exhausting. When I first moved here, I would go to the store and hear all of the people talking. It was a comfortable hum to me. Remember, my Grandparents sometimes spoke German - and they always had a German accent. So, this language felt... comfortable???

Until...
Until...
I began to understand a little more and a little more. Now, I am constantly trying to figure out what is being said around me. I understand most of the sermons, catch a great deal of conversations around me, and can actually carry on a conversation with my tandem partners and in class.

But, now. Now, my brain is working all of the time. I am amazed at how exhausting this language learning is. I was told. I was told. I was told. But... I didn't know it would be this exhausting - haha!

I have just finished my homework, albeit I wrote all of the verbs that i had gone over today in their past and present tenses, with their gender and using each in at least 3 sentences. This was not required - but I MUST learn them...

And I am thinking about how I wish my Grandparents had kept the language alive. OHHHH how I wish my Grandparents had kept the language alive.

It was interesting to discover this place when my daughter was here. To think it is only a few hours drive away from where I live now. To think that they originally came from this area. To think that they left for religious reasons. To think and thank God for my Christian heritage. Ahhhh to think... nope - i'm going to bed - Ich bin muede!!!! Guten Nacht!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

scenes of germany - ahhhh

Ahhhh - I absolutely love lines!

Ahhhhh - I absolutely love flowers!

Ahhh - Baseball - my German Passtime ?
What a hoot!


Monday, June 18, 2007

All people were made by the same God

People are people where ever you go. They enjoy similar lives on so many levels. You know what I mean. Music is played all over the world. Women visit with other women while their children play - in Germany, Italy, and China. Life is treasured most of the time - by most people. And when someone is ill or finds out that they have to have an operation; when life is jeapordized - people tend to respond the same way. They look for a rock in the midst of the turmoil.

Ich habe ein Nachbar. Er ist krank.

So, I am sitting downstairs in my Chinese Restaurant enjoying the last of the nights visitors - they are winding down their evening and leaving - the place is getting good and quite - just right to continue studying ,and who walks in but my two neighbors. One is a frequent visitor to this establishment - usually not for food. He comes in, calls a cab to drive him home, orders a wein schorle and leaves soon afterward. Tonight he enters with an old friend of his who happens to be my next door neighbor. They have a bite to eat (unusual) and continue speaking in German. I don't understand much of anything because they are speaking in dialect. But, I get the drift that something is wrong.

Soon my next door neighbor leaves and the other one sits down to go over some German homework with me. He ends up basically frustrated with the book that I am using and we don't have much continuation on the homework. But I can tell something is wrong. First of all because he has never sat down and actually talked to me before and second he came in with a friend and third he is not completely wasted. A few minutes later he exits the restaurant. When he does the waiter comes after him with a manilla envelop, an envelop that is familiar to me. This envelop says it all. It is an x-ray envelop.

When he returns I look at him and in English ask him, "So what's wrong? Are you really sick?"

Now remember that I have never seen this man eat, never seen him do anything except drink and smoke. He is about 55 years old and looks like he is about 69. I have seen him for the last year and a half from afar - yes we are on a first name basis - but that is simply because his store is across the street from my flat. When you sit on a balkony and can talk to the people on the street below you and you see the same people day in and day out - well you begin conversation - albeit broken German.

This man speaks great English, lived in the US, was actually married at one time to an American woman. But as he sits across the table from me he breaks into a long litany of German. Now remember, he knows that my German ist schleckt (bad) and yet he is rattling off information like crazy. I cannot understand a single word. It is so fast and so run together.

But - amazingly enough I do understand. Something is wrong - very wrong. He is sick in some really bad way and he needed to talk. He is a private man and so he talked to a person that could not understand him - he talked and I listened. I caught some bits and pieces (more than he thought I would) and I listened. When I left he left with me.

We said good night with probably the most friendly handshake I have received since I have been in this town. Isn't it interesting.

He knows that I work for a 'religious organization' - he knows that I believe in a very big God - I live in a small town remember. He knows all of this and is not a believer himself.
And yet...
and yet...
and yet.
When life is in jeapordy we run to the Rock. He knows that I will pray for him.

People are pretty much the same where ever you go.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

juxtapositions?

Berlin
Berlin - same plaza. Can you see the emblem on the window of the new building? Berlin?
Yes.
That would be Starbucks.
Is it just me, or does anyone else see something weird about that?

Please pray for missionary visa issues in Germany.

your mutating missionary


Sunday, June 10, 2007

sprach schule

Walking to a wedding? Not so common in USA - but it is the way things are done in Germany.
V & M get hitched
Weddings are not as common in Germany as they are in the United States. People live together, most even have children and still don't marry. It is normalerweiser (normal) here. If I misspelled that please forgive me.
It is 4:30 am and I begin a new semester of language school this morning. I leave here at 7:00 am walk down the strasse to the bushalte (bus stop), catch a bus traveling into the train station. I will stand on the Gleis 1 (platform 1) until 8:20 when the train leaves for the nearby larger city. Climbing off of the zug (train) I will climb up 3 flights of stairs to the tram landing. Watching for a #1 or a #5 I will squish onto the tram with what feels like the majority of Germany and hold on to a bar as the tram lurches toward my final stop. Getting off at my bushalte (stop) I will walk another 4 minutes to my sprach schule (language school).
What does that have to do with V & M getting hitched?
Last year in September, I began going to language school. During my trips back and forth, I met a young man. We began a conversation... after finding out that he was going to language school in the same town I was going, and that he lived in the same small town I am living - it was a natural connection -- you see, he was born in Texas.
We became instant friends and God - as God is so likely to do - produced a yearning in this young man and his girlfriend. A yearning that they could not deny. After confessions of faith and much counsel they decided that God would have them marry.
This is not common. It is hard to do here in Germany. Not so much because people are bad. They just don't do it. Most of the time, if a couple does marry, it is because a baby is on the way. So for this couple to marry is an act of faith on their part.
The wedding was performed by a government official. We met at the couple's apartment, walked to the government house (did you notice the walking? yes I said walking!!!!). The guy spoke in German so I didn't understand all of it. But they came away a happier couple. And amazingly enough - the parents of these two young people were happy as well...
So, what began as a simple conversation on a tram God transformed into 1. A young man coming back to the arms of Jesus, 2. A salvation experience for a young woman and 3. a marriage of two people that love each other and believe that God would have them marry instead of continuing to live together.
Interesting...
Once again God unfolding Himself.
I climb on a bus in Germany for language school.
I wonder what He has to unfold before me this time :-)
your mutuating missionary

V with her younger brother after the wedding -- walking back.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Observing God and His Beauty

My Castle


Even though the castle above has been in existence for hundreds and hundreds of years, I claim it as mine. Now, what is up with that? It is laughable. And yet each evening when I round the hairpin curve coming up 'my mountain' I spy the castle against an incredible Deutschland Schwarzwald sunset and think to myself, "There is my castle."
What do I have to do with it? Nothing. I enjoy it. I relish the floodlights bouncing off the ancient walls in the evening skies. In the 5:30 am sunrise, I marvel at the way the sun slides up from behind me to kiss the morning dew on its crevices. And yet, I have absolutely nothing to do with it, except observe, as it gives me such joy.

It reminds me of watching God work in a new believer's life.

I have a friend. She came to know Jesus this last November. We actually had not known each other long when she asked Jesus to come into her heart. She and I were walking down a street in a nearby city. We were talking and God lead one thing into another thing until we were face up with the question: Would you like to ask Him to come into your heart and live inside you for always - right now?

She said, "Yes." and while sitting on a stoop on a cold November night, I had the privilege of watching God transform a woman to a saint. Her intense desire to search the word, to learn and to grow was great confirmation that God was moving in her life.

Since I have returned from the USA we haven't seen each other much. There are pulls from the world, pulls from friends, pulls... I have been in deep searching prayer on how to help. But, God has assured me she belongs to Him. With that said, I need not 'do' anything. Just as I 'did' nothing in her salvation experience, I need 'do' nothing in this time of growth. I am simply to be available. Sitting on the sidelines available!!!!! I have the joy of watching the God of the Universe orchestrate the days and the events of this young woman's life. She is HIS. She is an amazing woman and God will complete the work that He has begun in her.

This is the wonder of watching as God works before me. The beauty unfolds. I get the pleasure of observing. My participation is simply availability. And when I know that - I can relax. I'm looking forward to watching His design for her life unfold before me. Like the sun kissing the dew-swept castle in the wee hours of the morning.

He gets ALL the GLORY!










Tuesday, June 5, 2007

protect me from myself



I'm thankful for the My Great Shepherd's staff.
It keeps me out of trouble -- IF I let it. You know the staff. It is that crooked thingy that the shepherd walks around with. Looks like an upside down hook. Wait, it is a hook. And it hooks me constantly.
He looks at me, whispers, "Don't go there."
I slide my eyes back and say, "Oh just once?" as my toe causes one small pebble to plummet the cavernous cliff and splat below...He hooks my neck and yanks me back to safety.
At this point I have options. Kick, scream, careen myself out of the hook; or remain safely in the hook - usually to be drawn into His arms.
I'm thankful that when I have in the past fallen, He has come down and helped me up, nursed my wounds, and carried me back up the cliff.
Will I fall again - probably. But I don't want to - Oh LORD I don't want to. Please, Please, Please keep me in that place where I allow You to protect me from myself.
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me.
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou dost prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." Psalm 23: 4-6

Friday, June 1, 2007

Are HIS crumbs sufficient?


Why do we have such a hard time believing God?
I know, I know pride and ...
But, what silly ninnies we are. Ok, maybe I'm the only one that is a silly ninny!
I'm pondering about a few situations in the wee hours of the morning. Situations that look dark and bleak. I begin to fret. I begin to worry. I begin to twist things in my head, thinking they might actually be my domain of concern!
Then, only because I'm old, and have been down this road a bijillion times, after tossing in my bed for over an hour I say to myself: "Open the Word MM - Open the Word!"
(By the way this IS an audible - out loud - chastising that comes from ME to ME.)
Was I in the Word yesterday? Yes. Did it feed me? Yes. Did I glean understanding and peace? Yes. But here I am tossing and turning over stuff that need not be tossed and turned over! Again I say, what a silly ninny I am.
Once again God brings me to that wonderful scripture about the gentile woman that asks for the crumbs of Jesus - you know the one:
"Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from the vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
He answered, " I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me." she said.
He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted."
And her daughter was healed from that very hour." Matthew 15: 21-28

After reading this passage all sorts of things jumped out at me:
  • Do I really believe that Jesus' crumbs are sufficient?
  • How great a God we serve when miracles are simply crumbs that fall from His table.
  • How important it is to ask.
  • The woman knelt.
  • She cried out 'Lord' - not the LORD we know to be recognition as Messiah - but Lord none the less. A reverence and understanding of His abilities and His care were evident from her manner.
  • She was distraught - and had probably tossed and turned many times in her bed over this matter.
  • It was a situation out of her control - and yet she cared.
  • The disciples wanted her gone - she was obviously a disturbance.
  • Her request was clear and unrelenting.
  • She requested help. She didn't tell Him how to do it, or what to do. She came with the facts and requested help.
  • Jesus came for the lost sheep of Israel? Still pondering that... And yet this act is a forshadowing for all of us who believe!
  • Do I really believe that Jesus' crumbs are sufficient?
  • Do I really believe Jesus? Not in Him - but HIM. This question is the question that He gave me sitting in a basement prior to coming on the field.

I'm such a silly ninny.

His crumbs are sufficient. His crumbs are glorious. His crumbs are more than I could ever need or imagine. That is how great a God we serve.
I make another request for him to move in miraculous ways --- HIS ways not mine. I close my Bible and I cry out to the LORD - Jahweh, Hallowed be Thy name!

Blessings overflowing!