Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Coffee in Kansas! is my birthday!  I hit the "double nickles"!  What better way to celebrate than to get on a Mega Bus and head for Kansas!  We get on the bus at 11pm tonight and arrive in Kansas City at 9 tomorrow morning!  Woohoo!

Noah Franz at his graduation
Jared is going with us and we will drop him off at his future room mate's house in Peola, KS where we will get to meet the Franz family!  Talk about an answer to prayer!  One of the hardest things for me when I think about moving to Germany is the thought of leaving my kids. Although my "baby" is 6'4", I keep thinking about him being a Freshman in college and having no home to come to over holidays and breaks. (Don't worry, we will bring him to Germany as often as we can!)  I kept worrying and praying about this...waking up in the middle of the night wondering if we're doing the right thing.  One of the things I keep trying to remember is that God takes care of my children just as much as He takes care of me.  And He's done it again!  He knows what this mother's heart needs.  He has provided a family that is basically inviting Jared into their lives while he is at John Brown University!  Jared and Noah met at a scholarship event at JBU and really hit it off.  They decided to be room mates and since then, Jared has traveled down to Kansas and met the whole family.  I am so excited and blessed to meet them tomorrow and have lunch and maybe even have a cup of coffee with them! I do know that it will be the start of a precious relationship! God is SO gracious to me!

While we are in Kansas, we will be seeing cousins and an aunt and uncle (my dad's only living sibling) that we haven't seen since before Jared was born.  We will then head to Pierceville, Kansas where we will be speaking at a church and seeing long-time supporters, Don and Marge Lear.  I'll tell you, you have never been to a true "Sunday-go-to meetin'" church dinner until you experience one in Pierceville!  I am looking forward to coffee in Pierceville!

We will also be able to see an aunt and cousins on my mom's side and some of Jim's cousins!  Each of these relationships make me smile.  We are so blessed!

Emily and a precious girl in Bangladesh
Now for some extremely exciting news.  Emily was offered an interim job to teach Kindergarten at Grace Christian School in Bangladesh!  She is SO excited.  She has had a passion and love for the Bengali people ever since she went there the first time about 5 years ago.  She will leave August 1 and will teach through the end of the year, coming to Germany for Christmas with us.  At that point there may be the possibility of returning to Bangladesh for a 2 year stent.  We are very excited for her.  Who knows, maybe some day I will end up having coffee in Bangladesh!

Well, I better go pack!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Walking Across the Stage

Yesterday was a big day.  Our youngest son, Jared, walked across the stage and received his high school diploma!  I'll admit I had tears in my eyes.  How did this happen?  I thought he was just ENTERING high school, and now he's off to college!

This is a year for stages.  Nate, our oldest, stood on the stage and with love and anticipation watched his beautiful bride, Raine, walk down the isle.  Emily is standing in front of the curtain on her stage, ready to draw it back and see all that God has planned for her.

And in this, our 25th year of marriage, Jim and I are preparing to "stage" our home to sell or rent as we prepare to move to Leipzig, Germany. Wow!  This is one of those scenes, where the Director has given us a broad over-view of the parts we'll play, but is still waiting to hand us the scripts.  I don't know what the script will contain, but I am certain that coffee will play a big role in it.

Last year when we were visiting Leipzig for the first time, we met with a man from a local ministry.  He asked what our plans were.  As we shared our vision, we talked about the importance of learning the German language and culture as relationships are of such importance to us as we anticipate ministry.  He listened and said, "So, you will be starting your coffee ministry."

 I liked that!  Coffee speaks to me of relationships.  How often have I told a friend, "Let's get together for coffee!"  It's not the coffee, it's the conversation, the ease with which we can drop our facades and be real.  The abandonment we feel with a coffee cup in our hands as it seems to give us a kind of license to say things you wouldn't normally say.

That's what I'm looking forward to!  Coffee in Leipzig!  Sitting at a little table at the street cafe with a new friend.  Enjoying a cup of coffee on my balcony (that I'm praying my house will have) with a teammate.  Standing in the Ring Cafe after church, enjoying coffee and the high school girls from our youth group.  Looking out over my garden (again in my imagined house) in the early morning, enjoying the cup of coffee Jim has just brought me as I spend time with my very Best Friend, Jesus.

So, as we enter this new "stage" of life, I'm praying it will be one filled with relationships, with shattered facades and an abandonment to share the gospel.  With friends and teammates and quite moments of reflection.  Ah, coffee in Leipzig!   Just what I'm looking forward to!