Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Bridge Between Texas and Germany

Everything's bigger in Texas, even connections!
Thirty-one years ago, I was a single girl, freshly moved up to Germany for Spain. God had been teaching me many things over the past few years in Spain, one of which was that I liked to be in control of my life and often used manipulation to bring about what I wanted. I spent much time repenting and praying about this, but realized how prone I was to fall back into relying on manipulation, rather than trusting God.

Enter an incredible man sitting at the computer opposite me in my new office in Germany and my good friend "Brenny Brewer"! I won't go into the whole story here, but it finally came down to a late-night bareing of my heart to Brenny, telling her I liked this incredible man (yes, you may have guessed that it was Jim) and telling her that I didn't want to manipulate the situation in any way, but wanted to totally rely on God. At this point, Brenny said, "I think I'll take Jim out for dinner on Sunday night and find out what he thinks." I panicked! I told her not to do that, as I really wanted this to be from God if it were to happen. At this point Brenny said, "Oh, I'll be subtle." My reply? "Brenny, there is not a subtle bone in your body!" Well, needless to say, that dinner did happen, Brenny was not subtle, and 31 years later I am still married to that incredible man!

We had the joy of seeing Brenny (Brenda) and her father in San Antonio during our Home Assignment! What a joyous time time we had remembering and laughing and sharing what God had done in all of our lives since those Germany days! Thanks, Brenny, for that not-so-subtle dinner!
Brenny, in front of the Alamo
At the Firehouse Museum where Brenny's dad, Walt, works.

A few years after that fateful dinner, we were invited over to our Chaplain's house, Rick and Helga Needham, near Heidelberg, Germany. Still being newly married, Jim and I sat on their love seat, holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes. (Ok, I may be overdoing it on the mush here!) Nine months later, our son Nathan was born! We took baby Nathan over to the Needham's house for dinner one night, and two exhausted new parents fell, glassy eyed onto that same love seat. Nine months later our daughter, Emily was born! Believe me, when we visited Rick and Helga this fall in their Texas home, we made sure we did NOT sit on their love seat! What a joyous time time we had remembering and laughing and sharing what God had done in all of our lives since those Germany days! Thanks, Rick and Helga for sharing your home and your love seat with us!

In front of Needham's house, minus love seat!
Texas was full of Germany connections. Visiting Ron and Linda Franklin, the parents of some of our former Heidelberg youth group kids. Stopping by for an hour to see the son of a couple we served with in Germany, who is now married to a girl I had the privilege of mentoring for a while when she was serving with Josiah Venture in Serbia a few years ago! What a privilege to see you, Regent and Traci Perez!
Ron and Linda Franklin

Traci and Regent Perez
Germans have a saying, "Die Welt ist ein Dorf", "the world is a village". We experienced that over and over again as we visited dear "family" in so many states, from so many parts of our past! God is so good!

Here are some things to pray about for us over the next few weeks:

  • We still need to find facilities for 2 of our 6 camps that we are planning this summer. Pray that God will lead us to the right places, with the right dates available, at the right price.
  • Pray for our NEW TEAM MATE Rachel Berkebile, as she continues to prepare to join us full time in February. Pray for everything to come together on her end there in the States, as well as all the logistics for receiving here here in Germany. Check out Rachel's Bio here.
  • Pray for our 4 interns, Claire, Lemuel, Anna, and Sofia, as they raise support to serve with us this summer. Check them out here.
Thanks for being part of our "Dorf"!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Back in Leipzig and Back to "Normal" Life

I have never assumed my life would be "normal". In fact, most people looking at my life the past 35 years would say it is quite "abnormal", but after 3 months of traveling and living out of suitcases, I am so happy to be back to my "abnormal normalcy"! One of my most cherished "normal" rituals is my early morning coffee and time in the Word, often skyping with my daughter, Emily!

Oh, but the "abnormal" was so rich and beautiful! We traveled 12 states in the US, spoke in or met with staff from each of our 6 supporting churches, and had incredible times of telling and listening to "God stories" with about 40 of our supporters! We loved our time with each, many of them YOU!

We got so much special family time, seeing each of our children and our parents, and most of our siblings! We celebrated Thanksgiving with Jim's family and Christmas with Emily and Alpha in Bangladesh!

Since we've been back, Jim has attended the "Revive Europe" Conference with some our youth group young people, and we have started having camp meetings!

Jim and youth group kids, driving back from "Revive".
So many things happened during our "abnormal" that I want to share with you, so I will be sharing snippets over the next few weeks, as well as letting you know what's going on here!

Pray for us as we settle back in. We are filled to over-flowing!