life is a mission......

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Serving a purpose....


Everything, everyone, has a purpose. Take this seed for example, it is made to grow on this tree and let go at the appropiate time and take flight, land some where new, and grow again.....to perpetuate the life cycle.
People can be like this seed. They can grow and hang on to the tree and not let go. When this seed didn't let go it got covered in snow and ice. It formed this beautiful icicle, but did it meet it's full potential? Maybe being a seed covered with snow and ice is exactly what it was made for.....but what if it didn't let go and be a tree?

Paths (Continued).....

There are paths that we all go down in life..... Sometimes the paths are wide enough for you and your friends and family.....

Sometimes the path is only wide enough for you......
watch your footing.....
He is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path.....Thank you Lord for showing me the path.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Paths......

We all walk down a path in life. Sometimes it's a picturesque one that is "postcard" worthy. We are walking along, going where we are suppose to be going. We are helping people, building into each other's lives, just living life. We have a job, a car, a family that we love.

THEN, there is a limb that falls in our path.....
Our first instinct is to stop, possibly turn around and find a different path. BUT, what if there isn't another path? We can go over the limb.....climb through the branches, having to hold down one of them as we swing our leg over it. We can go around it, but being cautious because that is an electric fence that it has landed on. We can't go around it on the other side, that's a steep bank that drops into a creek.
We have choices.
What choice are we going to make?
What choice am I going to make?
Paths.....detours.....choices......

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Different looking.....

This has definately been a different looking few months of my life! It's been great! Listening and following God's will is definately a journey. It's not easy. It's fulfilling, but not easy.

In my personal life God has brought me so many new friends....all over the globe!!! Obviously I've made friends here in Germany that I work and live with. But back "home" I've reconnected with people......just because of where I am across the world! When I went to London I asked God to put people in my path that I could be a blessing to. On the train from the airport to the city a lady sat by me, Gloria, who was visiting family because of a funeral. She's from the Carribean! We exchanged emails. The next day, I was standing in front of Buckingham Palace and some people walked up and asked me what was going on and we started talking. Eric and Lynn are from California and they were fellow missionaries. We hung out the rest of the day and then went to see Stomp together on Sunday evening. On Saturday I took a tour bus to Windsor Castle, Stonehedge and Oxford. I made friends on the bus and while we were walking around seeing the sights. On the plane home, I sat next to a lady, Julie, who is the wife of the Ambassador to Norway. They live in Strasbourg, France and we exchanged emails.




It was refreshing to see that no matter where I am, God can use me.


In my ministry life, there are parts that are different from the ways I ministered back "home". One of my weekly highlights is hanging out at the guy's dorm "up the hill" and helping with homework and baking goodies for snack/ birthday/ lunch. I have a Bible study that I enjoy doing.....this is the first Bible study I've ever done. :) And I get to visit with campers!
There is a language barrier when I'm visiting with campers and I want to learn more of the German language so there isn't such a huge gap of their English and my non-German language! So, this Christmas is going to look different......I'm going to a German Language School in Berlin. It's 2 weeks of classes and exploring the city in the evenings. I feel that this is vital to learn the language. Just to be able to go to the store and buy groceries you need to know the language. When I'm talking to campers they will feel like I care more if I know some German. Sometimes I don't know what to say to them because I don't know if they will understand what I'm saying. By going to language school there will be less of a barrier. I will be able to communicate with the campers better. Afterall, I did come to Germany to minister to the campers. :)
Please keep me in your prayers. I am looking and contemplating what my next step will be in this journey of life. I have some very different paths infront of me and I need to know which one to go down.
Thank you for your prayers and support!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

EC Friozheim....

I had an opportunity to go to an English Camp that I was not involved in the planning phase of. I went to be a teacher. That's it, just a teacher. It was great! Some aspects were overwhelming, you know, 108 campers (teenagers) in one building, but nothing that a little sleep didn't help with. :)


There was quite a dynamic mix of people. Kari (the person who had my job a couple of years ago and I'm still trying to fill her shoes) and I were the "experienced" teachers. :) and then there were students from a local Bible school, the Bodenseehof. There were 24 and their RA. Most of them were just out of high school or college, a big difference from the way I felt around them. It was a sweet time of getting to hear their testimonies and know the students.



And then...there are the campers!!! 108 of them!!! Overwhelming because I didn't know who to talk to!!! There were so many opportunities to get to know them and ask them about their lives and where they lived and how they got there and what they were thinking about camp and what they would do when they got home....as you can see, so many things to talk about! My only hesitation sometimes is the language barrier. MOST of them are profecient in English and so that in some ways is intimadating! Wow! How can they know so much about English and I can't seem to remember what two words mean in German! I had this one camper that I would write down words that I would see during chapel time and then I would ask him what they meant. He was a very good sport about it!

You know, when you expect to just do "one thing" and just when you think you are "sure" of what you are suppose to do....that's when God steps in and possibly opens another door. I went to camp thinking "I like camp, it's fun to get to know the campers. I like teaching. I want to see how this curriculum I've been working on is going to work." Harmless right?! Well, I left camp thinking, "is getting my Master's what God wants me to do? Bible school is college....is that the college I need to go to? If I finish camp this summer here in Kandern and do "clean up", that will end in about the time that Bible school starts. It's a 6 month program and ends at the beginning of April....then I could come back to Kandern and do camp and pre camp things for the next summer. HMMMMM, OH and I want to take a more intensive German language course. Hmmmm, where could I go for that...."

So, I am soooo overwhelmed with possibilities and choices! I need some major direction. I'm glad that I have the next 3 days "off" to think about things and do some research.

The Klein Family....

I had an amazing family open their home and heart to me. It was
humbling to see a family in their setting. This family consists of
Dad, Mom, Tobi, Sebastian, Esther, Jonathan and Opa and Oma were
visiting for 4 weeks! Esther moved out of her room for Opa and Oma's
visit and Tobi moved out of his room for me to stay there. There was
still plenty of room in the house and MANY stairs. Lol. 4 floors and a
basement means a LOT of stairs. I know the teenagers from English
camp. Oma and Opa know very little English and I know ein bisschen of
German. So. We didn't talk much, but I smiled at them and tried to
understand what they were saying.


I arrived on Friday afternoon. We walked from the train station to
their house through their town of Lottstetten. We chatted and caught
up from the summer. It was a beautiful day so Tobi and Esther gave me
a waking tour of thier village, which you can see the alps from. We
got back to the house in time to help Oma with putting out supper.
This evening was the typical German meal of "cold supper". Sliced
fresh bread that Oma made and Esther sliced with a machine. A variety
of meat and cheeses and spreads. Some bell pepper and other veggies.
And your choosing of drink. It was a nice family time around the table.


After supper we cleaned up the dishes and then Tobi and Esther and I
sat down and talked about the "perfect camp" and they gave me some
really good ideas!!! After a couple of hours, or more, I lost track of
time we were ready for schlof. So, we all went to bed.

Saturday morning started with a family breakfast. Fresh bread again,
but this time from a local bakery, meats, cheeses, and a hot drink (I
chose tea). There were all kinds of marmalades to choose from, many of
them fresh homemade! Sehr gut!!

Dad, Mom, Jonathan and Oma went to the garden. It's not just out back
behind the house, it's across the village. Most of it has already been
harvested for the season but there were still some things they were
doing. Plowing is next on the to do list. I worked on some of my
German homework and then Esther and I walked to the local market and
bought eggs for Sunday breakfast. We had to get the white ones because
they were from a certain farm and when "they are from that farm it has
to be the white ones." Esther bought me some gummy hearts (per Mom's
instructions) and I found out they aren't just any kind of gummy.
These gummies are made with fresh juice from local farmer's berries.
How neat!!! We walked by the garden on our way back home with the
eggs. The family was working hard. Esther and I got back to the house
and she helped me with my homework, but she had already done her
English so she didn't need any help.

The family got back from the garden and it was time to BBQ. Dad fired
up the grill and Mom and Oma got things together in the kitchen. Oma
made this really neat meat thing. It was Romanian and for the life of
me I can't remember what it's called, or how to pronounce it!! But
it's different kinds of ground up meat and spices. Sehr gut!!! Then
there was chicken wings, pork chops, some beef, French fries (both
frozen and fresh made with potatoes from the garden) and salad (German
salad). It was all so good!!! I tried most of everything!!!

The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and so Esther and Mom and I
went to Rhinefall. It's a neat little village that is on the Rhine. We
walked for a while along the Rhine and then through the village and
over the fall then back down the other side of the Rhine to the car.
It was a beautiful autumn day and the water fall is very magestic!


We parked the car in the very detached garage. I find it neat that
here in Germany the garage is not always next to the house. Their
garage is actually a couple of blocks away and across the main street.
It's a big underground garage that holds probably 40 cars and you have
to have a key to get in. In America we would never think that we could
park our car so far away from our house! I love the minor differences
in culture.

We came back to the house and we enjoyed a cup of tea and sitting and
chatting oh and some homemade raspberry yogurt with fresh
raspberries!! Again..... Sehr gut!!! Then Tobi, Esther, Jonathan and I
played games the rest of the evening while Oma and Opa and Mom and Dad
visited and watched tv in the living room. We played Ligretto, which
is a very fast game but they had mercy on me and played slow so I
could catch on, not sure that really helped. My excuse was I'm from
Texas and we do everything slower. Lol. Then we played Phase 10 and 6
nimmit.

While I was sitting on the floor playing games with the family reality
hit me. "I am sitting in Germany with a German family, they have
welcomed me into their home. 5 years ago I would have said that this
scenerio would have been impossible. I have a totally different life
now than I did a few years ago, or ever thought I would have. I've
never known anyone personally who went to a different country for more
than a couple of weeks. I never thought I would ever go to another
country and live." Sometimes there are moments that we live through
that we know when they happen that we will never forget them. This is
one of those moments when the realization of where I was physcially
and who I am came about.

Throughout the time we were playing games, the family was taking turns
taking a bath. Earlier in the day Dad brought up bath water in
buckets. It's rain water that they have caught and they use mostly
that and add a little hot water for a bath. Everyone has to have a
bath, it's church tomorrow! And with that many people in the house,
not everyone can take one in the morning!!! The drying rack is set up
in the boy's room, where we are playing games, and so after they get
finished their towel goes on the rack to dry.

We are blessed because this weekend we turn the clocks back and get an
extra hour in the morning!!! (that still wouldn't have been enough
time for everyone to get a bath in the morning!).

Sunday is church day. The first hour is about communion and Esther
decided that we wouldn't go to that because I wouldn't understand it
and I would go to sleep, she says it's boring. But we did go to the
second hour of church. Everyone was very friendly and many of them
spoke English, but the sermon was auf deutsch. Lol. Esther translated
some for me, but I told her it was ok, I could just read the verse and
listen. It was a very good passage that I needed to be reminded of.
Isn't it neat how although I didn't understand what was being said He
still ministered to me. That just shows God's soveriegnity.

After church we walked in a very Schnell manner back to the house. We
passed the garage and so Dad got the car out and met us at the house.
I said tschuess and we were off to the train station.

Vilen danke Familie Klein! You are an amazing family.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zurich, Switzerland…


The RA's at BFA need some time off every once in a while! Well, this weekend Laura and Elanie had the weekend off and I was privileged enough to get to hang out with them and we had a "debriefing" time in Zurich, Switzerland. It was a great time to see the city and explore. We didn't really have any "plans" when we went. Just knew it was a neat city to visit and within driving distance of Kandern.

It's a beautiful city with not only a gorgeous view of God's splendor, but culture. Just breathtaking! The Alps, the Grossmuenster



and the Fraumuenster



and many other cathedrals! The full moon that shone so brightly!! Oh thank you Lord for the reminder that you are always there.

I am so thankful for the relationships that I have been blessed with in such a short time that I have been here in Germany. I am confident that they are lifelong friendships because these are genuine people that God has placed in my path. What a wonderful season!!!






Here is a video of some guys that just show up at this place

and sing. It has some great acustics there. They not only had great voices, but great stage presence!!! We enjoyed just standing and listening!!! What a way to pay the rent!!





video

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Strasbourg, France....

Just a reminder of the way a "typical Europen" street looks! I <3 style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN: 0px auto 10px; WIDTH: 181px; DISPLAY: block; HEIGHT: 154px; CURSOR: hand" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5529093910041795426" border="0" alt="" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_NG41nduGh7I/TLtJneXRG2I/AAAAAAAAARc/AWQepBJu53s/s320/IMG_1201.JPG">
It's the weekend....what to do? what to do? Oh, I live in Europe for a year! Let's go to a different country!! Oh, Ok! Where do you want to go? Oh, I don't know...I heard that Strasbourg, France is nice. Oh, ok, then let's go!

Ok, so the conversation wasn't quite like that, but close! This weekend one of the RA's that is new this year and we got to meet at new staff orientation in Minneapolis, MN before we came wanted to go to Strasbourg. It's a quaint city that has a HUGE Muenster, the largest cathedral. The tour of the cathedral was really the highlight of the trip. We got to know a couple of girls who were visiting some of the local dorm parents. They rode with us and enjoyed the city as they explored.

For me, this is yet another time of God confirming that I'm taking the correct next step. I know that sounds strange....how can visiting a city in France confirm that I'm suppose to go back to Texas and get my Master's? Well, let me share. :) For the past 12 years I have lived in small country towns. I really have loved each place that I lived, even if the closest shopping was 45 minutes away. I enjoy the small town feel and knowing people and the small schools that I have taught in. Drastically different from the city. Visiting the cities I have realized that I enjoy seeing all the "touristy" things and things being close and just "city life". I like being able to walk around and see different things. So, in walking around and seeing this city, I thought of the next journey of my life and how great it will be to be back in a city.

I love taking phone booth pictures! I'm starting a new collection.....bags that say where I've been and phone booth pictures!!! I was reminded of Centerville because of this sign.... Centre Ville!!! yes, the center of the city! LOL

I'm continually remided and thankful that God is always showing me and confirming to me of His will for my life.....even in the seemingly mundane things, God knows how to talk to me! It's different for each person, and I am so thankful that He knows me so well that when He speaks, I know it's Him.

Monday nights.....

On Monday nights I get to go to Sonne. It's the dorm that I have spent my summer English Camps at for the past two summers. It's a beautiful drive "up the hill" and a wonderful time of ministry to the dorm parents and the guys that live there during the school year.

Here is a map and pictures representing where all the guys are from. Sonne is a guy's dorm and there are 21 guys here with now 3 RA's. There were only 2 until this past week, and a set of dorm parents. They all live together and they are a family during the school year, and even past graduation the memories are held dearly in their hearts. Meet the dorm....
This is the dorm.... SONNE!!!! This is the Schulbus on the way "up the hill". It was so full that 3 guys had to sit on the floor! There is a girl's dorm right across the street and there are a few elementary school home students on the bus too.


So, there are a few pieces of snack left (some pizza bagel things) and there aren't enough for all of them to have more. What is the best way to figure out who gets more? PAPER, ROCK, SCISSORS!!!


Some of the guys were hungry and so they are making some noodles to pass the time between snack and supper!


Here is the soup that the guys made.




Here are the guys...doing guy things....waiting on supper to arrive....


A central kitchen cooks supper Monday- Friday and the food is "brought up the hill



Here is our yummy pan of hot food that arrived. It is chicken, rice, and lots of other goodies in there!


The food is hot when it arrives, so Marty does his best at getting out the big pans of hot food....these are his "built in oven mits"!!!



Greg does such a great job setting the table each day! Such care and attention to detail! Good job Greg!


A peek at the dish pit in action! They have way too much fun doing dishes!!



Here are the pots and pans crew! What a lovely job they do!


Here are the guys doing the supper dishes! All their hard work of dishwashing is paying off....LOOK at those piles of clean dishes!!!



I made a brownie for John's "unbirthday". Sometimes for the actual birthday not all the staff is around, so they wait until a day when everyone can be there. I made the brownie on Monday night so the guys could enjoy it on Tuesday. They sent me a piece later in the week and it was YUMM-O!!!


So, does it suprise you that a lot of my evening revolves around food? I mean, I am at a guys' dorm! It's been such a great way for me to get to know some of the students. I'm not at the school doing activities with the students, so I enjoy hanging out and chatting with the guys. Marty and Debbie Shilling are the dorm parents and they are so inviting! They are such great parents! The guys know what is expected of them and they respect them.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

a confirming walk....

I went for an evening walk. I was walking on a new trail and just enjoying the scenery. When I walk I listen to my ipod and sing along or talk to God. There have been some amazing conversations here in the Black Forest. Tonight, like many other, I was chatting with the Creator. During the past month I have been seeking what I should do next, the step of my journey after my year here in Germany. I feel that God is leading me back to college. Since being a teacher I have always been intrigued by the school counseling career. I took a couple of classes the second year I was out of school and teaching, but life changed and I haven't gotten back into the courses. So, my first feeling was that I was to go back to school. I didn't know where that would be. I kept seeking and asking. I looked at a lot of different places and kept knocking and kept seeking. I know that I will have to take the GRE, so I ordered the study guide from Amazon and I'm having it delievered to me here in Germany so when I come home in late February I can take it. I can even sign up to take it online! This was one of the first steps of faith that I took in the next journey. Just ordering the book. ~we walk by faith and not by sight~ Then, I made a chart.....I know, I know.....of all the qualities I was looking for in a place to live and all the places I felt I had to choose from. The places were: College Station, Hunstville, Houston, Clear Lake and The Woodlands. All of these places had to be near a college and have public transportation (those were just two of my qualifications). After looking at all of the places and the things I saw as important factors for life, Clear Lake was the clear "winner". So, I applied to University of Houston, Clear Lake over the internet this weekend. AGAIN ~we walk by faith and not by sight~

Ok, that was the back story to why this walk tonight was such an amazing walk.

I'm walking along, talking to God and asking for a conformation that I am taking the right step. I am a human and when I need to know that I'm doing something and following God's plan for my life I ask for something confirming to happen. Now, I figured I would get an email or something, but no....I'm in the woods and I get to a clearing. [let me set the stage for you] There is this perfect meadow at the top of this hill. An opening. It has this perfect tree in it. Just one tree in the middle. And then there is a line of trees to the left, an opening and more trees on the right. There is a level of rolling hills. Then, behind those there is another level of rolling hills. Then, some mountains in the back of that. And right there in the crease of where the hills collide, is a sliver of the moon. It's a pinkish sliver. Just hanging there.

God knows how to speak to me. He knows that the moon is a speaking tool for me. He has used it so many times to confirm that He is always there and so for it to be such a distinct moon at this particular moment, I knew He had hung it in the sky to answer my prayer. Now I didn't expect to have my prayer answered at that moment, but I was thankful that it was. I stopped in that perfect meadow and listened to the song "God Speaking" by Mandisa. The words are so perfect. {Who knows how He'll get a hold of us? Get our attention and prove He is enough. He'll do and He'll use whatever He wants to. To tell us, I love you!} That is definately what I felt tonight. I was standing on a hill in the middle of the Black Forest in Germany, it was dark, and I was standing there: admiring my Creator and thanking Him for speaking to me through His creation.

I didn't have my camera, but I did have my ipod, so this is the best picture I could get. The little pinkish dot is the moon. And amazingly enough, after I decided that it was getting really dark and I should get home, the moon disappeared. It was only there for a short time. Just another miracle to show me that He loves me and He was answering me. ~we walk by faith and not by sight~

Thank you Lord for confirmations.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

colors.....

Germany.....with green trees and hills....what a beautiful sky!!!



On my walk home the "turning" of the trees just popped!!! All the colors are amazing!!!



What beautiful scenery!



This is the village where I live....Reidlingen....




The colors of FALL.... =)

Thank you Lord for letting me experience your grandure!

a new cut.....


So, it's been about 5 months since I've had my hair cut. Brittany, Janis and I decided that we couldn't take it anymore!! These are our before pictures..... (not Heather, but Brittany with the curly hair and glasses and Janis with the short dark hair and glasses).

so, those are our "before" pictures. We got into the car and prayed about going. We had never gotten our hair cut somewhere here in Germany and we were very nervous about just walking into some place. So, our prayer was that we would find a place that we could just walk into and get a cut AND they spoke English. So, we went to the nearby village that we thought we would have the best luck in and parked and walked down the main street. We saw this one place and went in and they didn't speak English (that was one of our criteria), so we left. We kept walking and found another place, went in, and they took people that just walk in AND they spoke English!!! We just wanted to be able to communicate to them what we wanted done. The girl that cut our hair was EXCELLENT!!
These are our during pictures......

Janis...


Brittany....

Me....

And after.....


Brittany.....
Janis.....

Me.....

Ok, so you might be asking...."why would she blog about this?" BUT....belive me it was definately a cultural experience..... We walked in, asked if they spoke English...yes, they do, so we sat down and waited our turn. After the girl cut our hair, she asked us if we wanted to blow dry our hair. But, since we have curly hair, blow drying it would have just been a BIG frizzy mess!!! so, we opted not to blow dry it! The difference.....on the other side of the "big pond" the hair stylist would have "fixed" it for us. BUT we aren't complaing....we got an answer to prayer, we got a good hair cut, and it only cost 14 Euro (less than $20). So, all in all, it was a good day and wonderful reminder that God answer prayers. :)