life is a mission......

Friday, January 14, 2011


I'm getting ready to go to Texas to visit my friends, family and supporters. I've been in Germany since June of 2010. I'm closing in on being away from home for 7 months. It's been an amazing time of growing personally in knowledge and spirit. There are a lot of things to contemplate in returning, even for just 3 weeks.

For example, and this may seem simple and strange, but I was talking to a friend on the phone today and she was in a store. Sounds simple. She was having a conversation with the cashier. Again, simple. It's different from my current life seemed strange! Another one: I'm borrowing a family member's car when I come home. They called the insurance and I don't have to be on their insurance, I just have to have their permission to drive it. When she told me that I thought in the back of my mind, "if I get pulled over (which I don't plan to) how am I suppose to tell them that I have permission to drive it? ......thought process...... oh yeah.....ENGLISH!"

So, I know that if I'm already experiencing these things, I know that when I go "home" it will be intensified so much more.

So, friends, family and supporters.....please bear with me! During our conversations and if we go shopping our out to eat, it's going to take me some time to adjust. And, I may throw in a German word here and there......just give me a strange look!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Jenny is a friend that I made this summer. :)
She was a camper for several years and then she came back the past two years as a staff person and did an internship with Janz Team during that time as well. Her English is AMAZING! Since she was around the "camp" scene before me everyone got used to calling her Jenny. I usually go by Jennifer, but it's really hard to retrain people. LOL So, my name got shortened to Jenny as well. Then, Jenny's sister told my director last summer that I was crazy so he started calling me "Crazy Jenny", which he later decided was too long and so that got shortened to "CJ". Hence, at camp, I'm known as "CJ". It makes it easy to sign my name!
So, who is Jenny? I got to hang out with her some this summer on a staff trip and hear more of her story. We have more in common than our name. :) She told me of her possible life choices in her near future and she told me how she met her fiance and their plans. Throughout this year Jenny and I have been able to talk on the phone a few times and we email regularly to "keep up" with each other. She's truly a gift from God. We can laugh. We can talk. We are "real" with each other.
Thank you Jenny for being YOU! You are an amazing woman of God.


For German Language School I went to Berlin, the capital of Germany. Berlin has such history. I’m awful at history, so if I get something wrong, just let me know, but this is my take on Berlin.
I tried to see all the historical sights.
Brandenburger Tor: the major gate that separated East and West Berlin.
The East Side Gallery: part of the wall that is still standing. I read that after the wall “came down” the people from the East decorated it with murals. Some are political, artistic or just scenic.
Nordbahnhof: the North train station of the U-Bahn that has the history of how people escaped from the East to the West using the U-Bahn. It was difficult and risky, but oh so worth it if you made it. While I was in there I just kept thinking about how it must have been during that dark time of history. (which wasn’t that long ago) And after I contemplated what it must have been like for those people, I thanked God that it is not like that anymore.
The Holocaust Memorial: breathtaking….. to think about all the people that were persecuted and stood up for what they believed in.
The Juedishes Museum: what a tribute. I hope that if I had to make a choice for my beliefs I would make the one that would honor God, like the Jews did.
The zoo: well, that’s not that “historical” but I did get to Knut the Eisbaer! Well, that’s historical! Knut grew up in the public eye and has a great personality! He was very interested in the guy’s camera and was the only bear in the water when I visited.
Hamlet: I saw Hamlet auf Deutsch aber mit Shakespearen English subtitles. The acting was amazing!
Dresden: is a nearby city that Germany is still working on rebuilding. There are a lot of churches and the most famous opera house there!
People: I learned about a family of missionaries that live in Berlin and I got to go to Christmas Eve service with them. We had songs and verses in German and English. It was a very sweet time of worship. Then, they invited me over for Silvester (New Year’s Eve). We played some games and then told each other what were thankful for in 2010 and about 11:30 we went outside and joined in the craziness of shooting fireworks. There were fireworks everywhere! And the celebration started about dark….6:00 pm! Standing on the sidewalk watching fireworks from all over was surreal. It really sounded like a war zone (what I imagine a war zone would sound like). It made me think about what life must have been like during WWII. The constant sound. I wasn’t fearful for bombs, or my life, like they would have been back then, but it was definitely thought provoking. Then, at midnight we had the “Berlin tradition” of eating a Berliner! (a jelly filled doughnut with powdered sugar) I later heard that traditionally there would be at least one for everyone and one of the doughnuts would be filled with mustard! And the person who got that one was suppose to have extra good luck for the year! (I’m good with not having extra good luck!) I was glad mine was ohne senf! Thank you Kragt family for including me in your celebrations!
Then, one of the foreign exchange students that I met in Texas lives in Berlin! So, since I was in the city we met for an afternoon and had a great chat! She told me all about Berlin culture over kaffee und kekes! Thanks Becca for a great afternoon!


During the Christmas holiday I was able to go to Berlin and learn German. At: German Language School (GLS)…..creative name huh? It was a 2 week course and there were about 30 of us who came for the 2 week “Christmas Special”. We had 3 hours of class in the morning and then in the afternoon/ evening there was a suggested activity. We quickly became a gemeinschaft. On Christmas eve we all cooked a dish and then came together to eat… was a covered dish kind of thing! It was great! People were there from all over the world! I met people from Scotland, England, Netherlands, Spain, China, Columbia and even some Americans.  I was in the lowest level class to learn German, but it was so much fun! My teachers had a great attitude about us and our klein Deutsch! I feel that I learned a lot, but there is a LOOONNNNGGGG way for me to go. My goal is to be able to talk and relate to my campers better. At least I can now ask them (and understand) where they are from, how old they are and what their address is!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 reflection.....

The biggest blessing that I have become aware of is the love that surrounds me. God sent me to the other side of the world and there were people there that He had ready to love me there. The gemeinschaft (community) that was waiting for me across the pond is amazing. I made it a little easier to leave my familiar surroundings and people, but still took faith to know that God had everything under control. This was the biggest blessing of my year…… to know that my friends and family back “home” loved me enough to send me and to be so warmly welcomed when I arrived in Kandern, Germany.
I’ve lived in Germany for six months now. During this time I have been able to visit places near and far from where I live. 99% of my travels have been ministry related. The 1 holiday that wasn’t “ministry” turned into a great ministry opportunity and God put people in my path every where I turned to bless me during my time in London. Each and every place I go I look at the people there and even if they don’t look back, I pray for them. I think of the song “Give me your eyes” by Brandon Heath and pray for the people I meet on the street, in the store, or just driving by…..the train driver. Everyone has a story. Being a student of people……isn’t that what God would want us to do? Learn about the person and love them no matter the circumstances/ choices that they have chosen.
Walking along the streets of the cities is one of my favorite past times (when visiting a city). Walking in the woods is my favorite when I’m in the Schwarzwald.
Be blessed in 2011 and appreciate the small things in life. 