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Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Parting is such sweet sorrow... cause it was with sorrow that I said goodbye again to my friend Sara yesterday as she boarded a train to go to Frankfurt to go back to Burundi. And it was with sorrow that I said goodbye to my mom and Tiana as I dropped them off at the airport at 5 a.m. But it was also sweet. Sweet because I had the company of people who know and love me and whom I know and love. It is a sweetness to my soul that they could see part of my life here and meet some of my friends here.

And I don't really have any photos to show for it because.. gasp! I let them take photos and made them all promise to send them to me. So... here is the photo I have of my three guests when we all went up to Colmar, France yesterday.

My time in Florence was sweet too. I met some wonderful new people. Spent time with some STINTers. Went onto the Languages and Philosophy campus to try and share the gospel. Made friends with the hotel staff as I worked a lot with them organizing the conference. Spent an afternoon with a great girl from Oregon who is in Florence long term doing campus ministry...yep...she is cool and it was a blessing to spend time with her. Got soaking wet. Felt the sun on my face. And you know what? It felt right! I saw again how God has put me right where He wants me in the timing that He has for me.

And after all that... I woke up sick on Sunday morning and I feel pretty miserable (healthwise). It was sure nice to have my mom the nurse around when I started to feel sick. Nothing like mom to take care of you when you feel under the weather....

Sunday, 19 February 2006

My guests

So, Mom and Tiana arrived safely the day after Valentine's day and it is a marvelous Valentine's day gift. :-) They came with cards and gifts from many of you and blessed my heart over and over. Tears of thankfulness welled up multiple times.

Tiana says that I am supposed to post some photos of us thus far. :-) The first couple days we hung out in town to give them a chance to catch up on jet lag..

Saturday we went up to Tititsee which is at a higher elevation around a lake that was frozen. It was beautiful and Tiana had fun in the snow.

Saturday evening we went to my friend Roula's for dinner. Her parents are here from Greece while her husband is away in New Zealand. We had fun learning Greek words and and playing with the boys. Roula and her husband Ross are one of my favorite couples here in Kandern. I am blessed to know them.
And tomorrow I head to Florence for a conference...

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Memories of times with friends

Ok so I don't usually post this often.. so don't get used to it. :-) But last night I was having dinner with my friend Maria: and she was telling me that Valentine's day in Estonia...where she is from... is a day to celebrate your friends and to remind them that you are glad they are in your life.

So.. my friends... here are some memories that I love....

And then there was the trip to Wisconsin for Missy and Jesse's wedding...

And the time that Tami and I tried Bubble Tea... and yeah.. we did not like it.

The Italian Fest with dear Tori. :-) good memories my friend. Dancing the night away with 1/2 of Portland in the Square...

The night my friend Allen pulled together a few of my dearest friends and we haung out and then we went outside and they prayed for me... remember the people at the other table that were not sure what to do when they realized we were praying? :-)

And Tri-Cities... these two friends will be in Lithuania next year at this time... if things continue as they are... Oh how fun for me!!!!

And so many more.. .so thank you my dear friends for being my dear friends...


And then there was...

Southern California with Sam

Leafy Retreat October '04

My 30th birthday party... what a surprise that was!!!!...not the year.. the party. :-)

The Starlight Run! Go Tracy!!!! Go Jenn!!!! Go JP, Seth, Trina, Lisa, Mark!!!!! Did I miss anyone? Good times...

New Year's '05... Carafe and almost being at the square on time... but we had fun...

Monday, 13 February 2006

Valentine's Day

Well.. my mother and my friend Tiana are coming to see me. They get on a plane in Portland on Valentine's day and arrive here the day after. That is a sweet Valentine's day gift. :-)

I wanted to share some more photos with you all... since you all clamor for photos. :-)
German class... Adrienne, me and Brad. Every Monday that we are in town we go to German class and our friend/teacher Roula teaches us. :-)

Jamie and I at the edge of the Dragon Bridge in Lubljana

My friends Joel and Amy who are with Josiah Venture in Slovenija... It was so good to see them!

I know I am shorter than some but this is ridiculous! This little town in France has little doors... that even I, with my 5 foot 5.5inch height would have to crouch down to enter! :-) kind of makes me feel taller!

Adrienne and I had fun in that little town in France. :-)

That is all for now. :-)

Friday, 10 February 2006

My heart is sad

I keep singing "my heart is sad.." and then think that the song goes... "my heart is glad that You've called me Your own and there is no place I'd rather be." Why is my heart sad? I found out this morning that my mother's dear friend Billie went to be with the Lord last night. She had been battling cancer for several years... I am mourning the loss of Billie and sad too that my mother must process through this. It seems that the older we get, the more pain we experience from losing people.

I know that Billie is with the Lord. There is so much hope when someone who has a relationship with Christ dies... sadness that they will not be with us on earth anymore but gladness that they have no more pain and when we see them again.. we will have no more pain either.. what a joyful reunion that will be!

That news and some other of a young girl very dear to my heart who will be facing the consequences of some poor decisions over the next few months... Breaks my heart. what brought her to ignoring the truths that God promises us? I have so much love in my heart for this dear girl and I know that God is pursuing her. I pray that the things she is learning will be life long lessons of God's grace, forgiveness and truth.

So my heart is saddened.. but at the same time... "My heart is glad that YOU called me YOUR own. And there is NO place I'd rather be... than in YOUR arms of love." May I rest firmly in the Lord even when my heart is sad.

Friday, 3 February 2006

Rest, Relax and Renew

So, last week about 200 people gathered in Nerja Spain to rest and renew. I was one of those. It was a conference for the STINTers that I work with and I happen to be one of them.
They came from all over Western Europe, exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually after a semester of pouring out their hearts to share Christ with university students. They have been learning to live/work with several team members who are all very different from themselves. They are learning to trust the Lord in new and deeper ways.

These STINTers.. including me, were treated to a conference rich with worship songs in English, intense Bible teaching through Philippians... The Gospel is inherently valuable. The success of the Gospel is not measured by the response to the Gospel. How wonderful to be reminded of this truth... especially to the STINTers who are in countries where they see a harsh response to their sharing of the Gospel. We also experienced the SUN!!!!! It was a HUGE blessing to see the sun and to feel it warming my face.

In between all the teaching and worship, I met with STINTers to see how they were doing, caught up with old friends and made new friends. We did a bit of exploring along the way... castles, and waves... yes... after the photo a bigger wave came along and soaked Adrienne and I... good thing it was warm outside. :-)

In one castle I was struck with the viewing holes shaped like crosses... and I there I was.. looking over the Mediterranean Sea through a cross. And I was reminded that Christ looks at us through the redemption that He completed on the cross. Wow...

And what beach experience is complete without a gorgeous sunset to remind us of the creativity and beauty of the Lord. I am in awe....

So, I return with more energy, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I am excited about the way God is working in the lives of the STINTers and amazed that He could use me in their lives and in awe of the work He has done in my life through missions and those I encounter along the way.