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Monday, 20 December 2010

Philemon 6

some thoughts on
Philemon 6
"I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ".

I was reading Philemon the other day and was really struck by this verse. 
I read it in the NIV and when I looked it up on Bible Gateway in the NIV 2010 this was the verse: 

"I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ."

hmmm.. well, either way... I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith and I pray that your partnership with me in the faith will lead you to a deeper understanding of every good thing we have in Christ! 

It is true isn't it? 

the more we actively share the hope that we have in Jesus Christ, the more we understand every good thing we have in Christ.
and the more we partner together in sharing this hope, the more deeply we understand how God created us to be in relationship with Him.

It is actually happening!

My Italian visa arrived and I am moving to Rome, Italy!
The visa arrived 5 days after I applied for it in person in San Francisco
God is good!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

traveling up the 101

I chose to drive up Highway 101 as I made my way back from Sacramento. I have random memories of Hwy 101 from childhood, and I realize that I am enjoying revisiting places like that. 
The first day I drove from Sacramento to Kelseyville in California and stayed with dear friends. I got to see their daughter again and meet their new son. And her mom and dad were visiting too!  These people are such a blessing to me! here is an amusing clip of an evening. The adults getting dinner ready... the dog running on the treadmill.

Then Sunday morning I began the drive up Hwy 101. 
As I drove past the amazing redwood trees I kept marveling at the variety that God has given us. Seriously! How many different variety of trees do we have? 
In the drive up Hwy 101, I saw a couple rainbows, loads of Redwoods and a lot of mist and fog, I drove over the tallest bridge on the west coast. 
#I drove through Crescent City and I think that is where I stopped at Starbucks. Actually I went through the drive through. The barista asked me where I was from. He did not recognize my accent. :-) I shared that I am from Portland, went to college in the midwest, and have lived 5 years in Germany. He concluded that he really liked the combination. Aw... that was nice.  
I stayed in Gold Beach, OR on Sunday night. (I remember a girl in a pageant that I was part of, came from this town). I love the place I got to stay!  Pacific Reef Resort. The room was fantastic! The staff were great! I recommend them to anyone needing a place to stay in Gold Beach.
I realized that Waldport whose tag line of "Where the forest meets the ocean" was quite possibly founded by Germans.. because Wald means forest. And when I looked it up this morning... It was indeed founded by Germans.. in 1879.
 I drove off the Hwy to the entry level for the Heceta lighthouse. I did not go up to the lighthouse but I did love the ruggedness of the area. 

 Last night I got to stay with a dear girl in Newport. A crazy storm battered the windows overnight and when I was woken by the sound, I marveled at how God gives humans the ability to know how to make windows that don't just break into a thousand pieces when battered by storms. 
There are some great bridges on Hwy 101. And there are amazing scenes... even when there is heavy fog. I am so glad that I got to drive up Hwy 101. 
Today I will finish the drive turning toward Portland near Lincoln City. Wow... I just thank God for allowing me to do this.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Applying for my Italian visa

Last Friday I drove my car from Kandern, Germany to Rome, Italy. this was the moon the morning I left Kandern.
In my car were 3 suitcases, 7 houseplants, 2 paintings (1 from spain, one from a great aunt) and some other breakables. Also in the passenger seat was my dear friend Shelly Gilmore. That was a blessing!  We had a 12+ hours drive that day. 

Then I came back to the states on Monday because I needed to apply for my Italian visa in San Francisco. So, I landed in Portland, Oregon on Monday night after about 18 hours of flying. 

Wednesday morning I began the drive down to Central California. I thank God for the ministry partners who lent me a vehicle to make this trip. That was a good 10+hour drive. Through snow, rain, sun, fog, I saw three rainbows, crossed multiple rivers (The Sacramento river 3 times), and traversed the highest point on I-5.  

I arrived at the home of my dear friend Cheryl and her husband Matt that evening. Jet-lag and drive-lag set in.. but I was so thankful to be with a dear friend. 
Thursday morning I said goodbye to Cheryl and Matt. And drove to the home of Lina Hughes, the amazing attorney who worked on my visa application. Once there we went over the application and I realized that I left my Oregon ID card in a box at my mom's house in Portland. Oops...Well, the copy was in the file so we decided to try anyway to apply.

We drove the hour and half from her house into downtown San Francisco and had great conversations on the way. You know how sometimes you just connect with someone? I am so thankful to God for Lina! We found parking in a 30 min meter parking spot... walked across to a french style cafe and had lunch.. Lina went and fed the meter 1/2 way through lunch. I had creamy mushroom soup and we split a delicious lemon tart.

Then it was on to the consulate...The line was already forming… I could guess why each person was seeking an Italian visa. Some people seemed nervous while others seemed cocky. We all lined up alongside the building.. in front of three motor cycles. After a moment a woman from inside the consulate came out to tell us that we needed to make sure we had a money order for the fee and our driver's license and passports to show them. 

hmmm... my German driver's license is not needed here. And my Oregon ID card is in Oregon. Also...I had cash not a money order because on their website it stated that cash is accepted. I would be lying if I said that slight panic did not set in. :-)

We were finally allowed inside the consulate and as is typical in America we eventually were all talking with each other. What are you going to Italy for? Where is the nearest place to get a money order? You have tried how many times to get the visa? 

We were about 5th in line. And as the people in front of me went one by one up to the counter and were turned away, I got more nervous. Over and over people were asking to get an extension of the 90 day maximum you can (as an American) be in Schengen countries. Marco (working at the counter) kept having to tell people "there is nothing I can do to change this for you." 

My turn... I walk up and smile at Marco. And as I hand him the packet that Lina has put together, she explains that she is the attorney representing the organization that is sending me to Italy. Marco is more than impressed by the packet she has put together. We joke back and forth a bit. He enters info into the computer, tells me that it will be ready in 10 days and they would send it to me. I say grazie and arrivederci we smile and leave the consulate. WHAT? No issues?! No need for me to show my original ID card?! No missing forms?! A smile?! Friendly banter?!   AMAZING!!!

The live tree in Union Square San Francisco.
I think it went so smoothly because of Lina's amazing preparations. She said it was my blue eyes. Can we call it a good partnership?! :-)

Today I begin the drive back to Oregon via the homes of some dear ministry partners. I am just in awe of God. Time with good friends, new friends, favour with the consulate, oh... and I got to see my brother Michael in San Francisco because he was visiting there too. God is good!

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Tonight I went to the Kandern Weihnacht Aktion in the Blumenplatz. I took it all in... snow, fires to warm by, choirs singing, friends around, grillwürst to eat glüwein to drink. And some last goodbyes. Sigh.. I am so sad.

Today I had the help of great people who have helped me move a few times in the past 5 years. And they helped get everything down from the attic that is going into the moving truck Monday morning. One pile for the moving truck, one pile for my car, and one pile to be given/sold to others. 

So tomorrow. 7am, my dear friend Shelly and I will drive from Kandern. I am so thankful that main roads are kept very clear because we have had a lot of snow over here these days.

Pray for me... for safety in driving, for no car issues. For my breaking heart as I leave people I love again...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Six years ago today...

Six year ago today I went to church with Rick and MaryBeth Holladay here in Kandern. At the end of the service they introduced me to Deb Heefner, and the following week they took me to see the area, had me take a personality/strengths inventory test and prayed with me a lot. That week changed my life. I am always amazed at how God works things out. 
Now 6 years later, I have said goodbye to many dear friends who moved from Kandern to other places, welcomed in new people and now I am moving to Rome. Leaving the people who are so dear to my heart brings me many tears, but I am eternally grateful for that day 6 years ago that has given me so many dear friends here. 
a few photos of some of the people who are dear to my heart here. 

Thursday, 25 November 2010

thanking God for a flat tire

Well, today is Thanksgiving Day for Americans. I have not been privileged to be in the right place at the right time to celebrate Thanksgiving with anyone this year. But I am thanking God for a flat tire today.

This may seem odd, to thank God for a flat tire. But last night when I heard the hissing sound and saw the tire losing its roundness quickly, all I could think was that I am so thankful it was not on my winter tires! 

The reason this is so important? Here in Germany it is an issue with car insurance that you must have winter tires on your car in the winter. And because I am driving from Germany, through Switzerland and into Italy next weekend, it is important that my car be wearing its winter attire.

So... I guess I will just wear out my winter tires and when I need new tires... I will have three great ones.. and will need to get the 4th repaired.

Yes... this is a detail that is challenging in the midst of all the other details I am trying to sort through at the moment.  It looks like I will be contracting a moving company to get my things to Rome. We shall see how much they need to charge me. I find out on Monday.

Ah.. details.... I sure am thankful that God holds the world in His capable hands.

Monday, 22 November 2010


 I have spent the past 18 days in Tallinn, Estonia. I want to share some photos and thoughts with you about this time:
 i fell in love with the chocolate pistachio basket at Komeet.
 the view of the city.. old town from up top the Oleviste Church (Oleviste Kirik)
... the highest building in the world during the Medieval times
 as we walked around the top of the church this was the spire as I looked up
 During my first set of meetings... we in the Next Generation Leader Development group were working on how to present what we learned during the past 2.5 years together.
 The Swiss explained it this way... :-)
 finishing details for the presentation
 working hard
 beautiful coffee
 another beautiful chocolate pistachio basket... this time with a gooseberry on top.
 Some of the dear women in Europe. left to right: 
Nicole (Italy) Becky (Latvia) Daire (Estonia) Renata (Lithuania) Eva (Spain)
 Dear Rut (Portugal) I love this girl! 
of course I was wearing tall heeled boots... makes her look so much shorter and me SO much taller.
 the hotel preparing for the long dark days of winter in Estonia.
 a great view from a popular viewpoint overlooking Tallinn
 I was privileged to attend a concert ... of which I understood only 10% of the words sung or spoken... but the music was great!  Anyone who knows me well, knows that music and art feed my soul. This was a soul-feeding experience and I got to enjoy it with a dear friend.
the night view of Tallinn.

18 days is a long time, but Tallinn is a beautiful city and the Estonians that I know are lovely.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Next Generation Leadership Development Initiative

Is that a long title? It is the name of the programme I was part of with Agape Europe the past 2.5 years. We shortened the name to NGI (Next Generation Initiative) but the  memories we have from these years will long be with us.
 I am eternally grateful for Mike, Boppi, Daniel, Brian, Nicole, Eva, Mar, Samuel, Mariona, Nacho, Raphael, Kevin, Lehari, Matthieu, Aaron, Emmanuel, Duncan, Arjan, and Adri. These people from 9 different western European countries are so dear to my heart. We have laughed together, cried together, questioned and came to conclusions together.
When we began the group, we were challenged to consider the future and what we would need to lead into the future with Agape Europe. And at the end of this programme, some of us have been entrusted with more challenging leadership roles than we ever thought possible. 
We were challenged for our last gathering in Tallinn, Estonia to make a presentation to the current Agape Europe leadership team of what we see are necessary changes to see multiplying movements of winning, building and sending people in Europe. 
It is always a challenge for a younger generation of leaders to present idea for change to an older generation of leaders, but we saw God at work. The things God had put on our hearts as critical to the work we are called to in Europe, are similar to the things God has been putting on the heart of leadership team. 

My heart is to work with all of Europe, that is why I moved to Europe in the first place with Campus Crusade for Christ (Agape Europe) I am passionate that people be grounded and growing in Christ. I am passionate that people know who they are in Christ and know what He calls them to do. And I am passionate that Europe would once again be a sending continent of the gospel to the world! 

I am excited to move to Rome in a few weeks to join with the others in proclaiming and demonstrating the gospel there. One of the other NGI participants is the leader of the ministry in Rome and this makes me very happy! 
And I am excited to use the principles learned in NGI as I lead the programme team for our all Agape Europe gathering in 2012.

I am so thankful for the time with NGI. I know I have life-long friends and life-long co-laborers.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

a few days in Kandern

Arriving in the Basel Euroairport this past Thursday, it felt like coming home. Maybe because of all the travel I have done in and out of that airport... :-) 

My friend Brad also flew back from the United States via Frankfurt on Thursday so we came into Basel on the same flight. And as we exited the airport and found Karin who graciously came to the airport to retrieve us, I found myself feeling so grateful for the friends I have found in Kandern. God is good.

I arrived in time to attend a goodbye party for the Miller's dear people who have been in Germany since 1989 and are now returning to Colorado. They have been an integral part of my time in Germany.

At the goodbye party I looked across the room and took it all in... It is amazing how God creates family (the joys and the pains) within a group like this. Most everyone in that room has left their country of origin to follow God's call on their life. Being outside your country of origin creates a bond with others who have done the same. These have become my family over the past 5 years.

Across the room were my dear friends John and Shelly Gilmore. They were sitting with some other dear friends of mine and I was struck with a collision of worlds and how precious it is to me that I know my "family" here in Germany will take these dear friends into the family too.

Sunday, I went to church and saw several people I love and hold dear to my heart. And that night I got to join in with a small group of friends for an evening of good conversation, laughter, and nourishment. I feel so blessed!

Throughout the days in Kandern, I was looking for my real winter clothes. winter coats make great padding for breakable items in boxes... so I had to find those boxes and then I found my winter coats... and sweaters and trousers.  But not my winter shoes... hmmm..

Autumn in Kandern. The tree I used to see out my bedroom window
And then Tuesday morning I got on a plane to Estonia. It was a short time in Kandern. Full of precious moments, and the acknowledgment that saying goodbye in the end of November when I move my things to Rome, Italy... will be hard.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


I am sitting in the Portland airport waiting for my flight to Washington Dulles which is the first leg of my trip back to Germany. I woke up this morning at 03:45 with a song in my heart about how great God is and how He is mighty and how He provides and how He holds my future. 

I have a couple hours in the Dulles airport before I board the flight to Frankfurt. Dulles is full of international people. I love it!  And almost every other corner holds a Rossetta Stone kiosk for the traveler to learn a new language.

I arrive in Frankfurt at 07:30. And I am grateful that airlines have chosen to reward all the miles I travel with access to a lounge with free food, comfortable chairs and free water! I will hang out there a couple hours then go find a friend who arrives around 09:30. We are on the same flight into Basel Switzerland departing Frankfurt around 12:50. And then I will be home in Kandern.

I get to see dear people and I am excited to drive my own car again. :-) little things make me happy.

It is a strange feeling when I am leaving Portland. It is so familiar and there are people in Portland who are home for me, but home itself..really feels like Kandern. And in the next month, I have to say goodbye to that home and those people. Sigh...

I am glad to be reminded over and over that God is in control. That God is!

Friday, 22 October 2010

the oregon coast.

Today is Friday, the 22nd of October, 2010. In 5 days I am boarding a plane back to Germany. As the reality of this is sinking in, I am praying to use the time remaining very intentionally.
Thus, I took a couple days and went to the Oregon Coast. I LOVE the Oregon Coast. there is something magnificent and wild about the way the rocks and sand and trees and mountains collide on the Oregon coast. 
A very nice lady stopped and asked if she could take my photo... since I was not getting it trying to do a self portrait... I need Jenn Abel training!
I am grateful for the time in the states. I will write more about that in my next Musings I am sure, and I am so excited to return to Europe. To my friends and loved ones there. 
Stay tuned for more info...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

another gem from "Jesus Calling"

"Imagine the pain I feel when My children tie themselves up in anxious knots, ignoring my gift of Peace. I died a criminal's death to secure this blessing for you. Receive it gratefully; hide it in your heart. My Peace is an inner treasure, growing within you as you trust in Me. Therefore, circumstances cannot touch it."

I am daily going from anxious thoughts to remembering this truth.. that Christ Jesus is my rock and my strength, my Deliverer, my Shield and my Peace. Oh to live daily grounded in the Peace that passes all understanding...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

life is not simple by human perspectives

I find it amusing how I live a complex life and yet I long for simplicity. Does that make sense?

For example:
 My living in Germany the past 5 years has made life for me in the states more complex. Have you tried getting a mobile phone contract when they can't verify your credit? Not possible. So I pay a monthly fee to use my mobile phone.

I have a visa allowing me to live and work in Germany that is good through the end of this year. I am applying for a visa to live and work in Italy. It would be more simple if I had lived in the USA the past 5 years instead of in Germany for this process. 

It takes 1 month to receive my Italian visa after applying in person in San Francisco. I need to be at meetings in Estonia the first 2 weeks of November. And if I apply for my visa now, they will have my passport and I will not be able to travel. So, I am praying a lot, seeking the Lord's direction in this seemingly complex situation.

I am raising support so that I can live and work in Italy. The move from a small town in Germany to a large city in Italy is not simple. It is complex on many levels. One of which is that it costs more to live and work in Rome, Italy than it did to live and work in Kandern, Germany. So I am seeking the Lord's direction for who will be part of my ministry team. He really does have it all planned out.

In moving to Rome, the complexity is that my belongings (bed, clothing, books, etc) are in Kandern along with my car... so I have need of a moving vehicle and saying goodbyes in Kandern. Kandern has been home to me for the past several years. So this is a hard move emotionally. I have made many hard moves and transitions in life... And it is amazing how God works it all out.

But really... all that complexity is simple in God's economy... He is the master of scheduling and finances. I have seen Him provide over the past 35 years of my life in so many ways.. I know that He will continue.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

October, Oktober, Ottobre, Octubre 3

the 3rd day of October is significant to me for 3 reasons. 

1. It is the birthday of my adopted Dad Dr. Barry Gridley. The one who shows me how a father is supposed to love and care for a daughter. The one who prays for me daily. The one who is cancer free now! The one who loves to read great books. The one who cares deeply for others and gives wise counsel whether paid for it or not. I am so glad that he was born (   ) years ago. :-)

2. It is the day I flew to Germany 5 years ago when I began working with Campus Crusade for Christ (Agape Europe). I remember that day in 2005. God put that date on my heart months before and as the date came nearer I remember it was about 1.5 weeks away and I still needed just over 1,000 dollars/mo. in support. And wouldn't you know it?... over $1,000/mo. came in that first week and I got on the plane and went to Germany. I am so grateful for the ministry partners that God has given to me. They help me know that I am not alone in this ministry that God has called me to. 5 years ago, on this day, I moved to Europe and I have not regretted it for one second!

3. It is the day of German Unity From Wikipedia "The Day of German Unity (German: Tag der Deutschen Einheit) is the national day of Germany, celebrated on 3 October as a public holiday. It commemorates the anniversary of German reunification in 1990."   And after living in Germany for 5 years, and getting to know the culture more, I am in somber observance of the separation and utter amazement at the reunification of Germany.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Aquarium, Market, Passport

I went up to Seattle to renew my passport Monday. 
I drove up Sunday, and was delighted for quality time with a dear friend of 17 years. 

Then Monday I drove through the heavy Seattle traffic to find a parking garage and walked to the US Passport office. I had a 9am appt to apply for my passport. 

After handing in all my paperwork and paying all that money, I was told I could return after 2pm and before 3pm to obtain my new passport. 

So... 4 hours in Seattle... It was lovely! I walked along the waterfront until I got to the Aquarium... and I went inside. I am always amazed by God's creativity when it comes to fish and other sea creatures. It was a delightful time in the Aquarium. Between the amazing sea creatures and watching the children who were amazed by the sea creatures... I was so happy!
starfish. I can't help but be amazed at how they can grow a new arm if they lose one. And their colours!
calm puffer fish. Fascinating! It kept coming over and showing off. :-) 

I saw fish yawning, I saw otters playing. 
I learned that sea otters swim on their backs and river otters swim on their stomachs. 
So fun!

Then a walk through the Pike Place Market and lunch of Salmon chowder while sitting at a table overlooking the bay. That feels like Northwest to me!

And a walk down the street past a gelateria that also served Illy coffee. I had to stop. Lemon Gelato and Illy coffee cappuchino. And... a significant conversation with a woman who has never met a Christian who displayed grace and love with the truth. So sad!

Then back to the passport office to wait for my new passport to be ready. 
Good day. I am thanking God for that day!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

quick update

I am often asked by many of you how my support is coming along. As God brings me new ministry partners, that answer changes. Yay! :-) 

I don't know if I am more excited about the new people who are partnering with me or watching the remaining monthly amount decrease.

So, as of today, if all those who have committed to partner with me financially will begin their giving, I have just over $500 per month to come in.

There you go. please keep praying and if God calls you to be part of the solution financially, please act on that. 

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Tangibles and the Intangibles

I find it fascinating in life how we always are faced with things that are tangible and intangible.

Here are the tangibles in my current situation of returning to my job in Europe and moving to Italy.
  1. I need a visa from Italy to move there
  2. I need to renew my passport before I obtain my visa 
  3. I need 100% of my support coming in monthly before I am freed to return to Europe. 
  4. There are set tangible dates of meetings and conferences coming up that it would be beneficial for me to be part of.  
    1. Oct 29-Nov 1 is the kick of gathering for all the people working in Italy...a time of vision casting and preparing for the year ahead.
    2. Nov. 5-14 is the final gathering of the Leadership Development group I have been part of for the past 2 years. It is the culmination of all we have learned. This is in Estonia
    3. Nov. 11-17 is the meeting of all the national leadership teams for Agape Europe. Here is where I will be able to connect with people face to face to talk about the upcoming all Agape gathering. This is also in Estonia.
    4. The Coliseum
    5. an evangelical church in Estonia
And the intangibles:
  1. How all my support will come in
  2. When all my support will come in
  3. How long it will take for my Italian Visa to come through
  4. When I will move my things from Germany to Italy
Funny isn't it? the hows and whens are really in God's hands. And the truth that He is the Provider and that He is in control... is very tangible!   so while things seem intangible to me... They are really not.