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Sunday, 31 January 2010

coming to America again

On February 8th, I will board a plane to Portland, Oregon. I will be stateside until the 15th of March. 

Why am I going to America? 
Following the Lord as He leads me to new ministry partners so I can move to Rome, Italy. 

Last time when I was in the states, I remember people would wonder if it was me.. because they did not know I was planning to be there. :-)

Would you join me in praying that the time I am stateside would be focused and encouraging and refreshing

Last week I was in Spain for a conference. This photo is of my favorite blooms that are in Spain this time of year.
I love how the Lord uses times like that to remind me of who He has called me to be.

Monday, 18 January 2010

A day of public transport, snow and people in Germany

Last week I went up to Freiburg, DE to see some of the girls who are long term staff with Campus Crusade. Campus fuer Christus. I drove 20 minutes to the train station in Mullheim and waited on this station for the train. Every time a train went by... all of us waiting huddled against the building to avoid the flying snow. It was COLD!
The beautiful thing was the children that were waiting. I love watching children in snow. There was a tanker train that stopped in front of us for a time and there were two boys.. about 9 or 10 years old who got closer and closer until finally one of them reached out and grabbed a hanging icicle from the train. They were both delighted to have achieved this and repeated the action until the train departed.

I got on the train and used the 20 minute train ride to read in Genesis. After arriving at the main train station in Freiburg, I transferred to the S-Bahn (trolley like trains) rode it about 1/2 hour and then transferred to a bus which took me 3 more stops and then I had arrived.

I had a wonderful time with these 3 girls. I love hearing their hearts and encouraging and challenging them in their faith. They bless me so much! Three of us went to the birthday party for one of the girls in their ministry. I had the privilege of meeting several students that they work with and I was reminded again of how much I love students. We ended with dinner together that we made. Quiche and Salad.

Side note:
Growing up I did not like Quiche... but after having it in the Alsace Lorraine region of France .. where it originated. Which is the part of France I live closest to.
Although quiche is now a classic dish of French cuisine, quiche actually originated in Germany, in the medieval kingdom of Lothringen, under German rule, and which the French later renamed Lorraine. The word ‘quiche’ is from the German ‘Kuchen’, meaning cake.

So.. We had Quiche and salad for dinner and some great conversation.

Then I got on a bus.. went three stops, got on the S-Bahn for 1/2 hour and arrived at the main train station. It was COLD!  I had about 1/2 hour to wait for my train back to Mullheim where my car was located. So I wandered around the train station. A plethora of interesting people at the train stations after 9:00 pm.

The time came for my train to leave so I made my way down to the platform. Then a voice comes over the loudspeaker.. Passegiere auf Gleis 3... and she went on to explain that the train was delayed 15 minutes... five minutes later an additional 5 minutes were added to the delay.   To say that I was cold while waiting is an understatement. The snow was coming down, I was literally shaking in my boots. But I was fascinated by a group of men to my left.

Because I live so close to the Swiss and French borders, it is not uncommon to interact with French or Swiss nationals.  Basel on the map... is only about 20 minutes from where I live.

These men, 3 of them, did not know each other prior to meeting on track 3. They were all speaking in Swiss German and were all a bit drunk and smoking.
They migrated toward each other and ended up sharing funny stories, and opened the 6 pack of beers that one man had purchased. So.. when the train arrived, the three men, still smoking, with their bottles of beer, boarded the train on the same car as I.

I had to laugh when the train began to head toward Mullheim... One man, whose cigarette was already lit, stood under the no-smoking sign and tried to lite his cigarette. It was a funny and sad moment.

I returned to Mullheim.. found my car... under the snow, cleaned it off and began the slow drive home... slow because of the snow on the roads and the freezing temps. I made it and as I reflected while warming up in a hot bath... We all need Jesus to save us. We all need Jesus to love us. We all need to trust that God is in control. We all look for acceptance around us.

And I am thankful for great public transportation, snow and the people I get to know and meet along the way.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Lonely vs being alone

I tend to think that being alone is a choice and being lonely is the result of that choice. Sometimes being lonely is not a choice.. sometimes it happens when you do not chose to be alone. But loneliness is either a result of being alone... or the result of feeling alone. Haven't we all been in a room full of people and still felt lonely? 

I have discovered over the past 4 years of working with Agape Europe, that I need more alone time... but it is still true that if I have too much alone time...I get lonely. Where is that balance? 

I have been reading and studying a lot about the spiritual disciplines of rest and solitude the past year or so... and I find that when I am intentionally alone.. I don't get lonely. 

When I am intentional about rest 
Intentional about cultivating the relationship I have with the Lord 
Intentional about time to process the things in life... I don't get lonely. 

I wonder... how many areas of our lives we just go through instead of approaching them with intentionality. I have a dear friend who a few years ago when she was turning 29 she said... my goal this year is to live intentionally. I shall never forget that. It made an impact on me. 
So each year I look at how I can live more intentionally. The list is honestly quite overwhelming. :-) 

But of the highest priority... is to intentionally cultivate a deeper walk with the Lord. Which has all sorts of ramifications doesn't it?!