Job’s Done!

Ok…. So what does that mean? Aside from the reference to Blizzard‘s Warcraft II, it means I have passed two significant milestones in our efforts to assimilate our trip and get moving back to Europe:

1) I have officially tendered my resignation here at First Pres.

2) I have completed a new video for us to show to potential supporters using the footage from our trip.

I am being brief to try to keep this a quick read, for more detail, click “More” to read on.
Continue reading “Job’s Done!”

The Next Step…

This is a pretty open topic. I could detail for you the ongoing work to take our Spark! footage and actually make it into something, or our plans for support raising over the coming months, but there is a larger issue before us, and I want to earnestly ask for your prayer over the coming week.

Some time ago, I gave notice here at the church that regardless of the success or failure of our support raising efforts, I would be leaving my position here in the summer of 2006. However, I feel that God has been leading me to rethink that plan through our time in Europe, and I am seriously considering giving formal notice for January 15th. I have already spoken with my supervisor (I wouldn’t post it here otherwise) and have basically promised him a firm answer some time next week.

Through our time in Europe it just really became clear to me how urgently we are needed there, and the truth is that so long as I am working 50+ hours a week here, there is not enough time or energy remaining to do effective support raising. That means it would be virtually impossible for us to leave on July 31st, if I continue working here until next summer.

While my work here at the church is fulfilling and Godly, the need of Europe weighs much more heavily on my heart, and I can feel God tugging me to that place. I know that means He has someone even better in mind for my job here, and I believe that once again He is calling me to step out in faith.

Please pray over the coming week that God’s guidance will be clear, and that I will be listening earnestly. Pray that He will guide me to the right decision for the church, our family, and Creative Works.

Thank you. May the Lord bless you!

Ulm

MÜNSTER
If you’ve been reading along, you know we spent the last day of our trip in Ulm, Germany. Ulm is a beautiful little city located along the Donau (or Danube) river. It was the birthplace of Einstein, and also happens to have the highest cathedral spire in the world (photo above). The lure of Ulm, however, had nothing to do with any of the above. Ulm is special for Brandy and I because we met at the Army base that used to be there in 1990. Some of you have heard about the eight year almost romance that led up to Brandy and I’s marriage. Ulm factors prominently into that story.

Another draw was that an old friend of ours is still living in Ulm. Inge worked as the youth director at the protestant chapel in Ulm when I lived there in 2nd grade. She used to baby-sit me. When we returned to Ulm in 1990, Inge was still there working hard in the chapel program. Now, at an 80 that is mighty reminiscent of 60, she is working at the Ulm Museum and visiting the “old folks” at the nearby retirement community for her current church. Our visit with her was fascinating. As someone who spent a number of years in the United States (while born German, Inge married an American Soldier in WWII) Inge has a unique perspective on American and German culture. She repeatedly expressed her support for our mission, and how difficult it had been for her to find another fellowship of believers in the German community once the Army closed the base. One of the more interesting points that she made is that while her pastor is constantly trying to reach out to young people, Sunday mornings at the church are devoid of any younger people. If I correctly interpreted the program, all the celebrated birthdays the previous Sunday were for people between the ages of 70 and 90.

Brandy and I had a lovely dinner and a long post-dinner chat with Inge after she met us at the train station and helped us navigate to our hotel via taxi. Then we slept, had a late breakfast and grabbed a bus downtown.

We wandered a bit. Explored the inside of the Cathedral, and actually got to go to an organ concert that they do everyday at noon.

Then we found lunch, and began to meander back toward the base. This was many miles of walking. We had done it 13 years ago when we were kids, but somehow memory left out what a long walk it was. 🙂 As you can see from the photos, though, Ulm is a beautiful old city.

This picture was taken in the “Bicycle Park.” Just across the street from the base, this was always a favorite haunt. I can remember having to run here for PE class in 9th grade. It’s filled with beautiful flower gardens, pools, picnic tables, and playgrounds, all crawling along the length of an old piece of wall.

Something in the way this photo was taken makes it look a bit like something from a dream, and in a lot of ways it is. This is the main hallway of what was once the American High School in Ulm. It’s now a special high school for engineering students, and yet it looks just the same. It’s like staring into a magic window to the past.

Our last stop is the building that used to be Wiley Chapel. Oddly enough it’s an Evangelical Free church. (The chances of this given the statistics in Germany is kind of like the chances of the American woman in the Gasthaus being related to a close friend of Durand’s.) This is where Brandy and I met. In this building I first walked up and introduced myself. The doors were locked and we couldn’t get inside, but it was nice to have stood in that place again.

After another evening meal and a little sleep at the hotel, we began our 20 hour journey home, navigating taxis, trains, airports, and connections until we arrived back in Colorado Springs.

I’ve spent much of the day today preparing clips for Jason to use to produce transcripts of all the interviews that I will use in the editing process for the Spark! video. (That and hanging out with my kids for the first time in two weeks.)

Thank you all for your prayers, and your support! God has blessed us richly to have people like you supporting us.

Home sweet home…

Just wanted to post quickly and let you know we made it home. I’ll try to jump on and fill you in on the last (internetless) days of our trip some time this afternoon, but at the moment, I’m creating some video clips for Jason and trying to find a few minutes to spend with my kids.

God Bless!

Winding down

Well today was a very good day. It’s actually the first day of this trip that we really haven’t been under the gun to get things done, and so we were finaly able to relax a bit.

We started out the day with a quick breakfast at Durand’s before heading back to Black Forest Academy for our tours (of the High School and the Elementary School). The School is tiny, but the facilities are wonderful, and you can see the love of Jesus in all the little details. It will be a wonderful place for our children.

The next stop was Mullheim where we wanted to do some quick errands before we toured the Creative Works office. We changed some money, looked at prices on some used cars and houses, and picked up some kids movies in German to try to get the family into the language. The we wandered over to the office. It’s tight for three people, but it should do the trick for us at least for the time being. Durand is already looking at plans to expand the facility or move into something better organized for where Creative Works is going.

After that we made a brief sweep into France where we went to a huge store called Carrefour. It was oddly reminiscent of a Super Walmart. It was a great experience because we got to look at appliances, and little convenience items and get the feel for what is available here and how things are different. As Durand put it, “Everything is similar, but not quite the same.”

By about four pm we were back at Durand’s and able to relax on the couch for a few hours. Brandy wrapped up her cross stitch, I chatted with my nephew briefly(via Skype), and we just had a little bit of downtime before dinner. Dinner was the real deal. We went to the Gasthaus Sonne in Kandern and had Jaegerschnitzer mit Spatzle. It was so wonderful! I’d like to think it was the reward for all the hardwork we did in Cologne. 🙂 Then a woman came over from another table to speak with us because we sounded like Americans. She was local enough to fool the locals, but it turned out she was born and raised in up state New York before coming to Europe on a mission, marrying a local, and slowly becoming German over a period of many years. Oddly she was related to a close friend of Durand’s and they were able reminisce for a bit.

Finally we walked the streets of Kandern for a while to digest all that food and just talked. It was a nice relaxing day. Tomorrow we’ll be heading to Ulm to visit an old friend. After a day or two there, we’ll be headed to Frankfurt, Chicago and Colorado Springs. It has been a wonderful trip. I think it has had a profound impact on our vision for Europe and hopefully we’ll have a chance to share that with all of you in the coming weeks and months.

This will likely be the last entry for the trip, since I have no expectation of Internet in Ulm. I’ll update if I can, but I doubt there will be access.

God Bless!


These fine gentlemen from the muppetshow are the current spokesmen for Citibank here in Europe.