Settling in, just before the holidays

The last time I wrote – it was some time ago, I admit – we were considering renting a house in the older part of Niederdresselndorf, where we have chosen to live and enroll the kids in school. That house proved to be too much for our budget, but that same week we saw an apartment that we decided would suit us well. After a little renovations, some minor repairs, and painting all over, we moved in around the middle of November. Here are some pictures that I hope will give you a feel of the place:

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We’re still working on furnishing and modifying the apartment, which used to be an occupational therapy practice, but we are quite pleased with our new home. It’s only a short walk from the boys’ school, two bakeries, a grocery store, the church, and the homes of new friends. When the weather is good, I can ride my bike to the office in the next village over – and even come home for lunch at midday – without much effort.

In a few days, we’ll have our first guest! Katherine’s sister is going to visit us for Christmas and the New Year. The boys are just a little bit excited to have their aunt here. Our tree is waiting in the garage for this weekend, when we’ll put it up together.

This week, I’ll be writing each day about the different things that have happened to get us to this point. Stay tuned for the story behind our car!

Looking for a place to call home

Please pray this week for our efforts to find a house or flat that we can call home. The best leads here come through word of mouth, and we are thankful to our new friends and colleagues for asking around on our behalf. There may be one or two more options to explore, but the opportunity that pleases us the most is a newly-renovated house across the creek from the village’s main church.

Every locale has its own set of laws, guidelines, and practices for the rental of homes. We’re working with our German colleagues to navigate the terms and criteria involved in setting the rental price. The house owner is new to renting, and we’re new to Germany, so there are plenty of opportunities for miscommunication and error. When you pray for this need, please focus on the need for good relationships, friendly communication, and accurate information. The place has its quirks and challenges, but it’s in a great location and we like it a lot. The boys would have just a short walk to school (which starts in just two days). And a creek. Guess which one they like more?

Here are some pictures that will give you imagery for those times of prayer – as well as another glimpse into what life is like here. Enjoy – and pray!

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Beyond the countdown … and getting adjusted

It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks, friends, but at last we are here in Germany!

After leaving Missouri with a full trailer behind our car, we bolted east to Pennsylvania, where we spent time with my (David’s) side of the family down at the shore and in lovely Lancaster County. Then the real packing began, and we managed to fit all of our belongings into duffels, trunks, and boxes that met the weight requirements. There was so much that we needed a limo service to cart us to the airport.

We had some concerns that an air traffic controller strike in Frankfurt might cause some delays for our flights, but that strike never happened. Praise God! Our travel through London-Heathrow to Frankfurt went very smoothly. We even found a restaurant in London that could accommodate Caleb’s food allergies and provide him with a hamburger patty. Again, praise God!

In Frankfurt, we were met by my colleagues Martijn de Vries and Jeff Pubols, who lives and works in South Africa. They brought two vehicles to carry us up to Niederdresselndorf, where we are staying at Meisenweg 1 at the home of our director and his wife, Frank and Uschi Lautenschlager. Jonathan and Caleb are thrilled to be here, and it’s hard to rein in their curiosity and desire to explore absolutely everything.

Katherine and I have accomplished a few of those little bureaucratic details since we arrived. Yesterday, we registered with the township, the Gemeinde Burbach, which is an important step towards acquiring the final work permit and visa. We looked at a flat to rent, but it was too small for us to be content during the long rental period required by the landlord — we do expect guests, after all. We also made arrangements with Wycliffe Germany for them to handle the transfer of donations from our generous financial partners through Wycliffe USA. Thank you, friends, for making this all possible!

This morning, I’m going to drive out with Martijn to Muecke and the site of the Deaf Bible Translation Conference that we will provide support for next month. We’ll be assessing what we need to help make the technological part of the conference a success. It’s great to be getting down to work again!

More to share, including pictures, later — tschuss!