A moving experience

Once we returned from that working vacation to Austria during spring break, the preparations for our return to the U.S. began in earnest. It was a busy time that had its high and low points. To be honest, getting settled here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has those extremes, too. Let’s try to keep things on the bright side, shall we?

Katherine and I are thankful that our household belongings in Germany are safe—and only stored in two places. A couple from church generously offered the use of a room in their cellar, at no cost to us! And Wycliffe Europe Area allowed us to store items in unused attic space that they have. Maneuvering things into those spots was often a challenge—especially during rainy days—but we are pretty satisfied with the results. The old apartment was emptied and turned over to new faces.

It took me a while to distribute the nearly 400 pounds of luggage among our eight allowed bags, but I managed it. How does one pack to spend a year ‘away from home’ while ‘at home’? We’re still not sure, but this is what it might look like:

The back of the van that took us to the Frankfurt airport.

Shortly before we left, Caleb celebrated the end of his two-year-long Bible study course, which he completed with other youth his age at the church we attend there. It’s not easy to get all four of us into one picture, but again, we managed it!

After the bible study graduation service.

In fact, we did it a second time a little bit after that. At the outskirts of every city, town, and village in Germany, there are signs indicating the town limits and the distance to the next place along the same road. I thought that you might be interested to know how far we’ve come on our ‘road’ to the U.S.:

Would an arrow have been pointless?

After arriving, we recovered from jet lag and began getting reacquainted with the Lancaster area. It’s now been one month since I collected our stateside things from storage and brought them to where we are now:

Into and out of storage

As for where that is exactly, I have no objection to telling you outright—the address will be in the next newsletter. However, being an aficionado of cartography and ingenuity, I think it would be more fun to do it another way. There are three words that can describe where we live now. Those three words are “erupted”, “dockers”, and “imitations”. Write to me to confirm your guess. If you don’t figure it out, contact me so I can send you information on a fascinating way in which truly remote areas are getting addresses.

How can you pray for us now? Well, moving stinks. Being close to family is great. The differences between the German and U.S. school systems can be challenging and confusing. The good start those strapping young men have at school and in youth group is encouraging and relieving. The distance we have to go yet in settling and getting reconnected with supporters spread across half the country is intimidating. That’s when an excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Romans comes to mind:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (Romans 5:3-4)

Our hope of salvation is one of the driving forces behind our ministry with Wycliffe. We’re glad to know that you’re reading, and praying, and helping to keep us moving. Thank you!

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Newsletter, April 2016

After more than two years in the making ….

OK, not really.

The worst newsletter writers in all of Christendom bring to you the summary of summaries, an imitation CliffsNotes® of our Wycliffe ministry since 2013.

That’s bad. That’s really, really bad. It’s award-winning bad. And bad means not good, not right. It’s not right that I fail to communicate with the people who care about the work that we do for Wycliffe and with the people who faithfully ensure that it continues. Without regular contact, I’m apt to focus on what is in front of me and to put out of my mind that and those who are not in front of me. We have two conflicting sayings in English, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Our ministry to Wycliffe has been steady and predictable for many moons now. Yes, you can indeed read about it—and see pictures!—in our newsletter. It’s a short read:

April 2016: A Liddle Good News

If you read that, then the following pictures and descriptions will make more sense. Since the newsletter was actually written, Katherine has moved into the library’s new space, and I have finished assembling my wireless access point mounts.

Progress in the library
More has been done since this photo was taken, but this new workspace was a nice addition.
My final design
This is my final design of the wireless access point mounts to go on the walls of the new guest lodgings.

 

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Playing catch-up, and maybe adding mayonnaise

The last time I wrote here was in July. The pace of life for us here is so normal, or so slow, that there doesn’t seem to be much to report to those who follow our ministry to Wycliffe and our life that surrounds it. Let me get you caught up on the past few months, ending with the inspiration for the title. (Which means that you’ll either skip to the end or read the whole thing.)

Baker Street Station
We couldn’t resist the urge to capture these two scoundrels in such a well-known place.

In July, we had the benefit of a two-week vacation to Scotland and London with Katherine’s parents. It was relaxing and fun. No one wanted to come home to Germany.

Shortly after we returned, Jonathan left for ten days of summer camp. A few days after that, Katherine and Caleb left for their summer camp. (Katherine worked on the kitchen crew; she hasn’t been a camper for a while.) I stayed at home, cleaned, and enjoyed the quiet house.

Jonathan prepares to set the ball to one of his teammates.
Jonathan prepares to set the ball to one of his teammates.

School began soon after camp ended. The elder boy is in 7th grade and the younger in 6th. So far, they enjoy their classes and teachers quite a lot. In our area, sports aren’t associated with the schools, but both boys are involved in volleyball with the local athletic club, and Caleb plays for the local soccer club. You can see from the last picture that he’s taking up a new interest as well.

For a while now, Katherine has been volunteering a few times each month in the library at the boys’ school. This year, she also began working in the library that Wycliffe Germany maintains. The holdings consist of resources for languages, linguistics, translation, and exegesis.

They’re used by Wycliffe members on furlough, doing home study, or who work close enough for the shipping costs to be reasonable. Katherine is now the main contact for the library and works several hours there each week. It’s a great fit for her, and she enjoys it.

Caleb shows off his new bow.
Caleb shows off his new bow.

Next week, Caleb is going to be heading to the allergist’s office here for a thrilling endeavor. Tests measuring his sensitivity to eggs have given results low enough to warrant a food challenge. His loving and skilled mother will bake him some goody that contains eggs. Then they’ll journey together out to the children’s hospital where the allergist is located. Under the watchful eyes of ready medical staff, Caleb will test whether or not his body can tolerate the stuff. We’re all both excited and nervous!

So, when you pray to the Lord our God on our behalf, please pray for our son to be relieved of this burdensome and dangerous threat to his health. And pray for Katherine to have wisdom that will help her make the library’s resources more accessible to people who could benefit from them.

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