Go with the strength you have …

In the book of Judges, we encounter a fellow named Gideon. Though he felt himself weak and ill-equipped, the Lord treated him otherwise. He told Gideon, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:14)

Now, we’re not heading to Germany to fight any Midianites—or to fight anyone at all, really—but we do feel ready to go with the strength we have. Our support is such that our regular needs will be met, so Wycliffe has agreed that we may go. Tomorrow, we will wing our way to Germany!

However, going doesn’t change the fact that our ministry budget feels as ill-equipped as Gideon did to handle surprise expenses. These have sprung up on us in the past year and could spring up again in the future. Many of you have undergone similar times, too, so you understand our concern. Allow me to invite you to consider adding your support to our Wycliffe ministry so that we are free to work for the Lord without worry. If you have questions, just write to us. Anyone wishing to give can see the options on our Wycliffe ministry page online.

Enough of that talk now. We’re going. There’s not much left to be packed. Everything that we’re keeping is in storage—or will be today.

(Teenagers not included.)

Tomorrow evening, the four of us fly from Philadelphia to Frankfurt, arriving in the morning. A friend will meet us and our stuff and take us up to Holzhausen. Then … we shall begin to feel settled again.

It’s been an interesting year here. We have loved being near my family and not far from close friends as well. Through church and recreation, we formed new relationships, too. When it comes to visiting the churches and individuals who support us, we have to say that we didn’t see as many people as we would have liked. You’re all too spread out in this big nation!

If we didn’t get to see you here, you are certainly welcome to visit us over in Germany! We would love to see you and show you what life and ministry is like for us. If you prefer to write, though, please keep in touch with us. We’ll let all of you know how our journey goes and how we settle in!

Please pray for this start to our next term overseas with Wycliffe. We’re excited about what’s to come!

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Newsletter, February 2018

At last, the air is clear of the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and … my hometown team winning a certain celebrated sporting event. Valentine’s Day, the Olympic Games—they’re all behind us. May we all breathe again now?

Apart from the activity of the above, our time in the U.S. has been fairly uneventful, which is just as a so-called “furlough” often should be. J and C are doing well in school. We get to spend a good amount of time with my side of the family, most of whom live in the area. It has been a period of restfulness threaded with an urge to return to work and life in Germany.

Part of this time is intended for reconnecting with those who faithfully keep us busy and active while we’re serving away from home. During the busiest times of year, though, it’s not easy to visit those folks. With spring arriving, our schedule of events is picking up. Here’s where we anticipate being over the next several months:

  • March 4: The Blue Church, Springfield, PA, 9:00–1:00 PM (combined Sunday school class, worship, lunch)
  • March 10: Aldan Union Church, Aldan, PA, 8:00–10:30 AM (missions conference breakfast)
  • March 14: Aldan Union Church, Aldan, PA, 7:00–8:30 PM (missions conference panel discussion)
  • March 18: Aldan Union Church, Aldan, PA, 9:00–1:00 PM (missions conference Sunday school, worship)
  • April 13-15: Pender United Methodist Church, Fairfax, VA (missions conference)
  • April 29: Parkwood Baptist Church, Annandale, VA, 9:30–12:00 PM (combined Sunday school, lunch)
  • June 11-13: South Carolina (tentative visits)
  • June 13-19: First Presbyterian Church, Duncanville, TX (worship, friends in vicinity)
  • June 19-27: Centennial, CO (family visit)
  • June 27-July 2: Brookdale Church, Saint Joseph, MO (worship, family visit)
  • August 3: Germany?

If you live near any of these places (or along our likely route) and would like to get together with us, please let us know! You can find our email address in the newsletter:

February 2018: A Liddle Good News (for viewing on-screen)

February 2018: A Liddle Good News (for printing)

When you pray for us, please keep our stamina the threat of travel fatigue before the Lord our God. We are grateful to you for being a part of our Wycliffe ministry!

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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, C 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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