Moving experiences

According to the elephant in the room, it’s been about eleven months since I last wrote an update here. Before I’m squashed by the pachyderm—or worse!—I’m going to note what’s been going on in the life and ministry that Katherine and I have together. There might even be a few pictures of us.

In mid-January, we ended our five-month visit to the U.S. and returned to Germany. We came back to the same apartment on the Wycliffe center that we lived in shortly before leaving. This time, though, it was just the two of us, since both of our sons now live on their own in the States.

In March, we had the very great pleasure of receiving an advance copy of the Kisafwa New Testament. Katherine and I were part of each of the teams that conducted the language survey of the Safwa people in 1998 and reported that they would benefit from their own translation. Holding the fruit of the fruit of our labor in our hands brought to completion all of the effort we put into every interview we conducted and every test we administered under trying conditions. We’re grateful to our God for the chance to serve him and the Safwa people in this way!

In May, Katherine flew to Colorado to be with her parents (and sister!) for a little more than five weeks and help them through a challenging series of medical events. It was a good visit for them all. Contrary to every expectation and betting pool, I survived her absence admirably. I’ve never gone on so many solitary hikes in my life!

Upon her return, Katherine immediately resumed her responsibilities, managing the course reserves for the language and culture classes taught during the summer. After that, it was time to ready ourselves to move into the apartment we’ll be renting until we leave Germany. Katherine was also preparing for the start of the third semester of her library sciences program at Texas Woman’s University. (She’s doing great, by the way.)

In October, we moved into our new apartment—and almost immediately had a visit from Katherine’s parents and sister! We loved being together, and it was hard to say good-bye.

So here we are in November. This month, Katherine and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We spent a long weekend at a quiet place less than an hour from Holzhausen that overlooks Lake Bigge and Lake Lister.

What’s next? More studying and homework, more cataloging in the library. More shepherding of all the technology in use by Wycliffe Germany, more preparation for the nasty things that can happen to those systems these days. But no more moves, so far as we know.

Thank you for reading today. Thank you for standing by us and behind us during our 25 years of marriage and during the additional years we’ve been ministering with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We know that it’s not been easy lately for those of you who give, and we honor you for facing that challenge with faith and with grace. May the Lord our God fill you with peace and with encouragement, and may he bless your Thanksgiving celebrations with abundance—and the wisdom to know when you’ve had enough!

The past year happened, right?

This update may be the first you have received by email, or perhaps the first that you have received by email in some time. It may seem to have come out of the blue. Technically, that’s not true. It came from the cloud. Ha-ha. What is true is that Katherine and I have been getting our various lists in better order, and that includes adding or correcting addresses. Please read on!

After a long journey, I often experience a strange sort of amnesia: the period immediately before it seems to recede into a fog. The worst instances of this happen after vacations—after all, who wants to forget a restful holiday? I travel forewarned now.

Katherine, the boys, and I have been back in Germany for close to two months. To make a long story short—in case you want to stop reading early, our arrival and settling in has gone pretty well. We’re thankful!

A45 Autobahn
We arrived to blue skies and a dry land.

It was comforting to all of us to be back, but there was also a discomforting feeling of not having been gone. There was a sense of the past year and all of our experiences in the U.S. fading and seeming not quite real. Thankfully, contact with family and friends put that notion to rest!

Here are some of the things for which we’re most grateful:

  • a decently-sized apartment on the center to live in until we move into the house we’re going to rent
  • that our car was ready and waiting for us, and that it had been well cared-for
  • that our German driver’s licenses were ready and waiting for us at the DMV
  • that we had the chance to visit the house we’re going to rent and assure ourselves that it would suit our needs
  • friends and colleagues who gave us a warm welcome home
  • that the process of obtaining our residence permits went smoothly and quickly
  • that the boys have jumped right back in to their school and their extracurricular activities
Karimu and beyond
The view from our apartment, across the main lodgings of Karimu.

So, how’s work going? For me, there’s not been a dull moment yet. Shortly after returning to work, I began planning a necessary upgrade to the phone system. When the day of the upgrade came, it didn’t go quite as planned. I adjusted. A few weeks later, a hardware component failed. I adjusted. Such is my life and work, I guess. And there are more big projects to come!

Katherine has returned to her work in the library, but that’s not all! She’s also filling in at Wycliffe Germany’s reception desk to cover for a woman on maternity leave. (So, if I mess up the phone system, she knows.) Like the boys, she’s also resumed her exercise groups in the adjacent village.

It’s great to see on a daily basis that what each of us does influences the effectiveness of Wycliffe Germany and its contribution to the work of Bible translation throughout the world. Here are the topics for which you can pray as we work through the next few months:

  • the drafting and submission of the IT budget during challenging times
  • the nationally-mandated upgrade of phone service to VoIP
  • the expected switch to cloud services for email and some file sharing
  • the long-overdue change to the library catalog system

We’re glad to have you all to read about our ministry with Wycliffe, to pray for us personally and professionally, to maintain us in this life through your support, and to encourage us through email and social media. We feel the presence of the Lord our God in all of it!

Until the next time …

Sunset in the Hickengrund
Sometimes we’re treated to beautiful sunsets!

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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