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!

Resume the countdown!

On the NASA website, you can read this about Atlantis’ launch for STS-135: “There was a slight delay at T-31 seconds while retraction of the Gaseous Oxygen Vent Arm, or “Beanie Cap,” was verified.” After several email messages, in which cost-of-living discussions and proposals were passed back and forth across the ocean, the delay in our own countdown was lifted. Today I read, “… you are cleared to depart as planned.” Hallelujah!

When you pray to the LORD our God, please pray for us to stay focused on our departure from Missouri next week and to remain active in our preparations for that trip and the one on August 8. And pray that we won’t leave anything important behind. We can’t do this without you!

P.S. We can, however, go to Germany without removing our beanie caps.

An “unplanned hold” in the countdown

This morning, I pulled the boys early out of their swim practice so that we could watch the last launch of the Space Shuttle from the lobby of the YMCA. With 0:31 to go, Mission Control detected a potential problem and put a hold on the countdown. Our jaws dropped — we all wanted a picture-perfect launch. Thankfully, they resumed the countdown after checking video cameras and sensors. And the three of us enjoyed a beautiful launch on a special day — Caleb’s 8th birthday.

When we got home, I gravitated to our email. In it, I saw a new message from our personnel administrator which posed a question about one of the fields I had completed in the ministry budget form. When I opened the form to check it out, I realized that I had made a mistake. And what an error it was — the correction pushes the budget amount nearly up to the previous level. I can’t say at all that this launch is scrubbed, as NASA would say, but we need to put a hold in the countdown while we and Wycliffe figure out what’s going to happen next. All other preparations stay underway, but there’s a pause in the final approval.

What can you do? Pray to the Lord our God for a favorable resolution. That could take different forms. Certainly the clearest way it could be resolved is for additional financial partners to join us in the “eleventh hour” and make it a moot point. There’s about a $550 gap. Surely the people of our God can prove that he is indeed Jehovah-jireh, “the LORD will provide”!

To become one of those partners, please click this link to get started. Thank you for your demonstration of faith, hope, and love!