Living and working in the cloud

There are many days of the year, especially in autumn and spring, in which one can wake in this valley of the Wetterbach and find that the village of Holzhausen has been uploaded to the cloud. Or has the cloud downloaded itself to Holzhausen? Fog Computing just doesn’t have the same ring to it …

A foggy morning at the Wycliffe center.

Before we returned to Germany last year, I knew that one of my major projects would be to introduce Wycliffe Germany to Office 365, the suite of cloud services from Microsoft. Yes … that cloud. So … mysterious. No, it’s not. In a nutshell, it’s just taking stuff that lives on a server that you own and putting it on a whole pile of servers that somebody else owns.

The chief advantages to cloud services are little to no downtime, no physical maintenance, better security, and access from anywhere with an internet connection. Wycliffe Germany was increasingly in need of each of those features.

On my return, I began planning to move their email system from a single aging server in the basement to shiny new servers at Office 365 data centers throughout Europe. (I don’t really know if they’re shiny.) In February and March of this year, I executed my carefully tested plan, and I was very pleased with the results. So were my colleagues … whew!

The new arrangement is easier than ever to manage, and I have more information at my fingertips that helps me to keep Wycliffe’s email safe. There are many other products in Office 365 that we’re slowly beginning to use to our advantage. Please pray for me to be patient and wise as I make the introductions; neither you nor our Lord want me to try dragging my colleagues into the digital age. May He encourage me to heed the advice of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes 3:1.

And now for a personal interlude: during the last full week of the boys’ summer break, we had the pleasure of vacationing with Katherine’s parents in Wasserburg on Lake Constance. What a lovely place it is, even with … clouds!

Vacation is over and we’re all back in the saddle again. Jonathan is in his final year at Gymnasium, and Caleb has two years left. Please pray for each to have the academic prowess to put this year away with great success.

Katherine will be spending more time in the library now and less at the Wycliffe reception desk. Nevertheless, her time at reception is precious to the administration, because she has proven skillful in organizing several predecessors’ work. Pray for her to act wisely as she tends to the resources in both places on which many people depend.

There’s another cloud that I want to mention in closing. You. This cloud is comprised of you who take an interest in our ministry, who pray for us—regularly or irregularly, who give so that we can pay our bills, and who provide for us directly—in big ways and small—when there’s a need. Just as a believer’s faith draws in great part on the “cloud of witnesses” referred by Hebrews 12:1, so does our faith in serving draw on you. We’ve been using cloud services for decades now. Thank you!

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!

Watching faith become sight

In the letter written to the Hebrews, we read, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) While preparing for a new term overseas in our Wycliffe ministry, I’d say that we’re witnessing many instances of “what we hope for” as well as “what we do not see”. You’ve probably gone through such periods in your own life—it’s the details that appear different. Read on to understand what it’s like for us right now.

Our family is about two months from our scheduled return to Germany. In faith, we have purchased tickets for a departure on August 5th. Each of us has a valid passport. These are things we do see. Easy enough. There are other things, which we do not see but we hope for, that must take form so that we can actually go.

The faithfulness of the churches and individuals who support us allows us to report that we do see a great portion of our monthly financial needs met. That is thanks to the Lord we serve, who works through these generous people. The “ministry budget” approved for our next term in Germany, however, is more than what we receive now. The difference is driven by increases in the cost of living and the need to plan for sudden, large expenses. To reach 100% of our ministry budget and be free to depart, we need to receive an additional $270 each month. This amount is part of what we hope for.

One sudden expense came from the home that we own in Texas, which we are renting out until we can sell it. Early this year, we were surprised by a large bill for repair work done between tenants. These expenses are being paid back by the incoming rent, thankfully, but now the rent isn’t covering our mortgage. Until the end of the year, provision for the mortgage payments and our own housing expenses is another thing we do not see … yet.

We also experienced higher expenses during this year in the U.S., where the cost of living has been greater than in Germany. These situations have taken a worrisome toll on our savings. The increase in our ministry budget will help us prepare for and recover from such periods as we serve Wycliffe internationally.

Our initial home will be an apartment in the building close to the top of this picture.

Without faith, those things that we do not see could tempt us to lose confidence. But our amazing God has bolstered our faith by encouraging us and lifting our hopes!

He has blessed us with certainty in our housing over in Germany. When we arrive, we’ll be staying in an apartment at Wycliffe’s Karimu conference center. The original booking went through the first few weeks of school.

This is the front of the house that we hope to call home beginning in December.

We were thrilled to have time to look for long-term housing, but our Lord wasn’t done yet! We received word that a family we know from church is building a new house and wants to rent their current one after they move in December. After some waiting and uncertainty, we learned that the house would be available to us! It seems just what we hoped for.

What a relief to know that we would have a place to call home! But our Lord wasn’t done yet; he wanted to take care of the interim period, too! The fabulous folks at Karimu worked hard to clear us to stay in the apartment all the way until December, barring extreme circumstances. We are amazed by all these developments and thank God continually for his goodness to us. As we face so many things that we do not see, the gift and blessing of assurance in this aspect of life overwhelms and encourages us.

We are confident that our Lord still isn’t done. If he can settle our housing arrangements in Germany, well in advance of our departure, then surely he can and will provide for everything else. Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “… I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6, NLT) Katherine and I believe wholeheartedly that God’s “good work” in us includes our serving him and Wycliffe in Germany.

By what means will he “continue his work”, transform our faith in what we do not see? It will include our brothers and sisters who care for and pray for us. Perhaps it will be you. Perhaps it will be someone you know who also understands the importance of continuing God’s work in this world. Please think about this and consider supporting our ministry regularly so that we can resume our service to Wycliffe in Germany:

The Wycliffe Ministry of David & Katherine Liddle

That link to our ministry page at Wycliffe’s website can always be found on the “Join Us” page at Liddles.net. Regardless of whether you give or not, we ask you to pray to the God we serve that he will give confidence and assurance to all the areas of life in which there are things we do not see. We can’t do this on our own; we need the Lord, and we need you. Thank you for your love, and your concern, and your generosity!