Our family had the joy of spending some time together this past week. It was the first time we have been outside the Berlin area since we arrived in July last year. It was incredible driving through the German countryside and seeing the little villages that have changed little over the past couple centuries. We took up refuge in a little ski village called Winterberg. It was a quiet week, with most of Germany wishing for spring this time of year, few were looking to enjoy more winter.
It would be easy to say that it was a picturesque week filled with enjoying one another’s company, but those of you with small children would call my bluff. So yes we had temper tantrums over wanting to play Frozen Surprise Slides instead of Cook'in Cookies. And yes, I would have preferred to watch the endless stream of soccer games available on German tv in this magnificent country instead of the whole first and second seasons of ‘When Calls the Heart’ on Netflix (Don’t tell Cherry I said this, but its really a good show!). So while we had a wonderful vacation, I was reminded that regardless of our situation our hearts will always seek our own way.
I see this evermore clearly in my relationships with my daughters. There is special bond between father and child that cannot be explained, but only experienced. In them we see ourselves, and it hurts when they turn away from us and pursue their own path. Many times we know where those paths lead. This is why we continue to pursue them and show them the way away from their own selfish hearts. This can be a hard thing to do when we ourselves have this same problem. We tell them not to yell at their sister, by yelling at them ourselves. We get upset when they interrupt what we are doing, because what we are doing is more ‘important’.
I read an interesting story a couple months ago about the Duke of Windsor, the uncrowned King Edward VIII, who recalled his childhood. He was quoted as saying “My father [King George V] was a strict disciplinarian. Sometimes when I had done something wrong, he would admonish me, saying, 'My dear boy, you must always remember who you are.’”
I have this quote printed in my office. It reminds me that I have a heavenly Father that admonishes me the same. It is easy to tell our children to remember who they are, but if we are not telling ourselves this how will they ever see to whom we belong. This is why I love Easter. I see the picture of a Son on that cross that wholly remembered who He was. For those of us who are in Christ, we must not forget who we are. We are children of the King. May we remind others every day of who our Father is.
We had a great month of ministry with the boys we are working with in Reinickendorf. We had the opportunity to participate in a city tournament with the boys this past month. It was a great experience for them (and for me trying to coach them in German!) as many have never participated in an organized event. These boys are growing and slowly learning more each week about God’s Story and how they fit into it. We have been talking with them about different character qualities by telling them Bible Stories and then sharing how this points us to Christ. This model has worked well and we hope to use this in the other communities we are working in.
Specifically, we hope to start something similar in our local community. God seems to be moving us out of outreach into Goerzallee where many of the families have moved into the community. We have run into some snags with the management at the facility and it seems that our future ministry here will be outside the camp. It is not a coincidence that I was recently approached by a group of believers in our area about a gym that we can use for free on Saturday’s. Please pray that God would open a door for us to use this facility and that this would give us increased opportunity to share the gospel.
We have taken an increasing leadership role with our church family in Zehlendorf. Please pray for us as we help fill some big shoes that have been left by our youth leader Kristi who is returning to the States for a year due to Social Security requirements. Her impact was felt in our Good Friday baptismal service yesterday. All four individuals baptized were directly impacted by her ministry. We will miss her dearly. She has been a good friend and coworker and we look forward to her return next year. We will be working with a very capable replacement Caleb, who will be running the children’s ministry in her absence.
Cherry begins teaching a Bible study to our teen girls this month and Jeannie is heavily involved in planning our church’s women’s retreat. They both assist me in our weekly outreach and are a tremendous help with the children we work with. Please pray for us as we help guide ministry to our youth and families forward through the spring and summer. We are in high gear planning for camps and teams that will be arriving through the next 6 months. I hope to take my B1 proficiency test in May and will be taking a break with classes through the summer months to focus on the ministry we have planned. Cherry began taking language classes online this month!
We got to see from friends passing through early this month. It was fun taking them around the city the day they were here and we got to see some things in the city that we hadn’t seen before. Cherry and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary this month. We had a great time going out to dinner by ourselves.:) We are so thankful to have Jeannie with us here. She has been a tremendous blessing to us when we have needed to take people into the city or get away by ourselves. She serves tirelessly and continually gives of herself. I finished my B1 level language course last week. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people in my class over the past 6 months. I look forward to staying in touch with many of them. We had a wonderful time in Winterberg, Germany. It was a refreshing week and gave us an opportunity to see another region of Germany we hadn’t seen before.
Praise and Prayer
- Praise for some time away as a family this past week
- Prayer for the Syrian family we have been working with that they would see the gospel as their only hope
- Prayer for our summer camps. especially for wisdom in securing a permit for a field
- Prayer that we would be an encouragement to the different groups and individuals visiting in the coming weeks
- Prayer for a friend that is experiencing persecution from his family for converting from Islam