Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nostalgic in November

This November has been full of activity, mom's visit, dentist visit, a train trip, church events, and even snow!

My mom was still here during the first week of this month and I myself was surprised at how quickly I got back into normal life after she left. I've now been in Germany 4 months and by God's grace I've so quickly gotten used to things and feel so well in my home, at church, at work, being independent, etc.
The dentist said I have good "mouth hygiene" but should think about getting my wisdom teeth pooled at a convenient time (when is pain convenient?!)
I took a 4 hour train trip to meet for the first time and visit a pen-pal with whom I've managed to keep up with for the last 14 years. She's a deaconess (sorta like a nun but she doesn't live in a monastery) with the evangelical church in Germany. I'm so happy to report that she's a true believer and we had so many good conversations and walks through the snow. It was encouraging to be there and engage with her deep questions.
When I came back home, I found that we in the south had gotten snow also! In fact, it's still on the ground and snowing more as I write. Everything is covered in white dust and all the house owners are responsible to keep walkways shoveled or else we get sued if someone falls around our house...So we shovel all the time to keep it from building up too much.
Last night was the highlight of this month, I think. I organized and hosted an Elders Dinner. I know they put a lot of time and energy into buying the property we just did for the church and I thought they deserved some honor and spoiling for that. I divided it out so that everyone in the church had something to do and somehow with a collaborated effort on everything, we pulled off a 4 course dinner in my romantically-decorated living room :) And us serving had so much fun too and the food was amazing. It was so cool to see the different families represented in this one evening and I do believe it greatly encouraged and touched the elders.
Since last month, another major thing has happened: I am now officially the leader of the girls' small group. Their leader has left and the responsibility very naturally fell to me, as I was quite involved with the group and the girls' lives. I wouldn't have imagined taking over at all, but am amazed again at God's timing and way of things and now willingly and joyful accept this role. I don't take it lightly either, though, because leading a small group means giving direction, structure, empowerment, teaching, etc., which has sort of been lacking. I myself need great wisdom and humility for this role. I appreciate your prayers.

Be looking out for my newsletter soon!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last month of October

Wow, this past month has gone by so quickly!
Some highlights:

--Started using the heater because we've been getting below freezing during the night
--Got a birdy named Yesil ("Green" in Turkish because he's a beautiful deep green)
--My mom's here to visit!!
--Took the Scooter out for a night in Basel with TWO of us on it...that was interesting as we realized the tires need some pumping up and then it started raining on our way back!!
--Got a cold and am getting over it pretty quickly, praise God
--I know I have people around me who really care about me. I see this in that they hug me, turn on the heater knowing I easily get cold, invite me over, give me flowers, come over spontaneously...
--I found out that one of my elderly neighbors won't be coming back to live there anymore because she has gotten too weak and dependent :(
--I tutored a neighbor kid in English and he got a B on his test! woohoo!
--I have the most beautiful drive to work, especially with the trees turning firey colors and skies bright blue (when it's not overcast...)
--I can't believe that my birthday is coming up so soon and I will be 23!!
--Getting used to things at work and enjoying working with numbers and money when it calculates out right :)


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sewing Class Testimony

Upon coming to Germany, I was really excited about adult classes being offered at the local highschool in subjects varying from travel, craftwork, dance, to...sewing. Since being a senior in highschool, I've wanted to learn how to sew. I learned alittle bit from my host mom in TX that year, but dived at this chance to learn more.

I signed up...and got declined because the class was already full. I was really sad because I see this as such an opportune time in life to learn--the class is offered, I have a sewing machine here, and I actually have the time to learn and practice. So I figured that if God knows this deep desire of mine and it didn't work out, that there must be a reason...perhaps something regular will come up on Monday nights that He will need me to be involved in.

Vollbild anzeigen
Last week I got an email saying another class was being offered and I signed up! Last night was the first class and afterwards I realized why God closed the doors for the original class: the class I'm in has only 6 participant (more teacher attention!!) and most are beginners, meaning they won't already have a bunch of projects and advanced problems like the ladies from the original course would have had. Phew> save myself that embarrassment of learning!

LESSON: God IS in control. He DOES know how He's leading you. HE knows what's best for me, He loves me the most, and is able to bring all things to pass according to His perfect plan.

Praise, honor, glory to the Lord Almighty.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stars for Germany

Growing up, I had mixed feelings about Germany--going from awe, to thinking it's a perfect place, to hating it because I had to be here when I wanted to be in Turkey, to never wanting to live there, to not caring that I hadn't been back in 5 years.

When we realized I might be moving to Germany, God approached me about the subject when I was going running one night. We talked about my experiences and evaluations of Germany. There were tears, surrender, healing, and a new open heart towards Germany.

Now I live in Germany. I honestly haven't considered living here since...a decade. But now that I'm here at God's command and good pleasure, I am content. Here are a few things I like about Germany, despite its shortcomings like every country:

--I LOVE all the flowers (many geraniums) that you see on every house, whether in the house, on the window sills, hanging outside from the window sill, in pots welcoming people in...
--I appreciate the cleanness. Every Saturday is "Sweep Day" in which the families rotate sweeping the road and sidewalk in front of their portion of the house.
--I haven't been to many regions in Germany, but where I live, in the Blackforest, is just breath-taking with its many hills, vineyards, trees, castles, fresh air...makes me smile thinking about it!
--As complicated, expensive, and ridiculous as the system is here, it works. You register something, it gets registered. You request this and that from the government, you get it. If you are sick, you're covered. If you're unemployed, 'socially weak,' or dying, you still don't end up on the streets
--People greet you when you pass them
--I love the different dialects and the many ways the dialects express the same thing (though this can be frustrating too because I never know which to use!)
--For online banking, there's a cool calculator thing that generates security codes so that everything you do is super confidential
--And I love how people really spend time outside.
--My neighbors rock, especially in the garden that one of them created:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Thoughts on "The Hiding Place"

I just got done reading "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. It's her biography of life during World War II when the Nazis invaded her safe town in Holland and she was dragged away to a labor camp in Nazi central country: Germany.

This was the kind of book that I always saw on the shelf at the school library but never checked out because of its ambiguous title and the cover was just not inviting at all. Alas, my sister didn't take the book with her when she moved to America this summer, so I started reading it...and could hardly put it down...
The story of her undercover work to hide Jews, her courage and faith to maintain that operation, her capture, her struggles during this time come together in a very fascinating book. She was not younger than 50 years old when she began this kind of extraordinary life and then was punished for it. Corrie and her sister Betsy, both under the mercy of the merciless socialist party, encouraged one another in the Word of God and in faith. Betsy even thanked God for the fleas that were in their quarters. Only later did they find out that it was because of the fleas that guards never came close and thus were they able to tell the others about God and teach His Word.
Another lesson from Corrie that is significant for me is this example:
Her dad once asked Corrie when he gives her the train tickets. "Just before we board, so I don't lose them," she replied. Her father reminded Corrie (and me) that just like that, our Father in Heaven knows when we need what and He does not give before just the right time. He gives us strength, courage, and grace right when we need it.

Great read!


Monday, September 20, 2010

A bondservant of Christ

Bondservant: I am struck by that. The depth of that word is overwhelming.

I am a bondservant of Christ.

I was slave to sin, law, and satan. I could have never paid my way out of it because the debt would take life times to pay off. Then comes Jesus and offers redemption by paying the price, and not just paying with gold or silver, not paying grudgingly and to barely cover my debt. No, He covers my debt with the most precious thing He has--His life! I am not worth someone paying such a high price for me, but He declared me worth of His blood! Wow.

Now, in thankfulness, I willingly become a servant to Christ. Yet in this bond, He offers true life, freedom, eternality...
Such thoughts are too wonderful for me! It is high, I cannot attain it.

In Christ Alone

Stuart Townend, Keith Getty

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Casual Divine Appointment

I was talking to my garden the other morning when I heard the two neighbor kids talking:

"God is invisible."
"There is no God."

Before they could say anything else, I piped in saying,

"I've seen God!" :) They looked at me like I was an angel! I proceeded to tell them about how we can see the Spirit of God moving like we can see leaves moved by the wind. We can see God by His actions around us. I told them about Jesus, how He created everything for Himself, through Himself, out of love for us.

They started getting the picture and marvelingly asked if God even made the airplanes, mommy and daddy, and their bicycles.

It was a beautiful encounter to sow truth in these kids' minds.

Praise be to God.