Monday, May 29, 2006

Berlin & Friends

My good friends Uncle Buster & Aunt Doris S. from Tampa were recently here, visiting a few days. Now they're on a Reformation Tour with others from their church. (This sweet group, by the way, showered me & my colleagues with goodies from the US-- such as grits, Pam spray, oreo cookies, & a Tampa company Vigo yellow rice).

I picked them up in Berlin and we toured around for a day. On the left is Checkpoint Charlie where they controlled traffic in and out of the formerly split city of Berlin. The Brandenburg Gate is still a highlight to see!

Sebastian, a friend from Jena, also accompanied us and helped me give the tour (i really do not know my way around there well). He is praying about where to move to, to continue his studies in civil engineering, and wanted to check out a local college.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

ÜberLeben 06

Last week we had a campus- wide outreach to share Christ in Jena (called Survival 2006, a play on words meaning "above life"). It was organized by our Connexxion student ministry as well as 3 others groups. Each night there was a guest speaker in a large lecture hall, in the afternoons we had a seminar & during the days we handed out free coffee & homemade cake -- 80 cakes in all -- & invited students to the events.
(on the right are Philipp, Sebastian, Nicole & Thomas in the band singing, among others, a song by Switchfoot).

Our group helped at the contact tables, & planned the nightly creative introduction to the evenings' themes: such as a band, an insightful or comedic skit & interviewing the speaker. We also provided a bistro snack table afterwards to encourage conversation. Each night between 80-160 students attended and heard the Good News. (I'm in the left photo, far right).

Spring Shots (photo potpourri)

I have a smattering of fun photos! I wanted to share them all, from various events the last weeks -- so here is my modest attempt at remaining sensible & tantalizing you with curiosity by including just a random few! Jeff, my co-worker, and son Jeff are enjoying the sounds of Antje's Australian didgeridoo! She brought it to our spring retreat & played it for the talent night. (no small feat!). Growing up in the tropics of Florida, I missed all the wonderful northern blooming trees & cold-loving flowers, such as tulips! Hurray for living in Germany right next to Holland!

After our retreat, some of us went to ride on a summer tobaggan ride-- (left to right) little Georgia, Tep (our worship leader who came in from Spain), Deanna, Vera, Jen, Caro, & yours truly. (for the record-- i have no qualms at people seeing my feet-- really, i don't! But somehow I wonder why it's so common for folks to take your ENTIRE body when they shoot a photo--and often leaves out things much more interesting than feet & ground-- in this case the small town behind our heads was hilly & quite quaint...)

John & Jen Kelsey from Oklahoma came to speak at our retreat & we enjoyed a bit of sight-seeing while they were here, including a favorite place of mine, the Wartburg Castle. This is where Martin Luther translated the New Testament (from Greek into German) in just 11 weeks (in 1521/22). It resulted in a standardized version of written German. Jen & Kels as friends were fun & so encouraging; plus it was inspiring to exchange ideas about campus ministry!

This incredible piece of architecture is found in Erfurt, our state capital of Thuringia, and houses a terrific Italian restaurant!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Spring has sprung -- Retreat

I just keep getting more and more behind on blogging-- ahhh! Which is a good thing, in a way-- that means my life is full of meaningful things & sometimes DO-ing cool stuff is more fun (sounds like the sanguine in me!) than reflecting on it or recording it... but i hope to do both, of course!

John and Jen Kelsey were recently here from Oklahoma University to lead our spring retreat. Connexxion campus ministry was simply WAY blessed by the fellowship and spiritual teaching we all enjoyed. Good to "connect" with God and each other at the front end of the new spring/summer semester. Jen shared about what she's learned from dealing with a chronic illness and pain: “I feel green and nourished …on the inside, even though I live with pain… it’s worth it, it’s worth it-- to know God in this way.” Wow!

From "Kels" (John) on commitment: Understand the difference between: 1) training & 2) trying. Did you TRY to understand quantum physics? Or Russian? No. You don’t dabble—you train to learn these things. But what if I’m committed & under grace & get really excited about God, & have a cool T-shirt—and I “try” – and put a Christian sticker on back of my car? Isn't that like asking, 'can’t I just show up and throw the shot-put at a track meet-- without training'??!! I just can’t experiment, but I have to TRAIN!