Monday, April 30, 2007

Birthe is a new friend I met last week but who had written me when I was in Florida.

My new church is the largest of the German Baptist churches. Our "Friedenskirche" church library is in an open lobby area by the worship center. The cafeteria downstairs is used for coffee time between services, a lunch on Sundays (price 3.50 Euro), as well as a bistro in the evenings, after the innovative "Fiesta" worship at 6 p.m. The associate pastor, Karsten, and his wife Mirjam are super nice, and his speaking is excellent.
There are 3 Mensas (main cafeterias) for the colleges in town, and I ate at this one, too, last week, near the physics and zoology buildings. Many people prayed that my kitchen would be installed properly when I was away, so here is proof of the good news! You may notice that the circle appliance there is a clothes washer (on the far left, you can't see it, is my dryer-- yes-- in the kitchen!)


Welcome to my new life in Braunschweig (otherwise known as "Brunswick")! Inside are some fun, bright posters I got at Ikea for just 10 Euro, for all 3. The lovely marigolds are a gift from my pastor's wife. My front door has a fresh welcome mat saying "casa" in Spanish. Kind of random but it seemed cool. And especially appropriate (after the fact) bec. today Annette asked me if I'd like to join her and a friend on Friday to begin practicing Spanish. Guess I'd better brush up!

These 4 students are new friends who came over for my first pizza and video party on Friday! Yea!

Birthe studies social work and we had lunch at a cafeteria on Friday at the social work college. Pictured with her is Tie, a newer friend from Oklahoma, with the BSU there, who did an exchange semester in a city a few hours away and visited me! She was an amazing help getting my apartment organized.

This palace is actually a re-construction with facade and not the real thing, of a Residential Palace built here in 1837 but messed up by the war in the 40's. It's where there is a brand new shopping mall in the city center. The wacky, pop-art, disney-ish building was done by a famous artist James Rizzi.

I kept thanking Tie for her good ideas, hard work and organizational ability. And she kept saying, "Like I need to be thanked for helping YOU spend your MONEY!" We shopped for light household items, and enjoyed FREE drink refills at Ikea -- not a common item in Germany.

baptism day

If you're wondering what is SO special about biblical believers' baptism, write me an email and I'll "wax eloquent." In Germany, it is celebrated with much ritual as well as a fresh excitement! People share stories of how they met God; the pastor gives a sermon; people sing; a "baptism godmother- aunt" reads a verse; and then after the baptism there is a blessing prayed by an elder over each person. Conny and Vera are above; it was at their baptism last year that Antje, Vera's roomie, decided "yes, she wanted to do it, too!"

Two special friends of mine, Eckart & Antje, were baptised recently and thankfully I made it back in time to be there! Here is Antje just beaming!

Colleague Deanna read a beautiful statement of blessing on Antje, as her mentoring "baptism god-aunt." Antje had a large group of good friends and family there to witness the occasion!

Fun times at the "farm"

We don't live at a farm... I'm just speaking figuratively of my home in Florida. In fact, I'm basically a city girl, who almost freaked out when I was told years ago that I would be doing my language school for about a whole YEAR in Cloppenburg, a city of JUST 30,000 + people (it turned out great, though). So, now that I'm away, I'm trying to catch up with my blogging before turning to more recent events. Here are some lingering, back-blogging shots of life at "home" (well, ONE of many of them) & good memories of family and friends!

I helped out some Sundays checking in children for Crosspointe Church, where my brother is pastor. The kids get a little security tag for their parents to pick them up with. I worked in Sunday School at "the Ark" for 2, 3 or 4 year olds. Aren't they darling?

And here I am being interviewed for just about 10 minutes on a radio show through called Drive Time, where a friend of our family, Bill, talks about recent world events from a Christian standpoint, and Florida politics.

We had a couple of big 'spring cleaning' events at my parents' home. AHHH! Not my forte, but we all lived through it. The yard is spread with hundreds of things to sort through. And the storage room is partly un-cluttered (at this point of the photograph). Then came the reward-- making MONEY at the yard sale, which was in the neighborhood where my friend Lillian lives! The rest went to charity. One thing that I found hard to part with (but did)-- an old microscope that had belonged to Mom when she was going through medical school. I remember her gathering pond water in Kentucky, trying to keep us kids entertained "at the farm" of my grandparents, out in the country. She showed us how interesting it was to see God's handiwork, looking at amoeba or a drop of blood under the scope.

Then there were a couple of "let's do Europe" evenings, without leaving the area, with Bruce and Heather. Once we heard live music at the Metro, a coffee house in Sarasota. Another time, on a windy evening, we drove to Ceviche, a Spanish tapas restaurant with lots of flair in St. Pete. Across the street was the St. Pete Yacht Club and harbor. You gotta love Florida! :-)