Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No worries in Potsdam

The SMD Group in Potsdam (German term for the campus ministry "Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship") invited me to speak for them last week. I was very honored to be invited to 2 SMD groups (one at home, too) in the same week!

Sebastian is one of 2 leaders of the group, having transferred his studies to Potsdam last year. He gave me a whirlwind tour of the city & a famous palace grounds in 2 hours! Bastie is a special friend, and just had an anniversary this Monday-- he received Christ as his Savior 3 years ago, sitting in my living room in Jena with Alrik, another good buddy, and me. I can tell you this quite openly, because Sebastian reminds me of this anniversary with bubbling joy, each year!

Potsdam is close to Berlin, and has its very OWN Brandenburger Gate /Tor (see top photo; smaller than the one in Berlin).

Isn't this splendorious!?! The palace is called "Sans Souci" meaning in French, "no worries." The terraces you see seemed to have either grape vines or small fig trees growing inside little alcoves, each with 2 glass doors to cover them (they were open). I'm guessing, in case of birds?

Some college students were protesting in the pedestrian zone, because in most states, if you study longer than the "given" number of semesters for your degree program, then you pay 500 Euro for university (it used to be NO cost!).

I was amazed that the SMD Group has their own room, in the basement of a dorm, where they can have their meetings and decorate as they will. They were a very friendly bunch & we discussed why Christians are "dependent" (v.s. independent) upon God & fellowship with others.
Above is the entrance to the main Mensa on my new campus, as well as the offices running housing & cafeterias, etc. Isaline and I have eaten together in Mensa 2 (which is the 2nd main student cafeteria, of sorts, in Braunschweig). The campuses are so spread out, even from the TU, that you may walk as much as 15-20 minutes between 3 different sections.

She comes from France and is doing a 1-year exchange here, studying mechanical engineering. I asked if she would show me some building where you could TELL that it's mechanical engineering... so she did! This experiment lab/ hall was impressive-- lots of boilers, machines, and engines, vacuums, & rotary stuff! I will have to learn a whole new vocabulary in German (AND English) to keep up with the engineers on campus.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Get OUT!!!

Well, yes, it's true-- guess what I found in the Mensa (student cafeteria) on the TU?! The only problem is, when I went to get some, they only had Cherry Garcia-- it's ok but not my favorite. They promised me they'd re-stock after the holiday (Monday is Pentecost; last week we celebrated another national holiday, Christ's Ascension).

Stefan and Antje

Two very special friends from Jena got engaged, and spent the weekend visiting me-- totally sweet of them! First we had a walk to the gorgeous "Prince Park" near my apartment-- I didn't even know this existed before, so we were learning the neighborhood together. From the Nussberg (nut mountain) in the park, the highest point in the city, you have a view of the church towers in the downtown.

Then they got a look around the TU campus -this is the "Forums" building, where the president's office, tiny post office, and Press office are; in the back of them is the Audimax building with a huge lecture hall.

Then a stroll through the downtown...

The former Residential Schloss (palace castle) has been re-done and they celebrated its opening by putting on a Quadrige (4 horsemen).

This guy in front of the Rathaus is the "victim" (but willing!) of a tradition that I learned of first when living in the north during language school. Never heard of it being done in the East. If you're a man and still single when your 30th birthday comes, then they dress you in funny clothes... and you sweep up little wood shavings-- first with a toothbrush, then a whisk brush, then a broom, etc. (if you're a woman and turn 25 and are still single, there's another custom for you!).

The next day was Sunday-- first stop-- worship at the Friedenskirche, an innovative Baptist Church.
Then that afternoon we had a really good information meeting for those interested in what Connexxion is and how we could start in our city! It was really cool having Stefan and Antje there, since he was there from the start also in Jena!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I am enjoying being in my new city and thankfully, the Lord is helping it start to feel natural. It's a God- thing, for sure. My pastor drives a Smart car -- he speaks widely all over Germany so I'm guessing this is fun to drive!

We attended a worship time this week of CVJM (YMCA), to bless & induct a new director, Oli. This is the YMCA hotel, which also has rooms for college students in it. I'm standing in front of this amazing mural of the globe, beside Christiane and Heiner Rust, my pastor and wife.

Here are shots of the College of Fine Arts, which is a separate art school in town, with studies in industrial design, "free" art, art history, etc. Inside that very modern looking building is a large spiral staircase.