Deutschland Travels, Spring 2010, Day #11 & 12

In the evening, I headed over to TPLF for the meeting of the Twenz – aka ‘college group’, better known as the Flying Ducks. I have to confess, I was walking the Kurfuerstenstrasse, & smelled the doener from Bistro Sahin… & next thing I knew, I was inside, eating one. With a hot Turkish tea that hit the spot on the rain-soaked, chilly evening.

At the Ducks, we spent time in worship & then in talking through the difference between being a “believer” in Christ & being a “disciple,” using John 8:30-34 as our text. Got to meet several great people, most notably a bubbly, inquisitive, & really smart young lady, Aggi, who’s studying to be a teacher. She kept me on my toes with a series of probing questions throughout the message, each of which built on the previous one. Her developing understanding & the “a-HA!” glimmer that sparkled in her eyes as we processed as a group reminded me just WHY bible study & discussion groups are my favorite thing in the whole world.

After the meeting & before I made my way home to catch some much-needed sleep, Aggi asked me to pray for her: that she would make good marks on her final exams before becoming a teacher; that she’s be a blessing, a real blessing (her words) to her family & friends; & that she’d be able to walk. Aggi was born prematurely & had some areas of her motor development that don’t function right yet. And still, she’s hoping & contending for healing, to be able not to have to depend on her chair to get around. And even better, Aggi isn’t waiting around in solitude for this event – she’s actively living a great story that speaks to the power of God’s love in & through her life.

This morning, I woke up at about 5:30, thanking God for the early wakeup call. The mens’ breakfast for Kingdom Life Church started at 7, so after getting ready, Eddy & I walked over to TPLF. One of the many things I am appreciating about Eddy is that like me, he is a quiet person in the morning. All’s I can say is we are truly kindred spirits in this regard.

There was a great breakfast prepared, with lots of steaming hot coffee, which is just what I was praying for on the brisk walk. A parfait that would have made theBean proud was served, along with a great assortment of German breads. I spoke from Psalm 126 – talking about God’s restoration & living in the “middle” between sowing & reaping.

Got back to the Duecks & sorted through my bags in what has become a ‘preparing to come home’ routine. It’s where I take stock of what’s in my suitcase – folding what needs to be folded, separating dirty clothes, laying out my outfits for the next 2 days, making sure all is where it should be for the voyage home.

Today was also the day to get my manly (oh so manly,) shoulder bag that I shopped for yesterday. I jumped on the U-bahn to Hauptwache, & made my way to the “Street Culture” store… only to find that this was the only store in the downtown that didn’t open at 10. No worries. I’d wait. In waiting, I got hungry for 2nd breakfast (I am on a journey, so maybe some Hobbit-like tendencies are emerging,) so I stepped over to the McCafe next door for a coffee & chocolate croissant. Amazing.

Finally, the store next door opened & I literally stumbled in, absolutely nailed my right knee cap on a seemingly invisible bench that emerged out of nowhere. Goodness. Made my way upstairs & debated between the black, white, & grey bags… finally deciding on black with grey accents. (Not quite Raider-esque…) Take a look. I think it is quite the Manly shoulder bag.

This afternoon, I was invited to go to take a tour of Levent’s workplace. He works on the 22nd floor of the building, which provided for some great views of the surrounding area. We got to eat in the Cantina… I had a canneloni that tasted like Spaghetti-O’s. Which is a good thing. I absolutely loved the conveyor belt that took our dishes into the kitchen. We are in Germany, I keep reminding myself.

Eddy & I are now off to Gau Algesheim for dinner & also to hang out with theology school students, as well as many of the pastors from Foursquare Germany. We’ll be there for the evening, returning late tonight, where I’ll be hoping for some good sleep, as I have a full day of meetings tomorrow…

Deutschland Travels, Spring 2010, Day #8-9

Monday is Eddy’s day off, & I heard that the family would be headed to a couple of hardware stores to check out & price supplies for the garden project. I asked if I could tag along, as one of the things I’ve never seen in Germany is a hardware store. Now I have. We went to two stores, both of them very reminiscent of the Home Depot & Lowe’s superstores; one, the Hornbach, even had the same color scheme & ‘feel’ of Home Depot.

In the afternoon, the Dueck’s went to a family birthday party, & I made my way over to TPLF to meet with a local pastor of an English speaking church named Richard Morschel. Richard is South African with German roots, & he & his family have been in Frankfurt since 1987, & he’s been pastoring Kingdom Life Church here since 2006. We made our way to the bakery/coffee shop near the Bistro Sahin, & had some cappuccino & spent a couple of hours getting to know each other.

I’d met Richard before a couple of times, but determined on this trip to actually try to connect for more than a brief conversation. In addition to pastoring, he’s employed by the Frankfurt Opera, & plays bassoon. We had great talks about philosophy of church, the significance of relationships, the process of building trust, & how our paths keep crossing in interesting ways. (For example, the man who leads the youth group came back to Jesus during the “Leben ist Schoen” outreach in August 2007… You can read about it HERE) I found that though we come from very different backgrounds, Richard & I have a lot in common when it comes to our ideas about what really matters… This Friday morning, I’ll be participating in Kingdom Life’s men’s breakfast, & giving the devotional. I look forward to seeing how our new relationship will develop.

There was a short interlude before my next appointment, so I took advantage of the down time to read. I’m currently in a book about Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Some of it is great, some absolutely cracks me up.

My ride arrived in the form of Levent’s VW; we chatted as he skillfully wound his way through Frankfurt’s crazy rush-hour traffic, making his way to their home. Levent is Turkish, & was one of the 1st people that I met at TPLF in 2005, & it is always good to be able to visit with him & Ines, his Bolivian/German wife. They prepared an excellent dinner with burgers, brats, bbq’d corn-on-the-cob, salad, & a South African Pinotage. We caught up on their lives, & also the new happenings in one of the areas that they help out at church in, the Twens Gruppe (College Group,) which is affectionately known as “Flying Ducks.” We made some tentative plans for Ines & I to go to Levent’s workplace on Friday for a tour & for lunch. (He’s in TV. Meaning, he is working to bring streaming television live to the internet.)

Day 9 began at 5:50 a.m. as I staggered my way out the door & down the street to TPLF for prayer for TPLF, led by my friend Sam Clayton. Several of us gathered for about an hour to pray for the church, Eddy & Laura, & whatever else we were led to. And coffee was served, which filled my prayers with a bit more energy than they otherwise might have.

Sam (from Manchester, England,) took me to his house right after prayer to spend time with his family: Wife Mirjam (Swiss), & their 3 kids; Danny 4, Becky (my god-daughter,) 2, & Benjamin 1. Danny had to go to kindergarten, leaving Sam, Mirjam & I to eat some great food, play with the kids & catch up on life. Sam & Mirjam had been a part of the Roundabout team with me, & have also been at TPLF since 2006. Sam feels a call to inter-national reconciliation & peace, & is currently studying to be able to put himself in a spot to help facilitate this. Their story always reminds me of the often winding road that our lives take: Sam left England & went to France, where he met Mirjam, a Swiss national on a mission trip. He tried everything he knew to learn her language (French) & her heart… which he was eventually able to do, marrying about 6 years ago. Then, this international couple felt led to relocated to Frankfurt – & so Sam learned German to go along with his English & French… They have story after story to tell about God’s faithfulness, provision, & care in their lives. I’m honored to be able to be in their lives.

I’ve been trying to catch up on blogging this afternoon, to take a nap, & then do some studying for the meetings I’ll be having over the next few days. My contacts with home have left me feeling a bit home-sick I must say. More than once, I’ve loaded a picture album of my family on my Mac & watched the slideshow play over & over, often pausing on pictures of each of my dear ones to pray for them… & extra long on theBean & her clear blue eyes, gleaming like sapphires, calling to me, making it hard for me to think anything at all except of her… sigh. Soon, my dear.

Tonight, in just a few hours, Eddy & I are going to a Man Meeting to talk about Manhood & what it means to be a Man. Great topic, & I’m really looking forward to the discussion on this, especially considering that there will be people from all sorts of backgrounds & cultures participating. Good times!