Soon after we arrived in the US, I watched my sister (I’ve learn a lot of things from her) order the drinks at Starbucks for our family. It looked pretty simple – she rattled off things like a “something Frappacinio – soy – no whip” and then “single shot something decaf – no fat” and it seemed so easy. So the other day I went to Starbucks and while I don’t drink coffee (hey, they have free wifi and good cell phone reception there), I figured I’d get this double chocolate chip thingy that doesn’t have coffee. I’m not sure what I said but it was obviously wrong as they asked me questions and then I ended up with a drink filled with coffee and very little chocolate. This was just like moving to Germany all over again except I’m suppose to already know this language!!! (Just so you know, Starbucks redid my drink properly and even gave me a coupon for a free drink later which I really appreciated – all with a smile on their faces!)
Adjusting to life in the US is causing some of the same feelings and stresses that we felt when we first moved to Germany – just with a lot more sweat (it’s hot here in North Carolina). We’re having the adventures of remembering how to drive here (Can we turn right on red? What’s this horn thing for? Will the person coming to the intersection on the right have the “right of way” – nope, they have stop sign. Wait, what’s a stop sign?), remembering how to find things in the grocery store (how many different cereals can you choose from – all made of sugar?) and, in general, remembering just how things are done here. We’ve been told that for every year you live overseas, it takes 2 months to readjust to being back in your home culture – so that means we’ll be good to go a few months before we return to Germany!!
As a side note – if you live in the US, we’d love to see ya. Let us know how we can intersect and catch up with ya.
Recently, I got to spend nearly 2 weeks in Dublin, Ireland for two different reasons: the first part of my trip was to a training time with the authors of Tangible Kingdom as we talked about living “incarnationally” and “missionally” in the European context. I had read the book a few weeks before coming and having this time with other people (both Americans & Europeans) discussing things was really mind-blowing. We really started to talk about what this looks like in several of the different cultures we work in and how we can encourage and promote Christians living in these ways.
The second part of the trip was working with a family that lives it. I blogged a little bit about The Anchorage Project yesterday but living around Joe, the director, was really expanding what I had discussed the week before. This was taking things beyond book knowledge and I have to say, I loved it!! Now it wasn’t anything about the conditions – I’ve been in a lot worse places but we had a lot of cold, wet walks by the river, it was 12-15 hour days working on the computers, equipment was late arriving, and they had recently painted our B&B room which freaked my sinuses so I was having nose bleeds. (However, we did get the Irish Breakfast every day that we worked there – not heart-healthy though – see the right side photo). It was working at The Anchorage Project putting in an Internet Cafe and Wifi Hotspot that I got to see many of the principles we had talked about living.
One night Joe was running a time for some of the kids in the neighborhood but an older gentlemen stopped by and I spoke with him. He spoke with such a thick Irish accent I wondered if we were speaking the same language (in case you’re wondering – we weren’t. I think we might have better been off if we had been speaking German). In the end, I caught that he wanted me to tell Joe that he had stopped by. He said his name (which I had to ask him a couple of times to repeat because of the accent) and he finally said, “Just tell Joe – He knows me!” He said it in such a way as if he felt that he and Joe were best of friends. When I talked to Joe about him later, I found out their relationship wasn’t that close but Joe makes everyone he meets and interacts with feel like he really knows them. I think that’s the thing. He takes the time so that people feel connected with him. It’s not that Joe doesn’t have things to do; he’s actually extremely busy with The Anchorage Project and his family (small Irish family with 5 kids) but he still takes the time so that people know they are important. I want this to be a part of my life.
Romania is a mixture of old and new with medieval castles and satellite dishes. They have survived a brutal Communist dictator to now being an independent republic. Romania has one of the highest percentages of people who would say they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at about 6.3%.
We come to You today thanking You for all that You have done in Romania especially through groups like Hope for Romania that have planted 6 churches since 2006. We pray that You would continue to move in the hearts of Romanians that they might come to a life changing understanding of You. We pray that You will open the hearts of the many who are searching for meaning and that they would hear about You. We pray for those that do know You, that they would have boldness in sharing about how You have changed their lives with their neighbors and friends. Amen.
To know more about Romania, go to PrayEurope.com
3 Years. That’s how long we’ve been living in Germany now. It’s a very surreal kind of thing to think about. While we feel like we’re still newbies living here, living in the US seems so distant and kind of long ago. Even Alex, who has the memory of an elephant, is forgetting things about life in the US. We are truly beginning to call and think about Germany as our home.
While in Kenya, I was wearing a “North Carolina” t-shirt, that a short-term mission team had brought me, and a family walked by and yelled, “North Carolina! We’re from North Carolina too!” Weirdly, I answered in German out of habit and they gave some really strange looks as they continued on past me. The German man who I was talking with at the time (which is why I probably responded in German) just laughed and asked me, “When was the last time you were there?” (referring to North Carolina). It’s been a year and a half – the only time we’ve been stateside in the last 3 years.
Things have really changed in so many ways. We know that the town we used to live in is very different with new shopping centers, restaurants and stuff since we left. Our home church has doubled or more in size since we left. Alex’s friends are 3 years older (which is a huge difference at their ages). Our friend’s kids are 3 years older. People have changed jobs, graduated from schools, gotten married, moved away, etc. Friends have new friends who we don’t know. People have changed. We have changed. Alex is 3 years older (now 9 years old). He’s reading and has an awesome sense of humor. Krista and I have grown in our relationship, in our spiritual lives, and in our perspectives of how to look at this world we live in.
Even my computer skills have expanded greatly with the different challenges before us. Even technology is in a very different place than 3 years ago. One shocker for me is to see my mom sending me emails and to hear that she has a Kindle (electronic book reader) now. As technology expands and changes, people are trying to keep up. Churches and ministries are trying to keep up with the people and that’s where we come in. We keep up with the technology so that we can help churches and ministries keep up with the people they are trying to serve and reach. It’s all about using technology to connect people to people for the sake of making God known.
Ok, I’ve had a lot of people email me links to this video as (and I would agree) its a very pertinent to the ministry we do. Check out the video @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8 or below:
One of the people sent this video link to both Krista & I and here was Krista’s reply back to them:
I know! That’s why God has called us to do what we do! Courtney is creating virtual interactive prayer walking websites, programming systems to send out evangelistic video’s on mobile phones, putting together a video on how a girl in Germany accepted the Lord by looking at our Huntersville NC home church website (that he help create) and listening to their sermon podcasts, and helping M’s secure data, information and emails in N Africa. (just a glimpse of our life this week)
I use Twitter and Facebook to connect with my friends
I use RecipeZaar to figure out what to make for dinner
I use Sparkpeople to lose weight
I use LiveMocha to learn German
All of these are social networking sites that I am on daily!
So skype me
PS – If you have filled out our Communication Survey – please do soon!!
Remember the fax machine (we actually still have one in the office)? Remember telegrams (don’t admit it or if you do, say you saw it in a movie once)? Krista and I have been looking at how we communicate with the people who are interested in our ministry and our lives. There are two major parts to good communication – the content and the method.
We want to make sure we are communicating what it is you want to know. If we’re telling you about the technical details of an eDOT project and you want to know how Alex is doing – we’re not doing a good job of communicating.
On the other hand, if we are telling you about what it is you want to know but are using a communication method that you don’t use or use infrequently (like sending everyone faxes or telegrams), then you won’t receive the information and that’s not good communication either.
So would you help us out? Take just a few minutes and fill out our Communication Survey . It only take about 5-7 minutes (or if you want to, you can take longer) but knowing this information will really help us in making sure we are as effective in communicating as we can be. Your info is greatly appreciated!!
One of the projects I work on every year is organizing and running a tech team at our mission’s annual conference. While it’s not a part of my "job description", the opportunity to help the missionaries in our organization with their computer troubles and training needs is one that just can’t be passed up. Our annual conference, where a majority of our missionaries come together for vision casting and many other things, is the perfect time to help them.
For the past two years, we’ve had a team come from Oregon (all related in one way or another to Corban College’s Computer Science program) to work on the missionaries computers literally putting in hundreds of manhours fixing, repairing, and cleaning up missionary laptops. Additionally, we had a lady who is a computer trainer come in and help train missionaries on various topics of using excel better to mail merges to Outlook to Google Docs to Powerpoint to backing up th computer.
Below is a video of a missionary who gives a very compelling reason for doing these teams and a reason why we’ll continue to do them. (you may need to turn up the volumn to hear him)
(if you’d like to see about the tech team’s experience, check out their blog at http://gemac2009.markfive.org )