Reach the world

We live in an area of the world that is the cross-roads of a multitude of cultures.  It’s not uncommon to hear 3 or 4 different languages spoken each day by the people who live in our town.  And we don’t live in some big city like New York.  We live in a smaller (about 4000 people big) town but that tells you the extent by which Europe is a melting pot with people from everywhere converging onto the one of the smallest continents.

But that’s what’s exciting about ministering here – there’s an opportunity to reach not only the Germans, French, and other traditional European populations but you can easily walk along side people from the Far East, Middle East, Russia, South America and Africa as they are on their spiritual journeys.  The reality is that those away from their home cultures are usually more open to discussing spiritual matters.  Now is the time to engage with them.

All the nations – in one location.  Come with us and reach the world.  — Greater Europe Mission


Tech Team 2011

A nice thing about having almost your whole mission body on one continent is that we can all get together on a regular basis.  So right now I’m in Poland (Krista & Alex are arriving soon) working with a group of techies who are giving up their vacations & paying for the privilege to work on missionary laptops.  So while the missionaries (including myself) are in the meetings, these guys (no ladies this year) will be working diligently on fixing computers so that the missionaries can work more on helping people know God and less on struggling with computer issues.

This is my fourth year working with this group (some of them change every year but they all come from the Mark5Ministries) and it’s a blast to be with the geekest geeks.  Just as a little bit of how geeky they are – they started pulling out all the electronics they had in their pockets (and only in their pockets – not what was in their backpacks or luggage).  That’s what in the picture to the right.  There’s only 5 guys and they still had all of that in their pockets.

Wondering what kind of issues they encounter?  Below are two issues they had last year – one is where a screw was coming up through the motherboard and case shorting the motherboard (no one knows how that happened) and the other is a seriously messed up screen.


Things I love about Germany

Krista has started putting observations about Germany that she has been having as we’ve returned to our small village after being in America for a year on Facebook.  Here’s the beginning of her list:

#1 – The stoplight turns yellow right before it turns green, so you can rev your engine 🙂

#2 – mustard comes in toothpaste tubes!

#3 – Temperature right now 53 degrees. High tomorrow 67, high Sunday 66, high Monday 69, high Tuesday 69… ok so it’s a bit rainy right now, but I’d take rain over 108 any day

#4 – Bells, Bells, Bells… Every hour, 4 chimes and then the hour rings out, every quarter hour- one chime, every half hour- two chimes, every three quarters of an hour – 3 chimes. Believe me you hear every chime on jet lag. I like it! It makes my heart happy 🙂

#5 – No need for an alarm clock. Every morning at 7 the bells ring continuously for about 5 minutes …. wake up time. At 11 am the bells ring for 5 minutes to call the men out of the fields and tell the women to put the bread in the oven. At 4 pm the bells ring for 5 minutes to call the men out of the fields… work day is coming to an end.

#6 – Military time… this one takes a little getting used to.

#7 – We live in the little town of Kandern… whose claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of John Sutter, who started the California Gold Rush in 1848. This is his birthplace.

#8 – At church on Sunday they read off the names of everyone who had a birthday that past week. Kinda like facebook 🙂

#9 – Gooda Gouda…. Cheddar is hard to find here, but Gouda is cheap and tastes great. So we basically use it in place of Cheddar for everything… There is Jung (young) and mittlealt (middle-aged) versions. The young is very creamy, the middle-aged is more like sharp cheddar.


Alex catching the big one

Memory makers.  Those are things that we as parents (and grandparents) try to make for our kids every now and then.  Right now as we prepare to return home to Germany, my parents are working hard to make memories with Alex since they don’t get to see him that often.  So the other day they came over to the house and picked up Alex.  They went out to see the movie “Cars 2” and had a great dinner.  They had him spend the night (and kept him up late) and then the next morning, Grandpa and Alex met with “the Bob” (long story about the “the”) and went out fishing.  That’s where Alex took 2.5 minutes to reel in a 22″ large mouth bass where it broke up out of the water and into the air twice.  Not sure of the weight but probably about 6 lbs.  (a picture of Alex, the fish and “the Bob” above).  This is a memory maker for Alex.  Something he’s not going to forget any time soon.  We got a phone call a few hours past the time he was suppose to be home with “Can I stay longer?”

We’ve been very blessed this last year to be able to stay at my parent’s house and spend some great times with them.  Now we are beginning the process of saying good-bye, again.  In our training before going out to the field the first time, they told use we had to be able to say “Good-bye” well to be able to say “Hello” well.  Now as we begin our second term, we are going through the process again only this time we know more about why they said this.  Pray for us during these “hellos” and “good-byes”.  Thank you.


Is it really the thought that counts?

Its the thought that countsIn high school I was pathetic when it came to buying gifts for my family at Christmas time.  I worked at an outdoor equipment store and so Christmas meant a lot of hours and that meant more money to spend over the holidays.  However, it also meant that I didn’t have very much time to go shopping for the family gifts.  So one year (and I’m not proud of this) on Christmas Eve, on my way home from work I stopped at a gas station and purchased all of my presents.  Mom got an oven mitt (only one) because I remembered she had burned her hands cooking a meal earlier, my sister got one of those cheap, fake roses next to the cash register (cuz our last name is “Roes”), and I don’t even remember what I got my dad – probably a fishing lure as I almost always give him something to do with fishing.  I actually did think about a reason for why everyone got what they got and as everyone says, “It’s the thought that counts!”  But did it?

One of my favorite scenes of the movie “The Passion of the Christ” is when Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane and he’s praying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” [Luke 22:42 ESV]  Then in the movie, they show Jesus stomping the heel of his foot on the head of a snake that is representing Satan.  I believe that this scene is metaphorically so “right on” here – that it really was at the point that Jesus said that he was determine to do his Father’s bidding, rather than his own, that it counted & Satan was defeated.  It was the thought that really counted there.  But did the victory over evil have any substance?  Any real power at that point? If it did, then why did Jesus have to continue through the arrest, the humiliation, the torture, the death and the resurrection?

“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” [James 2:17 ESV]  See Jesus had the faith in God (and not just because he IS God  but as he is also fully man) that Jesus desired to be in God’s will no matter what.  Even if it meant living through some serious unpleasantries.

Most of the world’s faith is in themselves – as all religions, even humanism & atheism, are about seeing what a person can do to please their god and gain their god’s favor (for humanism & atheism, they are their own “god” or  better said their knowledge is their “god”), with the exception of following Christ.  If faith is in oneself, then their will is going to be followed and it’s going to be mainly about what pleases their self.  If they have “works”, they’ll be looking for the return for themselves.  While they might be a part of charity, it’s for whatever pleasure they can receive out of it or for status within the community because of it.

If you are a follower of Christ then you have declared that your faith is in God and your desire is to live His will, not your own.  Our faith in Him is not to gain is His favor but because He is the God of the universe, creator of ALL and yet He desires to know each one of us in an intimately, loving way.  Therefore our response to Him is to put our faith in Him and He gives us a new life (spiritually speaking) in Christ from which to live in His will. Since He is a loving God, there are many pleasures His will will bring to you.  But because He is a holy God and this is a sinful world, His will will also take you through many unpleasantries.  It’s in both the pleasures and the unpleasantries that our faith is lived out in “works”. Many people’s faith is only lived out in the “pleasures” within God’s will – especially in Western cultures.  I believe that this type of faith is the “it’s the thought that counts” type faith.  But is it really faith in God if we say, “I’m only going to have faith in you to a point”?  Is it really faith in God if we say “I’ll go to church and be friends with Christians and have family values but I won’t do  [blank].”

When is it for you that God’s will is too much?  When God’s will asks you to give a person who’s going through a tough time a hug and some of your time?  When God’s will asks you to regularly give of yourself to make lunches for kids through the summer or serve the homeless treating them to a banquet fit for a king?  When God’s will asks you to take the lesser paying job so that you have more time to give to your family and those needing a friend?  When God’s will asks you to invite your kid’s soccer team and their parents to your house for a bar-b-que? When God’s will asks you to do more than pray?

This is where I sit.  Is God’s will asking too much?  God’s will asked Jesus to go through death and Jesus’ faith was lived out in that work.  I’m a follower of Christ.  May my faith be lived out in God’s will in whatever “work” that manifests itself in.


Technology as a part of culture

It’s obvious these days that technology is changing our world.  But just how much is it permeating our world?

  • The other day I was speaking with a missionary who was in rural Africa where he walked into a mud hut that had no running water, no electricity & no indoor plumbing – yet there sat (3) mobile phones! (Yes, there was reception in the village!!)
  • During the H1N1 (Swine Flu) scare a few years ago, Google Trends was able to predict where the next outbreaks were going to happen based on the different kinds of searches people were performing – it was as accurate as the findings by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) but instead of being published 2 weeks after the data was collected – Google Trends was updated nightly.
  • Facebook has over 600 million people on it (70% are from outside the US; almost 283.5 million are over 35 yrs old _*_) where people are interacting on a daily basis with people they wouldn’t normally see face-to-face on a daily basis & some that they do see in person daily as well.

I continuously have people coming up to me saying they’re not “technology people” but then I see the smartphone in the pocket or purse, an iPad under the arm and get a Facebook friend request from them later in the day.  They tell me that they don’t “text” (i.e. send text/SMS messages via their mobile phone) but then talk about following their stock portfolios using a web service.

Digital technology is now a part of almost every culture on Earth. It is a commonality that weaves the world into a giant quilt – each culture represented by a patch – held together by technology. Now each culture has integrated technology differently but it’s there all the same.  Banking in Kenya is done through mobile phones but in the US it’s done through web applications & ATMs for example.  However, both cultures use technology to handle a majority of their banking needs.

The idea behind our ministry, eDOT, is that we see technology as a significant way to reach into these cultures and reach people where they are.  We explore how each culture is using technology and help local churches & European-based ministries develop strategies that use technology as a way to engage their culture to fulfill their overall God ordained mission.

Join us in helping followers of Christ throughout Europe, North Africa and into the Middle East use technology to creatively engage their cultures.

 

 


New Website Look & Feel

Many of you know me and know that I can’t let things sit for very long.  We’re always going to be experimenting and trying to improve things which is why it became time to update our website, RoesGarden.com .  RoesGarden.com has been in some form since 1998 when our dial-up account came with free web hosting space and I decided to try my hand at HTML (the basic coding of the Internet).  This past iteration of RoesGarden.com was a blog.  Mainly a place for me (Courtney) to put my ramblings and findings out there for others to share in.  However now we find that we are in need for more of a website by which we can share more about our ministry.  While the Blog is still a part of it, it’s the not the primary feature on the front page.  Instead, we’ll be highlighting different things of interests that we blog about & write about in various ways through the website.  We’ll be continuing to make modifications (some will go silently, others we’ll make sure you know about) but it’s always fun to work with something to make it more practical in this ever changing world.

Please join us on the new site and let us know your thoughts in the comments area.