Sunday, November 23, 2014


The whole package includes socks

or how to feel over-committed without over committing.

So I got a little note from Ana's school that said that Ana took her shoes off at school and the teachers had to put fresh socks on her because hers were wet.
socken waescheleine 468x624 Richtig Wäsche waschen & muffige Wäsche vermeiden
Since she did not have socks with her change of clothes in her backpack the teachers had to borrow socks from another student. And this is how the note ended: "...Please send the used socks back as well as send a 'whole package' of fresh clothes for Ana, including socks. Thank you."

So there I was. "The whole package". I have never considered that sending a change of clothes to school included socks. My mind races. I am utterly embarrassed! I want those teachers to like me and know that I am a committed mom. I'm on top of things! But socks? At least in my mind, I never included socks. Socks were not even included in life in general. We lived in California and South Carolina. We wore sandals and flip-flops or Ana had orthopedic inserts which did not let Ana take her socks off and blocked any kind of moisture to get in (or out for that matter :-)!).

Of course, I will include socks from now on....

Just like I have to learn to include a pair of Gummistiefel (galoshes) - shoes for dirty, rainy weather, Hausschuhe - shoes for inside use only, Normale Schule - shoes for normal weather, Turnschuhe - PE slippers, Turnhose und T-shirt - PE clothes, Matsch Hose - pants for wet weather, long underwear, long socks, Matsch Jacke - jacket for wet weather, lunch (HEALTHY THAT IS - even though I have discovered that smearing Nutella on a semi dark slice of bread does pass as semi healthy, and if you then include some slices of apple or cucumber - you are sooo set!).

Yes, of course, I knew that all these things are needed in Germany. I respect that, like that, support that..... 

....but I never had to make sure 3 or 4 more people besides myself had to have them.

And of course I also have to make sure that we are always wearing appropriate clothes for the right weather. Cold weather - thick sweater, pants and underwear and big time warm jacket, semi cold weather - semi thick sweater, semi thick pants! And I know I've forgotten something!
And then I have to still make sure that the boy wears boy clothes, and the girls have at least something that looks girly! I have to make sure that the sweaters are at least long enough to cover the belly button, and if not wear something over it that is big enough to cover my insufficiency as a "kids dressing expert" - but wait - that's my own "whole package".

I was so relieved when all the kids were set in their own classrooms. Because that meant I have a free morning to work on the 20 half opened boxes standing around. But quickly I discovered that it was a full-time job to just get all the items needed to cover all the needs my kids now have at school. You see, the brain of a German native works differently. It is easily going down the list of "the necessities", whereas my brain was a beach girl from the get go. "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem!"

I am committed to fit in! I am over-committed! Yes, priorities. Making a big move into a country that wears at least 3 more layers of clothes then what I have been used to, makes my head fuzzy and my priorities frizzy! Or is that vice versa?

I find myself being more committed to pleasing everybody around me before they possibly get to the point of thinking badly of me. In this new place, in this new culture I am fearful of hurting other peoples feelings of being looked at as a "typical American", and I fear I will fail right from the get go. I am fearful to be looked at as lazy and culturally insensitive, and in all this pressure I don't take the time to be safe. I'm committed to everything around me without committing to the one priority that would keep me sane. 

Fear of man, becomes a trap,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

Must I say more?

I tend to want to please people - but does that honor God?  - NO

It is you oh Lord I want to please, it is you oh Lord who hears my prayers
It is you who listens, and answers, and protects, and prioritizes! I do not have to fall into the trap of believing that I am loved only if I can please people! Whatever I do, I want to do "heartily, as for the Lord and not for men" (Colossians 3:23)

I am committed to understanding (or re-understanding) the German culture - but it has to be on God's terms!

so now....

....lets sit down with a cup of awesome German coffee, in this 
    very messy house and let God talk to me!
....lets make HIM our priority! 
....lets look forward to another day where yummy German bread
    and cheese and cake is readily available.
....lets love him first and and so have more than enough love left 
    over for others!
....lets full-heartedly embrace a new/old, unfamiliar/so very
    familiar culture!
...And we will give God the "whole package" including the socks!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Trying to rest on the plane
We have finally made it to Germany and have been here for almost a month now! God is good! the journey has not been easy but we are seeking Him and his direction in every way. We spent some time at our parents in law's house for a couple days near Frankfurt and made the trek down to the south of Germany where we now live in a little town outside of Kandern where Richard's offices are. 

We started this journey many years ago when Simone and I felt the call of God to go to Germany. We made our way out to California, and many years later we found ourselves following that call after many years of awesome service at Creekside Community Church. The immediate journey began with packing our stuff into a shipping container after living in South Carolina for a year.
Praying over our shipping container
And now finally we are settling into life here in Germany after a long time feeling like we are travelers, sojourners living in a foreign land. I even commented to Simone today that it seems like we have been living like this out of boxes for a long time, and as I thought about it. It has been like two years living out of suitcases and boxes. There are lots of details to get taken care of like visas that were overlooked by our mission, and getting Simone's German citizenship renewed. Please pray that we get through this stuff quickly, and that the Lord would undertake for our details. 

We spent a few days at Omi and Großvater's house in Krumbach near Frankfurt. We also got to visit the church where Simone and I were married. 
Our little wedding Church
The church and village are celebrating 750 years! We also had a big scare when Ana wandered off. We found her looking over a bridge nearby and into a creek, saying ‘Swim’. She had taken the life jacket that she had found with her. Needless to say it was quite a scare. but also very understandable. She found a life jacket on a warm day, and went to look for a place to swim. Please pray for her and our other kids Lydia and Caleb that they would also adjust quickly and well, and that Ana would not wander off anymore. 

We went to visit all the kids schools during a lazy Sunday afternoon, and are very excited to get started. since then all the kids are getting adjusted to school life here. I even asked Ana today if she had fun at school, and she said in German "Spass" which is the word for fun. We also had our washer and dryer delivered which is a big blessing because our laundry was piling up. I have been setting up my office at TeachBeyond/Janz Team to start getting into the groove there. I have a desk and chairs, and two bookshelf which quickly filled up! yeah!

Leading a group of missionaries in Kandern area
I had the opportunity to lead a group of English speaking missionaries here in the Kandern area who want to be unleashed in their neighborhoods and communities. We had a great time of brainstorming and seeing what God is doing inthe different German neighborhoods here in the area. Right away there are several teenagers even the Mayor's son who wants to play basketball, and that's my game! Benny (the Leader of the LEAP Network) led a weekend training event called Neighborhood 2.0 at a Baptist Church in Weinheim and it was very successful. lots of new commitments and desire for people to live out the gospel incarnationaly in their neighborhoods. We also had the opportunity to go to Amsterdam and meet the Forge International team (Alan Hirsch's author of The Forgotten Ways organization) and the Euro Church Network that has as its goal to "Facilitate missional thinking and Church Planting in Europe." It was a great time of inspiration and confirmation that God has us in the right place and that He is doing a great work in Germany and Europe. 
Benny and I at our welcome day

Please pray with us about a few things. 
-Simone has taken a job for about 40% time at the kindergarten where Lydia and Caleb attend. Pray for her as she settles into this job.
-That we would get essential details of life set up
-That my language school would start without a hitch in November
-That God would prepare the soil here in Germany for gospel seeds.
- To find that right balance to our family, ministry, work, and language study life

Yesterday I woke up and remembered that I live in Germany. It's not a dream! Also we attended a very cool baptism at a church called G5 this past Sunday. It almost upset my baptist heart when other people who were not the pastor were baptizing people, then I remembered the Bible never says who should baptize people, just that they should be baptized. It was awesome when we saw the small group leaders, friends, and disciplers baptize these new followers of Christ. I will end with this...Lydia prayed recently, "Dear God help us do the things we need to do, and help the whole world to understand you, and help the whole wide world worship you amen".

I would say that pretty much covers everything don't you think? I think this will be my prayer for the next year at least! God bless you all and thank you so much for supporting us!
Family trip to Weil am Rhein near at the French, Swiss, and German borders

Monday, April 21, 2014

Of NO Reputation

When I sit down to write, I want to share something that is bright, clever and encouraging.

I've got nothing!

At the moment I don't lead anything or have deep discussions. I am empty and do not think I have anything "mind-boggling" to say. I don't converse with big words one needs a dictionary to decipher, and I don't have the time nor feel the need to read deep thought provoking books that blow my mind theologically or just socially. I just don't!

(...I also don't want to clean my house and I just avoid walking into the kitchen because I know that my shoes will be sticking to the floor....but that is a topic for another time.....)

So that's where I am...
and the moments I have nothing, HE makes me worthy. He singles me out. He is proud of my accomplishments, and thinks I am smart.
His expectations are realistic, inspiring, motivating and always possible to accomplish.

My expectations on the other hand seem to be a slave to what I think others think of me...
I live up to goals I think others want me to achieve and then I always arrive at the point of shame. It devours my energy, distorts my perspective of God's work in my life and his work in those around me.

We are now dependent on HIM more then ever.
We have applied for medicaid (I would have tried Obama care but we don't make enough money to get that type of insurance....), we are getting Food-Stamps, Richard is on unemployment, and Ana gets SSI. We are feeling stuck, unappreciated, unwanted and worthless.....

Right now, here where we are, we are "OF NO REPUTATION".

I was hoping by now to write about our new housing arrangements in Germany, I was looking forward to write about our new neighbours and friends we made. I am/was ready for the new adventure in which we can boast about being so happy to living in God's will.

And here it is: I link my trust in God to my performance. Even though Christ himself was happy to .."make himself of now reputation...."

The Bible:
but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  (New King James Version)

Here is the same passage paraphrased by  "The Message"
Philippians 2:5-11
5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

I am part of a missionary wive's bible study on Monday mornings.We are studying the book: "He loves me" by Wayne Jacobsen
( you see, I do still read a little....)
and he started out his Chapter 20 titled "Shamelessly Free" with this quote by Major Ian Thomas (The Saving Life of Christ):
"(When you) become totally dependent upon the life of Christ...(you will never be) so released at last from  the self distrust which has made you at one moment an arrogant loud-mouthed braggart, and the next moment the victim of your own self-pity-and either way, always in bondage to the fear of other men's opinions."

I find myself wanting to talk about my accomplishments,  I try to proove that I am worthy and then I start complaining, when I think that this is useless time, waiting around for us to finally go where our hearts want to be; When I feel that my gifts are not being used,  that I have training that nobody wants to hear about, and that I have experience that does not seem to count.
"Christ had equal status with GOD but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status..."

I want to get to the place where I am grateful for the experience we are able to gain at this moment, in this time. Satan will accuse me of being a failure. Christ defuses my agony and sorrow and leads me to victory (book: "He loves me").
If we want to some day be able to relate and lead those around us that are not necessarily leaders in our society then we need to know how it feels to live as "non-leaders".

So then, lets clean that sticky kitchen floor...even though we would much rather have deep theological discussions and lead a spirit filled evening of worship....That time will come again....(right?! LORD?! :-) ....)

Here are some pictures
Ana and Caleb playing ipad.....nice sharing....

Ana is turning 8 today!!!! April 11.
Lydia is finding eggs...

Caleb is hanging out at Millfort Plantation.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Faith is an Issue of who has Authority

Faith is an issue of authority. Whose authority do you submit to and trust in? Do you believe that Jesus is the ultimate authority in the universe? If he is then we must fling ourselves into and onto his authority and mercy! That is true faith. You must believe that whatever he says happens in the universe will come to pass. For instance "my God will provide all your needs according to his riches in glory" do you believe that he has the authority to make that promise happen? If he has the authority to make it happen we must as a result place our faith in his ability to bring it to pass. If he can do it we should and must not lack in our faith it's a sure thing! I have been challenged with that lately that whatever Jesus has called us to, because he has the authority to call us, will also provide "according to His riches in Glory." We are really seeking to get to Germany, but it seems slow, but God has his timing, He has called us to Germany and He will get us there in His timing and assording to His Riches! I was recently taken aback again at the story of the Roman officer who had greater faith than anyone in all Israel becasue He believed in the Authority of Jesus to do anything! We are placing our faith in Him now to do what he has called us to do. Go to Germany and proclaim Him as the one and only true authority. Read this passage again for the first time and be blessed to trust Him also in His authority.

Roman Servant healed
"When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people, he returned to Capernaum. At that time the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. So they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. “If anyone deserves your help, he does,” they said, “for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.” So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed." (Luke 7:1-10 NLT)

Let us put our faith and worship in Him because He is worthy.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Closer and Closer to Germany!

Dear Friends and Family,
There is so much good news to report to you. We are another day closer to being able to go to Germany. We have been in our new cheaper missionary housing since the new year. What a blessing. We are currently at 55% of our monthly support needs. We have raised all of our outgoing/one time gift needs! We currently are looking for about 20-25 more monthly ministry partners. Partners can commit to support us monthly for $25, $50, $100 or more. If you are interested you can check out the files I have added to this group and you could send in the pledge form for whatever amount God is calling you to support us at. Or you could direct message me. I would love to talk to you about our ministry. We are ready to go to Germany! Please send us there. Maybe you could even help us make connections to people who could also support us. You can also click on the Support tab

Thanks for helping us get to Germany to preach the good news there!
Richard Preaching at Creekside

Easter 2012

Monday, January 13, 2014

Being grateful!

....and we moved again. Yes, we could have stayed in our first miracle home till January, but decided to move right after Christmas (to another miracle missionary house) so the kids could get adjusted before they had to go back to school. At first  though we were thinking of moving right before Christmas, but some very wise friends (also missionaries who had a period when they had to move a lot) spoke truth into our life's reminding us that Christmas is just not the same for the children in a brand new home. Very grateful for sound advice!
So we enjoyed Christmas in the environment we had gotten used to and moved afterwards with the help of our family. Now that is something new and have family help. Very Grateful to be surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents! 
In the past month all our energy went into job searches and relocating our family. It is not easy and we need your prayer and support.

Ana: always seems to be going back into the habit of taking her diaper off with poop in it when she is in a unfamiliar new home. That means piles and piles of very dirty laundry almost daily for the first two weeks. We try to be on top of it and use this as a opportunity to continue to potty train her, but with two other kids, cooking, and doing other (move-in) routines, she will have a few unsupervised moments every day. We are waiting for a appointment with a Developmental Pediatrician to get help through a Behavioral Specialist. 
Lydia: is now full time at Ben Lippen. Our new home is much further away from both schools. Since we cannot get transportation for Ana, it is easier to pick up both girls around the same time so we do not have to pay a lot for gas. Lydia is trying so hard to be strong and happy and encouraging to all of us (beyond her years, really!) but her anxiety shows itself in nightmares and tears at school.
Caleb: is active! Very active. Just a fun little 2 year old, interested in everything, eating everything but the food on his plate, much more courageous then his mother and just happy and carefree. If we both find jobs we will have to find care for him.
Our time frame for Germany is now to be there some time in summer 2014. We are thankful for many new friends and people who are interested in the path God is leading us.
With this new time frame, we are now getting to the place where we urgently need jobs, since we do not want to live off our savings.
Richard: has two very exciting possibilities - we will know more by the end of January. 
Simone: Is looking to expand her teaching. There are several part-time jobs that have to be considered and decided on.
When times are different then what you expected them to be, when your dreams are put on hold, when God's answer is WAIT and you don't quite understand why, it is easy to start complaining. But over the past years of God revealing himself faithfully to me as a women and mother I know that focusing on the things he IS providing right now will immediately lift my spirits and I start living with a grateful spirit. I know that Emmanuel - GOD IS WITH US - is with us.
In the meantime we create a family routine that will become normal where ever in the world we are, serving our faithful God and trusting in his lead.

Grateful that the kids are content, love each other and are healthy.

(This is Lydia, hiding in Ana's sensory sock...)

Grateful for a successful surgery. (Permanent ear tubes and a hearing test which she passed with flying colors. No hearing loss!) 


Grateful that this did not happen to the trailer while we were traveling 3000 miles from CA to SC....

Grateful for going ice-skating in flip-flops, finding a snowman on the beach,


and taking pictures of our name on Street Road signs....

Grateful to spend time with family!

Grateful for going from no-shave November to this....

(no comment!)

Grateful for part-time work!

Grateful for a brand-new, fenced-in back yard to explore and a helmet that fits Caleb's head (found at the new house....)

 Grateful for free tickets to a very "exciting" basketball game!

Grateful for Chick-fil-a!!!!

And grateful for a personal interior designer.