Monday, October 28, 2013

Autumn in Germany Part 3: Harvest of the grapes!

So much symbolism here! Between spiritual and physical harvest, labor in the fields and "battlefields", the glory of God is seen in this sheer beauty and in the community of the church!
 Perhaps on the coldest day we have experienced to the present, a group of us gathered in the vineyards of a fellow brother in our church to help with the harvest. In the words of Hans, the "lord" of the vineyards, this is a sign of community and love between "brothers" in the body of Christ... He then put us to work!
 Cold and drizzly... but stunning.

On the vine next to me, the power team. (They like to think so, at least ;)
 On the left Alex Adolf and to the right-  the Atomics Baseball coach Rob Piscatelli.

 Carrying the loads...

 My two best men, Jakey and Alex. And yes, we all stopped halfway.. reek reek!
 Yes, I am fulfilling every woman's dream of being the "token" girl in the bunch. Take that, "Samford Ratio"! Encouraged by a hardworking but fun group of men.

 Tut tut, looks like rain and home!
 Our reward:
 Many cups of hot coffee, tea, breads, marmalades, meet, cheese, and even a bit of Schnapps to warm up the hands and heart ;) 
It was worth it!

Autmn in Germany Part 2:

** In an inadequate note of thanks to those of you who have financially supported in in this time here in Germany, this experience has changed my life and heart in ways I did not expect. I came and have existed here for the sake of ministry and service to the church and this community, but it has blessed my life to be able to grow and flourish as a person and in my faith- in the freedom of being in a new place and in such incredible beauty. My soul is ministered to sometimes as much on a Sunday morning as it is walking through the vineyards on a cool Autumn afternoon or seeing the Bavarian or Swiss Alps. The people, places, and new experiences have breathed new life into my soul and as usual, the moment i come to be a "blessing" or helpmeet to a ministry or place, I am the one who is so incredible enriched and blessed in return. Here are some snapshots of my life in the the past month or two, THANK YOU for your investment.  I am a blessed woman. 

 On Germany's national holiday similar to our Memorial Day, we all let off school and work and this is how we chose to spend our day: About 3 miles in I began to wonder what I had signed up for...
Yup. It was a 16.1 km hike. 

This is part of the mass exodous to the top of the Belchen- I think this was around the 8k mark?

       Extraordinary beauty around 9 or 10K...

               We made it!!! Through the clouds you could see the Alps

  No explanation needed. BUT for those of you who say there is no God and that you need proof?                                                                
Lazing and grazing a bit at the top. These funny guys are all from my church community representing about a fourth of those hiking with us that day.
 The magic foursome: rode together, hiked alone. From left to right: Jacob Coon (tech and media team from NIC); Steffi Wissman, lovely sister and fellow sarcastic confidant; myself and then Alex Adolf- translator for the NIC and ever faithful protector of all things weak and female (ha)!
Heading back to 16.1.

Autumn in Germany Part 1

I realize that I have fallen behind in keeping my blog for the past month or so, but that does not mean that there have been no happenings here. With the change of the seasons there is much change in my life, that of my friends and family, and in the church here in Neuenburg.

Here is a picture of our basically four-man team in the NIC from left to right:
My boy Jake is over the tech and media team;  The man in the suit is my longtime friend Stephen who also serves as the head and pastor of this church; I lead the worship (for now); and the far right stands the other pillar of this team as head of the translation, Alex. All three of these men are amazing servants and I am honored to work alongside and under them.This was our final Sunday in the old church building.
 Of course this would be my post- as you can see, the front row is right under my nose so those days when my Deutsch pronunciations are wavering a bit..... ehhhh
As I mentioned, this was our final day in the "old" church building. For the past 6 years since its founding the Neuenburg International Church has been meeting in this small room above another business. Our body has grown to about 50 people on some Sundays and many prayers have been sent up over the past few years for a new place that has potential for growth and comfort of space. With a small church and a small budget it is difficult to find a space that is affordable and also meets the needs of the church. Earlier in the summer we found a building with many empty spaces and a large meeting room going up for sale and through blessed meetings and price negotiations we were able to move into this new space a little over two weeks ago! It was a leap of faith for our small congregation to be faithful in their giving and also have the courage and faith to break the tradition of 6 years, but on October 16th we held our first worship service of Thanksgiving and prayer for blessing- and Sunday October 20th we held our first service in this new space! It is wonderful to see a larger room filled with our families, children, and visitors. We have the blessing of more space for comfort in worship, space for the children to have their time during worship without disturbing the service, and just the anticipation of new life and possibility here in Neuenburg. We sang these words during our time of prayer and blessing on the 16th and I think they are so appropriate for our everyday lives and especially that of a growing church in a spiritually dark area. I pray them often:

"Lord, I Need You"

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

**As soon as my pictures from the new church have uploaded I will post them for you all!**