Dienstag, 26. Oktober 2010

office work

Hier sitzen wir in einem Büroraum der Gemeinde, während unsre Kinder im Kindergarten Spass haben, und schreiben Konzeptionen, Strukturen, Programme und Zeitpläne und entwerfen Layouts für Flyer und Einladungen.
Nachdem wir nun ja einige tolle Projekte kennnengelernt und deren Bedürfnisse herausfinden konnten, kommt nun die Feinarbeit. Die Dienste so aufzubauen und zu strukturien, dass Leute aus der Gemeinde neugierig werden, mitzuhelfen. Strukturen schaffen, in denen Freiwillige ihren Platz finden können und Spass am Dienen haben.
Wir merken, wie wichtig es ist, dass alles gut durchdacht und strukturiert ist, bevor man Menschen langfristig für etwas begeistern kann. Und so sitzen wir hier und schreiben, und formulieren und designen...... und freuen uns auf die Zeit, in der wir das Ausgedachte umsetzen können, hoffentlich mit einigen freiwilligen Helfern....

english below:

Here we are, sitting in a church office, while our kids are having fun in Kindergarten, and we are working on conceptions, structures, programs and time schedules, and are creating layouts for flyers and invitations.
After we have now gotten to know several great projects and have identified the needs they have, there is precision work to be done. To build up and structure the ministries in such a way that people from church get interested, and want to help. To create structures in which volunteers can find their place and find joy in serving.
We are realizing how important it is that everything is well thought-out and structured before you can excite people for something long-term. And so we are sitting here and writing, and drafting, and designing..... and are looking forward to the time in which we can implement what we have thought out, hopefully with the help of several volunteers....

Samstag, 23. Oktober 2010

Midnight thoughts

deutsch folgt in ein paar Tagen...

It happened twice already this week, that i woke up in the middle of the night, havin all kinds of intense thoughts and the urge to put them in order. For me those nights have been very special and i thought i share some "midnight thoughts" with you.....

On wrestling....

Somehow faith never came easy to me. With every trial I face I need to go through the whole process once again. Yesterday we spend time with some girls from an orphanage. Some of them experienced horrible things in the past. One of them, Haley, was having such a hard time hearing us even mention God. When we talked about him loving her and caring for her, she only shook her head in anger. She was not able to believe that after all that she´ s been through.

Tonight my daughter woke up from a nightmare, yelling and screaming. Chriss and me ran to her, hold her in our arms, assured her that everything is going to be fine. After her heartbeat had gotten back to normal we lay in her bad, and she was clinging to me. It was than that I was overwhelmed with that truth that there may come times when I can not help my daughter in that time of fear and suffering. There may come times when I can do nothing to ease her pain. My tears rolled down my cheaks when I told her, that me and Daddy will ALWAYS love her, no matter what will happen. And that her father in heaven will ALWAYS love her even though he will not protect her from all harm. She was listening closely and we prayed together and I realised once again that all faith is the decision to throw yourself into Gods arms within the unknown. I wish I could have told my daughter, that she doesn´t have to be afraid, that God will always protect her and we will be always be there for her. And most of the time, this is actually what I am telling her. But the blank truth is: I do not know. I do not know what the future will bring. And I still do believe…… but I do it wrestling……

I am thinking a lot about the fact that I have wrestled and do wrestle a lot. And for me, in a way, that wrestling is important. I could not grow without wrestling. Maybe I could not even survive without wrestiling.

I guess for some people faith comes more naturally. In a difficult situation they are able to recall what they know about God and they can reply this to the situation without a great turmoil of thoughts and emotions. For me it is not that way. When I see Haley, I do understand her bitterness, her ressentment, her anger. I ask myself, why she needed to go through all this, and I do not find an answer. I wrestle and struggle and at the end eventually come to a point where I am able to be at peace with the unknown, throwing myself into the arms of a God, who I do not understand.

Recently, while I am reading through Matthew and while I am in this new culture and watched some things that are different for me, I asked myself, how I will be able to watch my kids wrestling with those tough life questions. As a mom you naturally want to protect your kids from all those difficulties. But as I said before, I would have not grown, maybe not even survived (spiritually) if I would not have had the freedom to wrestle. (At this point I want to mention that I am very, VERY thankful for my sweet loving husband, who is very much different from me in this area and who went and still goes through a lot to grant me that freedom ).

Sometimes I hear Christian parents say, that the worst case scenario for them would be that their kids will turn from God and walk without him. I do share that feat. But at the same I am fighting against this fear in my life. Because I believe that this exact fear can have an influence on my kids life, that is causing them to forbid themselves to wrestle. If I contiously or even subtly let my kid know that they can cause me pain by not believing in God anymore, they will not allow themselves to wrestle with those tough life questions. And if they are like me, and if that wrestling Is important for them to grow and survive, it can cause them much harm to not wrestle.

One passage in the bible that I read previously is the parable of two sons (Matthew). The father is giving both of them an order. One says he will follow the order but doesn´t do it in the end. The other one is refusing to follow the order but at the end he changes his mind and does what his father has told him to do. This is how I want to raise my kids. I want to give them the freedom to go in the direction they want to go, hoping that in the end they will learn out of their own experiences what is best and whom to trust. I do not want them to consciously or subtly do what I believe is best for them, just to spare myself the pain and suffering of having a child that is doing things I do not want her to do.

The bible shows us a lot of examples of how God is giving us a free will. He is giving us FREEDOM. He created us as people who can choose both, good and evil. He could have restricted and limited our freedom in so many ways and it would have spared him from a lot of dissapointment and anger. But he chose to give us the freedom. So that we can refuse him out of a free will or love him out of a free will. And this kind of chosen love is the only kind of love he wants, the only love that is precious to him.

So I guess we need to stop trying to force people to love him, love us, love anything….. they need to choose to do it!

Dienstag, 19. Oktober 2010

Berrows street

Heute war ich (Melli) zum zweiten Mal mit zu Besuch in einem Wohnheim fuer HIVpositive Frauen. Frauen aus der Gemeinde gehen dort jeden Dienstag hin und veranstalten einen Hauskreis. Letzte Woche hat eine von den Frauen aus der Gemeinde eine Fotopraesentation von ihren Erlebnissen in den Slums von Kenya dabei gehabt. Danach hatten wir tolle Gespraeche und die Bewohnerinnen hatten viele tolle Ideen, wie sie selbst aktiv werden koennen, um anderen zu helfen. Wir haben dann noch ein paar Mahlzeiten zubereitet und sie an die Obdachlosen in der Nachbarschaft verteilt. Ich glaube, es war eine tolle Erfahrung fuer diese Frauen, die Helferrolle einzunehmen und andere zu segnen.
Heute haben wir den Geburtstage einer Hausbewohnerin (Joyce) gefeiert. Wir hatten eine dicke Torte dabei, haben zusammen gesungen und gelacht und eine sehr gute Zeit gehabt. Unter den Hausbewohnerinnen und den Helfern haben sich schon einige tiefe Beziehungen gebildet. Es ist schoen zu sehen, wie Menschen, die im Alltag kaum Beruehrungspunkte miteinander haetten, Freunde werden.
Chriss und die Kinder haben sich eine Magen Darm Geschichte eingefangen. Den Kids gehts schon wieder besser, aber Chriss liegt noch leidend zu Hause.... Gebet erwuenscht!

english below:

Today I (Melli) went along to visit a home for women that are HIV positive, for the second time. Women from the church go there every Tuesday to have a home fellowship there. Last week one of the women from church showed a picture presentation of her experiences in the slums of Kenya. Afterwards we had some good discussions, and the resident women had many great ideas about how they can get involved to help others. We then prepared a few meals and distributed them among the homeless in the neighborhood. I think it was a great experience for these women to take on the role of a helper and to bless others.
Today we celebrated the Birthday of one of the residents (Joyce). We brought a huge cake along with us, sang together and laughed, and had a really good time. Several deep relationships have already developed among the residents and helpers. It is beautiful to see how people that would normally not meet up much in everyday life become friends.
Chriss and the kids have caught the flu. The kids are already doing better, but Chriss is still lying at home afflicted... Prayer requested!

Samstag, 16. Oktober 2010

i had a dream

Ich träumte von einem blauen Sofa. Jeden Sonntag abend kamen zahlreiche Leute, um darauf zu sitzen. Sie alle hatten einen schoenen, aber auch ein bisschen anstrengenden Tag, an dem sie Gott und Menschen gedient hatten. Nun versammelten sie sich, um einen entspannten Abend zu verbringen. Sie brauchten sich um nichts mehr zu kuemmern, ausser um irgendetwas essbares. Jeder wusste, wo er sich Getraenke besorgen kann und wo der Kuehlschrank sich befindet. Irgend jemand erbarmte sich, und brachte die Kinder zu Bett, die noch in der Gegend rumschwirrten. Alle zogen sich gemuetliche Pullis und dicke Socken an, luemmelten auf dem Sofa unter einer kuscheligen Decke, redeten ueber das, was am Tage und in der vergangenen Woche passiert war und lachten viel. Alle kannten einander gut. Man wusste Bescheid, wie es dem anderen geht, wo er gerade durchgeht. Man lachte ueber die beklopptesten Sachen, denn es war schon "nach 8" und nach muede kommt doof. Manchmal brachte irgendjemand noch genug Energie auf, um die anderen fuer ein Brettspielen zu begeistern. Aber letztendlich war es egal, was sie taten. Sie waren einfach zusammen, keiner hatte irgendwelche Erwartungen oder Ansprueche, keiner fuehlte sich verantwortlich, die anderen zu unterhalten oder zu bewirten. Alle waren einfach nur ZUSAMMEN!

Uns wird bewusst, was fuer besondere, tolle Freundschaften wir in Heidelberg aufbauen durften und wir sind sehr sehr dankbar dafuer.
Wir sind gespannt und freuen uns auf die Freundschaften, die wir hier bauen duerfen. Schon jetzt gibt es hier einige Menschen, die uns sehr lieb und wertvoll sind. In den letzten Tagen hatten wir viel gute und intensive Gemeinschaft. Dafuer sind wir sehr dankbar....

english below:

I dreamed of a blue couch. Every Sunday evening numerous people came to sit on it. They all had a good, but also a little bit tiring, day, in which they had served God and people. Now they got together to spend a relaxing evening with each other. They didn't have anything they needed to take care of, except finding something edible. Everybody knew where to get something to drink, and where the refrigerator was to be found. Somebody had mercy and tucked the kids into bed that were running around somewhere. Everybody put on comfortable sweatshirts and warm socks, lolled on the couch under the cuddly blanket, talked about what had happened during the day and the last week, and laughed a lot. Everybody knew each other well. One knew how the other was doing, and what he was going through at the moment. One laughed about the most stupid things, because it was already "past 8", and after being tired you easily get silly. Sometimes somebody brought up enough energy to talk the others into playing a board game. But ultimately it didn't matter what they did. They just spent time together, nobody had any expectations or requirements, nobody felt the responsibility to host and entertain the others. They were all just TOGETHER!
We are becoming aware of what special, wonderful friendships we have been able to build up in Heidelberg, and we are very very thankful for that.
We are looking forward to the friendships we'll be able to build up here. Already there are several people, that we have grown to love and cherish. In the last couple of days we've experienced a lot of good and close companionship. We are very thankful for that...

Donnerstag, 14. Oktober 2010

Update on fosterkids

Unsre Freunde waren heute vor Gericht. Sie haben alle Rechte fuer die Kinder zugesagt bekommen und duerfen nun den Adoptionsprozess starten. Wir sind alle sehr dankbar fuer diesen Ausgang. Das 8monate alte Baby ist gleich aus dem Kreissaal in die Familie gekommen und es waere fuer alle nicht auszumalen gewesen, sie dort herauszureissen.

english below:

Our friends were in court today. They were given all rights in regard to the kids, and are now free to start the adoption process. We are all very thankful for this outcome. The 8 month old baby came into the family directly from the delivery room, and nobody could picture her being pulled away from there.

Mittwoch, 13. Oktober 2010

new life ministry

Heute haben wir Miss Dotty besucht. Miss Dotty und ihr Mann haben vor 8 Jahren ein Haus eroeffnet, in das Frauen gehen koennen, nachdem sie aus dem Gefaengnis kommen. Wir haben ein paar ganz erstaunlich wunderbare Persoenlichkeiten kennengelernt.
5 Frauen wohnen derzeit mit Dotty. Sie haben einen festen Tagesrythmus, lernen dir Grundkenntnisse fuer ein Leben in Eigenstaendigkeit und ganz viel darueber, wer sie selbst sind, und wer sie in Gott sind.
Cody ist gerade mal 17 und seit einem Jahr bei Miss Dotty. Sie hat mit 11 Jahren angefangen zu trinken und mit 13, Drogen zu nehmen. Sie ist jetzt seit einem Jahr clean. Ein wunderschoenes junges Maedchen, mit einer faszienierenden Ausstrahlung und einer Gabe, ihre eigene Geschichte mit Humor und viel Weisheit zu erzaehlen.
April ist Mitte 50 und hat laut eigener Erzaehlungen in ihrem Leben so viel Wut und Bitterkeit angestaut, dass sie am liebsten sich und anderen undendlich weh getan haette. Unter Traenen berichtete sie uns, dass sie durch die Arbeit von Miss Dotty endlich gelernt haette, sich selbst und andere und Gott anzunehmen und zu lieben und dass sie auf ihre alten Tage `ein neues Leben geschenkt bekam`.
Wir hatten zwei unglaublich bewegende Stunden mit diesen Frauen, haben es uns in ihren Wohnzimmersessel gemuetlich gemacht, ihren Erzaehlungen und Erfahrungen gelauscht, mit ihnen gelacht, geweint und gebetet.
Nun hoffen wir eine kleine Gruppe von Leuten aus der Gemeinde dazu begeistern zu koennen, diese Damen einmal im Monat in ihrem gemuetlichen Wohnzimmer auf einen Spieleabend zu besuchen.

english below:

Today we visited Miss Dotty. Miss Dotty and her husband opened a home 8 years ago, to which women can go after they get out of prison. We met a few amazing, wonderful characters there.
There are 5 women living with Dotty at present. They have a regular structured day, and are learning the basics of a life of independance, and a lot about who they are as a person, and who they are in God.
Cody is barely 17, and has been with Miss Dotty for a year. She started drinking at the age of 11, and taking drugs at 13. Now she's been clean for a year. A beautiful young girl with a fascinating vibrancy and the talent to tell her own story with humor and a lot of wisdom.
April is in her mid-fifties, and told about having stored up so much anger and bitterness in her life, so that she just wanted to hurt herself and others badly. Amidst tears she told us that, through the work of Miss Dotty, she finally learned to accept and love herself and others and God, and that she received the gift of a new life in her advanced age.
We spent two incredibly moving hours with these women, made ourselves comfortable in their living room chairs, listened to their stories and experiences, laughed, cried and prayed with them.
Now we hope to get a small group of people from church excited to visit these ladies in their comfortable living room once a month for a game night.

Montag, 11. Oktober 2010

Wir haben euch ja schon oefter von dem Pastorenehepaar erzaehlt, mit dem wir hier viel zusammen arbeiten. Die beiden haben drei Pflegekinder. Diesen Donnerstag wird das Gericht entscheiden, ob Candice und Brian die drei adoptieren koennen. Eine intensive, nervenaufreibende Situation. Wir sind dankbar, dass wir so hautnah daran teilhaben duerfen und beten, dass Gott die Loesung bringt, die fuer die Kinder am Besten ist.
Am Wochenende haben wir auf einer Teenagerfreizeit geholfen.
Ab Sonntag wird Chriss eine vierwoechige Klasse zum Thema `effektives Bibelstudium` anfangen.
Melli durchlaeuft gerade einen Basiskurs zum `Reittherapeuten`. Sobald dieser fertig ist, kann sie woechentlich mit einer Jugendlichen in einer schwierigen Lebenssituation zur Ranch kommen und dort mit ihr arbeiten.
Ansonsten treffen wir uns weiterhin mit Leuten und knuepfen Kontakte und bauen Strukturen auf, damit wir bald mit verschiedenen Projekten in Montgomery anfangen koennen.
Momentan arbeiten wir an der Verwirklichung
einer woechentlichen Spielstunde fuer Pflegekinder
Sportprojekte und Mentoring fuer Jugendliche in einem Heim
Renovierungsarbeiten im selben Heim
eine Essensausgabe fuer Beduerftige an Thanksgiving
der Unterstuetzung einer lokalen Obdachlosenarbeit
Das Wetter hier hat etwas abgekuehlt, sind jetzt nur noch um die 30 C.
Abends haben wir manchmal ein wenig Heimweh. Wir haben immer noch niemanden zum Siedler spielen gefunden, und man braucht mindestens 3 Spieler. So haben wir gestern 2 imaginaere Freunde aus Deutschland eingeladen (Nona, du hast gewonnen!)
Wir gruessen euch!!!! Von Herzen

english below:

We have already written several times about the pastor and wife that we are working together with a lot here. The two of them have three foster children. This Thursday the court will decide if Candice and Brian are able to adopt the three of them. A very intense, nerve-racking situation. We are thankful to be able to experience this so closely, and are praying that God will bring about the solution that is best for the kids.
Over the weekend we helped with a conference for teenagers.
On Sunday, Chriss will start with a 4-week long class on the topic of "effective bible study".
Melli is currently going through the basic training to become a riding instructor/therapist. As soon as this is completed, she'll be able to go to the ranch with a teen in a difficult life situation, to work with her there weekly.
Other than that we are meeting up with people, establishing relationships and building up structures, so that we can soon start with different projects in Montgomery.
We are momentarily working on the realization of
a weekly play-hour for foster children
sports projects and mentoring for youth living in a center
renovating activities in that same center
food distribution to the needy on Thanksgiving
supporting a local ministry to the homeless
The weather has gotten a bit cooler here - it's only about 30 C warm now.
We sometimes get a little homesick in the evenings. We still haven't found anybody to play settlers with us yet, and there are at least 3 players needed. So we invited two imaginary friends from Germany yesterday (Nona, you won!)
Greetings to you!!!! With love

Sonntag, 3. Oktober 2010

All the Kings Horses

Gestern haben wir ein Ehepaar besucht, dass ganz in unsrer Naehe eine wunderschoene Ranch mit 6 Pferden hat. Die beiden haben vor ein paar Jahren einen Verein gegruendet und organisieren seit dem Reitfreizeiten fuer Kinder und Jugendliche aus sozial schwachen oder zerbrochenen Familien. Sie versuchen diesen Dienst auszubauen und auch unter der Woche kostenlose Reitstunden fuer diese Zielgruppe anzubieten. Dafuer brauchen sie Freiwillige, die schon Erfahrungen mit Pferden haben. Diese Freiwilligen durchlaufen dann einen Grundkurs darin, wie sie eine Reitstunde gestalten und bekommen ein Kind/ einen Jugendlichen anbefohlen, dem sie dann regelmaessig Reitstunden geben. Dadurch sollen auch Beziehungen aufgebaut werden, die den Kids im Alltag helfen koennen.
Diejenigen unter euch, die mich (Melli) ein wenig kennen, wissen, dass hiermit ein Traum und ein Gebetsanliegen wahr werden. Ich habe mich mehr als freiwillig zu diesem Kurs angemeldet und werde versuchen, noch ein paar Leute aus der Gemeinde fuer diesen Dienst zu begeistern.

english below:

Yesterday we visited a couple, that has a beautiful ranch with 6 horses, not too far away from us. The two of them started an association a couple of years ago, and are now organizing holidays on horseback for kids and youth with a socially weak background and/or broken family situation. They want to expand this ministry, offering free riding lessons during the week to this target group. For this they need volunteers, that already have some experience with horses. These volunteers go through a basic training of how to plan out a riding lesson, and are then assigned a child/ teenager, with which they work on regular riding lessons. The goal is also to build up relationships through this that can help the kids in everyday life.
Those of you that know me (Melli) a little, know that this is a dream come true and prayer request answered. I signed up for this training more than willing, and will try to recruit some more people from church for this ministry.