I slept well, & woke up a couple of times in the night to see what time it was… only to find that I still had several hours of sleep available to me. Alex & Linda are on the 5th floor & have an incredible view from their extra large window. A double espresso & a trip on the U7 later, I arrived at TPLF for our 1st meetings with the Roundabout team.
TPLF is going through a very difficult time right now, as they have lost their pastor, a dear friend of mine (& ours) for an indefinite period of time – as I approached the building, I was overwhelmed with waves of grief… almost like a wet blanket that weighed me down & made it hard to walk. I sobbed for a period of time (I don’t know how long,) then went upstairs to the top floor. The people that make up the Roundabout core team that were able to be here are myself, Sam & Mirjam, Dan & Joy, Petra, & Geert, & We met for about 3 hours, & had a great time catching up. We talked about Roundabout, our schedule, & also how we are working through/processing our own grief & life struggles. A couple of highlights – I got to see my god-daughter, Rebecca Grace, & to hold her – she is very light, & always has the beginnings of a grin on her face. Plus, she can touch her nose with her tongue! Not bad for a 7 month old… She came to me right off (which her mum says she doesn’t normally do,) & was content for quite a while…
My belly was growling, & at 1 p.m., we made our way over to the Bistro Sahin for Doener Kebaps & mineralwasser, which is water with some light carbonation. Very nice; just like I remembered.
Sam & I talked for about 2 hours – sitting outside of the Bistro, drinking a coffee @ the “Illy”, taking a walk around the White Tower (by the U of Frankfurt) – we talked about family, marriage, church, personal calling, Sabbath & “pacing” e.g. walking vs. running through life, & also about navigating difficulties, & maintaining/cultivating integrity. I really like the opportunity to talk - & to have interchange of ideas – it reminds me that regardless of where we come from that there are many, many things that we can relate to because we’re both Christ-followers. It makes me thankful that in Christ we really have a depth & breadth of relationship that is based on values that aren’t personality or culture.
I am also very, very thankful to be a part of Hillside; & that you, my church family, are behind me & believe in & support me, not only at home, but also in coming to Frankfurt. I am so proud to be able to represent you, & to be able to know that I’m loved & am prayed for. And that Hillside is Jesus’ church, & that we’re on the way – becoming who God has shaped us to be. I’m getting teary writing this as I see your faces & think about the wonderful people that you are, & how special you are to me. I am overwhelmed with love & appreciation for you. Thank you for saying “Yes” to God’s process for your life – for being brave, filled with faith, to hear God & to obey Him, both personally, & as a church family.
Between the hours of noon & 4 p.m. are the lowest times for me – it’s the wee hours of the morning at home (we’re 9 hours ahead) so my body is screaming out for me to “obey’ & go lay down. But I resist, & stand firm, & drink lots & lots of java, hoping & praying for the time in the afternoon, usually about 5:30 p.m., when my body realizes that anywhere I am, its time to get up…
Tonight we’ll be eating dinner with all of the Roundabout participants – there’s even a couple of people from Romania… maybe I’ll break out my incredible knowledge of the Romanian language, which allows me to say a few words: Please; thank you very much; you’re welcome; I don’t understand; apple pie; French fries; two hamburgers. (Let’s just say I spent a LOT of time at McDonald’s on my trip to Oradea, Romania.) We have worship & prayer, then will take about 2 hours to get to know a bit about each other – as we describe a bit of our life ‘story’ – or what brought us to this place at this time. Then its home to Alex & Linda’s for a cold German beer & watching episodes of The Office. Dwight K. Schrute is funny in any language.
Tears are very near the surface for me – I find myself blinking them back all the time now… sometimes tears just come out, & I don’t know why.
It’s 5:30, & I’m emerging from my pseudo-slumber - I’m going downstairs to the erde-geschloss (ground floor) to mingle with the people that are arriving – you know how I love to mingle ☺.
Thank you for your prayers - & I will update as soon as I can.