...elf is the number "11" in German, & doesn't refer to my favorite holiday movie, which, by the way, I'll be digging out of the box for the yearly deluge of showings. After coming back from the conference, I spent the night at Alex & Linda's one more time - they had a meeting of some potential sponsors in their 'twenz' group - a College type, 20ish age range group - & they were SO jazzed by the outcome - a real move of the Holy Spirit in their talks. Good times. I love seeing them both, esp. Linda, so excited that they couldn't sleep, even though she had to get up in 5 hours. The Portugueser, a wine made by the guy next door, (literally!) helped with the celebration.
Thursday a.m. I met with Jan, the German national leader - we had some great coffee in his living room, & some great talks - the thing that stood out to me the most was that he & FEGW have really have received & accepted me - not just as a guy coming to their conferences, a friend of TPLF that 'tags along' (his word) to their meetings - but as a person with a unique calling to support & encourage German pastors & leaders. He asked me to consider plotting & planning how I can see this happen in a more 'official' capacity, so when I come to visit, I can help out in these areas not only at TPLF, but also in other churches in the FEGW. This, coupled with the honoring that he & Roland gave me at the conference, is very, very encouraging to me, esp. as it comes 10 years after theBean & my original call to Germany, one where we even explored moving there (here?) but it didn't work out. And at the time, we were crushed. I'm glad now, because we ended up at Hillside, & also because God's plans are so much different & better than mine ever could have been. I'm sort of floating on Cloud 9 - & am smiling a lot. This was big for me.
Dan & Geert picked me up at McDonald's in Gau Algesheim - & drove me to Frankfurt, where we met with the Roundabout team to revisit our purpose, values, mission, & plans - it was an all day affair, & was very good. At the end of the day, we drove as a group to Eddy & Laura's home in Mainz, about an hour away, for tea. And the best pumpkin bread ever. Laura is a cook. Like LeBron James plays a little basketball, & like theBean is hot. We talked about Roundabout, & got to hear Eddy's heart about it too - very important, as TPLF has hosted the last couple of meetings, & will be hosting the one this Saturday. Important for him to not only know what's up, but to be on board as well.
We rushed back to Frankfurt & were just in time to meet my hosts, Levent & Ines - they are co-leaders of the twenz group at TPLF, & had just finished cleaning up after their meeting. They took me to their home & got me settled. I love the modern look of their flat, & esp. the colors they used. I am staying in the room that Brother defiled - he soiled the carpet with his dirty suitcase wheels. Silly brother.
We sat on their couch & looked out over the Frankfurt skyline, while we ate some cheeze & drank a great Pinotage from South Africa, a wine that cost 2Euro. 2Euro for what I'm sure would have been a $12-15 bottle, easy. Got to bed at 12:30, so I could be up at 6:30
Levent took one for the team & brought me to the church at 7:30 - not only that, he hooked me up with a travel mug of homemade java. I love this guy. What a treasure. And not just for the coffee. But it helps. :)
We drove 2 hours south to visit Johannes & Anja in Geert's awesome new Ford Galaxy (like the Windstar, but bigger & better,) with a great navigation system that speaks 15 languages. We settled on Dutch, Geert's 1st language, & named the system "Betty" after Betty Ford. Long story.
A great breakfast & lunch with our friends. Good talks. Laughter & tears. Johannes isn't pastoring right now, & is in a time of healing & restoration, with the hope of getting back into ministry again at some point when FEGW feels the process is complete. I'm looking forward to that time.
Spent the day with them, then drove back here to TPLF - Dan is headed home to Portland tomorrow, & the rest of us are going to host Roundabout, a day-long meeting for young leaders - to encourage them in their calling, to strengthen friendships, & spend some time together. Dan & Geert are headed to hang out with Aris; I'm going to see the new Bond flick with Martin & Sandra. Right now I'm just waiting for Martin to pick me up; I'm grateful for the wait, because its allowed me to post this uber-long blog.
I'll take pics tomorrow & try to post some, but no promises. I'll take the pics for sure though.
I'm speaking at TPLF Sunday - 2 services, 10 & 11:45, talking about Jesus & God. :) Really, I'm talking about Jesus, grace, & judgment. Appreciate your prayers.