Saturday was Roundabout day - more like mini-compressed Roundabout day - our last two meetings (11/2007 & 5/2008) have been Wednesday p.m. through Saturday noon events - where people, mostly between 20 & 30, representing many nations of Europe (approx. 10) get together for a few days of intense worship, prayer, building & making friendships, & being encouraged to continue in their calling, with faith & courage, no matter the cost.
This year, due to some extenuating circumstances, it was condensed to one day, from 10-4, which of course meant that the people attending were 100% living in Frankfurt... a total of 12 of us came together & I believe that the purpose of Roundabout was fulfilled... there's a lot firmer structure in existence now, & the roles of the leadership team are more defined. Next meeting will take place in 11/2009, with the intent of doing this 2x/year after that, May & November.
After Roundabout, we cleaned up the church, & then I hung out with Levent & Ines. Went to Ines' 'hometown' called Koenigstein, & drank a coffee in a little cafe there. Then we headed to her childhood home & I got to meet her parents. What gracious people, very open & giving. They are both very handy - she makes jams & jellies, & all kinds of home-made baked goods; he makes his own 'apfel-wine' & is quite the wine-aficionado. I couldn't leave without 2 jams. Very nice.
Levent wanted to give me a little taste of Turkey, so we went to a restaurant called "Manolya" which in Turkish means "Parsley." We ate 2 sampler platters - one of vegetarian foods with lots of Turkish yoghurt, & one with a selection of meats... Some of the best meats I've had in a long time. Very nice. I'm very garlic-ey right now, as the main ingredient in most of the veggie foods was "knoblauch" (garlic.) Sorry theBean. Hope its gone before I get home.
This morning was church at TPLF - I was the guest speaker & talked out of Matthew 9:9-13 & Luke 18:9-14. Aris translated; its always a challenge to try to put the words I'm speeching on into complete sentences & thoughts so that the translator has something to work with & doesn't have to wrestle with trying to guess what I'm saying. Overall, I think it went ok; a girl from SriLanka that has been in the church for about a year, searching & asking questions, gave her heart to Jesus. Cool beans.
I really enjoyed reconnecting with many old friends - & heard from many, many people: "Thank you for being here." And also, "please thank your wife, kids, & Hillside for releasing you to be here. It is very, very important & meaningful for us." I'm glad that the relationship between our churches is still growing, & that there has been a 'recommitment' to each other, in the face of TPLF's pastoral transition. On that note, I'm also thankful for Eddy & Laura - the new pastors; pray for them.
This afternoon, a group of about 10 of us (the twenz) went to a stand-up pizza place. I got pepperoni-wurst & pineapple, & a good bier to wash it down - lots of talking & laughing over what was supposed to be the best pizza in Frankfurt. It was good. I'm looking forward to measuring it against Pizza Plus tomorrow night. :)
Came to Levent & Ines' house for part 2 of the party. A variety of cakes & other sweets, hanging out with Aris, Levent, Ines, Alex, Linda & Evita, Alex's 'little' sister (she's 18.) A good time was had by all, & I really enjoyed my last day here with many good friends. As the group shrunk, we sat around the table, ate leftovers, & talked. Very nice.
They say that all good things must end, & so now I'm in the process of packing (& blogging!) so that I can get up at 04:30 a.m., drink a coffee or two, & head to the airport, where my plane takes off at 8 a.m. First to Chicago, then to SF, then home again. Reno. I can't wait. Please pray for safe flight, good connections, & peace. I'm looking forward to seeing you soon.
Blessings to you.