Thursday, 30 April 2015

April

Oh April. The month of unpredictable weather, Malcolm's birthday and small adventures.

April the 1st started with Snow. It was like an April Fools prank, waking up and opening the blinds to see the hill across from us and the houses below covered in snow.



It melted quickly though, and I was soon on my way to help with the set up of Studikon 2015 near Kassel. I'm glad I was in the conference office, since the guys setting up the tents in the hail and snow and howling wind needed to work in shifts because it was so cold.

The next day, though, Malcolm arrived and so did better weather. In total, about 900 students from across Germany arrived, and it was awesome. The weekend was filled with many hours in the conference office laminating name badges and capturing data, but I also got to attend most plenary sessions, hear some great teaching, get excited about sharing the Gospel in daily life, and worship with so many devoted followers of Christ.





Malcolm also celebrated his birthday there, on Easter Sunday. It started with an early morning service, followed by breakfast, and then he got sung to (along with 2 others who shared their birthdays with him) in the plenary session.



I was so grateful that I was able to spend lots of time with him, and that I didn't need to be in the office all day.



That evening, after watching some performances at the kleinkunstbuhne, we headed to the big Studikon party. Music from the 90s and 00s greeted us, and it was so much fun dancing to the Back Street Boys with my husband. It did get a little lame though, and I can only take so much Spice Girls... but it was fun dancing and being silly in the early hours of a Monday morning.

In the midst of that, though, it haunted me hearing of the students in Kenya who had been murdered. It was unthinkable that we were here, at an openly Christian conference proclaiming our faith, while others around the world are persecuted for theirs. Jesus promised us persecution, but it breaks my heart to see the darkness in peoples' hearts. The response from the student movement whom the students in the prayer meeting belonged to, is amazing, and I sincerely hope that Jesus is glorified by their response in love.

After getting back from Studikon and recovering after 5 nights on a sleeping mat on the floor, life turned normal and at work I started on some things for the next conference in mid-May. Life has been a little overwhelming at times, with a lot on my plate and sometimes more emails than I can handle.

My English course started and my class is great. It's a revision of A1 course, and I find my class of 10 plus one dog really enjoyable - they already know a lot and learn quite quickly.

Our International group, which Malcolm is co-leading this semester, also kicked off again after the holiday. I'm not there much because it clashes with my English course, but I'm excited for God to do something.


In the cafe where I help out, things are going well. We were reminded of the urgency of reaching people when a man who was a regular in the cafe died. He died fairly suddenly at his home, a day after or before his birthday. His place at his table in the cafe is so empty without him there. I've learnt so much from him, and his stories of his life are sad, but remarkable and he'll be missed.

The Kindergarten kids group at church is also going strong - my prayers for helpers have been answered and I'm so glad that I have a team to support me!


We also finally closed the chapter on our old apartment and gave our keys back. It was sad, since we really loved living there and I miss the community that we lived in with our neighbours. I miss seeing people on the playground and saying hullo. It was the first place that Malcolm and I really made our home in, and we had to leave so suddenly. But, exactly 10 months after the fire, we had an appointment, went through a checklist to make sure we'd left everything as it was (well, except the cracks in the wall, the huge hole in the bathroom wall, the hole drilled into the floor, the broken balcony door handle, and the mouldy fridge, which were all direct or indirect consequences of the fire). After we closed the blinds and we were finding our way out in the dark (since there's no electricity) we got in one last kiss in our hallway before we closed the door on our old home.


Malcolm also needed to work hard this month and spend a lot of time in the lab. He needed to make something for a collaboration, and also work hard on his own work because today he needs to hand in his application for an extension of his funding. We're praying that God continues to provide for us through this scholarship!

This month, with so much going on, I've been brought back time and time again to laying things at Jesus feet and asking Him for His help because I simply can't. No matter how much I stress over something, it doesn't go away and I need His help to deal with things.

I've also started sticking to a plan of what days I do things. If you email me on a Tuesday, it's unlikely to get answered. This has somehow given me more time since it's better managed and I can concentrate fully on one thing at a time. I've also finally set aside time to learn German grammar. It's taken nearly two years to get started on this and I'm looking forward to speaking more correctly!

All in all, April has been sweet. The weather has improved and going for a walk in the evening or enjoying the view from our balcony are some of my favourite things to do right now.








The flowers are blooming and the days are lengthening. Having people over to enjoy coffee and community has been one of my favourite things about living where we are right now. I love that God is doing an amazing, redeeming work in lives around us, and that we get to be here.

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