December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

We celebrated New Years at the church! It was a great time fellowshipping and just spending time with one another.
We had a light supper of finger foods that everyone brought, then we had a photo contest for who made the silliest face. After that we had a junk auction. Everyone brought something that was of no real use (this went along the lines of 'one mans junk is an others treasure'). That was fun! There was anything and everything from a shoe horn and a vase with a cat on it, to a chinese tea set and picture frames. It was fun! After that we saw a slideshow of pictures from the past year that recapped events that everyone did as a church. Then we played games and chatted for about an hour.

At around 11:30 we started to sing and had a short devotional. at 12 we went to the front yard of the church and shot of fireworks for nearly an hour! Fireworks are legal within city limits around new years since that is really the only holiday with fireworks (remember, they dont celebrate the 4th of july here!)

Thinking about that string of events made me a bit homesick today. Those days are never fun. Its hard to be torn in two. Part of me wants to be home celebrating with friends and family, and then part of me is excited to experience something completely new! It does help though, when others want to teach me something. Tonight two of the young adults, a little older than myself, pulled me aside to show me some of the german fire crackers (just the small ones) and how to use them. At first I was hesitant, and just wanted to watch, but then I saw that they got excited to show me something new, and that helped me get more into it!

New Years was great all in all!
An observation that I made when i was here with LST was on the church dynamic. Not to criticize or generalize the church in the states compared to here, but it seems like much more of a family here. Holidays and big events are celebrated with the church, because they are your family. I love my church in Oklahoma, please do not get me wrong, they too are a family, but its different. For example, one of the members has completely lost contact with their family because they have chosen the Christian faith as their own. The church has literally become their family. That is how I believe it should be, not that you lose contact with loved ones, but that you are so close in your faith that you are like family. You are able to celebrated and have true fellowship and not think, "another church activity", but rather, "another opportunity to spend time with one another!".

You want people to be involved because they want to, not because they feel obligated. And for the most part, it is obvious which of the two most people are. The mindset is the difference, and I am so very lucky and blessed to be a part of such a wonderful church! In the short 4 months since I have been here I have learned so very much!!! I am almost antsy to get back to the states and get to work their!

Sorry, that was long!

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: The difference between school and life? In school, your taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, your given a test that teaches you a lesson. ~ Tom Bodett

December 29, 2009

Grace

Tonight in bible class we talked about grace. Tuesday night bible class, which would be the equivalent of wednesday night class in the states, is always in German because well, I am in Germany. This the the only lesson that is generally not translated for us. At this point, Tiffany and I don't know enough German to follow along, so we usually journal through class. I usually try to listen for a few minutes and then find my mind wondering as I attempt to figure out what a word is and then make some other string of assimilations. Anyways, tonight was a bit different, we did a little in English and got to give some input about grace.

At the end of class, the question was posed about how we have seen Gods grace in the past year in our lives. My mind automatically began to race to situation after situation. I thought about our family friend Robert paying the tab for my car last Christmas when it was broken because I had just used everything I had saved until that point to finish paying off that semester of school. Then I thought about the time my uncle was in a car wreck at thanksgiving and all of my friends made a huge thanksgiving feast and brought it up to the ICU at OU and shared a thanksgiving meal with not only my family, but all the other families in the waiting room. I thought about Lisa's 4 year old nephew Ashton, who was waiting for a kidney and was at 85% kidney failure in April. I thought about how all of the girls in club rallied together and took the family meals, snacks and toys up to the hospital. Ashton got a kidney on Sunday by the way :) he is doing great! Situation after situation, each one has God written all over it.

I started thinking about when I became a Christian 5 years ago, and where I would be today if I had dedicated my life to Christ. I wasn't on a bad path per say, but I wasn't on a good one either. Short run down- I started a Bible study to read the bible in a year- changed churches because of that study, found out I didn't get into university of Florida, my first choice. Wasn't interested in any of the schools in OK that I already had full rides to. I found OC on the net, went for a visit, loved it! Shortly there after a dedicated my life to Christ. I went to OC in the fall. Hated the first semester but made some amazing friends. Started to participate and do more and then began to love OC. My stepdad passed away the end of my freshman year. Came back sophomore year and was dragged to club stuff. Ended up rushing, loved my club, became an officer. Met some of my best friends now! And the rest is history. I thrived at OC. I soaked up everything I could. It makes me shutter to think of where I would be today if things hadn't gone the way they did.

I know I have a story, its not an easy one to share, but it helps being here. On a weekly basis I get to share my story with people. With readers. With contacts. With friends. My eyes are open, constantly looking for where God is cracking a door. There are a lot of cracks here in Germany. I can't fill them, thas Gods part, im merely someone here to push the door open a little more.

I start reading with Ceili tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the book we are reading, Discovering God's Will for Your Life. It will be interesting to see how we will both be able to grow and learn from each other and this book. Is the seed ever fully grown? The roots need water too!

Quote: If you are growing, you will always be out of your comfort zone. ~John Maxwell

December 27, 2009

Christmas Time










As anyone can imagine, the holidays are a tough time to not be with family. This year was no exception. I was able to see everyone and speak with family via webcam, that defiantly helped! The Sullivans were kind enough to open up their home to us for the holidays, so we joined their family for many of their traditions.

Christmas eve I went to a traditional Christmas play that is put on by the evangelic churches. Each community church will put on the reenactment of the nativity scene with members, this year my friend Steffi was playing Mary. I went and met up with Jessi, Steffi's sister who is going through confirmation for their church, and Sussanne and her family. Ceili was also there with her host family. It seemed like people just poured out of their homes and into this beautiful old church. I was a bit lost with the play though... which is kinda hard because the nativity scene hasn't changed in roughly 2000 years lol. It was great though, Steffi didnt a wonderful job as Mary!

After the play I came back and we all went on the Christmas eve drive through the mountains. We saw all the little villages with their lights in the windows and even spotted Santa twice! Santa walks the streets here, and knocks on the door to deliver presents. And Santa is skinny.... Anyways, we drove to a little castle and took a group pic and then had a little snow ball fight. It was delightful! After that we went back to the house for fondu. This was my first fondu experience. It was pretty cool. Still not sure exactly how I feel about it, but it was cool!

Marc and Karen stayed with me over christmas night, we popped popcorn and watched Santa Clause 3. The next morning we got up and made our meals for Christmas lunch. I made sweet-potato pie again! After lunch we all opened presents. We drew names between us all. I got Tiffany, and Marc or Karen (im not sure which one) got me. I got Tiff some movies and Marc and Karen got me a POPCORN MACHINE!!!!! YAY!!!!!!

I came back to my apartment and skyped family for a few hours and then went back to the Sullivans to watch a movie. We popped some delicious popcorn in my new machine and watched Swiss Family Robinson.

Saturday we all got back together for left overs for lunch and then went out to a little castle not far from Chemnitz and went for a walk. We came back and had coffee and then enjoyed our evenings!

If you didnt pick up on it, Christmas is 3 days here, the 24, 25, and 26th. Everything starts to shut down on the 24th. Most everything is closed by 4 pm.

So here are some pictures of the traditional Christmas things I have been blogging about.

Since i cant see the pictures until i publish the blog im shooting in the dark, I dont remember the order.
One is Steffi and I in Dresden, one is the Christmas tree at the train station in Dresden.
One is the advent candles all lit.
One is a group picture of our german class- not everyone but the cool ones :).
One is also Sven giving me a "high five!"
The streets of Leipzig when Ceili and I went on our adventure.
A schwipbogen in the window.


Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: "Dont ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up." G.K. Chersterton.

December 23, 2009

A Heart Divided

It has defiantly been eye opening living in a foreign country. Not only am I constantly aware of my own habits, which I would have never even noticed before coming here, but I am utterly aware of the habits of others. I contribute this new awareness to two different source; first, I never really cared in the states, I didn't really have time to, and second, everyone is always watching so if i do something "odd" it is inevitably seen and repeated by someone else.

Since when is being "normal" a good thing? I don't want to be just like everyone else. Who does? I mean, in some aspects, we all do so we can be accepted, that is the very core of human nature. But at the same time, as a Christian, we are called to be different. To be radically different.

I was listening to a podcast today, one of my favorite authors who is a preacher at a large church in LA and he was talking about prayer. He started by prefacing with something along the lines of, "If your hoping to leave here today with a better prayer life, then I have failed you and you have failed yourself." I found that kind of odd, and intriguing, so I kept listening. The main point of the sermon was not that we should pray more because that is our communication with God. Rather, that when we pray, we should pray with the heart and attitude that God should use us for whatever it is we are praying about. If we pray for someone because they are sick, pray and ask how it is you can be of help to that person, or to the family. If it is about world hunger, ask and actively look for solutions to help end world hunger.

I found this particular lesson to be very inspiring. I never really thought of prayer that way. Its always been in my mind, for some reason, that asking God to comfort and be with the families going through hard times is enough. Ive never really thought to pray and ask how I can be of service for that family. That takes to much time.

The other main point in the sermon was that a lot of different religions pray. What sets Christians apart? It is supposed to be the idea that we pray, and then people see God through our actions. Without a doubt. Duh! That was kind of an "ah-ha!" moment for me. I know that, but ive never really thought of prayer that way. As an active part on my side.

I was going to look for a quote and just saw this as a facebook status update: "Seeing homeless people always makes me sad that I cant help them, stupid poorness". Why cant you? And this is a guy I went to OC with... there are so many things wrong with that statement it just gets my blood boiling reading it!

Just food for thought.

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: One never knows what the rising sun will bring with it. Each day is a new adventure. The trick is to be open and ready for anything! ~ Unknown

December 16, 2009

The Deeper Meaning


These past few days have brought a lot to talk about!

We will start with Silke, one of my readers. Silke (pronounced Silk-a) is about my moms age and has 2 kids around my age. She speaks english very well but is not very confident in her speaking skills but is very willing to learn. As we began today, we were sitting in the church kitchen and drinking our tea, talking about our weeks, when Silke said she had a Christmas present for me. Taken back, I told her she did not need to get me anything, and she laughed and said she had some free time and threw something together. So i graciously thanked her for the gift and asked if it was alright to open it, she told me it was. I pulled out a twig first, and looked at it and thanked her. She then laughed, said it was decoration, and that I should keep going. So i reached in and pulled out some candy, and we repeated the process of thank you, and keep going. Out came a chocolate Santa... the same again, thanks, keep going. Next was a yellow box. I thanked her for the gift, as I looked at it, having no idea what it was... Then finally asked, what is it? She laughed and said I should open the box, so I did, only to pull out a yellow tube that looked like glue or paint.... so I asked her again, what it was. She laughed and said she didnt know the word in english. So i pulled the black cap off and put a little on the box. "Glue!" I shouted triumphantly! "Yes, glue!" she responded with a large smile on her face. I looked at her, smiling, not sure exactly what kind of gift glue was, and thanked her again.... Again, she laughed and told me to keep going. So i reached in one last time, to pull out a container of toothpicks. "Thanks!" I said, smiling and laughing nervously, having no idea what this gift meant.... She looked at me, still gleaming, and said, "You can make a star!" I looked at her, confusion clouding my face, "Now?" "Yes, now." So I looked at her again, trying to tell if she was serious, which she was, so I pulled out a piece of paper and tried to draw a version of a star I had seen of Karens that she had received as a gift. She laughed and said, "Yes, you could do that.... or you could try this..." and then she reached back and grabbed another bag, and pulled out a large star made out of toothpicks!

There is what the paper version looks like, which I did receive one of those a few weeks ago as well from the older couple I read with!

The reading with Silke went very well, we talked about the story where the woman washes Jesus' feet with her hair and tears. We talked more about human nature and what it takes for someone to ask for help and why people do not want to admit that they are weak. It was a very good, deep conversation. I was also asked what a sinner was today. I forget that those are church terms and people dont know what they mean. Which I also found interesting, because Silke has a basic knowledge of Bible stories and went to church with her grandma as a kid. So she recognizes the stories, but doesn't always understand the entire meaning... but then again, who does?! I think I am going to get her a BIble as a gift for Christmas, she was telling me her daughter took hers when she moved to Denmark, so that could be a good gift for her....

I made an apple pie tonight! I enjoy baking, and this will be the first time most of the people in my German class have ever had an apple pie! German is almost over!!! Well, the first class anyways. Friday is our last day, but we are having a party tomorrow and then going to the Christmas market together on Friday. Everyone is supposed to being something from their native country, so it will be interesting to see what all everyone brings! I'm brining an apple pie and tiffany is bringing chips and cheese dip! We'll see what everyone thinks!

Tomorrow I am also going to Dresden to visit Steffi! I try to spend time with everyone one on one and not just group time. So tomorrow is Steffi day! She is going to show me around and we will visit the Christmas market!!! YAY!!!! I got a coat this week! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It also started to snow this week! We have gotten more snow, enough to cover the ground and make it slick. It is supposed to continue snowing until Christmas eve! Ill post pictures when we get a bit more out!

Thats all for now... I know im forgetting something, but so goes life! Oh, I have been getting Christmas cards from friends :), that always makes me happy! A little homesick because thanksgiving was always our friend time. We would make time after we all got back from thanksgiving to do a friend thanksgiving and Christmas together. So goes life though, I love experiencing the new culture and what Christmas has to offer here! I'll only get to experience it one more time!

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: True humility is intelligent self respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. It makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be. ~ Ralph Sockman

December 13, 2009

Pogo-Sticks and Politics

Living in a foreign country has definitely opened my eyes to the world around me. I never realized how comfortable I was with traditions and "the way of life". Not that I had a routine life by any means, I was always on the go and doing something new. With that though, I took for granted some of the great things that America has to offer. I tried to appreciate the beauty that Oklahoma and surrounding states have to offer, but I find myself lacking the ability to embrace the true vast beauty that they posses.

Its funny, I never really thought about patriotism and politics as a conscious thought. I know that sounds weird, but I just kept up with politics, certain politics, not all. With that, patriotism is bound deep in me. Part of that is coming from America, from Bible belt USA. I would have never thought twice about it. Even having a Canadian roommate and close friend for 3 years I never realized how engrained patriotism is for me, for the American culture. Im going to hark on Andrea for a little bit, the Canadian friend, I always found it odd in chapel when she refused to say the pledge, even though she is half American. I blew it off though, whatever, shes Canadian, she doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to. Id rather someone say it with meaning than just repeat the words and have no meaning behind them (which I believe frequently happens).

We had Alex and his family over for coffee and supper tonight. Considering today is an advent Sunday, that is pretty special here because advent Sundays are reserved for family time. After supper, while playing cards, the conversation got into American politics and some screw ups that have happened abroad.

I find it amazing how much other cultures watch American politics. I try my best to keep up on recent events, I read multiple papers daily, but don’t always catch everything going on. To avoid pointing fingers at people I will keep the details vague, but conversation came up of a musician that said something very political while abroad. Alex's mom could not understand why the musician was then shunned in the US and went on the defensive. She thought it should have been more of an "ah-ha" moment. It took me back. Not so much the statement that was made by the musician, but I had never even thought about what was said as valid, whether it was true or not, because it came from a musician. It wasn’t so much the statement that was made, it was the fact it was done in a public setting and on foreign soil that caused an uproar. This was a weird concept that Alex's mom did not understand. Why people were so upset about it. I never really thought of it the other way.

Patriotism is so engrained, while I may not agree with everything that is done, out of a mutual respect, one does not voice it in a way to influence others. If your going to talk about something in an attempt in influence their opionons, make it more important than politics!

I bet your wondering what the Pogo stick part is about... it comes as second nature. One sees a pogo stick and knows what to do with it and how to do it. Doesn’t matter if you fall off, it is if you get on. I think that is the way most people look at politics. They see them, they know what they do, they know how they work, but they never actually try it out. To fully understand, one must try the pogo stick! It is not as easy to stay on as one might think! With that, politics are not as simple as most seem to think they are, especially abroad. It seems like there is this "black and white" view that I have encountered on multiple occasions, and while people know some facts and have the idea, they have no actually concept of how the political system works, much like a pogo-stick.

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: When you drink water, remember its spring. ~Chinese Proverb

December 12, 2009

Its Snowing!



Its snowing outside today!!!! As much as I am not a fan of the cold, I do rather enjoy looking at the snow. Did you catch that? Looking at the snow... Not being in it, just looking at it from a nice warm cozy place! It just started today- the picture is out of our front door!

Thursday was a great day! A day worthy of blogging about! It started with me going to German class for the first time since Monday. The cold kept me down, booo! Anyways, German went well. Frau Lou was very nice and did not make me talk that much which I appreciated. Nor did she make me keep trying if I didn't get it right, which she usually does. So class went well!

After class I ran into Tiffany and Roy when hopping on the tram! They were just getting back from taking Roys folks to the airport. I had a meeting at what I thought was 1. I got to the church at 12:30 and stayed till 1:30 then went home deciding she wasnt coming. I got home, checked my email and the time was changed from 1 to 3. so I would wait an hour and go back. Karen got home, helped her clean up a bit for ladies bible class, then went back to the church at 2:30. Ended up missing the 2:41 bus because I was buying the snacks for ladies bible class and reading, so I caught the 2.51 bus which put me at the church at 2.55.
I hurried back in to start some coffee and open up the pretzels i had just bought as our snack and got everything set up. Waited. 3:15. 3:30. 3:45 I cleaned up and got back on the bus! I ran into Ceili which is always exciting! We chatted it up for the short trip down the road.

Got home and started reading for ladies class, this chapter was over Love and I had heard it was the best chapter out of the book. I was thoroughly delighted upon completion because I too agree that it is the best chapter thus far. It was over true agape love. Which of course, started with 1 cor 13, which ive heard a million times. But this was an interesting take on it. Here is a short excerpt that will also serve as this posts quote:

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

You will never knowingly suffer at my hands. I will never say anything or do anything knowingly to hurt you. I will always, in ever circumstance, seek to help and support you. If you're down and I can lift you up- I'll do that. If you need something and I have it, I'll share it with you. If I need to, I'll give it to you. No matter what I find out about you, no matter what happens in the future- either good or bad- my commitment to you will never change. And there is nothing you can do about it. ~Jerry Cook

December 8, 2009

Its Cold Outside

With the ever changing and increasingly cold weather, I have been held hostage in the house by an old friend "Cold". Seeing as I have not much else to do, I figured I should update on here.

Friday was EBS, it went very well I thought. Marc lead the lesson and talked about patience. Specifically patience in learning a language. Friday night we had the usual gang minus a few over for cards, that is always a good time!

Saturday afternoon I watched the some of the kids from the church while their folks cleaned the church (easier and faster to do when your not watching 3 little ones!). I was pretty excited about spending some time with the kids, Ive been missing my nieces and nephews, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to make our traditional tea cake cookies. Tea Cakes are a lot like sugar cookies, but thinner, crunchier and not as sweet. Anyways, they make good cookies to cut out and decorate! Since im not getting to have the time with my nieces and nephews I thought surly these kids would love to make cookies! Fail! It was more of the opposite. After the first batch was in the over (and this makes about 10 pans so around 30-40 cookies) they had all lost interest. They all loved the cookies which was good, so at least they ate them, but they again had no interest in decorating them which made me a bit sad. Nevertheless I sent half of the cookies home with the kids and then decorated the other half for our night at Steffis!

Saturday night Steffi had invited some of us over to her house for supper and games. I met her mom for the first time and got to see where she lives! It was a great night, she made pizza for us and then we played a few rounds of skip-bo and then the name game. The one where everyone writes a name on a piece of paper and you tape it to your head and have to ask yes-no questions to figure out who you are. It was a good night! We stayed until nearly midnight and all of the christmas cookies were enjoyed :).

Sunday was worship and then lunch at Pam and Larrys. Roy's folks are here visiting, so everyone was there. Pam made some traditional German foods. I have heard of these large balls of potato stuff- i dont remember what they are called, anyways I had been dreading trying them because they just sounded nasty to be honest! Like mashed potatoes in a ball form that have been boiled. But it was much better than I had expected! Sunday also brought along a headache :( never fun. I havent been sleeping well the past few weeks, so I just put it off to not a lot of sleep. Sunday night we had a great turn out for sport, everyone had a good time!

Monday was German classes and English Movie Night! We watched Its A Beautiful Life, my first time to see the entire movie start to finish. I have seen bits and pieces but never watched it all the way through. I loved it! We had a smaller turn out than we had hoped for, but nevertheless a good one!

Which brings us to today! I stayed home sick today, the cold getting the best of me :(. I am feeling a bit better this afternoon, but more party parts keep getting sore which isnt good. The weather is starting to get cold and stay cold now. Looks like Friday will be the last day we have above freezing for a while. Ive been told we are having a very mild winter thus far, no complaints on this side!

Quote: All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough. ~ Anna Quindlen

December 2, 2009

Pictures




La vita è bella

I know its been a while- sorry! Things here have just been super busy!

German class is going well, we are half way through! Class is over on the 18th, yay!!!! It hasnt been that bad to be honest, there are days when it is very frustrating, but thats part of it I suppose. There are other days when I sit there and wonder if I really just graduated college with 2 degrees as I learn how to say "My name is.... I come from..." That is part of it though. It has helped me to keep in mind that this is helpful not only to communicate with people here, but could potentially be helpful in a later job as well.

With the start of the Christmas season here, Christmas markets are opening! What is that you may be thinking...let me show you! (okay well its not letting me load the pictures so ill try and post them separately!)
These pictures dont even do the markets justice! If you can imagine what Christmas feels like, it is simply all surrounded in the markets... its hard to describe, just something everyone should experience (and I plan on experiencing a lot while im here!).

Reading with folks has been going well. It still amazes me that even though I have heard some of these stories over and over again, I always seem to see a new meaning in each one each time. Even from reader to reader, I pick up on something different. It just utterly amazes me how Gods word is never changing and yet always morphing. If that makes sense...

I watched the movie A Beautiful Life tonight. I loved it! Absolutely loved it. If you haven't seen it yet, go rent it now! I only hope that if I were in the same shoes I could have an attitudes like theirs. People who do just leave me speechless!

I think thats all for now! We have EBS on Friday, and english movie night on monday! Hopefully we will have some more people come this time!!!!

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: Do not go where the path may lead; go instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. ~Ralph Emmerson

November 22, 2009

Roller Coaster

Today I had two very interesting lessons, the first was in Chemnitz this morning. The title was "Life in a 'Second Choice' World". It was about not looking back and living with a Christ centered world. How everyone dreams of doing things, having lots of money, a spouse, 2 kids and a picket fence, that job promotion, ect. But when we become Christians we are where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be there. There is no looking back. Being a Christian is the second choice world from what we originally imagined. Paul was used as an example in the lesson, one that was on the opposite spectrum from what he originally expected in life.

Then this afternoon we went to Leipzig for worship and had another amazing lesson about the Christian life as a roller coaster. We looked at the life of Peter and the ups and downs of his life. Just when Peter thought he was at his spiritual highs he was actually at his lowest, and yet he still had an earnest heart for God and continually kept going after his downs.

Both messages really hit home today. Tonight on the train ride back we were talking about what our plans were for after graduation. As we all sit on a train in Germany lol. Life here is a lot like a roller coaster. It is absolutely exciting and invigorating to be a part of Gods work and know that I am doing work for the Kingdom. At the same time though, it is unbelievably scary! At any moment, something I say or do could influence someone in the wrong way. Just when I think I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing I get a little tap on the shoulder from God. Thanks God. For example:

I mentioned a new reader last week. She would be about my moms age and has a daughter that is a year younger than I am and a son 2 years older than me. She went to church on and off as a child but does not attend anymore. Last week, in prep for our reading, I was really looking forward to the conversations because it was over Jesus being left in the temple and his parents having to come back and look for him. Great story, great conversation starters right? What I wasn't expecting was the question, "What is heaven?" Seems like a simple question right? How would one explain heaven to someone who knows and is familiar with a lot of Bible stories but doesn't know Heaven? It was an interesting few minutes of me trying to explain. I finally told her I would come back with a better explanation next week. Which of course opens the door for all kinds of conversations of what happens after death.

Anyways, all that said it has been a great day! I finally got my newsletter sent out last night! Booo! I thought i sent it out earlier this week and found it odd that I hadn't gotten any responses.... and then noticed I had another draft in the draft folder... and there it was! Sitting in the drafts folder! So it went out just a little late! All is alright though!

Larry and Guido should be back from Bulgaria tomorrow, I am looking forward to hearing more about their trip! This week I have readers almost every day. I am on the hunt for a winter jacket this week! Its going to get cold soon... no comment, but I want to be ready!

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard

November 19, 2009

The Pace of Life

It never ceases to amaze me the way the human mind works. I am in constant awe of people. When I first got here the cross walks amused me. People would not cross if the light was red. Even if no one was coming. If you did cross, you could be sure there was someone waiting on the other side to tell you not to cross on red (in german of course). I say this from experience if you haven't figured that out yet!

At first I wondered, "Is it so instilled that no one should cross on red that they dont even think about it?" And then occasionally i see people cross on red. So i reevaluated, "Do they not cross because they are afraid of the windy roads?" which is a legit reason to not want to cross, there is no telling how fast someone could be coming. And then I thought to myself, "Perhaps it is because it is easier to follow the rules than to be different..." The answer I'm still not sure of.

It seems as though everyone tries to be so different. In their appearance, how they act, what they do, where they live ect and yet we are all the same!

I was watching some kids from church today, and although none of them speak english, and I don't speak german, we are able to communicate and still have a good time. It is that we are all still basically the same.

On a side note- we got locked out of the apartment this evening. Which is always an exciting experience! After karen and I tried to break in, and then got the kiddos to help us (with the idea that perhaps if we could get the top window town we could lower one of the children through to open the door...) we had to call Roy. Alas, no luck. Pam got home, the kids left and Roy went home. It seemed as though all hope was lost... both my keys and Karen's keys were inside and Larry had the extra keys in Bulgaria with him on his key ring. Hope was gone. Pam Karen and I recalculated and attacked again. Again, no luck. Karen then goes inside to look for something, when she does so, she decides to check Pam's keys once more. Upon doing so, she unzips the pouch on Pams keychain, only to find our house-key within its folds!!! Success! After much fretting, unscrewing, pushing, and pulling, we used a key to reenter our home triumphantly!

The end :)

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility. ~Bonhoeffer (that ones for you Roy!)

November 16, 2009

German Class

I started clas yesterday. It actually went much better than I expected! There are 8 people, Tiff and I are the youngest... lol. We have a guy, Hussam, from the middle east, a lady from the Ukraine, one from Tiland, one from the country to the left of Tiland, Nigeria, and Brazil. So it is a pretty diverse group. Most can speak some german so that can be intimidating but tiff and are in chapter 3 and we are starting in chapter 1, so this is all a repeat for us. On a side note- english is a universal language, so almost everyone speaks some english which means it is the language that is used if people dont understand what is being said in german.

I met with another reader yesterday. We started the book of John, which might have been a mistake on my part... she had already finished luke when I got here, and did some Acts with the LST team, but we started Acts again, and then went back to John. To say the least I was attempting to explain the difference in a Temple and "the church" and what the book of Acts was about and how we had backtracked a little in the story line and were reading another "version" of Luke. Oh it was a mess, she said she understood, but i'm not so sure... I think after we finish John we will read through Acts straight out of the NT and ill improve questions.

Okay i need to finish getting ready for class! be good and do good!

Quote: Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalms 25.5

November 15, 2009

2 Months

Its hard to believe I have already been here 2 months! Time has just flown by and we have done so much!

I got to talk to a lot of my friends this weekend. I miss my friends a lot. Family too, but friends are hard. One day I even picked up the phone to call and realized where I was and what time it was. Everyone here is amazing, don't get me wrong, and I am building new relationships, it is just hard to put the ones I have worked on all my life and for the past 4 years on the back burner and start new. Thats just part of it I guess.

Last night was singing in Chemnitz, once a month we have Saxony singing and it was Chemnitz's time to host. It went really well, there weren't as many people as I expected, but a lot of people are out sick. Speaking of sick, swine flu has hit germany! Crazy crazy!

This morning we had worship, it was focused on the Lord's supper. It is days like today, when some of the men were giving their testimonies that made me want to learn German so I would be able to understand! Tiffany and I start a german class in the morning. I am looking forward to it. I am.... maybe if I keep telling myself that it will help make it more true. There will be more people there, so that will be nice. I actually am looking forward to the class. I am more of a scheduled person, so having class everyday will be good.

I think that about does it for news this direction. Keep Larry in your prayers, he and Guido are taking the clothes for Bulgaria to Bulgaria in the morning, it will take them 2 days to get there and 2 days to get back. So they will get their wednesday and then turn around and come back.

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand. ~Chinese proverb

November 13, 2009

Visa

This week has been CRAZY BUSY!!!! Which is perfect because thats the way I like it!!!

Monday I met with one of my readers. We finished the book of Acts so now I think we will move on to John or the Good News book, im not sure yet. She is a very interesting lady and I enjoy reading with her and the conversation we are able to have.

Monday afternoon Roy Tiff and I all hopped a train to Dresden to visit Janine and Vanessa. Janine showed us around some of downtown Dresden and then we met up with Vanessa while Janine was in class and picked a spot for supper. We all enjoyed supper at a quaint italian restaurant. Tiff was feeling a little sick, and we were out late the night before in Leipzig, so we skipped the English Bible study and came back to Chemnitz. We had a fun adventure on the train when we got here though, we were on an express instead of a regular train, which means it doesnt stop at all the little stops in town... aka the stop right up the street from our house. So once we realized we weren't getting off in Chemnitz, we rode to the next little down and killed 45 minutes at the train stop while we waited for the next train to come. It was defiantly a fun adventure!

Tuesday morning I met with a new reader. It went very well and I am looking forward to getting to know her better. She has some Bible knowledge, she went to church some when she was little, so she knows the basic stories that we are reading. She was very friendly and jovial, which is rare the first time you meet Germans (for the most part not always). So I am really looking forward to reading with her!

Wednesday Steffi came over for lunch as well as Larry and Pam and Karen was home. So it was nice to spend some time with everyone. Meals are always a good time to hang out and spend time together. After lunch Karen Steffi and I played some skip-bo and chatted.

Thursday Tiffany and I made a trip to the Christian book store in town. We successfully made it there and back! That was a fun trip! We found a Bible for Ceili that had French, German and English! Karen and I ordered one from the book store about a month ago and we thought it was German/English, and sine we ordered mine and tiffanys off Amazon we didnt need that one anymore. Ceili didnt have a german/english bible so i was gonig to get it for her, but when we got there and saw the bible they ordered it was all 3. So what your thinking, its a bible.... well, Ceilie speaks English and French, German is her third language! So it was perfect.

Side note- it is a small world! I dont think Ive written about Ceili on here yet. She is an exchange student from the states, Organ, who just graduated HS and wanted to do a year abroad. She showed up at EBS the same time the Vienna students where here, and came over to play cards afterwards. Come to find out, Ceili did a lot with Cascade, and her host family here lives literally about a block away! How neat is that? Yay God! Theres not much more you can say to that lol, it is just so coincidental!

Back on track, Thursday afternoon Roy and I met with the older couple we read with. He and I had a very interesting reading, we did the story of the paralyzed pan that was lowered through a hole in the ceiling to Jesus feet. Jesus tells the man, "your sins are forgiven", and then the Pharisee's get mad and tell Jesus he doesn't have the authority to say that, so, in my words, Jesus tells the man to stand up that he is healed, and the man does and everyone is amazed. Its a pretty deep story. So I asked my reader, who is an older gentleman, "so, as Christians, what does this story tell us about sin and forgiveness?" I was expecting something a long the lines of, "we have to ask God for forgiveness of our sins, not man... ect." something along those lines. But what he said, was more along the lines of, "People who are sick, are sick because they have not asked forgiveness of their sins." So I clarified, "so do you mean people who are sick, are ill because of their sins?" "yes". Wow! I have heard people who thought that, but I have never actually ran into one! It defiantly took me for a loop!

Thursday night we had Ladies Bible Study, we talked about contentment. Which is always interesting. We talked about being content with our material things, which is a problem, but I think spiritual contentment is more of a problem. Getting to comfortable where we are to even realize we are standing still and being idle. Another time....

Today we went and applied for our visas. Tiffany and Roy already have a 6 month visa and I went to get mine for 2 years. We had a bit of a hang up, our insurance letters from IMG and our letters from the HIM program were both in english, so we have to get both of those in German. Which the HIM letter wont be a big deal, not sure exactly how we are going to do the insurance letter yet, I think Larry had some idea about someone here. So, anyways, we all left with a check list of things to do before we come back!

Tonight we are having a game night!!! Yay!!!! Anyways, now everyone is up to speed! It was a crazy busy week! Good times good times!

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: Hope means seeing the outcome you want is possible, and then working for it. ~ Bernie Siegel

November 9, 2009

Crazy Busy

This weekend was crazy busy! Saturday we got up and did some cleaning around the house. and then I went shopping.

Here is a shopping story for your enjoyment: Karen and I sat down to make a shopping list, knowing that we needed to leave by 12:30 and it was already 10:30. I, trying to be a nice roommate, offered to do the shopping so Karen could get ready. We make our list, and I grab the basket to do the shopping across the street. What should have taken maybe 20 minutes, took an hour and half. While I did all the shopping in the states, not being able to read what the labels say here can be and is very frustrating! Apparently chicken, which usually looks something like "Huhn....fliesh", goes out the window around november and turkey, "pute", comes in! Odd, because Germans don't celebrate Thanksgiving because it is not a significant over here lol. Anyways, after standing in the meat section for about 20 minutes trying to translate everything that was minced and had "huhn" in it, i decided nothing even looked close to chicken and left! Good thing though, because alas they had none of what I was searching for (chicken strips and breasts). I ended up going to another store around the corner but it was a fun shopping adventure. They have all kinds of meats here, and they mix them together a lot! everything is minced meat! Another day I will write about the adventures of attempting to make hamburgers lol.

Saturday was Alex's gymnastic competition. He did a really good job! It was around 7 when we made it back, so Karen, Alex, Steffi and I all had supper together and watch an episode of Greys.

Sunday we had church that morning, I really enjoyed the lessons. Alex (big Alex that preaches not sport Alex) is going through the book of Mark and talked about how we should do service with a prayerful perspective, and Steffin gave a lesson about arousing God's love in our lives through searching for Him. That afternoon, Roy, Tiff, Ceili, Jan and myself all hopped on a train to Leipzig where we went to worship. We had another great lesson from Larry about Gods love and forgiveness.

Today Roy Tiff and myself are heading to Dresden to visit Janine and Vanessa, two of the college age kids from Chemnitz who are in Dresden at University. I met with a reader this morning, and we have already worked completely through the Acts book! It was kinda weird to think I have already been here for 2 months! She was my first reader and we have already finished a book, it has gone by so fast! Exciting though, because we are able to have some very good conversations!

I say all that to say this week is also very busy so I probably won't be posting until next weekend. Have a wonderful week!

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: The best ideas come as jokes. May your thinking be as funny as possible! ~David Ogilvy

I say all that

November 6, 2009

EBS

We had our English Bible Study last night, which takes place the 1st and 3rd friday of each month. We always sing for a bit, then have a short lesson, and then sing a little more if we have the time. Last night we had the time and I loved it!

We were singing the song Magnificent which is cut into 4 parts (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass) and as I sang my part concentrating on keeping my words right and the meaning, I looked up to listen. It was in that moment, the moment I stopped trying, that I realized that no matter how insignificant one person may feel, when we are all together we become a mighty force. I was thinking about how each person, sitting in no particular order, sings a different part. And I don't know about everyone else, but I don't have an amazing singing voice so I wasn't belting it out. Most people were doing their best to follow along with the song. But hearing them. Hearing them all. Each person with their quiet singing voice, came together to make 4 distinct choruses which were absolutely beautiful.

It made me realize, not only here, but when I was in the states, that no matter what I am doing, as a Christian everything counts. Everything. Each part of that, when pared with others, is God. That is God moving and working. It is an intricate system developed by the creator. How amazing is that? How awesome is it to be a part of that. Now I've heard tons of lessons over 1 Cor. 12, but it struck me again and new last night so I thought I would share that thought.

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: Coincidence is Gods way of remaining anonymous. ~Albert Einstein

Pictures!!!






Alright so here are some of the pictures I have been promising!
From top to bottom: A lovely bench in the cemetery up the road!
The next two are random views of the city from tram number 4.
The pumpkin we carved on Halloween!
And last but not least, the group of us that played cards and carved a pumpkin!

Tomorrow Alex has another competition so there will be more pictures to come of him!
Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. ~Henry David Thoreau


November 5, 2009

Oh Snickers

Snickers gets the title of the blog today because, as Larry and Pam's dog, she is going through a very confusing time of transition. She is at their house Tuesday through Sunday and our house, Sunday through Tuesday. All that said, it being Thursday, she is sitting at the door barking to be let in at the current moment. I believe there is a picture of the two of us somewhere on a previous post.

A recap of this week:

Monday I was at the market downtown. Not just the usual market, but the HUGE market that comes the first monday of each month. It was a rainy cold day here so the tram was a little more crowded than usual, as public transportation is the main form of transportation for people. I ventured downtown to see the market that Barbara had told Tiffany and I about the week before when we met with her. I was not prepared for what was waiting! I would compare it to a craft fair in the states with much more gifted and talented crafts! People had pottery, wooden crafts, table clothes, the list could go on. I was in awe walking around through the crowded downtown. I must have looked especially German on Monday because no sooner did I step off of the bus were people constantly trying to talk to me. I guess I have perfected my, "Ich Verstehe kein Duetsch" well enough that people do not believe me when I tell them I don't speak German. Anyways, I spent about an hour and half meandering through the streets looking at everyones trade and trying to compare the differences between them.

Monday night we hosted out first English Movie Night! We watched The Emporor's Club which always generates good discussions. There were only 6 people total, which was a little disappointing, but it went very well. We had a great discussion about morality and character. Our plan is to meet the first Monday of each month and show a movie followed by discussion of issues brought up in the movie. Next month, in honor of the Christmas season, we are watching Its A Wonderful Life hosted by Roy and Tiffany. Hopefully we will get more people to show up!

Tuesday was still rainy and cold. I spent most of the day attempting my German homework. The sentence structures are killing me! That afternoon, two of the young adults from the church came over for supper that Tiffany and I had prepared. It was the 5 of us, (Karen included). It was a great time of fellowship and just getting to know one another! That night was topped off with tuesday night Bible study over the book of Corinthians. Since I cannot understand the lesson, I try to read the scripture they are talking about and journal about it. Its not the same as Bible class, but I can occasionally pick up on something and try to figure out what the lesson is about in context.

Wednesday was German day! German pretty much dominates the day! I have another attempt at my German homework in the morning and run an errands that need to be done, and then at 12:30 Tiffany and I set off across town. We get back around 4:10ish for our meeting with our supervisors at 4:30. We took the Myers Briggs as a team, it is interesting to see how oddly accurate the test came out for all of us.

Today I spent the morning working at the church helping to put in a flower garden edge. This afternoon is the older couple that Roy and I read with. Today I met with them alone, Roy wasn't able to make it, so the three of us chatted and had coffee. I asked them about their weekend, and they had visited a small village near Siffon and hiked to the oldest Jewish synagog still left in Eastern Germany. From there I asked about their lives during the DDR time. The husband had mentioned that he was a police officer at one point before he retired, so I wasn't sure exactly where the conversation was about to go, but he told me he started in 1990 immediately after the wall came down. It was very interesting to hear their stories from when they were growing up and all the Jewish people leaving. Hopefully we will be able to talk about that more later!

And alas, here I am. Tonight I am having a quiet evening along. Sorry that is a really long post. I will post some pictures tomorrow night or Saturday. Now I am done.

Quote: People only see what they are prepared to see. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

November 1, 2009

The Older We Get

I know it has been a while since I have posted on here, sorry about that. It has been kinda busy around here this weekend.

Last week was filled with packing clothes for Bulgaria, readers and German lessons! Friday I attempted to go coat shopping with Tiffany and Ceili. I failed, but I did get an idea of what I am looking for. Larry said he would take us back so he could put in his two-cents on the coats since we really have no idea what we are looking for....

Saturday was fall cleaning day! We spent the morning cleaning up around the house. Pulling weeds, raking, and cutting the summer garden back. It was nice to spend some time in the cool brisk air. Saturday evening we had a card night and played some skip-bo and uno. We also carved a pumkin! That was fun! Germans don't really celebrate halloween like we do in the states, but they had pumkins out so we went for it! Everyone seemed to enjoy it! Hopefully I will have some pictures for you in a few days!

Sunday, we had church and then Karen and I relaxed for a bit that afternoon. The evening held sport which went well. There is a lot going on this week.

Monday we are hosting our first English Movie night. Please pray for the these as we are hoping to make them a good outreach tool! There is just a lot going on this week lol.

So now to whats on my mind. I have come to the conclusion that the older we get, or at least the older I get, the more I appreciate life and the beauty that encompasses it. I honestly dont think I would have appreciated some of the things that I do now, 5 years ago. And I am sure in 5 more years I will scratch my head and wonder how I didn't appreciate being here as much as I do.

For example. The hills. I love the hills. I find my eyes constantly roaming the landscape for a glimpse of what is on the other side. Be it an old building, a family on a walk, or a green field. That could be the human desire for more, or the adventurous side that just wonders what else is out there. But I like to think that God places that wonder in us. That wonder that makes us want to keep looking. To look for Him in the everyday things.

I say all this because today after church when karen, Ceili and I were taking the Omis (grandmas) home, and it was just the 3 of us, we topped a hill, and I found my self glued to the little piece of countryside I could see. I was completely lost in the conversation, my eyes fixated on the beautiful patch of trees and farm land that lay miles away upon the crest of a hill. It wasn't until I heard Karen and Ceilis laughter did I realize that I had completely zoned out. I was in my own little world, my own little search for God.

The funny thing is, even on the trams, I find myself always searching the horizon to see what is out there. Where is it that I could possibly see some sort of beauty that could come close to God. If I can see so much beauty in what God has done here on earth, I can not even begin to fathom what heaven will be like....

Quote: You find God the moment you realize that you don't need to seek God. ~Unknown

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

October 26, 2009

Great Weekend!






This past weekend was absolutely amazing. I would have to say my favorite thus far. Friday I wondered around and took pictures and rode the tram for fun. That night Larry, Pam, Karen, and Sven all made it back from the retreat safely. Janine stopped by. It was just a great day.

Saturday was busy, we started with ladies breakfast and then had Alex's, competition and after that Janine's concert. The breakfest was great, there is a pic above Mario, Pam and Tiff cleaning up. Alex's competition was A-Mazing! There was a nice sized group of us from the church their to cheer which always makes things better! And then Janine's concert was a blast! I heard some songs I haven't heard in a long time and Janine was absolutely amazing. When she said she was in a band I half-heartedly laughed not really knowing what to expect, but they were good! Almost all of the songs were in english too, which is always a plus!

Sunday started with church. After church we had a pot-luck. There weren't a lot of people there, but that kinda made it nice because it wasnt crazy! Alex brought his mom, so it was nice to get to meet her and have her meet everyone. Sunday afternoon, Roy, Tiff, Ceili (pronounced Kay-lee), Yan, and myself all went to Leipzig together for worship. Worship was great, it was all of us, Marc and Karen, and Pam and Larry. After that, Marc took Roy, Tiff, Ceili and I back to the train station.

From the time Marc dropped us off was an adventure in and of itself. In summary: we ordered Pizza Hut and had to take it to go; the train was waaaay to crowded so hopped off and caught the next one, we played cards the entire way back, we got to see Chemnitz downtown at night which was lovely, and I learned that the bus driver hears a "beep" every-time you push the "stop" button....

All said, it was a great weekend! I am looking forward to what this week will hold! Wednesday we are packing more clothes for Bulgaria, Thursday Tiff and I are meeting Barbra in the morning and Friday, Tiff, Ceili, and I are all going coat shopping together!

So above are some pictures of everything. I dont have the pictures from Janines concert uploaded yet, but hopefully I got some decent ones! Oh yea, and Olesnitz is at the top. We went back a week or so ago and put in some insulation in the floor before they pour concrete on it.

Parting Quote: Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. ~ Will Durant

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

October 22, 2009

Whirlwind



This week has been out there! Karen, Larry, Pam and Sven are at a Bible Seminar and have been gone all week, which means it has been Roy, Tiffany and I all week!

Things have been great, Monday I still wasn't feeling very well so I spent the morning in bed and ventured out to get a puzzle monday afternoon. I also started listening to New Moon on audio book again. Monday night Alex came over with Tiffany and we all watched Twilight together. Tuesday I went downtown to find a charger for my camera so I can take pictures on Saturday. I spent some time at the church pulling some weeds and then came back and got ready for Bible class Tuesday night. Wednesday Marion came over for coffee. It was great getting to chat with her. I look forward to getting to know her better. Tiffany came down after a bit and we all had a good time together! That afternoon Tiff and I had a german lesson. it went very well! I am feeling much better about my german now. I can understand some more, and I can figure out more, but I am still not very confident in my pronunciations. Wednesday night Alex came over for supper and Roy, Tiff and I all had supper together and played games. That was a good time! I enjoy getting to hang out together.

Today I went downtown to print some family pictures because I realized I did not have pictures of a lot of my family! I had 2 readers this afternoon and we hit some pretty deep topics both times. Hopefully next week we can talk more about what we hit on this week.

Saturday is going to be busy, we have the ladies breakfast Saturday morning, and then Alex has a gymnastic competition that afternoon (which I am SUPER excited to see!!!!) and then Janine has a concert that night (which I am also SUPER excited to hear!). So its going to be a busy weekend!

Snickers and I have bonded this week, it has been great! Hints the pictures at the beginning! Anyways, I think thats all.

Quote: Sometimes He calms the storm. Other times, He calms the child.

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

October 15, 2009

Its snowing.... and I have a cold

This week the weather has gotten ridiculously cold! It has been chilly all week, but today it has snowed literally ALL DAY!!!! We all know how much i looooove the cold! But seriously, I do like the snow, not the biggest fan of the cold but thats just part of the deal!

Yesterday I had another German lesson. It went much better this week than last week! However, me being me, left my notebook on the tram when I switched over and had no idea until I got the house for lessons! No worries though, that just meant I didn't have a test!!!

After German, Karen, Alex and Jessi came and picked me up and went to Dresden to visit Steffi! We saw Steffis apartment then went downtown and visited Starbucks! I met a group of exchange students from a university, one guy was from South Carolina and one of the girls was from Texas! We talked about the crazy cold weather! After that we went to check out movies, to no avail there were no English movies, so we set out for another movie theater across town! We also stopped to see a replica of the Hundert Wasser house... just take that for what its worth. Anyways, it was fun finding it! It was in a really cool part of town and it was just getting dark so there were lights everywhere! I will try and get some pictures from karen and put them up later!

After that we made our way to Elba park and saw a movie! It was a German movie and I understood more than I thought I would. I have watched movies with english dub overs before, but this was the first English movie with German dub overs. It was much better than I expected! After the movie we were all pretty tired so we dropped Steffi off and headed back to Chemnitz! We had a nice chat all the way back, I got the question game going, and everyone knows how much I love to ask questions!

Today I met with the older couple I am reading with! Well, I am reading with the husband, and roy with the wife, but since Tiffanys parents are in town I met with both today. We just chatted, I asked them about their families and herd some stories about their lives. It was really cool! The husband was telling me about how he used to speak English as a boy with the Americans when they lived with him, and then later with the Russians. He said the Americans would always play with him and teach him words, but the Russians would never play with him, they were always very serious. Anyways, I invited them to English Bible Study tomorrow night. I dont know they will come or not, but we will see!

Larry has been really sick today, he doesnt get sick often, its been over 15 years since he has been this sick, but he is sick!! So not good! There is just nasty-ness going around! I am getting a head cold, no fun! Tomorrow I am heading back to Olesnitz to help put insulation in the new floor! I will try and get some pictures up!

That is all for now!

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all measures. ~Corita Kent

October 12, 2009

Sunny Days Have Come Again

The Vienna students made it in this weekend! We had 14 people total, 10 students and the sponsors with their 2 children. We packed over 150 (i dont remember the final count) bags of clothes to take the Bulgaria for the winter.

Our baseball party was rained out, sad day I know, never the less we played volleyball! We had a good turn out! I was a bit sad that none of the random people I had met and given invites to came, but so goes life! We still had some new people come!

I also met another American here, Steffi actually met here somewhere. Hopefully we will get to hang out with her some more! I am making some more friends here which helps. Not that I dont love the people I already know here lol, but I am meeting more people and getting to know them better!

We went to a worship service in Leipzig last night- that was an amazing experience! We missed the sermon due to some directional issues, but made it in time for communion and some singing!

It is truly a blessing to have the opportunity to see a new church form! The transitions that are going on, watching the native members take on leadership at the church here and witnessing a new church sprouting up truly leaves me in awe of God and how He moves in us and through us.

Alas this has been a long post so I shall end it. Have a great week! Be good and do good!

Sarah B

Quote: The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands. ~Robert Persig

October 9, 2009

Rough Day

Hey folks!

Life here is going good! This weekend is going to be crazy busy! The Vienna students get in this afternoon, I need to go get some goodies for them in just a little bit! We have a baseball party tomorrow and then Sunday a pot luck!

Lets back track a little. I went to Dresden to visit Janine on Wednesday. It was a great day, I rode the train all by myself successfully! I did get a bit of motion sickness though, granted I was riding backwards the entire way which im sure had a lot to do with it! She showed me around the university in Dresden and then we stopped at an odd looking church and went inside, that was fun! We went downtown to starbucks and the mall. Good times! Then we went to KFC for lunch, that was exciting! I got hot wings (there are not a lot of hot things here) and they were great! Then we went to a science museum! That was amazing! It was like the omniplex for adults! Lots of hands on stuff! There were english translations on most everything too so it made it even better! Then we went for coffee, to Janines apartment and then to the Dresden english Bible study and back on the train!
I got back to Chemnitz just fine on the train, but got off one stop to soon for my train stop. Luckily (keep in mind it was around 10:45) it was somewhere in town I recognized! I walked up to the next bus stop and saw one was coming in about 5 minutes so I waited and made it home by 11 just fine!

Thursday was a rough day. I was still frustrated with myself from the night before and not looking forward to starting German lessons. Tiffany and I went over to Steffens house and started our lesson. Long story short, I freaked out just a bit. All was okay, and I calmed down, but it was a frustrating day. Last night we had the ladies Bible Study which is in english and that helped! We had a great turn out, we talking about being thankful and how to be thankful. It was a very good lesson!

Today is prep for the Vienna students. Like I said, busy weekend ahead. English Bible Study tonight (Hey look at that, 3 this week!) and set up for the morning. In the morning we are sorting clothes for Bulgaria and then tomorrow afternoon we are having the Baseball party! Tomorrow night we are having a few friends over and playing card games with the girls we will have staying with us. Sunday we have a pot luck and then taking the group back to the train station.

Anyways, alls well that goes well. One foot in front of the other. Its odd, I find myself standing at a bus stop and listening to the wind rustle the leaves as they roll past. Admiring the cobble stone streets that people have walked on for years, hundreds of years.

Europe has a majestic err about it. I dont really know how to explain it. Sometimes it doesn't even seem like Im not in the states, and then other times, one is utterly aware of the insignificance of one human life. At the same time, one can't help but imagine all of the influences each of the insignificant lives have had. The same insignificant people that have sauntered across the same stones.

Unlimited possibilities....

Quote: Success is permanent, and failure isn't fatal. ~ Mike Ditka

October 6, 2009

Almost a Month






Its hard to believe I have been here almost a month already! It certainly doesn't feel like it!

Well lets see, I was supposed to start German on Monday, however Friday I got an email (all in german mind you) that said my class had been canceled because there weren't enough people signed up. I am completely and utterly unmotivated to learn German.... kinda of bad when Im living in a country and cant understand what is being said. All that said, I start lessons with a gentleman from church on Thursday with Tiffany. He is a language instructor and is crazy smart lol. I hope I get it.... I just feel dumb when I am trying to learn, not like I just graduated from college. This will be a humbling experience....

Monday I ventured down to the train station and back- Friday the Vienna group comes and we are supposed to go meet them and bring them back to the church. But we have never taken the bus there and back. It went much easier and smoother than I expected :D. On a side note, while I was at the train station Monday I ate lunch at Burger King. Great place by the way, I tell you all this to say, they were very confused when I ordered a burger with just meat and nothing else. I really only wanted a burger and drink, no fries, but that was going to be to complicated so I paid the extra 50 cents to get deal with fries that I didnt touch... but it was extremely interesting as the manager and lady taking my order proceeded to point to each item that usually comes on a burger and ask me if i wanted it. The answer was always no...
Also, while I was in the train station monday, i meandered into the bookstore. I was casually looking at some newspapers, they had a few in English (much to expensive to buy or I would have!) when I noticed an older lady looking at the English section of books. Taking my cue I wondered over casually standing next to her, and asked her, "Hello, do you speak English?" She turned to me and greeted me with a friendly smile, and then responded, "I learned in University" and went back to looking at books. I then said, "Its so nice to hear someone else speak english, it is so rare to find." She then proceeded to walk away. Fail.

Tomorrow I am going to Dresden to visit Janine. That will be fun! I am riding the train by myself for the first time though, I am a bit nervous, not going to lie. But I am sure it will all be just fine! Not sure exactly what she has planned, I know Starbucks is in there somewhere!!!

Anyways, that is all for now! Here are some pictures I have taken of things around: We worked putting in a new floor in Olesnitz last week, the oldest tower in Saxony, Karl Marx's head, and a church downtown :)

Quote: We should not say that one man's hour is worth another man's hour, but rather that one man during an hour is worth just as much as another man during an hour. Time is everything, man is nothing: he is at most time's carcass. ~Karl Marx

September 30, 2009

Sigh

Its been a while since I have updated on here- sorry...

Lets recap with whats happened.... I met with my first readers last week! That was VERY exciting!

This particular reader we will call Mrs. K, Mrs. K told her neigbors about us, so they came to read that afternoon with Tiffany and I. The readings went well, I need to review a little before tomorrows reading though!

Last week was my friends birthday so Karen and I went to watch his gymnastic practice and then we had a singing night for the younger group on friday and made that a surprise birthday party for him. That was a good time!

Saturday Karen and I were invited to one of the older ladies house for lunch, it was good! I am working on eating more meat.... lol its not that I dont like meat, i have nothing against it, i am just more of a veggi eater. Anyways, it was fun! We went to another older ladies garden with the first older lady and had ice cream out in the garden! That was great!

The pace of life here is just so much different than I am used to. It has been a bit of culture shock with how little people rush around to get things done. I really like it lol!

We got the baseball invitations printed for the baseball game next saturday with the OC Vienna group, I went out monday with the intention of handing out some invitations. My goal was to give out 5. Just 5. I failed... not even one. I just couldn't seem to find anyone who actually spoke any english. So Tuesday I went out again, going to another mall, with the goal of handing out 3. At least on Tuesday I got 1 out. Better than nothing I suppose. Who knows. I was a bit frustrated and disappointed with myself that I couldn't give them out though. All in good time I suppose...

I start my german class next week. Not going to lie, I am scared... but hopefully it will help speed up the German... I certainly hope so anyways, but its going to be hard. Maybe I can hand out some baseball invites there!

On a side note- the Doner man up the street thought I was from great Britain and insisted I drink some hot green apple cider tasting stuff. It was good, but made me laugh he thought I was from GB.

All is going well here, tomorrow Larry, Roy, and myself are going to Oelsnitz to help work on their floor and then Roy and I have the married couple again. The ladies are at the German woman's retreat. I decided to sit this one out, 1, because it is all in german and I dont understand any of it, and 2, because it was really expensive for me to not understand anything! Tiffany braved it and went though, I cant wait to hear about it! They get back on Friday!

I think that is it for now. All is good. No real homesickness yet. Ive missed some friends a bit, but after some skype dates it helps.

Quote: Dont take life to seriously, otherwise you'll never get out alive. ~ Elbert Hubbard

September 17, 2009

German




Oh my, so I started my German lessons today. That was exciting.... I feel like I am back in remedial retarded class. Ahhh but so goes life, I have to start at the beginning! Lets see, I went and registered somewhere downtown today, that was exciting! But the most exciting thing is my new fish Timon! Now I know you are thinking Timon from the lion king, you know, timon and pumba! But that is kinda close- but it is "T-Moan"! Ha take that suckas!!!!

Here are some pictures to taunt your eyeballs! 

September 15, 2009

1 week!






I will have been in Chemnitz for one week tomorrow morning! Things here have been crazy busy, just the way I like it! 

Above are some pictures, a few of my room, the sideways one is up the street and the park is around the corner and that is where we play baseball!!!! 

The delicious looking food up there is a Donur, the most amazing thing ever! It is pita (like) bread, and lamb slices, and garlic sauce! MMMMMM it is deliciouse!!!! 

So that is all for now, i'm pooped! I am going to get a fish tomorrow though and I will post a pic eventually! 

Quote: God's gifts puts mans dreams to shame! 

Be good and do good!

Sarah B

September 11, 2009

Time Flies

Its hard to believe it is already Friday! It hasn't hit me yet that I am actually here. Things have been crazy busy since I landed! Lets recap: 
Left OKC Tuesday at 12:20, I sat next to a very lovely man from OKC that was on his way to Niagara Falls, he installs breathalyzers in cars :) that made me smile because I knew exactly what he did! Arrived in Chicago at 2:30. Got to my gate at 2:45 for my 3:45 flight- stopped and got a pumpkin spice frap from starbucks and a muffin for lunch. The terminal was packed. When they did start loading at about 3:15 everyone on their grandmas got in line.... i missed that memo... But no worries, about 3:25 when I realized everyone was gone I too got in line! Once in line I realized my backpack was waaaay to big and I really didnt want to sit with it between my legs like i did for the last flight! So i voluntarily asked if it would fit and the lady laughed and said no, i would have to check it. I was not excited about this because that means it would be more, so I groaned, but proceeded to the check out deciding i would rather spend another $100 than be uncomfortable for an 8 hour flight! To my pleasant surprise, they checked the bag for free and said I could pick it up with the rest of my luggage in Dresden! Once on the plane, I was in the second seat in next to an older lady who wanted me to change seats with her grandson, that she wanted me to find.... i chuckled and told her I would not mind changing seats, but I did not know her grandson, therefore I did not know who to look for. She found him, we switched, it was great! It was about 3:45 at this point. We move out and get in line to take off and get going around 4:15-ish. I sat next to a lady from Illinois who is on a Martin Luther tour in Germany, and a man from Poland who was visiting family in Chicago on Holiday. It was a great flight! I didnt sleep much though, which was not to my advantage but it all worked out. I pretty much lost my night. We arrived about 6:50 in frankfurt the next morning (whuch would have been about 11:50 pm OK time).
Wednesday: Arrived in Frankfurt. After unloading the plane, I found a man under a sign that was helping people and he looked at my ticket, told me my gate had changed and crossed out the 9:30 and wrote 8:30. (9:30 was the leave time from frankfurt to dresden). So I went on my merry way to find my gate. Got my passport stamped with no problems. I met another very nice man who was on vacation from Chicago and was meeting a freind in Frankfurt and then they were traveling for 2 weeks. There was also a very helpful lady behind me that grew up in Virginia and then moved to Italy (her mom was in the military) in high school and met her husband and has been their since. She gave me a lot of helpful tips and helped me not freak out looking for my gate! I found the new gate, only to find that the plane had not been moved up an hour, so I still had plenty of time. I bought a coke because I was soooo thirsty! It was 3 Euro, booo! waited for my flight and arrived in Dresden about 10:30. I walked out around 10:50ish and found Larry and Pam, and Roy and Tiffany waiting :) yay for friends! We loaded up and headed back to Chemniz where Karen and a delicious lasagna waiting and we all had lunch together, and Marc and Karen got to come too! That afternoon Tiff took me up to a some stores and showed me how to get there, which will be very handy! We came back and I unpacked my room and stuff to get settleded, then we went over and helped Marc and Karen load up their moving vans. I was exahusted. 
Thursday: Woke up at 3 am and had a mini-freak out. But it was okay :). Went back to sleep at 4 and did not wake up to my alarm when it went off at 7 :(. I heard larry knocking at 8 and jumped up and got ready super fast and we were on the road by 8:15 to Leipzig to unload Marc and Karen. They live on the 4th floor I think, something like that, it was up a lot of stairs! We got them all moved in, started to head back, stopped and McDonalds for lunch then got back around 3:30. I got to speak with Larrys reader, I dont remember his name so we will call him Mr. Man, he was nice, I read with him once last summer for Clint. Then Larry got home, and i went to the church with Karen to help her clean. Got back a few minutes til 6. Got ready for English Bible study since it was here, and then people started to come around 6:45. Bible study was great, we talked about choosing our actions. Then I went to bed yay :). 
Friday: Got up and went downtown with Roy and Tiffany, got lots of stuff :)! They are getting ready to paint their apartment! and I just got back and had my first Donor. Ok I gotta get off of here, we (Karen, Janine and myself) are going on a Singles Retreat this weekend and I need to pack and go buy a snack! 

Please keep my fundraising in your prayers. Funds are coming in, but very slowly! I have around 5 of 30 thousand. 

Quote: Dare not to do what the world expects you to do! ~William Zinsser