As the World turns…

So, our first European trip as family is now coming to a close. Sorry we haven’t kept you more up to date, but wow, has it been busy! We have ministered in Italy, Croatia and now Germany. We have also traveled through Slovenia, France, Switzerland and celebrated the Easter weekend in Monaco. Our mode of transportation has been trains, which would have never been my first choice! However, sorting out buying a vehicle along with registering and storing it is not a split decision. There was also the option of a rental car here, but in Europe with the exchange rate and a vehicle that fits all of us and our luggage totals up to be about $1000 per week with drop off fee. If anyone can understand the frustration of all of that and would like to sow into a vehicle for us in Europe…we won’t decline it! 🙂 Thank God we have had Andrea “Andy” to help us with the luggage on and off trains!

Here is a run down on what the time here has been like from my point of view:

Italy: Things were perfectly arranged for our arrival at Rhema Italy. Two men picked us up promptly and took us to the church/ apartment quarters. Food was prepared for us every night that was of course…Italian! The days were left for us to recover from our children who ended up not adjusting very well to the time change. They woke us every night for between 2-3 hours and wanted to hang out. After 2 weeks of this, well, you can imagine. We really wanted to sleep. We slept in the same room with the girls and Andy slept in the front living room. The middle living room with the kitchen was saved for the wake up times in the middle of the night, but more often than not, once one woke, so did the other. Both girls adapt incredibly well to different places and people. They really are graced to go and do. They loved Italy as much as I do, both the people and the food!

The ministry time with them was also incredible. Cliff and I shared an evening of ministry in the Bible School. Cliff shared on “Why Invest in Youth” and I did a sermon comparing Esther’s life to each of ours. Cliff also shared both Wednesday evening services to the adults while I ministered to the youth. We had a great time! There was also an awesome youth conference. The youth conference on Thursday and Friday was for leaders and on Saturday and Sunday for the youth. There were 6 churches represented on Saturday night and lots of very hungry teens and young adults. Cliff has used an example before that I like. When we are ministering in Europe to the youth, it is as if we have an eyedropper of water and everybody wants it. They are so hungry!!! In addition to all of the great ministry, Cliff also spent a week helping redesign their youth room.

Thanks to Rhema Italia and everyone who invested into making our visit incredibly special!

Our travel from Verona, Italy to Krk Croatia started with a train ride for 3 hours, then to a bus for 2 hours and then a car ride for 1 hour. We only forgot one thing, Tori’s car seat on the train. It’s a good thing that the investment into the youth is so rewarding. It makes all the traveling woes worth it, unless you stop seeing through God’s eyes.

Croatia: We have visited the island of Krk many times over the years, but haven’t been back for 3 years. We have a great desire to see this island touched for the glory of God! This visit left us feeling the way that Jesus must have felt when He said “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”. It is so hard to go somewhere and to see people that need the Gospel and the inability to do anything about it. Laborers for God are ones that get to CHOOSE what they want to do and I can say with great confidence that someone or someones have disobeyed God’s request in moving to this place. There are so many churches in the USA, many cities without Full Gospel witnesses. However, there are many cities that already have a church and someone starting another one that is not necessary except for the church hopping Christians who are unwilling to submit to any Pastor. I know this is a touchy subject, but it is true, nonetheless. Moving to the mission field and/or supporting missionaries (faithfully) is sometimes hard, uncomfortable and requires a willingness to lay down your life and comforts. If 4+ billion people are still going to Hell, there aren’t enough Christians willing to lay down their comforts and take up His cross!

Anyways, back to Krk. Once again, we were able to go into the Public High School of Krk. Jelena, our connection to Croatia was gracious in having us into her school again. Things have changed quite a lot in the past couple of years as so we were careful, but once again had incredible opportunities to share. We also invited the students to come hang out at a cafe in the evenings. One young lady, exploring every kind of religion said she heard that we are really into God. At that point, we hadn’t said anything about God, but the door was opened and so we did, much! I know I am being vague and you know why. This is an island with NO Full Gospel witness, NONE. Most are Catholic, at least by “birth”, some Muslim, or some disgusted with religion. They want what is real! We also had an opportunity to minister at Jelena’s church. It was so exciting because a young guy and girl who are new believers were baptised in the Holy Ghost!!!

Thank you Jelena for having us and to all the staff and students for welcoming us into your school and community!

Our travel from Krk was first a bus to Rijeka for 1. 5 hours, another bus for 2 hours to Trieste, Italy, a train for 2 hours to Venice (we had to pick up the car seat here) and then spent the night in a hotel. The next day we were back on a train and trying to be sure to miss the Easter travel madness in Italy. This can mean no seats, even though we had 1st class tickets. The travel went well with great seats for the 8 hours of travel to Monaco.

Monaco: Cliff and I have spent many years coming and going to Monaco. He learned the majority of the French language there and has a love for the place, the culture and the people. We celebrated our Easter weekend here and it turned out to be very nice. As I said earlier, that weekend is madness in southern Europe and we weren’t sure that a hotel would be available. Cliff had been searching for one for almost 3 weeks, but nothing on the internet. We arrived and so he went searching…he found a fabulous hotel and Tori was able to meet the Easter bunny and go for an easter egg hunt too with all of the other children in the hotel. She even had her face painted. The weather was perfect on Saturday before Sunday turned cold.

Our travel from Monaco to Loerrach, Germany was not nearly so nice. But don’t you remember Paul saying in ALL things to be content, abased or abounding. Have we forgotten that at times? We had first class tickets, but no reserved seats were available. None. At every stop, the seats were taken again. We had to ride 3/4 of the trip with the little seat chairs that fold down as you enter the train. Many of you have no idea what I am talking about, right? It’s not comfortable, we’ll leave it at that, BUT we got to witness to someone and it made it all worth it. Lemonade from lemons right? Can you be uncomfortable if it changes someones life? Cliff will tell you more about our time of witnessing when he writes, but it really was worth it.

Loerrach, Germany: We arrived an hour late because the trains were on a holiday schedule and the person picking us up thought that maybe we did not come after all. We only had the number of the church and the youth pastor, but since they had to leave to Canada suddenly for a death, there was no one to reach. We were so tired after traveling for 12 hours that we only wanted a bed. There was a hotel just across the street, YEAH! We all went to sleep at 10 pm and didn’t wake up until 9:30 am. Sleep is so good! So, for my birthday on the 10th, we got to move into the youth pastor’s home and rest all day. It was such a great present, really! They have a great house with plenty of room for us all to move about without getting in each other’s way. I have my own kitchen to cook in for this week and they live in a community that reminds me a little of Sun Valley, Idaho. They have walking paths and woods, little shops and fresh dairy air (that doesn’t remind me of Sun Valley). It’s a great village and we are so glad to be here for the week.

The ministry last night seemed to go great! The youth were so receptive and again, so hungry. We had many teens coming to us asking us about doing the will of God for their life after the service. Their youth pastors are solid and have been with them for many years. Some of these teens are very mature in the Lord with the help of Wil and Melanie’s teaching and love for their teens!

So, that is everything in a nutshell. This week Cliff will try to do a few things to their youth room and we plan to make a trip to Bonn, Germany and then fly out of Dusseldorf on Tuesday of next week back to the USA.

Thanks to all our partners! Thanks for your faithful prayers! We can feel them on the other side of the world strengthening us in the tough times. Thanks also for your financial support that enables us to go to these places and helps make a difference! You are making a difference with us! We love and appreciate you so much!

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~ by unisonharvest on April 12, 2007.

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