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Thursday, 15 March 2012

A jumbled mind...

I'm afraid that's what my mind has become - jumbled. I've got so many things going on simultaneously which used to be something I loved but now it just leaves me confused and exhausted! I'm pathetically using my blog to keep track of what's going on in my life so that hopefully I can make sense of it all, prioritize it appropriately and start to tackle it. After all a jumbled mind is not something anyone enjoys having. We want to think clearly, make wise choices and not either overwhelm ourselves nor do too little. So with that here it goes...
Chloe is growing up so fast I simply can't keep track of it anymore. I haven't loaded pictures on Facebook in nearly three months. I have so many pictures of all those moments I don't want to miss that my memory card and iPhone are full. Ugh. At some point I need to upload them all so that a) I can take more b) I don't accidentally delete them all c) the grandparents and aunts/uncles and friends can stay in touch with their grandchild!
Alan and I started 40 days of prayer together on February 19th. We missed one day due to forgetfulness/busyness and I got really upset about it because I hate not following through on commitments. It's been so good for us though that I really don't want to stop after the 40 (now 41) days are complete. I think as missionaries in Germany we need to be praying together every day and to be honest with the sheer number of people that ask us to pray for them and the state of this world - we NEED to pray every day. Granted we do pray by ourselves but there's something about just coming together with Alan and being on the same page praying together.
When I got back from Christmas I decided I had to lose some weight to help my back feel better (or at least I hoped it would make my back feel better). I started off great - lost 2 lbs a week for 4 weeks and then - plateau - HUGE plateau. It's the weight I was before I had Chloe, the weight I reached last fall after I got the Chloe weight off and now I'm back again. I feel like I'm a roller coaster - ugh. It is now the middle of week 9 and still I've lost no more weight. I've been using an iPhone app called MyFitnessTracker and I've kept track of every calories I've put in my mouth. I've also tracked all my exercise. I've tracked til I'm blue in the face and yet no weight has come off. Not even a pound in five weeks. I've fasted, had a day with no carbs, exercised 4 times a week or more for 45 minutes to an hour each time and nata. So.... I've decided to start running. Or try to at least for 20 minutes, 3 times a week with a new program called Couch to 5K. Alan says he's going to do it with me so that should be ummm... interesting! :) I'll update on how it goes...
Today I got word that Sarah Lee has been officially accepted for the Pioneers Venture program and that she'll hopefully be joining us by the end of the month and volunteering with our team until Thanksgiving. Alan and I are very excited she's coming but I have a lot of work to do to sort out everything before she arrives. She's been at orientation with Pioneers in Florida this week and has had a great time getting to know people. So far the folks at the CVJM want her to paint a mural on a wall, organize some kids art programs over the summer and help with a backdrop of some sort for their youth talent competition each week. I want her help building a new website for our team here and designing a logo for us. I also want her to survey students about their spiritual backgrounds, get involved with the ProLife organization, the Birke e.V. and be the point person for the teams and individuals coming this summer. She will also need to start intensive language learning classes right away so we can get her a visa to stay longer than 3 months.
We have another student joining us in June we hope whose name is Josh. He's from South Carolina, has been in the military, was born in Germany and can speak some German although it's been a while. He's currently doing a theology degree and is coming to work with us as part of his internship for school. Josh will help us further define and build on our college ministry as well as help Alan with his work at the CVJM.
The group from WFBC hopefully will arrive toward the end of June and they'll overlap with a few folks from England coming with Edge. The Edge group stays 3 weeks, the WFBC group is somewhere from 10 days to 2 weeks. Alan and I are going to be working on team meetings starting in April to prepare and to get the work projects together as well as accommodation, meal setup, service planning, etc.
In early May I'll travel down to Altensteig, Germany with our area leader from Hungary to help survey a conference center for the leadership conference being held there in October. I'm on the ground team for that helping to serve as the point of contact for any issues, problems, setup questions, etc. when it takes place this October and then again in March of 2013. I absolutely love event planning so that should be good.
I am also on the planning and execution team for the larger Pioneers European conference in 2013. We'll have our first meeting at the end of this month. Hopefully all that money mom and dad put into me getting a masters in hotel and restaurant management will finally be put to use! :)
This week I volunteered twice at the Birke e.V., the local ProLife organization here in Heidelberg. I heard about the organization from a German friend and also online and have volunteered once a week since early February but now that my German class is finished I'm going to go more if possible. The people are very kind and passionate about the work they do but they need more volunteers. If you live in this area and want to go with me sometime, just let me know. Their tagline is "Help instead of abortion".
I have been so devastingly torn up about this horrible culture of death that has swept over the entire world. I read article after article and sometimes I just have to stop because it gets me so upset I can barely function. I wish so desperately that Jesus would intervene in every case to save the poor babies lives or cause any woman that would consider aborting her baby to seek counseling to be offered help, an ultrasound, anything to prevent her from killing her unborn child and mutilating her own body. The damage I've read about that it does to the mothers - not just physically but emotionally, spiritually, in nearly every way is unreal. "Pro-choice" people shout from the rooftops for womens rights, Rights that would allow a woman to multilate her own body, murder her unborn child, suffer untold depression and remorse? Seems like those fighting for pro-life care MUCH more about the mothers than any pro-choicer. Sad and such a repeat of history. G.K. Chesterton once said, "Those who can not remember the past are doomed to repeat it." Let me say to all you pro-choicers out there - come to Germany. Relive the last holocaust here. No one is proud of that time in the worlds history. The great majority of people - christian or non believe Hitler is deserving of hell for what he did. There is no difference between that holocaust and the one we are currently living through. Hitler had these words inscribed over one of the gas ovens in Auschwitz: "I want to raise a generation of young people devoid of a conscience, imperious, relentless and cruel." Seems like everywhere I look I see people devoid of a conscience, imperious, relentless and cruel. The only hope for mankind is the forgiveness and love of Christ. It's why we're here in Germany so we can proclaim it from the rooftops. Please pray the Holy Spirit would go before us and prepare hearts and open eyes to the truth. Seems like people don't seem to care much about the truth anymore. What's true for you might not be true for me is often heard but that statement is self contradictory in and of itself.
Next time I'll post some pictures - I promise...

Friday, 2 March 2012

A minor catch-up

Well we're back in England taking a one week break to see Alans family and visit friends and supporters here. The last five weeks have felt like a whirlwind with everything we've had going on. I (Mary), started back to intensive language school in early February going every day for four hours while Alan stayed at home and took care of Chloe. When I got home he would then leave to go and work at the CVJM. I also started volunteering after school one day a week at a ProLife organization in Heidelberg called Die Birke e.V. and I've been so impressed with everyone I've met so far and the work they do. Basically in Germany before a woman can get an abortion she is required to attend counseling sessions. The Birke offers these counseling sessions and tries to provide help to the woman so they will choose not to have an abortion and kill their unborn child. The week after I started volunteering the organization came to the CVJM to speak and to fund raise so that was neat that God had orchestrated that to happen before I began volunteering. It felt like confirmation that I was supposed to help out there.

Language classes have been difficult but I do feel like my German is progressing a lot better. I need to find the time now to study at home and to continue learning. I've downloaded a bunch of great applications for my iPhone to help. Mainly I deal with time management issues given each day I feel I should take care of the house, laundry and meals, play with Chloe, spend time with Alan, have a meaningful quiet time and prayer time, learn German, communicate with supporters, manage our finances and the individuals and teams coming to work with us this year, work out, meal track and occasionally volunteer with the church or the Birke. This last nine months have given me such an appreciation for my mom and the countless others like her that somehow manage to accomplish everything they do so effortlessly.

Being back in England is good because we need to do some planning for the next few months. Sarah Lee should be arriving within the month, Joshua's fund raising is coming together so he should be here in June. The team from WFBC is forming and will come at the end of June hopefully. I still have to sync up with the Pioneers England and Croatians offices about their Edge teams that might come this summer as well.

We are excited about all God is doing here and will write more in the next days and weeks about how He has been speaking to us.