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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Our TMI leaders - Jacinta, Jay and Morgan

Morgan, Female Assistant Leader
Alan and I were blessed by the leaders God sent our way on the team this winter.  Morgan, a former five time TMI'er was the assistant leader of our team.  Morgan has a zest for life, loved loving on her team members and was a lot of fun to get to know.  She's cheeky (as the English say) and always up to something. :) She and I shared a lot of back and forth banter which I think we both enjoyed.  Morgan is 19 years old.

Jay - Male Assistant Leader

Jay and Morgan on the piano
Morgan and Jay
He's going to kill me for this one
Jay, who I met the first day is working with YWAM in Brisbane.  There are no coincidences with God and yet both he and I were surprised to find that he did his DTS with YWAM at the same time and place as my cousin Dusty from California.  Jay was quiet.  He didn't share much emotion but his testimony about his relationship with his earthly dad and his heavenly father probably touched me more than anyone's on the team.  He was gracious to forgive me when I got the town names messed up for his school program and he spent nearly two hours searching for the right location.  oops!  Jay is a great photographer and most of the pictures in this blog are courtesy of his picture taking abilities.  Jay is originally from New Zealand but is living in Australia now.  He hopes to return to NZ one day.
Jacinta - Female Head Leader

Jacinta was our head female leader and she was so easy going and great with the teens.  It's probably because this is what God has called her to do in New Zealand - devote her life to teenagers.  She works as a youth worker and isn't daunted by much.  She was always kind to us, very organized and willing to do just about anything.  She never once had a bad attitude and was easily able to keep the team in-line but also having a great time too.  I think New Zealand is very blessed to have her!

All in all, the three leaders above and our addition of Travis yielded a team that was well fed, worked incredibly hard and learned to love Jesus and others more over their time with us.  We'd welcome any of these leaders back again on another Teen Missions team or with Pioneers and pray God will bless them as they continue to serve Him with their talents, passions and futures.

Tamzin (team member) and Jacinta

2013/2014 TMI Australia/NZ Mission to Germany



Well it's Sunday and the team that came to work with us from Australia and New Zealand just left yesterday morning.  7 teens, 3 leaders (2 from Australia and 1 from New Zealand) plus an extra leader from TMI Florida who had been serving in Malawi for the past year and wanted a stop over in Germany on his way back home for a few weeks.  It was a terrific 3 weeks with the team and a ton was accomplished. Each week the team worked 4 days on an attic space we are hoping to convert into apartments for short and medium term missionaries that want to work alongside us.  In addition they did spiritual background surveys at the University, enjoyed some sightseeing and went to church services both in Meckesheim at the CVJM and in Heidelberg at Calvary Chapel.  I think they enjoyed the variety in their schedule.  Alan worked with them on all their work days and I helped doing behind the scenes organization of everything from evangelism and sightseeing to meals with church members, presentations at church services and schools and running leaders on errands, primarily to the grocery stores. 

I want to use the next few posts to talk about each of the team members individually and show the work the team accomplished.  Alan and I couldn't be prouder of this group of on fire for God, hard-working teens.  In addition to nearly 8 hours work each day they also manned a prayer closet for each of those hours, held private and group devotionals, bible marking class and library reading time. In addition each team member is required to learn one new bible verse a day and review those verses in quiz-off's each week in preparation for a competition with others teams at debrief when they return to Australia. Teen Missions is such a good program because it is so varied in how it prepares and equips each young person who goes on a team for a future walk with Christ.  I still remember verses I memorized on my TMI team back in 1985!

Well, now back to the team members.  The first person I'll talk about it Travis.  Travis is not from Australia but instead from Minnesota in the states.  He had been on my TMI team to Wales and Iceland back in 2008 when I was on staff.  He was one of my "favorites" on the team because his personality was so crazy contagious.  He just had a way of making everyone feel good and he really shined Jesus.  He was 16 then.  He's 21 now.  We kept in touch over the years and I encouraged him more than once to come over to Germany to see us or work with us.  God worked it out so he could come this year and while we didn't know what exactly to expect nor if and how he'd mesh with the Australian team it was clear after about 20 minutes that he was going to fit in just fine and be such an asset to us all.

I cried when he left partly because of how much we'd miss him but also partly because of how proud I was of him.  Everywhere we went in Germany Travis was the most outgoing of us all, introducing himself in his broken German and trying to share the love of Jesus.  He loves to preach and never shies away from any opportunity to do so.  He shared his testimony at our church and I could have listened to him for hours.  He's just filled up with Jesus so he overflows onto people naturally.  Alan and I joked that we could see him running Teen Missions one day or pastoring a big church somewhere.  He could also stay a missionary running an orphanage because children just navigate to him.  I know our pastors wife at the CVJM is already trying to recruit him back to Germany as am I but no matter what God decides for him we'll keep in touch and continue to support his work for Jesus.  Please pray for him as he takes the next few months to pray and seek Gods direction for this next phase of his life. 


Friday, 3 January 2014

Full steam ahead into 2014

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 12-16

Alan and I returned from a wonderful vacation in Georgia last week.  We had to leave on Christmas day because we were anticipating the arrival of a group of teens from Teen Missions in Australia on the 27th.  We thought we'd have a day to recover but the last mail we received from the head office said the flights had been moved up and they would now arrive the same day as we would only about 10 hours later. 

A family of angels picked us up from the Frankfurt airport at 7:30 in the morning.  Frank and his wife Christina and their son graciously came and got us in their van which was a good thing because we each brought back an extra suitcase and wouldn't have had any room otherwise.  I guess we got home around 9:30 or 10 and we didn't do much except crash until around 3pm.  It was sooo hard waking up to return to the airport but Alan did.  I dropped him off at the CVJM where I stayed to help get the rooms and dinner ready for the team.  Frank once again came with Alan in his van and Alan took our pastors van and they got the team back about 9pm. 

I was assisted by an old teammate of mine from my 2008 Wales and Iceland team, Travis.  He was one of my favorites the whole summer because I was fortunate enough to have his brother Joe on my team in 2007.  We kept in touch with me watching keenly his adventures as a BMW student with TMI and his internship in Africa.  His love for Jesus and for others was so evident.  He kept telling me he wanted to visit and work alongside us when he was finished with his time there but honestly I didn't count on it until a few months ago when he wrote me to make plans.  It was great catching up with him.  What a blessing!  Travis was to serve alongside the Australian team as another male leader and that was terrific for us because we know what a hard worker he is and what an infectious spirit he has. 

The team was justifiably exhausted when they landed and unfortunately all the grocery stores were shut in Germany due to it being a holiday so I ordered some pizzas and made chocolate chip pancakes for them when they arrived.  We gave just a few words of welcome and instruction to them to keep them safe and warm and then let them sleep.  We would see them in only a few hours with breakfast.  At first glance the team was great.  We were excited to get to know each of them.

The last week we spent doing lots of work days, taking the team sightseeing, to church in Heidelberg and ice skating to do some evangelism.  Tuesday night they participated in the New Year's Eve church service at the CVJM singing as a group and sharing.  Tomorrow they'll sightsee again in Heidelberg and then Sunday we'll go to Calvary chapel in the morning and then help run the evening CVJM service.  Monday Klaus doesn't want the team to work as it's a "ruhig" Tag (holiday) and it might disturb the neighbors with all our banging.  We'll probably spend part of the day resting and getting caught up and also work on some programs for the schools later in the week.

I have so much respect for Teen Missions and the work they do with teenagers.  Alan loves the organization too.  We owe them quite a bit as that's how we found each other but also just the way they use loving and godly discipline with teens seems to answer what is so desperately needed in our world today.  My next door neighbor has a 15 year old daughter who I hear screaming, cursing and fighting with her mom several times each week.  Tonight she's having a boy/girl party and they are loud and throwing things around without a care in the world.  Today's teens need the discipline and love and respect that organizations like Teen Missions drills into them.  I experienced it when I was 14 and it was the best summer of my life.  What God teaches in the bible (love and respect for your parents, others, yourself) isn't meant to spoil your fun but to do the very opposite.  It gives LIFE!  These teens from Australia with TMI here working with us reflect that.  They are hard working, kind and really trying to seek God for their lives.  So far Alan and I have been really impressed.

Still, coming back to wet and dreary Germany was hard.  We had such a wonderful but also such a crazy, at times hectic and overwhelming visit to Georgia/Disney World/South Carolina that when I think back it's kind'of a big blur.  Did we REALLY do all that in just five weeks?!  My husband managed to work most of the trip helping my parents rebuild 3 porches, repairing an old train set from my father's childhood and putting up guttering on a 100+ year old house.  I took care of Chloe mostly, got all the supplies we'd need for the next year, made contact with supporters, bought all the Christmas gifts and organized a talk at our church about our work here.  I also had fun co-hosting a German afternoon tea with my good friend Brita Barry at her beautiful home in Athens.   Together we went to Walt Disney world for a week with the whole family, celebrated my birthday, Alan's 50th birthday, my dad's 70th birthday, went to see Santa, the Watkinsville Christmas parade, helped host the 30th plus annual Monday night bible study Christmas party at my parents house and the list goes on and on.  It was a tremendously blessed visit but I'm not kidding when I say we needed a vacation from our vacation! :)

A few days ago I came down with a cold and this morning on our way into the CVJM Chloe starting vomiting in the car.  So this afternoon I was in a feel sorry for myself, I can't be bothered type of mood.  I decided to just bite the bullet and try to get caught up with MOPS stuff I've been putting off and once I did I felt a bit better.  Then Alan came home and really helped with Chloe, made homemade bread, cleaned her car seat and put her down to bed.  Poor thing I think has fallen asleep in her room.  He's been in there for hours!

Well the teens in the apartment next door don't seem like they are going to sleep any time soon.  I'm seriously considering sliding a TMI brochure under the door to the apartment before I go to sleep.  Pray for them and us and pray for the team that they would be greatly blessed and encouraged as they serve God and others here in Germany.