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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Work Days and Sightseeing, Birthday Parties and Fireworks - The Great Exchange Final Update

Wednesday of this week the team took a day off of evangelism and the majority went to work at the CVJM to help in the continued construction of our missions loft.  After work, Klaus and Trudi and their two daughters Johanna and Julia (with her husband Boris and two precious children) helped to host a dinner and fellowship for the team.  Klaus and Trudi have been absolutely 100% supportive of our work here in Germany and have never missed a chance to host team members, assist in work days, prepare meals or barbeque's and allow us to take part in camps and church services.  We are so thankful for the entire family. 
Saturday was our final day together so we went to Dilsberg for the morning for shopping, pictures and cake and coffee at the café there.  We've taken every team that has ever visited us to Dilsberg as it's my favorite little walled city.  The shop keeper even opened up an hour and a half early for us so we could shop before heading to Schwetzingen palace and gardens that afternoon. 

Alan and I have never visited Schwetzingen palace before and although the tour was incredibly boring the gardens were gorgeous and HUGE!  My mom and dad would love them.  So much attention to detail for one prince electorate and his wife.  Afterward the team was able to do some shopping in Schwetzingen and have something to eat before returning to their apartments to rest. 

At nine o'clock that evening the team came over for Charlie's first birthday party.  Charlie is the son of Joni and Matthew, Jon and Diane's oldest daughter and her family.  It was great they were able to come with Charlie and we didn't want to miss the opportunity to have a little cake and ice cream to celebrate his first birthday and allow him to play in his smash cake.  He especially liked the balloon animals and presents.  A German world cup Jersey was amongst his favorites!

After cake we went to Heidelberg to watch the castle illumination and fireworks.  It was a nice display and we didn't get caught in too much traffic leaving which was good.  The team departed this morning around 5:30 and we just got word they made it back to Georgia safely.  All in all it was a wonderful, blessed and rich week.  Thank you to all who prayed for us. 

Evangelism Days - The Great Exchange

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of this week the team from the Great Exchange in Georgia spent the early morning at prayer breakfasts at the Capelle (Monday) and Hosanna Gemeinde's (Thursday and Friday).  We all felt very moved by Gods presence in these meetings.  After they were concluded, we went to the Universitätsplatz where we setup our information tables and did surveys from roughly 10am until 4pm each day.  We prayed really hard that the forecasted rain would hold off on and for the most part it did.  Tuesday we left early because the rain made things miserable but we had great weather Monday, Thursday and Friday. 

The team brought several hundred copies of the book, "More than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowell.  By the end of the week we had given them all out so please pray the books will yield great fruit amongst the students that read them.  On Monday we completed 72 surveys and only 9 said they believed Jesus to be the son of God and that because of the grace He pours out they will go to Heaven. Not because they were good people but only because of Christ. On Thursday, 58 surveys were completed and we talked to only five believers.  We don't know yet the counts for Friday (although we do know more surveys were completed than on any other day) but when we have the percentages we'll report them here.  Overall it was a blessed week with over 300 conversations with students about Christ.  Please pray the Holy Spirit will continue to work in each life.

Thursday night we attended the Campus Crusade church service at the Hosanna gemeinde.  The sermon that night was excellent and we were able to share with the students about the Great Exchange and encourage them to come and take part the next day.  On Friday we had over a dozen students and church members from our partner churches and Campus come and do surveys with us and we were very happy about that.

Here are some pictures of our church services on Sunday, prayer breakfasts through the week and discussions with students. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Great Exchange Day 3 - Hosanna and the CVJM church services

Today we enjoyed two church services.  The first was in Heidelberg at a church called Hosanna and the second was in the evening at our church, the CVJM.  Both churches are partnering with us for the Great Exchange and both sets of pastors and their wives were able to come to the welcome barbeque at our home on Friday night which was nice.  Jon did the preaching at both services.  He had a German translator at Hosanna who did quite well and Sarah Lee (our former Venture student who fell in love and married a German and now lives in Münster) translated for us in the evening.  Sarah Lee has been visiting her husbands family who live in the same town as we do for the past week and it was great to have her both at the barbeque and at the church service.  She will come and do surveys with us through the week and she is experienced too - having participated in the Great Exchange while she was attending UGA and Watkinsville First Baptist.

Jon's preaching spoke on II Corinthians chapter 5 where Paul talks about the gospel being the exchange God offers each person.  He exchanges our sinful selves with the righteousness of Jesus making it possible for us to be saved.  We all know we aren't good people but the number one answer to "If God were to ask you why he should let you into heaven, what would you say?" in these surveys we will be doing this week is: "because I try to be a good person."  At least this is what we've found at all the Universities where the Great Exchange has been hosted in the states and also in the surveys Alan and I have done here with our teams in Heidelberg.  Jesus took our sin, the wages of which were death, and he died on the cross so that we could live - not just after death in Heaven but also experience real life here on earth.  That's the gospel.  Jon shared his testimony of coming to Christ, investigating his claims and recognizing He was the only way we can come to have a relationship with God.  Despite what this relativistic world tries to tell you, there is no other way.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the message and we had good turnouts at both churches. 

Here are some pictures from the day:

Right now it is raining.  It is supposed to rain all week.  Please pray it will not rain during the hours of 9am CEST and 4pm CEST which is when we'll be surveying students in the University square.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Great Exchange team has arrived and is doing well!

Well I promised to keep you updated on the teams comings and goings so here's the latest...

The team arrived yesterday on time without issue.  The flight was fine although not very many slept (except Charlie for a thankful Joni and Matthew!).  When they arrived at the airport Alan was there to meet them and they headed to Budget car rental to pick up the two vans they had rented for the week.  Unfortunately the line was enormous so they didn't actually pick up the cars until nearly 10:30 (two hours after they met up with Alan).  Major bummer - especially with folks so tired!  Still, they made it back here for breakfast and we enjoyed a fairly a-typical German breakfast/brunch with boiled eggs, meats, cheeses, fabulous German breads, pretzels, rolls and fruit.  The team then went to their apartments where they settled in and rested until around 5:30 when they returned to ours for a welcome barbeque.  We were thrilled with the turnout of pastors and their wives, other missionaries to this area, church members, students and friends.  Here are some pictures of our time together...

Today we met early to go on a boat cruise along the Neckar river from Neckarsteinach to Heidelberg.  Once there we walked along the Hauptstrasse until we reached the Funicular railway.  We took the railway up the mountain to the castle where we had a picnic outside the castle.  The weather was colder and rainy today but everyone still managed to have a good time.  After seeing the castle and taking loads of pictures the team returned to Neckarsteinach by boat and we ate wiener schnitzel and pommes frites at a bistro overlooking the Neckar.  A good time was had by all.  Tomorrow our leader Jon preaches at Hosanna gemeinde in Heidelberg at 10:30 in the morning and then again at the CVJM in Meckesheim at 5:00pm.  In-between the team will come to our house for taco soup and bratwurst and have a training meeting for the Great Exchange which starts bright and early Monday morning!  Here are some pictures from our boat cruise today:

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for the team and us!