We have had a crazy busy Fall.
I’m so thankful for the beauty all around us. It forces me to stop, breathe deeply, and soak in the colors, the crisp air, and the now that I sometimes miss in the swift pace of life.
A walk through the woods with friends is often just what I need to re-center, get my blood flowing, and lean into the many mysteries of God.
But all of this beauty, all of this color… all of the change around us, is the change of death.
The death of each leaf. The drowsy cover of the normally vibrant life around us. The long, slow beginnings of slumber and rest and dying.
And it’s beautiful.
Every life needs its seasons. We need our chapters of rest, our eulogies to that which must pass, and the hibernation that draws us in to a time of reflection, gathering together, and breathing long and deep and wide, until new life begins fresh at the edges of our winter.
Just writing this excites me. My soul needs rest and I feel it coming. I don’t like death.
But I like new beginnings and I sense some on the horizon.
This last week or two has been wild. Or maybe it’s the last month or two. Year or two?
Our life has been a whirlwind amidst the falling leaves and darkening skies.
Jeremy chaperoned a Spanish 3 BFA class trip to Barcelona. This was his fourth year attending the Spanish 3 trip. It’s a chance for him to use his gift of Spanish language and get to know the students. This was a great trip.
While he was gone, a Peruvian woman arrived in Kandern. She’s had a dream for the last twelve years of moving to Kandern, but her life never quite worked out that way… until last Thursday.
When she showed up with two suitcases, some borrowed money, and… that’s it.
The long story made VERY short: She arrived on our porch because we speak Spanish.
She now lives in our basement.
And what a blessing she is! She loves Jesus and her faith is inspirational. It makes me wonder anew at the mighty hand and miracles of God. We expect miracles when she’s around because she seems to live and breath them. Her every moment of survival relies on them.
And she’s so, so wise. I’m often surprised by her level of discernment and humility.
I would like to say we’ve been helping her out… helping her get registered, meet other Spanish speakers, sharing our meals, our home… and while we are doing these things, she won’t stop cleaning and caring and nurturing and thanking and encouraging. She’s like a little Spanish grandma. And we’ve known her four days.
I know, right?
We foresee some incredible opportunities for God to do His glory-work with her presence here in Kandern. We are also excited to connect her with our other Peruvian friends.
What is it with God bringing the Peruvians to our doorstep? Our Spanish is now getting WAY more use than our German… but He’s not surprised. And I’m not really sure why I am!
We also continue to be involved with the local refugee ministry. Today I went to a local village and spent a couple of hours talking with the women. It was actually a lot of fun… mostly because we don’t speak the same languages and had to work hard to find some common ground. Just among the handful that I spoke with were Syrians, Albanians, Kosovars, and Cameroonians. Among them were the languages of French, Albanian, Italian, Kurdish, Arabic, and who knows what else! I learned a handful of Albanian words that I hope to use in future visits. I spoke Spanish with the Italians, a few words of Arabic with those who spoke it, German with the ones who’d learned it, and of course English. I threw out a few French words here and there, too. In what world do I normally encounter such diversity of people?
One young boy had a decent amount of English. He’d come from Albania a couple of weeks ago with his dad, leaving behind his mom and siblings. He lives in a tent and isn’t able to attend school because he doesn’t have a legal status in Germany yet. He explained how boring it is to be, day in and day out, stuck at this camp with so little to do. The children who live in the tin buildings are able to go to school… but he is not. My heart went out to him. So young… and yet so grown up. I can’t imagine the things he’s seen, the tears he’s cried, the loss he feels over leaving his family, but the joy of knowing he is living what they’d dreamed of. Sorta.
Each face, each name, each conversation opens a door to a world I know so little of.
And winter is coming.
In March, I will be going to Athens, Greece to help in whatever capacity I can. I will share more about this later. But in the meantime, we marvel at the ways God seems to use our home, our hearts, and our prayers for the foreigner, the sojourner, the home-less.
We aren’t so un-alike, are we? Journeying a different journey, foreigners in a different way, but all looking forward to something greater.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. -Hebrews 11: 13-16