A few thoughts & details…

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As we sit in a café in Bern, waiting for the immigration office to reopen from their two hour lunch break, I contemplate what God is asking of us as we earnestly pray and seek His face for favor and for His plan. I can’t imagine Switzerland being my longterm home, inasmuch, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Today I think is a good day for a miracle.

As I look out the window of the café at the crowds of people rushing about their business, I wish I could stop time, (like you see in the movies where someone can stop time yet themselves continue to move) and speak to each person and ask about their story. You see they all have a story to tell. If only there were books filled with their stories, their naked-fully exposed stories…stories of great triumphs, stories of loneliness, stories of new beginnings, stories of fear & sorrow, stories of joy, stories of confusion and loss, stories of a life full of wisdom and seeking…how I’d love to sit with them sharing a cup of coffee and hearing their stories. I am thankful their is One who holds their stories, Who longs for them, Who is constantly wooing them to come closer. He knows them and He knows their stories and desires to finish their stories. Oh that He would have them, that not one would be lost or stolen from Him.

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Switzerland, in some ways, doesn’t seem much different then the US. However, I would say people here seem to do everything with intentional purpose and there is a true compassion for humanity. There is a more harmonious & respectful interaction with people…from the way they greet one another to how they serve one another. I’m certainly not bashing or generalizing all people of my home country; however, attitudes seem to become more apparent when you have a contrast.  Even though Switzerland is a wealthy country, there doesn’t seem to be that same spoiled, wasteful, self-centered attitude among the Swiss people that you so often see in America. Please hear my heart, I am not saying all people in America are this way. Maybe it’s because their culture hasn’t had the same influences and pressures, which allows them to hold onto traditions from centuries past.  We certainly do not have that in America.  I guess you’d say there is just a sincere genuineness here. Hard to explain…

***We just returned from the immigration office and they gave us the details on how to prolong our stay, allowing James the time to secure a job. PTL!***

Since my last post we have had a couple interesting things transpire….

The European Pine Marten I mentioned in my post “A week of making connections,”  is now living in the ceiling rafters just above our bed and he is a she with babies! We are often awoke with the sound of crying babies as their nocturnal mother comes in to nurse them.  Apparently it’s even  recommended to take out ‘Marder accident’ insurance on your car, because they are known to eat through the cables and such. Moreover, these little critters are protect by the government. So we will just stay one big happy family!

As well, we began our german language class on Wednesday. It was wonderful and we have already learned so much. We were in the beginners class taught by the pastor’s wife (of the free church), along with four others. They were already on the 3rd chapter, so we have some catching up to do. As well, there is an advance class that we can join as soon as we are feeling confident. Mostly, the attending students are African refugees from Eritrea. In our class, two of the students were from Eritrea, one from Peru and one from Macedonia. I am so excited, as I see a mission field to the nations right in my german class! God is remarkable! Which is exactly why the church offers these classes. Another area we are giving to God and asking Him to reveal more of His plan for us.

Today, 04/24/2015 – we submitted the necessary paperwork to the local authorities to get approval for a longer stay.

Since this is a shorter than usual post, I’d like to share some things I’ve noticed about Switzerland and her people.

Many people in this nation smoke. Wow, it is so surprising the amount people we see with a cigarette in hand, especially in light of Switzerland being known as a “green,” clean and health conscious nation.

As well, the youth can drink wine and beer at the age of 16 and hard alcohol at the age of 18. However, they cannot get their driver’s license until 18. It is mandatory for each male to serve up to two years in the military; however, they can serve anytime between the ages of  18 – 30.

Often a peculiar fragrance strikes your nose, and then you realize they just sprayed manure all over the field where crops will soon be planted.

The milk cows really do wear swiss cow bells.

Parking: not only an adventure each time, as well you have to always pay to park.

Although most all roads are two way, they are always divided by a solid or striped white line (no yellow, very confusing for Americans). And bicycle riders have the same rights as cars and always have the right away and share the very same NARROW road. Very scary!

When a new baby is born a cute cut out (usually made of wood & painted) of an iconic children’s character (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, lady bug, & every other sweet creature you can think of) is posted up high on the exterior of the house with the child’s name and birthdate.

Always bring your grocery sacks! Most stores do not offer free grocery sacks (much like Aldi, you have to purchase them) and invariably we always forget ours!

For some reason, which probably should be obvious, produce spoils very quickly here!

There are very few bugs here (windows do not even have screens).

Bye for now or as we say in Switzerland: bis bald!

 

 

 

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South Bound

HELLO WORLD!!!

I apologize for the long quiet gap between post. We seem to have been rather busy the last week and a half. Late to bed and early to rise.

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View from the hill top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first want to start by saying it has been such a privilege and blessing to be here. I truly wish everyone of you could experience what we have. It’s not about the big events alone, but seeing God’s beauty in the little things that He does everyday. Being in a foreign land (some of you are personally aware of this) can be overwhelming, frustrating & even have moments of feeling alone; on the flip-side, it is beyond wonderful to experience God in a new way and walk in full dependence on Him to lead. It is hard to put into words, but when you don’t know the language or culture it’s easier to find beauty and you are less likely to take moments and opportunities  for granted…like when you first fall in love, everything beautiful and wonderful about the other person stands out and you are blind to the lesser beauty. As well, you meet face to face the God of Abundance, the God of Life, the God of Revelation, the God of Love, the God of Beauty, the God Who grieves over the loss, the God Who gave Himself so that none shall perish.  You don’t have to go to a foreign land to experience this, it truly is a mindset and perspective. Nonetheless, I am forever thankful to Abba Father for leading us here. I feel  great things are ready…like race horses full of energy at the starting gate…to explode forth! This land is ‘waiting eagerly, with anxious longing, for the sons of God to be revealed’.-Rom8:19

Since it has been a few days since my last post, I think I will start with today and hit the highlights of the last week and a half.

We have a praise report. James got word from the Secretary of Education (we had to wait a week due to the staff being on holiday), that his paper work is approved and he can begin job searching.  So now we pray for the favor of  man and open doors! James desire is to work in a hospital; nonetheless, he is happy to be wherever the Lord leads. He has submitted a request to a local company; there has been no response at this time. This next week will be a focused week of knocking on doors, as we now have been given the green light to proceed. Thank you for your prayers.

We were out of town for 5 days. We returned Wednesday night, and because we got in late our only option for food was…you guessed it, McDonalds! I must admit it was the best McDs I’ve ever had (did I mention I was very hungry).

Let me start at the beginning. Easter Sunday, we had dinner with the pastor and his wife (I’d rather not mention their names or post pictures of them, as they have not given me approval. If you’d like their names or pictures, please private message me and I am happy to share). They shared that they were going on holiday to the Ticino region (it is the Italian region and the only canton of Switzerland where the primary language is Italian) of Switzerland for a week. They asked if we would join them for a couple of days. Because everything was on hold with the Secretary of Education department, we decided it was a good opportunity to build relationship and have some R&R.

We left Thursday morning. It is  a three hour journey through absolute majestic beauty. In the midst of this journey is a 17km (10.56 miles) tunnel called Gotthard Tunnel (it is the third-longest road tunnel in the world). You definitely need to stay focused as the driver, as not to get vertigo; however, for the passenger, i.e.. me, it makes for a good nap time.

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We arrived in Locarno (the city where we all were staying) around noon. We had booked an apartment through Air B&B (the same site we used to book our apartment in Zollbrück), from a young man. The apartment was in an obvious historic building, directly across from a incredibly historic church. We both were pretty excited. We met the young man at the door of his apartment (in his early 20s and an apparent bachelor), and it became very obvious, as we stepped in, that this was his regular residence and apparently rented it out to create extra money (as Locarno is a very attractive place for tourist). He was an extremely nice young man, but the Hindu images (statues & pictures) placed throughout the room were a little distracting, not to mention the picture of two topless men embracing each other. James became uncomfortable when he looked outside the balcony window and saw a small group of men looking at our car (granted he did have one tire on the sidewalk).  The young man gave us a quick tour of the little apartment, handed us the key and off he went with his overnight bag. Needless to say it all was a little awkward.  As soon as the young man left I quickly relocated his hindu items to a shelf on the outside balcony and then  commenced to praying over the apartment telling myself, it’s ok, we can do this for one night. You see we had a reservation with the hotel the pastor was staying at for Friday night, but there was not an available room for Thursday night and because most hotels charge a fee per person, Air B&B was the most economical route for us. After I finished praying I turned the blanket of the bed back only to find a field of cat hair! I thought to myself this is to much! James expressed that he wanted to find a hotel and that we would just count the $100 a loss. I kept pressing it’s just one night, we can do it. He said we will talk about it…

We then went to meet the pastor and his wife. We had a wonderful day of venturing around the area. We hiked through a gorgeous mountainous area, and to a botanical garden, followed by a delicious roasted chicken dinner.

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While eating dinner, James again suggested staying at a  hotel (earlier in the day he inquired about a room with a Ramada Inn, who had rooms available), I agreed if only we could cancel with the young man of the apartment and get our money back. He called and explained to the young man that there was cat hair in the bed and that we were not comfortable staying. He was so kind and agreed to give us our money back (James had to tell him that some of his personal items were on the balcony, boy did I feel bad). Nonetheless, we learned a lesson to not wait but act quickly when we are not comfortable with our accommodations.

We ended the evening with our friends, and went to our hotel. It was superb! Clean and comfy. We woke up to a gorgeous breakfast with all the cappuccino I desired. Not to mention a beautiful view.

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We spent the day touring around. We visited the most wonderfully beautiful valley, called the Verzasca, with it’s gorgeous Verzasca river flowing over smooth polished rocks with it’s jade green waters. It was breath taking, unlike anything I’ve seen.

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We then went on to the Verzasca dam, where James Bond once jumped- it is now known as the “007 Bungee Jump”. I was all in, fortunately for James it was closed.

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We went on further along the river to a spot at  Ponte Dei Salti in Lavertezzo where there is a double arched stone bridge, built in the 17th century (known as one of the oldest Roman bridges). We perched ourselves on one of the gigantic smooth stones near the bridge and had quant little picnic. It was a great time and we were able to have some nice in depth conversations with the pastor. We then continued our adventuring to some other remarkable areas of Locarno. We ended the day with a nice italian dinner. Some interesting tid bits about eating in Europe (as we found the same to be true in Italy), dogs can eat with you in the restaurant and horse meat is quite often on the menu, neither of which are very pleasing. At the end of dinner James realized our friend was intending on buying our dinner (he blessed us with dinner the evening before), so James insisted it was our turn to buy. After some  back & forth debate between the two men I suggested an arm wrestle. To my delight they both agreed. It was very humorous to say the least and I will not indulge in bragging about the winner…but I will say he is very handsome, witty and smart…and I am married to him.

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Our hotel the second night which our friend booked (and paid for!) was very quaint and cozy. It was called Casa Lumino, and is christian owned. We had a beautiful view of the lake that surrounds Locarno. Again a wonderful breakfast. Continental breakfast here generally includes, variety of bread, cheeses, meats, yogurts, cereals, hard boiled eggs and fruit. Any type of coffee or tea your heart desires!

IMG_5656 It was our and our friends last day in Locarno. They were headed back to home, but we decided to make the 5 hour journey down to Venice Italy! How could we resist being just 5 hours away. James had booked the room, parking ticket, water bus ticket, and museum & church passes a few days prior, so we were set. We had breakfast with our friends, said our goodbyes, and we were off.

It was a interesting drive, getting through the toll booths, traffic and crossing the border. The drive from Locarno to Venice lacks some luster, as it is a bit dull, James compares it to driving through Kansas which is impossible with castles sitting on hillsides, nonetheless, it did not meet our expectations of Italy.

 

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*WARNING*  There is nothing easy about getting around Venice! I will spare you the details; however, after much confusion and frustration we got parked, found our water bus that takes you from the mainland to the island of Venice.

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Once in Venice we had to locate our hotel. Venice is a beautiful labyrinth of canals, bridges and walkways, which all web out from the ‘grand canal’. The canals are actually the ‘streets’ of  Venice and there are boats everywhere, from gondolas, water taxis, water buses to private boats of the locals. This city is unlike any you have seen and should be a must on everyone’s bucket list. Even though our visit was on the tail end of the off season there were already loads of people visiting. Once again we are thankful for our GPS. It helped us find our hotel. Because the true front-side of the hotels and restaurants face the canal, the actual entrances are in what appear to be alley ways. We found the doorway to our hotel, rang a door buzzer which notified the front desk and allowed us in. We entered into a small foyer with some steps to the right, followed by a few more steps to the left and then as we turned left we both stood with a stunned look on our face as looked up what seemed to be an endless flight of steps (70 to be exact and poor James was lugging a suitcase). A nice woman step out of the door and waved down to us as if to encourage us that we were in the right place and there was rest at the top. Our hotel was charming with victorian interior, built in the 1400s. It once housed the wealthiest of Venice.

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Once we got settled in and caught our breath, we hit the streets of Venice. We must have walked for 15 hours in total. We were there for two half days and one full day. However, to actually take in all of Venice and some of the surrounding islands a person really needs a week. Venice is absolutely fascinating with so much rich history. Just imagine marble palaces and churches being built in the year 824 on a lagoon and these are the same structures one sees today…awe-inspiring and hard for the mind to conceive. I can see why Venice is considered one of the most romantic cities.

We noticed the main walkways were crowded with tourist, but if we walked one “block” over the streets were barren. This is where we spent most of our time. It was amazing to us as we witnessed the locals going about their daily activities, children playing soccer in stone courtyards and women hanging their laundry over head. One evening we came across a three man orchestra with two violins and a cello, it was beautiful.

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We also visited one of the small islands called Burano, where they do lace work by hand. This was a charming village with colorful buildings and houses.

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Another worthwhile island is Murano, where they do glass blowing; however, we did not spend anytime there.

I could go and on, but I’d like to share about one of the areas of Venice that we found most interesting. The Venetian Ghetto, (incidentally, the first Jewish Ghetto) was instituted in 1516.  It was in this year that 700 Jews were forced to move to this part of Venice (as the Jews were being forced out of surrounding countries, Venice was one of the only places allowing the Jews a place of refuge, although in a contradictory way and for reasons of economic advantage which all came at a cost for the Jew). They were segregated to an abandoned site of a 14th century foundry that produced cannons. The word “ghetto,” soon used throughout Europe for the neighborhoods of isolated minority groups, originated in Venice: geto is old Venetian dialect for “foundry.” The two entrances to the ghetto were controlled by two heavy gates, manned by christian guards, (which the Jews were required to pay for)which were closed and locked at night and reopened in early morning, keeping the Jews locked in. The Jews were not allowed to do business beyond the boundaries of the ghetto. This went on for 300 years. Up to 5,000 Jews lived in the cramped quarters at a time. They were not allowed to build out beyond the ghetto, so they built their buildings upward to accommodate living space, up to seven stories, (most people only had a personal space of about 6 sq feet) which is why the ghetto has some of the tallest residential buildings in Venice. The Jewish people did not realize full freedom until the 19th century. By World War II, 1,500 Jews lived in the ghetto and by the end of the war only 8 remained. There is still to this day a Jewish presence in the ghetto, five families (approx. 20 people) remain, and we were fortunate to speak and pray with one family member who owned a shop. Their main source of income, as with much of Venice, is tourism. As well, there is an extraordinary museum and five synagogues. We regret not having more time here.

***a little trivia: the @ symbol was created by a Venetian Ghetto Jew, which at that time the icon @ equalled the capacity unit of an amphora (a tall ancient Greek or Roman jar with two handles and a narrow neck).

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Venice was both a place of infinite wonder (for the tourist), yet at the same time, a prison (for the residents). One night we had the opportunity to encourage our waiter who was so discouraged and feels as though he is at a dead end; working at the same place for 16 years, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. He received all we poured out.

When we said goodbye to Venice, I felt a since of sadness. For some reason, that I do not understand, Venice had an impact on me.

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We made our way back to Zollbrück, stopping for the night in Locarno (where we spent with our friends days before). The next day we enjoyed a gondola lift ride to the top of the mountain before heading home.

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(At the beginning of this post I said I would start with today and then share the last week, but this next portion was more recent, from 4/17th~19th)

Friday, we went to a theme park in Rust Germany with the pastor. He planned a youth outing for those that have been helping build the youth group and he asked us to go along to help. The name of the park was Europa-Park. It was awesome. It is themed around European countries. Each country has it’s own section with rides, attractions and food typical of the country. It was quite spectacular.

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Today we attended our first “free church” with some friends. It was a great experience. Similar to what one would experience with a nondenominational church in the U.S. We are finding that the spiritual climate of Switzerland is not quite as bleak as we originally thought; however, there is still a huge need and we can see God’s vision for us being fulfilled. As well, we found out that the free church offers german language lessons (originally began to reach the refugees coming in from places such as Africa and Syria), and we begin on Wednesday morning!

Then our friends took us on a wonderful bike ride around the Village of Borgdorf.

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Today marks one month in country.We continue to seek God for our next step. Next week is a crucial week to see some momentum supporting us to stay longer.

Blessings in the Lord!

 

 

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A Week of Making Connections…

View form our picture window

View form our picture window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good evening everyone! (at least it is evening here- 9PM to be exact). We just finished dinner with Hans and Therese. We invited them to our place for dinner. As you may recall, we had planned to go out for burritos tonight, but I decided dinner at our place would be nicer. It was surprisingly good! You see, in the states I am a pretty confident “chef” (I use that term loosely,lol).  My gosh, but here, it’s a whole new ball game, with new gear, new names, new uniforms, you name it, it’s different! I have cooked some meals here already. Basic soups and stew (then created a Shepherd’s Pie from my leftover stew, delish:), and of course simple breakfast every morning. However, tonight I was having guests, so the pressure was on. I decided on Meatloaf with mash potatoes, gravy and veggies. Nothing to difficult. Oh, but did I say nothing is easy here, lol! I am not complaining at all, I rather enjoy the adventure. In general, the main meal was easy, but I planned a dessert. Pineapple Upside Down cake. Easy, right? Yes easy,  if you can find a simple yellow cake mix or even white for that matter! You can find chocolate, lemon, or marble, but no yellow. Ok fine, I can break out my Betty Crocker hat. I purchased my ingredients: braun (brown) sugar, some vanilla powder stuff (because I could not find vanilla extract), canned pineapple, baking powder (which comes in small individual packs, like yeast packs), flour (not sure if it’s all purpose, but it will serve the purpose), and eggs (by the way, they do not store eggs in the frig, and since the frig would fit in a doll house, that helps, lol) So I got everything prepared and realized 1- I didn’t have true granulated sugar, but rock sugar (so I dissolved the sugar in some pineapple juice) 2- I have only a 1/3 measuring cup and 1 tsp measurement (did I say I stunk in Math class). No problem I made the equation changes. I then went to work mixing (oh did I mention all I have is an old fashion manual mixer, pretty cool, and thanks to James we got it mixed).  In the end, dinner and dessert turned out good and our visit was terrific. They have invited us to some type of music event tomorrow evening. That should be fun and interesting.

I have a lot to share and I’m not sure how I will share it all, but to give quick glimpses of the highlights of this week.

Sunday the 29th- I shared about the church service. But I did not share that we were invited by Andreas (the son of Hans & Therese, who owns this apartment, and works for the Swiss Consulate in Boston) to Skype him, so that he could give James some much needed info on the next steps in the process of gaining employment here. This was our first time talking to Andreas, prior to this we had only emailed or texted. (this entire family has been a gift from God. This same day we met one of Hans & Therese’s daughters and son in laws, as we all had lunch together. They have asked us to visit them at their home in Interlaken). Andreas was an amazing help with information to navigate the next steps. As well, he gave James a direct connection in the Secretary of Education office. Thank you Lord!

Monday the 30th- we were trapped by cold and rain. We did have a chance to take a walk and pray around the church.

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Tuesday the 31st- we spent some time at the church again praying and then we headed to the area of Zurich (to a town called Winterthur) to visit the ministry, Stiftung Schleife (it’s vision and purpose is to equip the Church),  that we’ve been in touch with since the states. My contact, however, was not able to be there. We arrived, and the GPS said our destination was amongst some industrial type buildings. So we drove around the block and James ended up on a one way street, he decided to pull over and take a closer look at the map. In the distance we could see two men slowly strolling up the street in our direction. James said I’m going to ask them if they know where this place is (I was thinking, that is very unlikely; whoa to you of little faith). So as they were coming by our car James,  doesn’t even attempt german, says,  hi do you know where this place is, as he points to his phone GPS.  They- “yes, are you going there?” James- “yes”  They-“follow us, so are we!” Come to find out these two men come to this ministry on occasion after work to get “good spiritual food”. They both go to “free” churches;  apparently they are very dry. On this day they had planned to receive prophetic ministry (which is offered prior to the service on Tuesday evening), but they got there to late, so they had decided to take a walk. God worked it all out, because honestly, I don’t think we would have found the meeting place. (They and others told us that this place is very difficult to find.) These two men are both named Michael. One has a last name starting with the letter “A” and the other with the letter “B”. So we enduringly call them our angel Michaels A & B. They asked for our contact info and want to stay in touch. Michael B works as a financial executive at a hospital and Michael A is an Electrical Engineer. We believe there will be more fruit from these contacts. The service was excellent- worship and preaching….however, because they expected us the week before they did not have a translator available. Nonetheless, the speaker was a man in his 80s, Gary Keller. He started Stiftung Schleife ministry and was one of the men who started the “free” church movement in Switzerland. He was so passionate. We knew it was a true honor to be hearing this man. Michael B said, “I’ve only heard him, this is the first time I’ve seen him”. The other Michael didn’t even realize he was still preaching and had only seen him one other time. There son, Andreas, apparently runs the ministry now.

We are not completely sure what Tuesday evening meant for us, I do know God does mighty works behind the scenes…

Wednesday April 1st- was a “work day”.  The night before, while we were sleeping, we heard the freakiest noise just above our bed in the roof. It sounded like a monster was about to come through the ceiling! It was pouring rain,  so we figured some critter was trying to take cover, but where and how did it get in? (we asked Hans & Therese about it tonight. They said it may have been a “Marder”. Which I found out is known as a European Pine Marten.

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James, worked hard all day on his paperwork. And I gave myself a “poor man’s pedi”. lol.

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Wednesday, we experienced the craziest weather of our lives. It made Missouri weather seem predictable. We woke up to it snowing, then the sun came out, then it rained, followed by more snow and more moments of sunshine and then heavy sleet. This went on all day, It was unbelievable. It finally cleared up enough for us to take a walk to the store.

IMG_0005      (Watch the crazy weather)

Thursday the 2nd-this is the day we had been anticipating and praying for since the previous Sunday. The first youth night at the church! We extended ourselves to the pastor, but he said everything was in order and asked if we could be at the church by 6:30.

We decided to drive to Langnau, short trip up the road, Langnau is the largest town in our area. We have learned that we can take language lessons at a place there. Which we will do if we are granted a visa.  We got some groceries and James purchased some electronic equipment.  Another beautiful rainy day in Switzerland! I did get a super cute umbrella on this outing.

**cute story**Later in the day before going to the church we decided to go out and grab a coffee. We went to the bakery/coffee shop just up the road, but they had all ready closed the coffee shop. We decided to go across the way to a restaurant we have been curious about. We sat down and ordered two coffees and Pommes Frites (french fries, I think Switzerland has the best fries in the world). Well the order took longer than expected. We finished our coffee and then our fries came, but by that time we needed to leave. We asked the poor waitress if we could get them to go…she just looked at us…to go??  She said um, ok (in her very limited english). She came back with a plastic container full of our fries lid and all,  it appeared to  have been used for some other food product at one time,  lol. That must have been a first for them. We apologized and said we would come back another time when we could stay and eat.

***It is now 4PM, April 4th, as I was to tired to finish this post last night ***

We got to the church and could see young people showing up…good sign. The pastor was hoping for at least the five youth from his camp. When we came in we could see food preparations being completed and the worship team was setting up (the worship team was a group of 4 guys and one girl, who are from a church in Langnau, that the pastor paid to have come play. They were awesome). We were met by a lady standing at the back of the church. We took turns with introductions. She said she was “the guest”.  Come to find out the pastor asked her to come and share her life and salvation testimony. Her name is Franzi Magert, she is a professional Swiss snowboarder. She won the gold medal in the parallel slalom at the 2009 World Champions. She has also won a bronze in the World Champions, as well made it to the Vancouver  Olympics but had to drop out.

 

We met the pastor’s wife, a very kind lady. Later her and I were talking, I expressed our desire to help her and her husband in whatever way they needed, with this tears welled up in her eyes. At that moment I realized how great the need is here.

Young people began to trickle in, some alone, some with parents and some with friends. As  I said earlier the pastor was hoping for at least the five from his youth camp…are you ready for this…AT LEAST FORTY YOUTH CAME!!! HALLELUJAH!!!

The pastor asked James to video the night, so he was all over the church videoing and interacting with the youth. This man is anything but bashful! I love it!

We had an amazing time of worship, then the pastor interviewed the guest speaker as she shared her testimony, followed by a short message shared by the pastor to wrapped it up. Later, the pastor shared with us the theme: life is about winning and loosing, but if you are in Christ you are always on the winning side. We then had some more intimate worship, wow,  you could feel the presence of God, it was so beautiful. Everyone was released to the refreshments. They served snacks like chips and nuts, along with hot dogs (their hot dog preparation is so cool, they stick the bun on a heated rod that creates a whole throughout the center and then they just fill it with ketchup and mustard and pop the hot dog in-brillant!), during this time the worship continued to play. The youth final broke out and started a train, some how I got thrown in, lol.

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It was an amazing night. The pastor did not get a lot of feedback, but I believe it was a huge success. It was remarkable watching these young people throughout the night. The Lord is setting a fire in their hearts…and we are praying it brings a revival to the land!

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We gained new friends throughout the night. One precious lady and I began talking. Her, her husband, and nine month old daughter live within 30 minutes driving distance. They help the pastor on youth events. We quickly made a connection and exchanged contacts. She said she is new in the area (she is from Bern) and wants to spend time together. Her and her husband invited us to their home Monday for brunch.

We also met a young man of 34, who is a true joy and born again! He is a great help to the pastor (he lives an hour away, so he only help out with events). He is a nurse at a large hospital and sent James’ Linkedin and some other information to the director over the Bio-med department of the hospital.

As the evening ended and the young people cleared out (some personally came up to us and shook our hands and said goodbye), the organist (who was there practicing for the Good Friday service the following day)gave us a tour of the 300 year old organ. My goodness, I have a whole new appreciation for this masterpiece. Imagine all the glorious worship it has released over the years! It is truly unbelievable.

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We ended the evening (and started a new day) with an invited to the pastor’s house for coffee. Myself, James, the pastor, his wife & the joyful young man sat and chatted over coffee. The pastor’s wife & the young man (who stayed the night because it was so late) went to bed and James, the pastor and myself stayed up visiting until 2AM. It was a wonderful night.  I would love to share about the conversation, but this post is already long!

Friday the 3rd- we went to the Good Friday service. We began the service with praise (the song we sang was written by Martin Luther, it was truly beautiful and awe-inspiring) The pastor’s wife sat beside me and translated the best she could. Pastor shared about Christ sacrifice and the New Covenant (he shared well and clearly). He then led us in communion. He broke the bread before us and then offered “the Body of Christ” to each of us as we came up…followed by one cup with the blood of Christ (actually 2 cups, one with grape juice and one with wine). I was so moved by this experience…to take communion in this 500 year old church (was Catholic, but 10 years after the Reformation, became a protestant church. It still has the original stain glass windows), given by this passionate spirit-filled pastor (in a land of unbelief) with the Body of Christ in Switzerland. There are no words to express what I was feeling, except worship and gratitude to the Lord.

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As we were leaving we were each given the lamb cake with the booklet, I had mentioned in my prior post. The pastor asked us to stay for a moment to visit with him. As we waited,we met a man who came from another town to be at this service, because as he said, “there is much debate over the resurrection of Christ in the church. What do we have without the resurrection! I came here today because I knew pastor would speak the true Word of God. He shared with us his 3 years in New Guinea as a missionary and bared witness with us the feeling of being in a foreign land. He said, “it is not easy and it will be a process and you will even suffer, but the Lord will lead you.” He shared a little more and then road away on his bike. He was like angel given to us in that moment. I feel like the Lord has given many of these angels and will continue…

The pastor invited us for dinner tomorrow night, (fondue, yum). Their friendship is  quickly becoming very special to us.

Oh and by the way: everything is closed here Friday, Sunday & Monday of Easter weekend. Easter is a huge celebration here; however, it is mostly about bunnies and eggs.

This occurred to me. Our pastor at home is training & equipping the saints to walk in healing, the prophetic & other gifts of the Spirit as apart of our inheritance…this pastor is just trying to get them to understand and believe in the profound, yet elementary truths of our faith. Wow such a contrast. My heart melted with joy and grief, as we sat to listen to an orchestra & yodeling quartet tonight, over a room loaded with people. I was thinking how God the Father knows each one of these precious people so intimately and desires with deep groanings that they would know HIM.

God bless you all! We love you!!

 

 

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“THE LION OF LIGHT”

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As I snuggle in for the day, I want to share the amazing events of the last couple days. (I know this is a longer than usual post, but please read through entirety, it’s so worth it).

As promised I will share about our time in Luzern on Saturday and our first church service on Sunday…

On Saturday, we set out for Luzern. We had been there twice already, but not for the true reason we wanted to visit this city. You see we felt early on, that Luzern is where God wants us to stay longterm. As well, the Lion of Luzern is there, which I will share about. We had been looking forward, with great excitement,  to this visit for some time. Our goal was to seek the Lord in this place and discern if this is where He wants us.

As we arrived in Luzern, we realized that Saturday may not have been the most favorable day to visit. It was packed with people. Especially people of Asian descent….Wow, I think all of Asia was there! Nonetheless, our first stop was to see the Lion of Luzern memorial.  This place has been burning in our hearts for months and we were eager to see it.

IT WAS BREATH TAKING!!! More awe-inspiring than I could have imagined.

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Luzern means LAMP or LIGHT.  So this is the Lion of Light! There is a profound and important prophetic word over Switzerland, and in this word it says the Lion of Light will rise again in Switzerland!!! Yes Lord!

In the natural, this memorial commemorates the  300  Swiss Guards who were massacred  in 1792 during the French Revolution.

 “The most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”-Mark Twain

However, in the spirit there is so much astonishing  symbolism that it literally moves one to tears. This is symbolic of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah with a spear in His side, lying dead. We saw this as a spiritual picture of the church in this nation. It’s LAMP has gone out. After our visit with the pastor on Sunday (I will share the whole story about our visit in a bit), we realize it has even greater spiritual symbolism. The pastor said that the church does not believe in the resurrected Christ. The Lion is dead because He has never risen!!! The Giants in this land are even bigger than we realized. But God…He has the final word.

There were large crowds of people visiting this memorial, but one man stood out to both James & I. An older frail looking man, dressed in grungy dirty clothing. He was sitting alone at the end of a bench, not bothering anyone…just sitting and watching & seemingly waiting. James & I sat on the same bench as this man, we were praying and seeking the Lord about this special place. But the man didn’t say a word or motion toward us. He just sat and watched.

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The man in the hat at the end of the bench

 

We continued about our day. Next, we wanted to see the famous Chapel Bridge of Luzern, (the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge). {On our way we spoke with a family from Iowa City, Iowa, who are in Switzerland for two months on business. It was kind of nice talking with Americans, lol.} The bridge is beautiful and quite amazing. It is a footbridge that spans diagonally across the Reuss River. The views from the river were breathtaking. There were loads of people around the bridge and river area. We thought tourist season must have started early, but then realized it was the time of the “Luzern Festival”, (not sure what all it entails,  basically a whole lot of drinking). We walked around and admired all the gorgeous architecture. It truly, thus far, is the most charming and captivating city we have been in. I am in love with this city! It truly is the heart (center) of Switzerland.

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As we journeyed around we realized just how hungry we were, by this time it was 4:30. Well come to find out many of the shops and restaurants shut down around 4:30 on Saturday (unless of course you want to pay the upscale prices of fine dining). We were craving a good burger and fries. So we asked a police officer if he could recommend a place other than McDonalds, lol. He told us of an Irish Pub just around the corner. Sure enough we found it. It was so cool, straight out of Ireland (I thought, I hope this isn’t the closest I get to Ireland, lol) Even the staff and many of the patrons were Irish. The short and skinny is, we had the best burger and fries I think I’ve ever had!!! Oh, and most expensive! $21 a piece! But man was it good!

It was getting dark, so we decided to head back to our car. I suggested we go to the Lion of Luzern memorial one more time to see it in the dark with the lights on it. It was chilly and sprinkling rain by this time. It was just as, if not more spectacular at night. A huge crowd of Asians were there, and just as we came into the area, they cleared out. So it was just James & I…a perfect moment…and then James whispered to me…there is that man. I looked over (my heart cries now just thinking about him) and there was the grungy, dirty older man, sitting in the exact same spot as when we left him earlier…just sitting…just watching, just waiting. I gasped, and we knew we had to talk to him. We went over and commented on how he had been there all day and if he was ok. He just looked at us and nodded yes. James offered him money…he said “perché” which means “why” in Italian. James motioned for him to take it and he slowly & hesitantly took it in his hand. We then asked if we could pray for him (we couldn’t understand him nor he us), by saying Jesus and motioning up. He seemed opened…so James prayed for him and he just watched with  seemingly amazement and then I laid my hand on him and began praying, I opened my eyes and he was looking straight at me with eyes full of tears…he then grabbed his heart over and over again telling us thank you. I hugged him (he smelled as though he hadn’t showered in months) and we both held his hands, they were so cold…we didn’t want to leave but just stay there and show this poor soul some love and warmth. I touched his face and looked into his eyes, my heart just welled up with so much love and compassion for this man, I just wanted to know his story. He patted James on the back and said over and over “Amigo, amigo”. It was so moving. It was so sad yet so beautiful. We were so thankful to somehow bring this man a small portion of God’s vast love for him. We thought about how crowds of people all day passed this man and never made contact. He was starving for love & attention, he didn’t even care about the money…he actually set it down on the bench as if it was of no importance, but human contact and a touch of his Father’s love brought him alive. God’s ways are not our ways and His love is so extravagant…He loves the ones that no else sees (our hearts are forever changed because of this man).  It’s just so profound what happens when we step outside of ourselves. As we walked away, I thought of Simeon, in the Bible, waiting at the temple gate for the Messiah to come. I thought, is this man waiting for the Lion of Light to rise again…watching, waiting.

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Sunday morning came and as we got up we realized we lost an hour! It was Switzerland’s daylight savings. Thank goodness my wonderful husband set his phone alarm and it automatically changed time, lol.

We got ready for church and met Hans & Therese at there home by 9;15…drove up to the church…less than a mile up the road. First thing, Hans showed us around the cemetery that sits beside the church, with the church bells ringing behind us (so beautiful how the church bells ring here all throughout the day, as if to say “Wake up, O Sleeper”).

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We were  greeted by some of the congregates as we entered the church. The pastor walked up to us and greeted us in near perfect english (much younger than I expected, found out later that he is 38). The church has a charming interior, with the Ten Commandments in german carved in the stone wall, stain glass windows with pictures of Jesus, a wooden ceiling with one picture…a dove, representing the Holy Spirit. It was rather dark, and cold feeling, but charming nonetheless.

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In total, there was about 25 older members, with one family who had a younger boy. The pastor walked up front and an organ with haunting music began to play. It then stopped and the pastor greeted everyone in german and then read from Genesis 22:1-13. We then stood to sing a hym, sat back down, pastor spoke some, stood to sing another hym, sat back down and then the pastor brought his podium closer to the people (there were at least 10 rows in front with no people sitting in them, only the back 5 or so had people) from up above where he had been standing. He began to preach on the scripture he read earlier in Genesis and related it to the sacrifice of Christ (at least this is what we gathered from our limited German understanding). During the whole sermon it was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. During his message I sensed there is a fire in this man wanting to come out…I saw a Martin Luther, a Reformer. We then sang another song, he closed in prayer and then invited everyone for coffee and danishes.

The pastor again greeted everyone as they made their way out. He asked us if we were going to go across the way for coffee and we said yes, he expressed he wanted to talk to us. We got situated and he came and sat with us. He has been pastoring here for 9 years. In short, there is a fire in this man! He shared with us that most of the church and the people of Switzerland are not born again. He told us less than 1%!
There are “free” churches here (not controlled by the state & free in the Spirit) and “State” churches (the government provides the finances and maintenance but regulates everything the church does).  This pastor said if he had a choice he would go to a free church but God called him as a missionary to the state church. Like I said, he has been here 9 years…and you can see he is getting exhausted. He wants to see so much more happening and truly celebrate with life, death and resurrection of Christ.
He said the church does not believe in the resurrection of Christ, or that He is the final sacrifice, and that the Bible is the inspired word of God. As well, the children are confirmed at a young age, no decision made- as he said “artificial salvation”.
He has an assistant who helps part time and believes as the State Church does, so they are worlds apart. This pastor is stepping out this Good Friday and sending cakes in the shape of a Lamb (instead of the traditional Easter egg) to all the congregates with a booklet sharing about the death and resurrection of Christ. This is huge. He is also going to preach on it. Please pray for him. His assistant pastor is going to preach on Easter Sunday the very opposite, in contradiction of this, because he says the people need a choice of what to believe. Unbelievable!

We said, so you are not surprised that God brought us here. He said no I’m not surprised and I’ve been praying the two months for help! This pastor has such a tender heart to shepherd this flock. He has sacrificed much to lead this Body (only God knows truly how much).

This Thursday he is launching the very first youth night! And we are helping him. Please pray. He is so thankful we are here and wants to meet with us again soon. We hope to have an opportunity to pray with him tomorrow morning. We are eager to see what God has planned in this story, He will write the final chapter. We are so excited to be apart of this beautiful masterpiece!

Please pray for God’s Spirit of wisdom, discernment and prophecy be upon us, as well, for His full protection as we enter the enemies territory. Feel free to share with us what God shares with you.

Tomorrow, we head northeast of Zurich to meet with a ministry in that area that is expecting our arrival. Praying for a divine connection and fruitful time.

Praise God for He is good!!!

Thank you for girding us in prayer!! WE NEED YOU!

 

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Here, There and Everywhere……

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted. I caught a Swiss bug that kept me under the weather for a couple of days. But I’m back! Well at least 80% of me, lol. We have had an interesting few days, nothing overly exciting…

Wednesday, we made a trip to Lucerne, or Luzern as it is known here. Luzern is in the heart of Switzerland, and where we feel called to stay longterm. James wanted to seek out the hospitals in the area for open doors and specifically to find out what his occupation title is know as here (he gets mixed responses everytime he inquires). In short, we were directed to the main hospital in the Luzern canton. Step by step we made it to the Bio-medical shop and spoke to a nice young man, named Max, whom introduced us to the chief man Mr. Francis. Unfortunately, Mr. Francis was not opened to speaking to an “English man”. However, he did shake James’ hand. So maybe the door is cracked, but not yet opened. But God… James felt the Lord say to him this morning that he will meet Mr. Francis again. Yes Lord!

Luzerne Hospital

Luzern Hospital


#theSwissreallylovetheirdogs

It’s amazing, how many people have dogs in this country. They are everywhere and they walk them everywhere. Dogs are even allowed in coffee shops, stores, etc. It’s quite shocking at times. This is the country for dog lovers!


Thursday, we made ‘fun trip’ to Bern. Because I wasn’t feeling the best, we decided to take a casual day to walk around Bern. Bern is very pleasant to visit. Rather a casual atmosphere.

First, we decided to visit Starbucks  for a cup of coffee. We marveled at the people, in and outside the shop,  as we listened to the chatter of conversations without comprehension. The view from the coffee shop is Bern’s  striking central area with beautiful statues and clock towers, lined with restaurants and shops.

Bern Starbucks (we created the contrast of the old city vs. new world)

Bern Starbucks
(we created the contrast of the old city vs. new world)

We then began a walk through the city. We first stopped in a pharmacy for some cold medicine. Switzerland is amazing. They offer both pharmaceutical remedies and homeopathic remedies. It is so nice having such options side by side. We have found that the Swiss prefer natural solutions for ailments. We then stopped in a Sony shop to find a plug-in adapter. We spoke to a young man who is so eager to live in America. He has friends in Newark, New Jersey and actually has ‘BRICK CITY’ tattooed in asian font on his forearm. We continued our walk and found ourselves in the bustle of the center of this area, which is a mecca for transportation- trains, buses, etc. As we walked through this area, I found myself praying and studying the people’s faces and body language. I was grieved and the scripture found in Mathew 9:36 came to mind, ‘When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were harried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is rich, but the workers are few…”‘  I know this could be said of any nation; nonetheless, I am thankful He is speaking this to me in this nation, as this is the nation He is giving us.

We then walked through the busy narrow shopping ‘alleys’ to Old City of Bern where we came across the grandiose Zytglogge…say what??? Well this beauty is often featured on travel shows of Switzerland (It’s so amazing to see these epic monuments in person!). It is a large, medieval tower built in the 13th century. It has a rich history of serving the city as guard tower, prison, & clock tower. Currently it is an astronomical clock with musical mechanisms. Needless to say it is a major tourist attraction.

13th Century Clock Tower In Old City Bern

13th Century Clock Tower In Old City Bern

 

After some delicious homemade gelato, we made our way back to our car. We came into the busy center area again and noticed something peculiar happening with a crowd of people in front of a shop called ‘MediaMart’.  What seemed like a small celebration with fire work type flares and confetti with streamers, we realized, after talking to a young man, was a protest! Apparently, the building once was occupied by restaurants of traditional cuisine, but the owners were not able to keep the building maintained and it was closed. MediaMart bought and renovated the building, and this was their grand opening. We were told that MediaMart is multicultural company and not welcomed (at least this is what we understood from the young man who spoke fairly good english, but it seems there is more to the story). What seemed a relatively peaceful demonstration progressively became more violent, as eggs, bottles and other objects were thrown at the windows, causing them to break. The police were on each corner, but we didn’t stick around to see how it ended. James encouraged us to leave quickly.


#churchclocktowers

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It seems there is a church ready to greet us in every town we come into. These churches are so apparent, as they stand much taller then the rest of the buildings, and each one has a four sided clock on it. This is so profound to us for two reasons.

1st- before we left for Switzerland our dear friend, Bill, shared with us that at our wedding he had a vision. He never shared the vision until the Sunday before we left. In this vision he saw a four sided clock (almost all church clock towers here are four sided) the time he seen on the clock was just after 12. And he said as the clock struck just after 12, there was a huge release. He also saw like a scarf (or flag) with several crosses. (WE SAW THAT FLAG TODAY!)

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2nd- I got this revelation. This is such a prophetic picture, because the church is to know the ‘TIMES’.

“In the same way, when you see all these things, you (the church)are to know that the TIME is near, right at the door.” Mathew 24;33

And we declare over Switzerland: “You know at what point of history we stand; so it is high TIME for you to rouse yourself from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to believe.”


Friday, we stayed in most of the day. I, flat on my back, and James, worked on his resume. At about three in the afternoon, James suggested a walk to the bakery for bread and to the store. I thought it may be good for me, so I agreed. It was a nice walk; however, we both got very hungry and I was not really feeling up to cooking. So we checked the menu of a couple of different restaurants, and on the board of the restaurant closest to our apartment stated ‘burrito night-Freitag 1700PM’ (Friday @5PM). “Ooh that sounds good!” It was about 4PM, so we decided to go home first and unload our groceries. Then a thought occurred to me-let’s invite Hans and Therese (our host parents). James went to their home to invite them. He came back and reported to me that they could not because their grandson was coming over for dinner. However,  they were so excited and had marked the following Friday on their calendar for us to have ‘burrito dinner’! And then, suddenly, our doorbell rang. It was Therese inviting us to join them for dinner! That was a joyous moment! Our first Swiss family home cooked meal. In short, it was a wonderful evening, full of laughter and good times. The food was delicious!!! Their grandson & his girlfriend (ages 19) stayed for only an hour, as they had a hockey game to attend. They were so nice and polite, and the girlfriend spoke some english, so she was able to translate for us.

Therese nursed me with all kinds of home remedies, and of course Hans thought I needed a shot of ‘medicinal schnapps’, lol. Apparently, every September, Hans & Therese make a ten day trip to Holland to pick Hollander berries (Elderberries). They laughed, as they told stories of competing with the birds for the berries. Therese, then brings them home to make a thick syrup from the berries (mixed with hot water to drink). Therese makes 50 to 100 bottles. They drink it to keep the immune system strong and when they have colds, etc. We were gifted one of these treasured bottles: dated September 2014.

They are indeed a gift to us!

Hans & Therese invited us to church this Sunday, followed by dinner. As well, they would like us to celebrate Easter (Ostern) with them.

We will be speaking to Andreas, via Skype, today. Andreas is Hans and Therese’s son, as well as, the owner of our apartment. He resides with his family in Boston and is apart of the Swiss consulate there. We asked to speak to him to get some insight on the proper process for James in landing a job here. Please pray we gain some wisdom from this talk!

****Stayed tuned, I will share on my next post about Saturday in Luzern…Amazing! And our first traditional Swiss church service tomorrow with our sweet new family.

 

 

 

 

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Spiders, slugs & cookies…oh my!

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Schön (beautiful) day here in Switzerland!

We had the wonderful privilege of spending the day with Hans and Terese, our host parents (the couple that manage our apartment).

Our day began with James making calls to acquire the necessary information needed for his next step to employment. Praise God he got a British speaker on the line that was able to direct him to the appropriate contact. He made a call, as directed, to the secretary of education; however, was asked to call back after 1:30. This gave him time to join me on our balcony, which overlooks a small yard and garden. We were sitting there chatting when our host, Terese, walked by to the garden. She was bent over at the garden for about 5 minutes picking something. She then returned past us as we called out “grüessech” (hello). She stopped and rattled off foreign words to us, and of course we smiled and said “ja, ja“. James asked what she had just picked. “Salat” (salad or lettuce), she said and gestured for us to have some. We agreed and I ran downstairs to retrieve the fresh produce. Terese instructed me to wash well and cut the ends off. I asked her if we could stop into her home after a bit and visit, she responded “ja ja“.  So I ran back upstairs to wash and prepare the beautiful lettuce just given to me. As I was washing the lettuce a huge spider began to crawl out….and then about four slugs….and then a HUGE snail with about three other smaller snails!!! I thought, ok this is fresh from the garden, what do you expect Melissa. I finished cleaning the produce, asked James to find the spider a new home and dumped the snails and slugs outside in a rocky area. Whew…that was entertaining to say the least! And the lettuce was so delicious!!!

We then went for our visit with Hans and Terese. Upon arrival we were offered tea and cookies. We sat and chatted, giggling as we navigated through each others languages. We have discovered that Hans is quite the comedian and always brings out a good laugh. They are so typical of couples who have been married several years. He will say something ornery and she will just shake her head blushing and laugh. We were able to pray for healing of arthritis for Terese. Hans was not in the room when we prayed for her, so when he returned, Terese announced with excitement…”they prayed for me” (in Swiss german of course)! It is so precious being with these two. They are for sure a gift to us from God.

The rest of our day was quickly & wonderfully highjacked by this couple…or by God. You see we had planned to be back at our apartment by 1:30 for the call to the secretary of education and then on our way for a two hour drive to visit a ministry in the North East (whom we can only meet, for now, on Tuesday evening).  I had been asking God to give us an open door with this couple to spend time with them and as we were visiting they asked if we wanted to visit a cookie factory called ‘Kambly’. Hans informed us that we could sample all their cookies and crackers to our hearts delight for gratis (free). “Yes, of course, we’d love to go!”

First, we had mentioned we would like help grocery shopping at a more affordable store. So they took us to an Aldi just up the road. We were so thankful, because we did not even know there was an Aldi so near. And just as in the US, it is so much cheaper than at other grocery stores. But the products are actually local or within Europe! Oh my gosh we were thrilled! We were able to purchase twice as much for half the price. We were even able to get chicken and beef for a very reasonable price. I felt like I found the pot of gold at the end of  a rainbow!

Next, after unloading our groceries we headed to the cookie factory. It was huge! Ok, so for those of you who are familiar with the Osceola cheese factory in Missouri (on the way to Springfield) where you can sample every kind of cheese they offer, well try that but with cookies and crackers! Wowza! It was overwhelming. Shelfs stacked with every cookie and cracker imaginable, all for us to sample. By the end, we both thought we may be ill. Nonetheless it was wonderful, and we left with a bounty of cookies & some crackers. The picture above is of the four of us having coffee in the cafe of the cookie factory. Words cannot express the feeling of joy we had with this lovely couple. We have adopted them in our hearts.

We finished the day with a much needed nap and then homemade spaghetti and fresh slug-free salad!!! Needless to say, no dessert.

Even though we did not fulfill what we had planned for this day, we believe God had a better plan with longterm returns.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose…”Proverbs 16:3-4

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Prayer Journey Through Geneva

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“This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it…” is what we were singing in the car as we started our day today. It was a beautiful, sunny day! Unlike the report of cold and snow. How nice to see the sun, as the last couple of days have been cold and dreary. The hills and mountains were actually clear,  normally there is a smokey haze over them. Perfect day to begin our Switzerland prayer journey!

We set out for Bern, to visit the Red Cross (for James to have his certifications validated). We arrived and were asked to return later when the front desk attendant would be back. We decided to venture out onto the streets by foot to find some lunch. Our first restaurant experience in Switzerland. We wanted some authentic food and we got some! Authentic Lebanese food!!! It was delicious! LOL. We will try again for authentic Swiss food. I guess if cheese and chocolate count, then we have met our authentic food goal. Afterward, naturally, we had to get some coffee. So of course we went across the street to Starbucks! I must say it hit the spot! We then returned to the Red Cross. The man we spoke to said they could not help him at that location; however, gave him valuable contact information with the right people. So we are asking for prayer in this next step.

We then headed to Geneva, praying through the beautiful landscape. We found it so amazing as we drove closer to the France border,  the landscape, road signs, structures & language began to transform int0 French. As if someone came in and did a scene change in the middle of an act of a play. It’s as if Switzerland is in a war with itself, fighting for it’s identity. We speak Shalom over this land, destroying the authority that binds them to chaos! They appear neat & tidy on the outside, but underneath is chaos.

Geneva is a very important place to James & I. We only got a few hours in the city, but plan to return when we can have  a full day there. Geneva is a maze of narrow busy roads with people on foot, on bicycles, in cars, buses & trains. It is indeed beautiful & fascinating. Parks full of young and old alike. Young people visiting and playing soccer, while older men playing life size chess. I believe Geneva is a key city for the Lord & His will for Switzerland!

Our central purpose for visiting this intriguing city today was to see the structure in the picture above. The first picture is of James standing in the gateway to the Old City of Geneva. Dating back to the 1100s. The second picture is of the Cathedral of St. Peter. James has a beautiful compelling personal story surrounding this structure (some of you have heard James’ story about this). In short, James has had a vision of this structure since the day he was saved, when he is in the Lord’s presence (although he did not know what or where or if this structure existed). There is another story surrounding this alluring place, found in the film ‘Let the Lion Roar’ (It was in this film that James saw the structure for the first time, other than in his mind’s eye). In brief, John Calvin came through Geneva spreading the Reformation (as Martin Luther was his mentor), making this cathedral the hub of his preaching. It was a vibrant and prosperous time for Geneva; however, there was one issue for Calvin…the Jews. So he kicked them out of Geneva. The statue you see in the third picture is of the prophet Jeremiah. You can’t tell from this picture, but he is turned with his back to the cathedral. As if he can’t set his eyes on such betrayal.

We felt the weight of Holy Spirit as we walked and prayed around the cathedral. We are asking for more revelation. It was a powerful day and God revealed many things to us.

Please continue to pray….God bless all who visit my paige

 

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Hello

 

03/22/15

Dear friends,

Today is day five into our Switzerland journey. We have been overwhelmed in so many ways. God is so beautiful and it is as if we’ve fallen in love with Him all over again. He has met us in such unexpected and surprising ways.

We have joyfully fumbled through the cultural and language differences. Many times stopping to laugh at ourselves. This has already been a humbling experience. As well, and most importantly, it has been a transforming experience. We are experiencing & encountering God in unbelievable ways. We realize just how truly dependent we are on Him. What a wonderful position to be in!!!! Our hearts are so thankful.

Culturally, some differences we’ve noticed. No one, I mean no one is ever on there cell phones!! What??? On occasion we will see someone talking (yes, talking not texting) on their phone, but this is rare. Children are actually out playing and interacting. Adults are out conversing over coffee or while walking. It’s truly a joy to see and so freeing.

We were expecting people to be unapproachable, surprisingly, for the most part people are very friendly and willing to help us. Grocery shopping has been interesting, I have some fun stories. They do things a bit different here. Groceries are expensive, however, cheaper than eating out, so I’ve been cooking. We’ve noticed that at least 9 out of 10 cars are four-door hatch backs. From very nice BMWs to Peugeots. Anyway, I could go on.

The host couple that manage our apartment for their son are so precious! Hans is 81 & Therese is 74. We had breakfast with them the other morning and had a wonderful time with them. We hope to have more opportunities to meet with them. They don’t speak english, so it makes sharing with them very difficult. But I know we will have a chance to pray for them.

We had an amazing day Friday & Saturday. Steve Mallison-Jones had mentioned to us that a team from IHOP was doing a conference in Basel (which is about an hour & a half away). We felt we should go, and we are so thankful we did. The conference was themed “I will pour out my Spirit”. It was hosted by the Basel HOP. We didn’t even know there was a Basel HOP. There is a Bern HOP & Zurich HOP as well (we knew about the Zurich house).The team from IHOP consisted of Allen Hood, Corey Russell and Jon Thurlow. The timing of God is so perfect. Things were without a doubt set in motion. First, God used this conference to confirm His heart for this land and our purpose. Secondly, He encountered us in a powerful and intimate way. We truly felt a transformation on the inside (I believe He was pouring into us what we need for this journey). Thirdly, the most remarkable thing happened. Corey Russell was ministering to people and he walked passed us and then quickly turned around and said “I have to pray for you two”. He asked our names, and when we answered, he looked shocked and said where are you from? We shared we were from the KC area and then he looked even more shocked. He asked what are you doing here, are you here just for the conference? We shared a little about what God is doing and that He has moved us here. He got so excited! And said we are here to commission you! He prayed over us and released God’s fire and commissioned us. All I can say is it was beyond powerful. Like a huge kiss from God! Fourthly, we got to see the Bride of Christ in Europe. It was a small gathering (relatively speaking, from 50 to 150 ppl, depending on the session). It was so beautiful to worship with these believers. There was such a hunger. There was a moment during worship, Jon was singing “Jesus have your inheritance in every nation in Europe” and the Swiss, German, France, Israel, Austria, & Italy flag was being waved! Everyone was worshipping and declaring, It was profound! WOW!

We made some connections and are eager to see what comes of them. We also received an invite to the church in Basel which is involved with the HOP.

God is good!

Sunday was a wonderful day of rest. As well we got to see our beautiful COTR family via live stream. It sure helped with feeling a little home sick to worship with everyone. These are the moments I thank God for technology!

Tomorrow, Monday, we begin our prayer tour, as well, James will visit the Red Cross for advice and hopefully validation of his certifications. Please pray for favor.

We then plan to visit  a ministry in the NE  on Tuesday.

Thank you so much for your love and intercession. We appreciate and love you all!

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