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.
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!