A Week of Making Connections…

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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.

IMG_3376                                View from our balcony just off the bedroom. Looks like a postcard

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!

IMG_5471    (Watch this Video as Melissa Leads the Charge)IMG_3449

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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