Tuesday, September 8, 2009
on the other side of the world; Holy Spirit moments; things we fight about; life comes at you fast; culture compression
Whether foreign land, or neighbors, everyone's the same. Searching for the answers, that lie within Your name. I wanna proclaim the love of Jesus, in all I do and say. Unashamed? Oh, yeh. These lyrics to a Mercy Me tune have been running thru my head this week, along with a thousand other things.
One of my newly inherited job responsibilities at OC this past year has been assisting in our facilities planning for our Vienna Studies program at OC, and, you guessed it, I have been blessed to go to Vienna, once last year, and right now, where I'm typing this from tonight. There's the explanatory background for you.
Lots of new or renewed experiences this week. Because of the very low airfares (yes, I do try to save money), my colleague from OC and I traveled this week thru Munich instead of directly to Vienna. That required we get a car, and, you guessed it, that we had to drive on the Autobahn. Tough deal. More on that later.
This also provided opportunity for me to revisit a family I have not seen in 21 years; "meine Deustche famile" (my Germany family) from a church campaign over 20 years ago. They live in a town just outside of Munich (Augsburg), and I had opportunity to meet them for dinner Saturday night and worship with the Augsburg church before heading to Vienna later that day. It was wonderful. Everyone was so gracious. I got more hugs in a church building than I've had in years. They knew I was coming that day. One man had looked me up in Google and knew I had something to do with "borrowing some money to build something" (great legacy), and another approached me and said "you are the American boy!".
I was asked to speak to the church at the end of the service, and while I said a few things to them "auf Deustch", they had an interpreter both during the sermon, for my benefit, and to tell the church what I had to say. It was an amazing experience. I am not one to often admit to or claim to have had "Holy Spirit moments" but I felt them this past Sunday. I have often wondered about the meaning of a word, "Botschaft", that I heard often 20 years ago in prayers during that campaign. The few German speakers I have inquired of could not define it for me. As class began on Sunday, I was switching back and forth on the iPhone Bible between German and English for the topic of the day, and there it was in verse 1 of Obadja (Obadiah) 1:1. It means tidings or message from God. I went all the way back to Germany to finally get the answer I had wondered about for two decades. Then the sermon: Not being disappointed or disillusioned when life delivers setbacks, financial, health, and otherwise. The preacher this Sunday was the retired long time preacher, and a man I knew when I was here before. He only preaches 6 or so times a year due to his health. He called me up before it started and shared an outline with me in English, and he had someone sit with me and translate. It was wonderful, and it was a message I very much needed to be reminded about. I needed this "botschaft". Sherry could not make this trip, partly for duty to the kids, but in large part due to heath concerns. The financial world continues to make life difficult, for families, for Universities, for churches, for businesses. We need to see that life is so much more, and these trials are temporary.