Monday, January 28, 2013

Finding Routine

I think one of the hardest things about moving around and living in different places is a lack of routine. Constant change is taxing for the brain to handle and it can make cultural adjustment much more difficult. Having a regular schedule is comforting - it feels like home. Discovering a routine means learning the way to do things in a new place, so you don't have to think so hard about it anymore. Having a routine means you can focus your mental energy on other things.

After a couple weeks in England, we are finally finding a routine and, therefore, feeling more settled. With our semi-weekly tutoring sessions, church bible studies, a weekly team meeting, church services, and study time, our schedule is filling up! We are thankful for this regularity. We were also able to get an affordable 3-month gym membership, so we can stay fit (and mentally healthy) while we're here.

Here is our weekly schedule right now:

Sunday: Prep for church service; Set-up at 3:30pm; Service from 4:30 - 6pm
Monday: German study in the morning; Tutoring session in the afternoon
Tuesday: 10:15am bible study; 7:15pm bible study; prep for Wednesday team meeting; German study
Wednesday: 10am Team meeting, with occasional afternoon team prep work
Thursday: German study in the morning; Tutoring session in the afternoon
Friday: Sabbath (rest day!)
Saturday: German study; prep for Sunday

What do you find comforting about your daily or weekly routine?

Photo credit: dhester from

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Christianity Explored

Adding stickers to what seemed like 10,000 CE postcards
Our Lichfield WorldVenture team is gearing up for starting a Christianity Explored course in the local neighborhood! Similar to the Alpha course, Christianity Explored is focused on helping new believers or people who are searching. It offers a safe place to ask questions and explore the basics of Christianity and what we believe.

We will be starting a 7-week course in early February and in preparation, we've been distributing postcards all over the neighborhood. Our teammates are really focused on their local neighborhood (which they call an "estate"), especially since the church meets in the community center. Last Wednesday, we spend an hour or two adding course information stickers to many, many Christianity Explored postcards. Then we ventured out, dropping them in every mailbox in the neighborhood! We each had a zone to cover and were out there for about 2 - 3 hours going door to door.

Although it was a tiring day, we're praying that a few people from the area have interest in the course and see it as an opportunity to get their questions answered in a safe, welcoming environment.

Would you pray with us, that God stirs the hearts of some local people to come and explore Christianity with us?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our New Apartment

Welcome to our new life in England! Check out the video below, as Bethany takes you on a tour of our new (temporary) apartment.

Things We are Getting Used To... (Part 2)

Now that we're in a new place, we thought we'd share with you again the things we're getting used to...

New team mates and friends!

We have joined Jeff and Sarah Fry with Darwin Park Community Church (the area is named after Charles Darwin's grand father Erasmus who was born here and was kind of a big deal).


We are drinking more tea than ever now that we are in England. We have even learned how to prepare it properly. The trick is in the wrist.

Self-directed Studying

This new stage means we do a lot more self directed studying and working with a tutor twice a week. It is a good chance to work on things at our own pace!

 Space Heaters

We are making it through the winter with the help of these little guys. English buildings tend to be a little colder than we are used to, but Bethany is layering on the socks and powering through. 

 One Comforter

After 3 months of separate comforters in Austria, we are back to one again. It is so interesting how different places do things!

Pull String Lights and Shower

Here is the light switch and power for the shower in our bathroom (more on that below). It is easy to whack them in the dark when you are trying to turn the lights on. But they add a certain exotic feel to the bathroom.

Push Button Shower

Lastly we have our push button shower. It is electric (I think) and you control the heat with the dial in the middle. It works, but it is an interesting system for sure!

To see our first installment of "things we're getting used to" when we moved to Austria, click here

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Teammates

We have been in Lichfield, England for a week already, and we're setting in well. Much of that is thanks to our new team members, Jeff and Sarah Fry. The Frys have welcomed us here, helping us learn our way around, lending us a car, and inviting us over to their house often for meals and fellowship time. It feels like we've known them for longer than just a week!

The Frys pastor a small church plant in Lichfield, and even in a short time, I feel like I've already learned a lot about what it looks like to live the life of a church planter, just from observing them. No matter the size of a church, things can be challenging and sometimes messy. We are all sinful, so church life is complicated! Their church has been going through a difficult season recently, and watching them handle it gracefully, wisely and biblically is teaching me a lot. I am confident we'll learn so much from them in our three months.

As much as we will learn from them, I can also see how God sent us to Lichfield to support and encourage the Frys. We've been able to pray with them and offer an outside perspective on some of the situations in the church, which they say has been really valuable. They've been doing ministry on their own for the last 8 years, so they are excited to have team members here to work with them. We are planning on helping with music in church and at bible studies (as soon as the guitar they have is repaired) and assist with teaching. We'll also be helping with logistics for Sunday evening services and a few special events. I'm excited to partner with them and support them, even if it is just temporarily.

When we were preparing to come here, I was feeling uncertain about what to expect. But God has really given me peace about being here and confidence about how He will use our time. I'm so thankful we serve a creative God who uses all things for good!

Our team posing at the movie theater, after a trip to see "Les Miserables" together

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another 3 Months

It seems like our lives have been stints of 3 months for quite awhile now.

We haven't been stationary for much more than 3 months in a long time. In the States before we left for Europe, we bounced around the country as we said goodbye to people and places and raised support. It was a lot of transition all the time. So...coming to Vienna was a nice change. Compared to our last year, arriving in Vienna felt like our first semi-permanent situation in awhile.

But now we have closed out those first 3 months, and we are on to our second to last section of the journey here in Lichfield, England. We're so new here, I had to look up the spelling of the town. We are excited to see what God does with our time here, but it still a bit difficult to adjust yet again to a new place. We can't wait to learn from our co-laborers here and to get involved in the ministry they are doing. We are so thankful that God has walked with us on the journey, and we know that He will continue to provide all that we need.

The transition here was hard. I think it was the combination of a quiet Christmas away from our families, lots of free time to think about that, the stress of our visa application process, and having to pack up and move again. All of that made for an emotional last week in Vienna. I think Bethany and I are both thankful that we made it through the last week, and we can begin the settling process in this new place.

The constant through all of this has been God's faithfulness. Even though transitions are tough, it's been evident that God's hand has been in each one. We've had places to stay, needed resources, and supportive team members and friends at each juncture. He has gone before and paved the way in really clear ways. We're so thankful.

And so, the adventure we call 'following God' continues!

What is the adventure that God has you on right now?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Surviving the "Visa Overnight of 2013"

Well, we survived! On Tuesday night into Wednesday, we camped outside the visa office and then submitted our applications to the Austrian government. We are relieved it is over!

In the midst of the chaos, there are several things we are thankful for:
  • Fellow missionary friends decided to check the office at 7am on Tuesday. There were already people in line! Because of their phone call, we were able to still get a good spot in line.
  • The temperature hovered right around freezing. For January, this is pretty mild!
  • We had the opportunity to get to know other missionaries during our stint outside.
  • Friends of our who live close to the office (and were on vacation) gave us their keys. We had a warm place to go back to as Nate and I took turns out on the street.
  •  [From Bethany Only] Nate was gracious and took the overnight shift from midnight - 6am. I was very thankful for his willingness to sacrifice!
It was very important that we were early in line. Believe it or not, the first person in line as a lawyer representing 28 people! With only 60 visas given out, he took almost half of them right away! So even though we were #5 & 6 on the list, we ended up right in the middle of the pack. We were so thankful we got there early!

Thank you for your prayers for us during this time. God was faithful in so many ways. We're glad the ordeal is over. Now it is time to wait and keep praying!

Here are a few photos from the adventure.

Nate looking chipper at the beginning!
A few hours later...a little less chipper.
Trying to stay warm!

Friends rejoicing - someone brought us hot McDonald's!
Our own little "tent city"

One we got inside, they lined us up according to the list.

We're done - we handed in our paperwork and got fingerprinted! Now time to sleep.