Sunday, April 06, 2008
I had three interesting and challenging conversations this week. I love it when God arranges divine appointments! The first was at the language school on Wednesday. I teach a regular group in the evening and only one of the 4 members showed up - one was ill, one away on a business trip, and one just didn't make it for some reason. Still thinking that the last fellow (who often comes late) might show up, I made small talk with Gina for awhile. I mentioned something about baking a cake for the Alpha course at my church the next evening. She picked up on that and mentioned that she's been attending a home group meeting on Tuesdays. It turns out that she's a new Christian! We ended up having a great time of sharing. I was able to share some verses with her and to encourage her in her walk. Our talk lasted the whole lesson time, although I made some moves to get back to the subject material, feeling it was my responsibility as her paid instructor. But she was happy to continue with talk about church, the Brian Doerksen CD she's been listening too, what her husband thinks of her new-found interests, etc.
The second conversation was Friday at the gym. I was having a really frustrating workout. I was really tired to begin with, but wanted to get in at least a half hour on the treadmill. My mp3 player battery died, so I stopped the machine and went to the locker room to get a fresh battery. That battery turned out not to be so fresh, so I went back for battery number 3 which also proved to be dead. Ugh. Tired as I was, this was all very frustrating. At the same time, I realized it was silly to let a little battery rob me of the joy of completing a good workout. So, instead of quitting and going home, I finished my run and then went to the locker room to enjoy a nice hot shower. As I was getting dressed, there was a little red-haired woman talking on her cell phone in a Scottish accent. She kept trying to end the conversation with the person on the other end of the line because she was trying to get into her workout clothes and go to a class. When she finally ended the call, I joked that I was hoping she'd keep talking because I like hearing the accent. Mind you, I don't often speak to people in the locker room at the gym. People are not so openly sociable here as they might be at a gym in the US. It would be great to have a workout buddy, tho - and we ended our chat by saying that we hoped to run into each other again. You know, if I had given up and gone home early, I wouldn't have met Anna!
Conversation number 3 was with another private student, at the language school on Saturday. This was my first lesson with this man who has lived in Germany most of his adult life but was born in Palestine. Again, it wasn't my directing the conversation, but he spent most of the last hour discussing the political situation in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It's obviously a matter very near his heart. As he shared and explained, I mostly just listened, asked a few questions, and prayed silently - how do I respond to his comments and concerns as an American but more importantly as a Christian? The situation in the near East is so complex, and though I've read a lot about it, it's a different matter knowing what to say when you're confronted with someone who's lived with the conflict his whole life. We still have 9 lessons together, so I'm praying for other opportunities to learn more and to speak some words of God's truth into his life.
You know the fellow I mentioned who didn't show up to my Wednesday class? He's an orthodox Jew, an immigrant to Germany from Russia. What an amazing conversation THAT would be, if the two of them were to get together!
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Thomas from my home group has agreed to run with me next week, if the weather is good. It's so changeable right now. I'd pretty much run in any weather except pouring rain but am hoping for partly cloudy and cool like right now. I'm heading out now to try to get in 5K today because it may be my only chance before the race.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Yesterday evening at the gym, I actually jogged 5K! Not exactly Olympic qualifying pace, but I made it. So that 7K race in June is looking more and more likely. If I can get someone to go with me on April 13, I'll run the 5K that's in the town about 10 minutes from here. Unfortunately, lots of the races are on Sunday morning so I would have to miss church, so this is definitely not going to be a regular thing for me. At the race on the 13th, there will be a short devotion before the race for those who want to participate.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I have a friend who was born in England to American parents, and now lives here in Germany with her German husband. She's the only person I know that uses the word "indeed" as part of her everyday vocabulary. She uses it in conversation when I would probably say "you've got THAT right", or "you can say THAT again!" When she says "indeed" it sounds so refined and sweet, kind of like the queen.
The only other time I hear the word with any frequency is on Easter Sunday when we celebrate the Lord's resurrection. In some churches, the
traditional greeting on Easter morning is "He is risen!" and the response, "He is risen indeed!" I've always liked that. It seems like such a good way to spread the joy of knowing that the tomb is empty.
For some people, the Easter story is just a pleasant myth or fairy tale. But that word "indeed" says more than just "you've got THAT right" - Jesus rose IN DEED - it wasn't just a nice thought or IDEA that the writers of the gospels thought up. It really happened, it was a DEED, an miracle act of God. And now Jesus is back at home with the Father after the awful separation he endured through his death on the cross, ruling and reigning from his throne in heaven. That resurrection DEED changed the world forever - and it changed my life forever, too. I'm going to say it - again and again. You've got that right!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
I got the results of my blood work, EKG and stress test yesterday and - yep - I have low blood pressure. I knew that. Not much to do about it either, but at least it's good to know that it isn't anything more serious. I've always tended to low BP, but it hasn't usually been as problematic as it has the past few weeks. Maybe the stress of two trips to the US, and getting over two bouts of jet lag, together with the crazy ups and downs of the weather here this spring, are behind the persisting dizziness. I have some meds to take for 10 days, otherwise I just need to be sure to get my water in, get enough sleep and eat right. I know HOw to do that! Just gotta DO it!
But hey, at least the blood tests showed that my cholesterol levels are down even more - the doctor's diagnosis of high cholesterol was one big reason why I commited to losing weight and exercising. What a difference a year of Sparking makes!
Which reminds me, it's just one month till my one-year "Sparkiversary." Time to get ready to celebrate!
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