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May, 2007

  1. “goes on for an eternity” entry

    May 28, 2007 by louissa

    first, it’s memorial day.  i don’t feel at all like it’s a holiday or very patriotic right now, but i guess that’s what happens when you’re so distant from american culture.

    and my new favorite song is Sweet Pea by Amos Lee.  it makes me smile.  really, it does. 

    but onto the real post (warning: very long entry and three random links to video clips here and there)…

    after a week of being gone, i’m home.  i’ve been to italy and i’ve been to a town in the north-east of Germany.  i’ve seen friends from back at my “real” home and i’ve had to meet new people.  i’ve been outside on sunny days and have sat under an umbrella on the not-so-sunny days.  i’ve spent hours on trains and i’ve been in a hot stuffy van in the midst of crawling traffic.  it’s been lovely and i’ve enjoyed every minute of my time away, but i do find that i’m quite content to be back here in the confines of my yellow walls and “normal” routine.

    i’ve taken so many pictures (and video clips) in the last week and so i thought you might enjoy having images to go along with what i write — but really, it’s just a way of getting out of writing.  the more pictures i show, the less i have to write!

    on monday morning, amy and i woke up from our phone ringing at the time we were supposed to be leaving the building (moral of the story, don’t trust me with the alarm clock — i sleep through everything).  in three minutes we had thrown our clothes on, grabbed our bags, made sure we had tickets and passports, and ran out, hoping that we’d catch our train.  we did (and lucky me, two hours later at one of the bigger train stations i even got to brush my teeth!).  but anyway, we got to her house and we had the bestest time ever in italy. 

    a few pictures from a day in venice:

    stepping out of the train station…

    gondolas (Gondoliers, anyone?)…

    wonderfully cute…

    friends in venice…

    from “The Gondoliers” set…

    “wow!  they’re real!”

    we didn’t ride on the gondolas, but the gondoliers posed for a picture…

    more loveliness…

    your little girl in Venice, Italy

    traveling is always better with other people.  crazy things always happen.

    during our visit with them

    we were able to experience everything american and wonderful (including a tour of american helicoptors!).

    as much as i loved italy, i was grateful for landing back into germany where i can say “vielen Dank” and other such lovely words and not feel like a complete idiot for saying it in the wrong country.  and germany is always so beautiful.

    we arrived back at bodenseehof on friday morning at 8:45 am.  we packed up and left again at 1:30 pm.  the whole team (and a few others) headed off to Bobengrün (an outdoor conference rather like Beyond the Song) where we would be playing.  on our way there we got caught in traffic and enjoyed our “quality” time together to enjoy some music.

    ryan is our banjo player and wears his mullet with pride.

    matt is our lead guitarist and most of the time, vocalist.  he enjoys calling me strange names and making fun of the meaning of my real name.

    evelyn müller.  she likes fun photos from strange angles.

    amy+tambourine=great fun!

    lorna, amy, and evelyn…

    The Nehemiah Project

    so i was in a skit where i had to dance with a whisk.  so what?  that’s normal, right?

    they told us to pack for rain, but the first day was cloudless and hot.  i still carried the umbrella around with me and sometimes used it.

    the second day it did rain.  it rained with no concern about us poor people who had to sit in the outdoors during the meetings.

    all the umbrellas were rather fun…

    that day i really did need the umbrella…

    and then a few hours later is amazing skies again…

    waiting for our sound check…

    some pictures that i took of my lovely bodenseehof people.  you don’t know them, but i like the pictures.

    lorna (doone).






    and me with some of my dear German girls.

    and i’ve now spent a total of over two hours on this computer so i’m going to get off. 

    gute Nacht.

  2. travels

    May 20, 2007 by louissa

    i’m getting everything ready.  tomorrow i go to italy for a few days to see her and i shall be bringing a friend along.

    and then upon getting back i’ll have approximately five hours at school to take the dirty clothes out of my bag and put clean clothes in and then, with my team this time, i’ll drive to a big Christian music fest that we’re involved in.

    all that to say, i’ll be gone for the next week.

  3. pictures

    May 15, 2007 by louissa

    a few photos to show you what life is like here in Germany and as part of the staff here at Bodenseehof:

    like i said, the garbage system is incredible.

    there is nothing like a walk along the wall.

    and nothing like sitting on the wall.

    and more sitting.

    empty flip-flops.

    half-on flip-flops.

    full flip-flops.

    and then there’s the new sport here at bodenseehof.  slack-lining for fun:

    some jump onto it.

    others have a hard time finding their balance.

    and others do it with their eyes closed.

    sometimes it’s such a pretty lake that i live by.

    i dry dishes after every meal and sometimes water fights happen and i get soaked.

    this past sunday afternoon was spent by the beach with almost the entire staff.

    “joe the carpenter”

    “steve the dean” (and wonderfulness in the background).

    prince andrew my love.

    father and son.

    and i’m still as cool as ever.

  4. me

    May 14, 2007 by louissa

    i’m here – really, i am.  i’m just busy and when i’m not busy i’m just tired.  right now i’m not busy so i’m just tired and really can’t think very well right now, but here, it’s an update on me.  ready?

    i like to be right.  i like going into something knowing that i’m right and the other person is wrong.  i like proving to them that they’re wrong and that i’m right.  and that is just horrid.  but man did i feel good when i told someone that they have actually only been to two boroughs of NYC — not three since Long Island is not a borough.

    and i’m a dork of a daughter.  i didn’t call my mumsie yesterday.

    but hey, i ate the best dessert tonight.  that’s pretty cool, right?

  5. advertising all the way from G’many

    May 10, 2007 by louissa

    we decided to sit down and learn some new songs today.  after all, we play lots of music and have quickly gotten bored with our selection of the same twenty songs.  after listening to one song using an iPod or MP3 player or some such electronic gadget that is so popular right now, i was handed the tambourine and told to play it.  and the following conversation ensued:

    me:     yay!  i feel like my dad — this is so cool.
    them:  your dad plays tambourine?
    me:     yeah, in church.  hey, you know those people who play tambourine in church but just shouldn’t because sometimes they get off and you love them so much?
    them:  no, but we don’t go to a pentecostal church.  wait, your dad plays in the congregation?
    me:     yeah.
    them:  and the person who gets off — do they just play from wherever?
    me:     yeah.
    them:  dude, do you have people with flags and ribbons?
    me:     yeah, there’s a lady who uses flags during worship.
    them:  sweet!  can we visit your church sometime?

    of course i told them that they could.

  6. May 6, 2007 by louissa

    another weekend done.  the double-decker bus left our small parking lot this morning.  many hands were waving and a few tears were being shed by those departing and the small group huddled on the parking lot in the damp gray day laughed and made jokes — something that you probably shouldn’t do when there are emotionally distraught people saying goodbye to you.  but they love us so it’s okay.

    i received an email the other day and i sat here in the staff office and cried.  it was so lovely, it was so sad, it was all about change and you know how much i hate change.  when i go back home things will be different – people i expected to still be there won’t be anymore.  but no melancholy posts, right?

    i sometime wonder if you’ve adjusted to my being gone and don’t think about it as much.  i think i’d understand if you did since i did it when i was home and others left as well, but i’m suddenly realizing how different it is when you are the one to have left.  you never forget and really adjust to being gone — i’m always very aware of this change.

    i’m in a place in life that requires constant giving.  i just don’t feel like i’m taking enough in for what is being asked of me.  many time i’ve found myself whispering, “Lord, where are you?”  i feel alone and i wonder what is the purpose of going through those “dry time”.  i want to learn, i want to grow, i want Him to speak to me, but i feel like it’s not happening.  the paradox is that never have i been so consistent with my Bible reading and reading Christian books.  i’m far too aware of the responsiblity that i have to “feed myself” and i’m trying as hard as i can to do so, but it feels like nothing is changing.

    i love the people i’m surrounded by — this Bodenseehof “family” that i have.  i’m grateful for all that they do for me and i know that they are wonderful people.  but i think today i could use a daddy hug and a kiss from my mumsie dear.  yes, that would be lovely.

    so much for my “not melancholy post”.

  7. super-duper long update

    May 1, 2007 by louissa

    i know, it’s been a little while since i last wrote.  i suppose you deserve a rather long and solid post telling you of everything i’ve been keeping busy with and all the young people i’ve come in contact with, but that means that really, for once, you should be able to read about what i’m exactly doing over here in Germany since school is over.

    i’m here with five other individuals who went to school with me.  we have formed a little “band” (which you’ve already heard about) and have recently recorded a cd.  but that’s not really the important part of what we do.  the school hosts retreats for Konfirmation students.  there are two state churches in Germany — the Catholic and the Lutheran.  to join the Lutheran church, children start attending classes at age 13 and a year later can be confirmed.  usually, during the course of their year long training (about who knows what), they go away for a weekend (like a youth retreat or a camp at home).  Bodenseehof offers a program which does everything for one of these weekends and makes it so cheap that hardly anyone turns it down.  it sounds easy to pastors since we provide teaching, games, food, and entertainment and most jump at this opportunity.  they come on a wednesday or a thursday and stay until sunday or monday.

    some pastors of these Lutheran churches are true believers, but others are not.  these retreats are not just great opportunities to share the true gospel with these young people, but also with the leaders of churches from all over Germany.  since it is believed that once these young people join the church they are automatically Christians, what we do and say here at Bodenseehof can “rock the boat” at times, but things have been going really, really well.

    during the meetings my team teaches them songs, “performs” songs for them, and everyday one of us gives our testimony.  the night before they leave we put a “concert” on for them which is generally much fun.  the other big part of what i do with these kids is interact with them.  every afternoon is free and usually they have a scheduled event and if there’s room we’ll go with them.  we eat meals with them and talk, we play card games with them during free time here, we organize water games, we live with them, love on them, and share Jesus with them during daily life here.  i’ve only worked with two groups and already i have met girls who struggle so much, have dealt with so much in their life already, and at times i feel inadequate for this job.

    we had a specially long retreat this week since yesterday was a holiday here and this morning the second group of students that i worked with left.  it was a great weekend.  the kids were fun, friendly, willing to practice their English, and seemed more receptive of what we were saying.  unlike last week, when we had a decision meeting (a chance to decide to become a believer), several young people went and made decisions.  and the other very amazing thing is that a pastor who came with a group this week, is the wife of a man who is in charge of all the pastors in a state here in Germany.  she came last year with the group and disliked the “decision meeting” since she felt it was going against what the church teaches.  at first they didn’t know if she was going to cause problems for the pastors of that state that come to Bodenseehof with their Konfi Kids on a regular basis, but she didn’t.  and she came again with her group and seemed to really enjoy the weekend.

    you do strange things to win the kids over.  one night found me having a pillow fight and then sitting on my pillow in one of the halls eating snacks with many other girls while we talked.  we had a bag of gummy bears and i suddenly found myself holding my gummy bear and creating a person for it.  the stories that were created for these small little gummies were quite… creative and we heard lots about jack, alex, kate, harry, sally, felix, etc.  it became a hit and the next night the girls were asking if we could do the same thing (amazingly, the woman pastor who i wrote about, sat with us and at our urging had fun with pretzels as well).  you never know what fun you might have.  like when suddenly we had a whole “air band” while we blared DC Talk and sang along.

    it’s tiring.  my schedule is early mornings and late nights and lots of energy throughout the day, but it’s worth it all (and it’s not too bad — i get a day and a half off and some afternoons through the week).  i’m feeling settled here at Bodenseehof and am feeling comfortable with these German young people (i’ve even made my own German flash cards so i can really start learning something).  it’s fun, it’s rewarding (even if i don’t see much fruit right now), and it’s what i’m supposed to be doing right now.  there is no better feeling that that, right?

    i wore a white linen skirt today.  somehow wearing a white linen skirt, blue ankle strap shoes, a red top, and holding my very “nautical” looking bag from a lovely sister made me feel quite grown up.  this afternoon i drove thirty minutes away and attended a birthday kaffee trinken (literal translation: “to take coffee”, but it’s a time of cake and coffee usually served around 3:00 in the afternoon) for a German man who turned fifty.  i was surrounded by Germans, was eating very German cake (by the way, bakeries here are amazing), and for one of the first times felt very comfortable in the German atmosphere i’m now surrounded by.  it was lovely.  and now i’m off to a barbeque to celebrate another German’s birthday.