One of our real joys has been watching the group in Berlin take off under the leadership of the students there. When we left we were running between 20 and 25, and today they run 45. Isn’t it amazing to see God working through students, who are passionate about being His people?
By all accounts the evening was a success. We had about 50 people packing out the place. The Louisiana Team did a bang up job teaching us some cajun such as an ahnvee meaning a longing or hunger, or poo-yi meaning smells bad. We finished the night doing some “traditional” Cajun dancing, as interpreted by the University of Louisiana – Lafayette Chi Alpha group.
Well, ‘nough said. Here are the pictures:
Yesterday was the first SfC meeting of the new semester, and it was planned and ran by our student leadership team.
That includes set up and clean up, food preparations, leading worship, sound, teaching and hosting.
John had no responsibilites. He came to serve and meet new students, and to critique the meeting, to help get the team off to a great start.
And what a start it was! Full of excitement, 20 students gathered this Tuesday to worship, learn, and enjoy Christian fellowship. They have planned a “Scotland Yard” game in the city of Berlin this weekend for fun and getting to know more students. I think it is sort of like a scavenger hunt/mystery solving game. Sounds like so much fun to me! And then the following weekend they have a “Semester Beginning Party” planned.
What a blessing to see this fresh excitement and enthusiasm to reach students for Christ from students themselves.
Thank you Lord for answered prayers.
Thank you all for praying.
This morning, John has been meeting with a group of students to cast vision for the purpose of SfC Berlin and to help them plan for this next semester and when we are gone.
It has been so encouraging to see how God has raised up new leaders over this last year and brought new folks in. I feel like we have continually been looking for those certain people that could carry SfC on when we leave, but they all seemed to never work out.
This has all happened in God’s perfect timing. But at the same time, it has definitely been a lesson of trusting God for us.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Last Friday, we had our SfC “Winter Blues” game night party. We were to come dressed as colorfully as possible, along with a hat. I ended up wearing my lime-ish green sweater with a l-o-n-g multi-colored stocking cap. John wore an orange plaid button-up shirt and an orange fish hat.
A couple of students from our group planned and lead the game night. It was fantastic to see how creative and well organized they were – all John and I had to do was show up!
I walked into the room to find colorful balloons and streamers decking the ceiling and floor. A table full of delicious food was against a wall, and rhythmic music pumped through the speakers. Groups of students scattered through the room were chatting happily. There was a buzz in the room.
The evening started with food. One of our students made 2 different noodle dishes for everyone to enjoy. Then there were all sorts of desserts and sweet and savory snacks to munch on.
After we finished eating the game night began. While we were there we played a name game, charades with Taboo cards, and a game called “Parliament.” It was such a fun night. Everyone participated, which made it even more fun.
I met lots of new people that night, because our students had invited their friends to come. John and I stayed till almost midnight, and even then, the party wasn’t close to being done. It went on until 2:30 in the morning!
It has been such a blessing having John’s parents here with us these past few weeks. Not only are there two extra sets of hands to help with the boys, but also I have been free to participate in some ministry events that I have been unable to do since the boys were born.
I was able to go to our annual New Year’s students’ conference, without having to keep a weathered eye out for my boys. I was able to participate at our Tuesday evening large group meeting. And today, I get to join John as he visits one of our Students for Christ groups in Jena, Germany.
This morning, the guys watched the boys as mom treated us to a haircut. And Wednesday, mom, a friend, and I are sneaking away to a chocolate shop to enjoy some hot chocolate. So fun!
Mom and Dad Koeshall leave this Thursday. Boy will we miss them – all of us.
A quick story for you from our New Years Retreat in Frankfurt:
Free parking on the street was sparse by the youth hostel where we stayed. John ended up parking in a parking garage for the week. He spoke with the attendant at the garage about how to pay once we wanted to leave, since no one would be there on New Years day. It seemed you could either pay in cash, but with bills no larger than a 20 € bill, or you could pay with a cash chip.
Let me explain the cash card as best as I understand. We have a debit card that we use for most transactions.
Traveler’s Tip: Here is an interesting fact, most German stores or restaurants do not accept credit cards (surprise, surprise!), so make sure you have enough cash on hand if you are traveling in Germany.
Our debit card has two parts to it (I just found this out). There is the regular debit, which requires you to use a pin, and there is the cash chip. You can put money on the chip part of your card, and you can use this money without a pin, so it is almost like cash in a sense.
Johnny decided to use the cash chip to pay for the parking, because you can just pay directly as you exit the garage as apposed to paying at a machine and carrying a bunch of cash around with you.
After packing the car up and crowding all five of us in —we had 3 students riding with us— we tried leaving the parking garage. John stuck the card in at the exit and it wouldn’t accept the cash chip. Trying several times with the same results, we hit the help button. The voice over the intercom explained that the cash chip does not work, even though we had been told it did, and that we would have to pay in cash.
John had to re-park the car and run to a bank to pull out money. When he was there, he saw that the 100 Euros he had put on the gold card was gone! Noooo!
In the end we made it out of the garage and safely back to Berlin.
We are still unsure how this cash chip actually is supposed to work. But on the positive side, when John looked at our bank account once we were back in Berlin, the 100 Euros had been put back into our bank, so we hadn’t lost it like we thought we had.
Ok, so it wasn’t that short of a story. Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!
Students for Christ had its Christmas party last night. We were able to find a babysitter so I could come and enjoy the festivities. Yah!
After bidding my boys goodbye, I headed off on the public transportation, laden with sugar cookie dough, a rolling pin, and a couple other miscellaneous items.
I arrived in time to preheat the ovens and lay out the cookie trays. Two other gals were going to help me cut out and decorate the cookies. They were bringing the cookie cutters and decorations.
The allotted time came and went, and I started to roll out the dough, thinking maybe I could cut some designs with a knife??
Side note: Germans are known for their punctuality. Well, I would like to say; this DOES NOT apply to German university students.
The girls arrived right after I rolled out the first batch of dough. Shwoo!
The party was supposed to begin at 7 pm with dinner. But because of our late start with the cookies, people started coming downstairs where we were making the cookies and help decorate. It was quite fun to see them chattering away while at work, even guys, who would normally would not take part in this type of activity, and enjoying themselves. We finally had to cut our cookie extravaganza short because of time, and dinner getting cold, so I placed the remaining dough in the fridge. But no worries, we had plenty of cookies.
We had quite the spread: A Chinese noodle dish, loaded with veggies, ground meat, and egg noodles, cookies, Stollen, candied corn, oranges, apples, hot chocolate, and spiced cider.
After dinner was the present exchange. This is the game where everyone brings a gift (it can be silly or a nice gift, but under $5) and by the end of the game, through lots of trading, passing, and stealing, everyone ends up with a gift. Some are very pleased with their new treasure, others, well, let’s just say it isn’t their favorite present of the year.
The evening “officially” ended with singing a couple of Christmas songs. But people weren’t about to leave. The night was young. We all continued to chat, munch, and enjoy the holiday atmosphere.
John and I were home at midnight and fell into bed.
From what I hear, the room where SfC meets is all a jumble. Chairs stacked, couches pulled away from walls, lights dangling from their sockets, dust and paint everywhere!
And there is a ton of people there. A work team from Alabama arrived last Saturday to renovate the church in which we meet, and they’re elbow deep in their work.
With no place but the office to meet, they’ll be tucked in all cozy. “Always be flexible” is a good motto to have.
One bowl of rice.
John and other students in Berlin, and across Germany, are taking part in a hunger awareness campaign this week. Each day they will only eat one bowl of rice, which is what a large percentage of the world eats daily.
John started on Sunday, so he is already on day 3. When asked how he feels, he says, “Hungry.”
It should be interesting to hear his reflections at the end of his time.
Perhaps I can get him to post a few thoughts…