Sep
25
2009
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MMT 11–Zavelstein, Germany

I think all of the second-year team members were especially happy to arrive at the peaceful House Felsengrund. This Christian hotel is located in the little village of Zavelstein on the edge of the black forest. In Zavelstein, Tim and Kevin preached another Bible conference, and we provided special music. We also gave one full concert.

In our spare time, we enjoyed walks in the black forest, visited a wood carving shop/museum, and caught up on sleep. This visit to Zavelstein was memorable for me because we celebrated my birthday here in full MMT fashion. My celebration included the birthday song performed by the “9 Flamingos” (6 mission team guys wearing sunglasses), and an awesome story composed by Caleb and Mike. For the rest of the team, Zavelstein is memorable because of some very unusual fish.

The caption says that this is the smallest nativity in the world in a hazelnut.
Tim and I enjoyed a walk in the forest.

Sep
15
2009
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MMT 10–Sinsheim, Germany

In Sinsheim, we worked with missionary Fred Foster and his wife, Tabea. We had services in two nursing homes, and a concert in the stadthalle (like a city hall). Before the concert, we passed out tracts and invitations while our brass group played in the pedestrian zone downtown.

Before we left, some of the team members took the opportunity to visit the Sinsheim Technik Museum, which has lots of planes, cars, and other vehicles.

sinsheim technik museum (192)

Sep
13
2009
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MMT 9–Kaiserslautern, Germany

Please forgive me for taking so long to post the rest of the MMT updates. I do intend to finish them.

In Kaiserslautern, we worked with a national church. This church, like many that we visit, consists mainly of Germans whose ancestors relocated to Russia (or Romania or Kazakhstan) during the reign of Catherine the Great. The families got stuck in the Soviet Union when the Iron Curtain fell and then returned to Germany in the 1990’s. (In the future, if I talk about Russian Germans, this is what I mean. They might actually be Ukrainian Germans, but sometimes I have trouble with those details.) It’s always fascinating to stay with these people and hear their stories.

We arrived in Kaiserslautern just in time to eat supper and change for the service. It was raining, complicating things for the guys who were unloading the suitcases. It also meant that all of us had to open our suitcases inside. It’s always fun when 12 girls are trying to open their suitcases and change their clothes in one small room. I think we got spoiled doing so many conferences at the beginning of the summer.

After the service we talked to the people and met our hosts. Even though we had already eaten supper, our hosts fed us again. We didn’t need more food, but we enjoyed getting to know them over the tea and sandwiches.

The next day we visited a nearby castle called Trifels. Castle Trifels sits on top of a sandstone peak (one of three in the area), so we had a little hike up to it. I can’t imagine trying to storm a castle–running up the hill in armor while people shot arrows and poured boiling oil on you.

We had a great time in the castle, taking pictures, reading about the history, and singing. I think we sang three songs, including “God so Loved the World.”  Some of the people from the church came to the castle with us. One couple brought their little girl, and she loved playing with Mike’s cane. It was so much fun watching her giggle and grin when she grabbed it from him.

That evening we drove to Albisheim for a service. We sang in Albisheim last year, so we were thrilled to see people we remembered. We talked with many people during the tea time after the service. On the way back to Kaiserslautern, we saw a beautiful sunset and rejoiced in God’s creation.

Singing in Kaiserslautern (photo from Janie McCauley)
Part of our host family
A bunch of us on top of the castle tower
Not sure who liked this more, Mike or the girl.
I enjoyed seeing the castle with Tim
Singing in Albisheim (photo from Janie McCauley)
Beautiful sunset coming back from Albisheim

Jul
31
2009
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MMT 8–Nürnberg

At Nürnberg, we had the opportunity to sing at a tent meeting. The trip from Zurich took a little bit longer than we expected, so we had to inhale our supper, change our clothes in record time, and rush out to the tent. The meeting had actually started before we arrived, but the people were singing hymns and waiting for us. We were thankful that the people were so patient, but a little bit flustered about having to rush in and sing right away.

The next day we were supposed to sing in the pedestrian area and pass out invitations, but it was raining, so we went to the documentation center instead. The documentation center is a museum about the rise of the Nazis and WWII. I was particularly interested in the part that described the rise of the Nazi party and the propaganda efforts. It really helped me to understand what people were thinking and feeling at that time. It’s also interesting to see how Hitler used everything from architecture to festivals to make people feel that they were part of something special.

In Nürnberg, we stayed with a sweet family of German speakers. Usually, our hosts know English, so we can be lazy. But this time, we got to stretch ourselves and attempt to communicate in German. It was a great experience, and Tim made great use of his dictionary application on his phone.


Jul
07
2009
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MMT 7–Midnight Call and Zurich

Midnight Call is an organization located near Zurich with a church, nursing home, printing division, and radio ministry. We spent the night in their hostel (which used to be a barn), and toured their facilities. The purpose was for the Musical Mission Team and Midnight Call leadership to meet each other, so we also sang a mini-concert for the coworkers.

Since we were in Zurich, we took a few hours to look around. Our first stop was the Grossmünster, where Zwingli started the Reformation in Switzerland. Several of us paid 2 francs to climb up the stairs in the tower. From there, we could see Zurich’s many famous clock towers.

We had been several days without internet access, so we were all eager to check our e-mail! The i-pod/i-phone users explored the city, bearing their devices like divining rods. Once they successfully found an unsecured signal, we halted until they could download their e-mails. Fortunately, there was an H&M nearby.

Caleb, Tim, and Amy finding free wireless in Zurich
Midnight Call put up this message on the roof
The brave tower-climbing group
Me, and part of Zurich

Jul
03
2009
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MMT–mini report from Prague

I finally have internet tonight,  but it’s midnight, and I just traipsed all over Prague. So, I think that I need to go to bed instead of writing a post about our journey. Tomorrow we have our first opportunity to sing in Slovak. Guess what we’ll be saying in the vans on the way out of Prague? “I za mna Ježiš prelial krv . . .”

Today, I realized that I don’t know Czech. We’re not talking the “I don’t know the language except for how to say hello, my age, order a meal,  find the bathroom, and generally carry on conversations as if I were a 2-year-old.” No, that’s how I don’t know German.

Seriously, I don’t know any Czech words. Well, except for one.

zmrzlina

It means icecream.



Jun
24
2009
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MMT 6–Güetli

After our time in Metzigen, we crossed back into Switzerland to minister at the Güetli. It’s hard to explain what the Güetli is, because I don’t know of anything like it in the States. It’s a combination of a farm, hotel, and Christian conference center. They also grow flowers and have a flower shop to help support their mission work.

At Güetli, Tim and Kevin preached a Bible conference. The choir sang a few songs for the conference services and had a concert/service on Sunday afternoon. When we weren’t singing, we helped out with the work. Some team members were in the garden, or helped with the cleaning. I helped in the kitchen. Saturday morning, I helped peel kohlrabi. I think my group went through 50 kilos of kohlrabi (25 kilos were for Saturday lunch). Saturday afternoon, I cut and washed lettuce from the garden. After these experiences, I have a renewed appreciation for people in the food service field.

Say hello to the friendly sheep!
One of many beautiful flowers in the shop
We had macaroni and cheese for supper!!!

Jun
24
2009
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MMT 5–Tübigen and Stuttgart

While we were in Metzigen, we took two short day trips–one to Tübigen and one to Stuttgart. In Tübigen, we passed out tracts, did some shopping, and rode a paddleboat on the Neckar River.

In Stuttgart, some team members went to the Mercedes museum. Since I had been there last year, and since I’m not a big car fan, I opted to walk around the town instead. We went shoe shopping with one of the girls from the youth group, then ate lunch in a park, and visited the lobby of the opera house.

Then we had an interesting experience in the Protestant church. When we first walked in, we weren’t planning to spend much time there, so we were looking around, trying to take it all in. An older man with a name tag approached us and started offering information about the church. At first we weren’t sure if we wanted to talk to him (I was afraid that he might try to get us to pay him for a tour or something), but he was so kind and friendly that we listened to what he was saying and started examining the objects he referenced in his comments. After he showed us a display with the history of the church, he took us to the front and pointed to some sculptures. Did we know what they were? Yes, they portrayed the Christmas story.

Then he started asking about the different figures. Did we know who this was (Mary and Elizabeth)? What did this portray (the wise men)? After the sculptures, he started explaining the panels on the stained glass windows. He named Bible story after Bible story, and I started to think that this man’s knowledge went deeper than tour-guide level.

Finally, one of the girls in the group asked the question that was forming in each of our minds. “This window is about Jesus. Do you believe in Him?” He told us that he did believe in Jesus, that many people in Germany and even in the church do not believe, but he does believe. Then he explained why he volunteers in the church. He stands there and tells people about the statues and stained glass so that he can explain the Bible to them. Many people visit the church, even Buddhists and Muslims. In this way, he witnesses to them all.

I hope that this man truly is trusting in Christ alone for his salvation and that one day, I will see him again in heaven. I was challenged by the fact that all of us had the same reaction to him. We could all tell that he had an intimate, real knowledge of the Bible. Hopefully other people have similar thoughts when they hear us sing.

Paddleboating on the Neckar River
Park where we ate lunch in Stuttgart
Adorable duckling in Stuttgart
Church tower in Stuttgart

Jun
21
2009
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MMT 4–Metzigen

After leaving Ebnat Kappel, Switzerland, we crossed the border and drove to Metzigen, Germany. Metzigen is known for its outlets. The downtown area is filled with gigantic stores. People come from all over to shop in these stores. The church that we ministered in was smack in the middle, literally surrounded by outlets.

In Metzigen we gave two evening concert-services. Our standard concert-service has 6 songs at the beginning (3 native language, 3 English), then a brass piece, a testimony, another instrumental piece, 3 more songs (all native language), a short Gospel message, then one more song. After the service is dismissed, two of our team members stand at the door passing out tracts, and the rest of us shake hands and try to talk to people.

Our hosts in Metzigen

Our hosts in Metzigen

We enjoyed getting to know the people in the church at Metzigen, especially our hosts–Simon, Emma, and their daughter Hadassah. Both Simon and Emma grew up in Romania, so we were able to learn a little bit about the difference between Germany and Romania.

The third evening, instead of another service, we had a grillfest and fellowship with the teens. We enjoyed steaks, volleyball, and singing beside a beautiful field outside of Metzigen.






Jun
21
2009
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MMT 3–St. Gallen and Liechtenstein

While at Arche, we went to the nearby town of St. Gallen. In St. Gallen, we visited an old library and a church, ate lunch, and sang on the streets. While we were singing, members of an Ethiopian church loosely associated with Arche passed out tracts and invitations to our concert. This was a great help, because people are much more receptive to tracts/invitations while we are actually singing. I’m not sure if anyone came to the concert as a result of the invitations, but we can still pray that people will read the tracts.

One of the interesting things in St. Gallen is the old library in the monastery. Several team members mentioned that it looked like something from Beauty and the Beast. Only comfortable chairs were missing.



On a different day, we made a short trip to Liechtenstein. We were all excited about visiting another country, especially one small enough to be a collector’s item. In a way, the visit was anticlimactic, since the border crossing was almost as boring as driving from South Carolina to Georgia, only without a welcome center. Also, Liechtenstein seemed to look exactly like Switzerland (please refrain from making observations about the two countries’ geographical proximity).

We were delighted to find that Liechtenstein has its own bus system and we wondered about the difficulties of having an entire government for such a small area. We enjoyed taking pictures of the [still-inhabited] royal castle. I had a lovely time, even if I didn’t get a stamp in my passport. These days, it seems that the only way to get a stamp in one’s passport is to visit somewhere dangerous or to buy one on the streets of Berlin. After listening to some of Dr. McCauley’s stories about Russian border crossings, I’ll take the empty passport!

Jun
09
2009
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MMT 2 — Ebnat Kappel

We spent our first weekend at the Arche (Ark) in Ebnat Kappel, Switzerland. The team always goes there for Pentecost weekend. They call it Pfingsten here. The Arche is a kind of Christian hotel and conference center, unlike any place I have been in the US.

This year we were especially excited about going to Ebnat Kappel because Dr. Greg Kielmeyer is there. Dr. Kielmeyer traveled with the Musical Mission Team for several years (including last year) and was one of my teachers at BJ. He seemed excited to see us, too.

At Ebnat Kappel, Tim and Kevin Oberlin preached a Bible conference. We sang a few songs for each of the conference services, and also gave a full concert on Sunday. I think there were more people there than last year. That was exciting for us (we like to have big crowds!) and for the Arche. I talked to people from France, Canada, and of course Switzerland.

On Saturday afternoon we went to St. Gallen to sing on the street and pass out tracts. Monday we went to see Ulrich Zwingli’s birthplace and also visited Liechtenstein.

To read another summary of our first few stops and see some pictures, visit the Musical Mission Team website.

Jun
01
2009
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MMT 1 — Flight and Switzerland

Hello from Switzerland! I don’t have time to write a long post, but I want to let everyone know that we made it to  Europe safely, and we have already begun our summer ministry. Here’s a quick recap of the past few days:

Monday and Tuesday we had all-day rehearsals at BJ, and late nights getting ready to leave. We actually didn’t get to bed until about 5:30 Wednesday morning, but we got all of the important things done! That’s what’s important.

Wednesday morning we met on campus and said goodbye to our friends. It was raining, so the packing process was a bit complicated. I had a moment of panic when I realized that I had left my black shoes at home (the ones I need for our services). However, some of our friends were able to go back to our house, get my shoes, and take them to another team member whose flight left later than ours. Thanks, Jason and Candy!!!

We had an overnight flight, and I slept well (thanks for general fatigue and Dramamine). We are very thankful that all 27 people and our many piece of luggage made it over without incident. We did have one very badly damaged bag, but overall, everything went well.

After we arrived in Geneva and got our vans, we drove to Leissigen to spend the night. We stayed at a beautiful Swiss chalet on a lake. The next morning we traveled to Ebnat Kappel for our first weekend of ministry.




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