Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Dicotomy of Deutschland

Feb. 19, 2007

It is 8:40 in the morning, day four of our excursion. I've noticed quite a lot of differences between ministering to the high schoolers here and the middle schoolers back home. A lot of it just goes with the differences between middle and high school. I'm not sure if the rest is cultural, significant to only army brats or what. One difference is that there is no defiance here. The students are always happy to comply and you never have to tell them anything twice. The staff here equates that to the fact that they are the student leaders. Anothere difference is that there is no need to probe the students to open up. None of them are shy and they aren't afraid to let you know who they are. As I've watched them interact I've noticed that they have formed a bond, but it doesn't look to run very deep. This is just my assumption, its hard to say with much accuracy without really knowing them. My guess is that with moves every two to four years it would be difficult saying goodbye if you have connected with them at that deep of a level.
Today is the last day of the retreat. Every part of this weekend has really come together. The highlight has to be Saturday's chapel. Rob, our youth min teacher, spoke about forgiveness. He opened with a clip from Lost, so you knew it was going to be good. The clip highlighted Sawyer and the letter he has carried around with him since he was a child. In the letter he writes to the man who killed his parents. He promises to find him and kill him. Rob then shared about what had happened to him and his parents' death in an auto accident. He then pulled out a letter of his own, written to the man who killed his parents. Rob read his letter to the group. He wrote that he hopes to find this man so that he will know that he has been forgiven by both Rob and God. Rob then invited the group to work out the issues that they have been holding on to and to work on being able to forgive themselves.

The Faushing Parade.

A German cell phone.

My Bratworst and B...sprite.

Coolest bathroom ever.

We had a Vday shindig.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A German Journal

Feb. 17, 2007

It's 11:23pm American time, or 8:24am in Germany. I can't change the clock on my cellphone for some strange reason, so I've developed a system the reveals the time here in Germany. I call it "The what time is it over here?" system. I take the American time and subtract it by three hours, then i switch the pm to the am. It's weird thinking that if I were home I'd probably be avoiding my homework by aimlessly wandering the dorms as opposed to having just waken up. I am no longer chilling in a castle, nor is there any hot water. Lame. I need to shower like Rosanne needs marriage counseling. We have finally met our students and have kicked off the camp. We spent most of the day yesterday working on last minute arrangements and awaiting their dinnertime arrival. it's been a blast over here so far, I defiantly have to come back. Maybe I'll jump at that summer internship. It'll get me back in time for wedding season, unless Jon has something he's not telling me about.

I got locked in the bathroom.

The view from the bathroom window.

Tempting, I know.

I guess when its overcast you can smell the rubber.

I spent a lot of time in that bathroom.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The German Memiours

Feb. 15, 2007

I write from atop a zebra bed circa the Rocky Horror Picture Show from within a German "castle." That's right, a castle. It's more like an ancient mansion then a castle, but it has the spiral staircase, chandeliers down ever hallway, that drafty castle feel, and more rooms then my dorm building. I went for a wander last night and got lost. Apparently this place was built in the 1600s by some bishop. It is currently seven something in the a.m. I'm not really sure because my cellphone is dead and set to American time, which is probably two or three in the am. (Its actually ten pm) I have a whole new respect for jet lag. I've always underestimated its powers, but now I know the extent of its grasp. We flew out yesterday, or rather, day before yesterday at 1:30pm (Portland time) and arrived at eight in the morning (Germany time). But I'm pleased to sacrifice a days worth of sanity in order to say that I've witnessed a sunrise and two sunsets within 24 hours. Although I was to disoriented to fully appreciate everything I'm impressed with what Germany has to offer. The cars are all incredible and the vandalism is beautiful. I have no clue how the people here navigate the roads but they sure do know how to drive. I feel as if I was born for these roads.

The Exit signs here rock.

The "castle" of residency.

The Rocky Horror Picture Bed

Your average castle driveway.

I guess Ashton is a cell phone mogul.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


How long has it been since we have focused on what is there instead of what is missing? We call it contentment. It is being completely absorbed with a moment. Ignoring want or need. We often confused contentment with complacency. Which makes its quest a rare occurrence. But it still manages to catch us off guard. A moment beside a waterfall, a child's giggle, a rush of wind through the hair, and a warm cinnamon bun give us all a reason to pause and breath in. We are content. But we soon move on, looking forward to bigger and better days while continuing to pay our dues. Contentment becomes that pause between heartbeats. It is no longer that whistle while we walk but rather that distant bleep on our ever crowded radar screen. Paul says that contentment comes "through him who gives me strength." It is divine adequacy, being dependant on God and not the circumstances of our lives. It is much harder these days to be dependant on either. Dependence on a God who is neither finite nor definable is a difficult task. Likewise our lives never climax. The next stage of life is always greener.

Is contentment in a world that constantly thirsts for more attainable?

It is a world of discontent and I walk it well. In high school I couldn't wait to go to college. In college I couldn't wait to go to "big boy college." And now... Now I'd like to be married, or at least know who I'd like to marry. I'm sure that will be followed by the quest for kids, and finally retirement. Where I will look back at life and wish I could do it again. But this time I won't exhale.