Friday, November 26, 2010


This is already the second year after my return from the United States and it's always at this time that I long so much to be back there. With each year I was living in this country I became more fond of Thanksgiving, since there is nothing really comparable over here in Europe. In Germany we only have "Erntedank", which basically means giving thanks for the harvest, and it's being held in the churches the first weekend of October. However, it's not a special occasion to celebrate with family and friends.

In order not to let it pass by unnoticed, I decided to make some sweet rolls and cookies to share with my colleagues at work. I got some positive feedback, but the thing is that this day was business as usual and nothing special happened. Indeed, it was quite a busy day, and in the evening I was even too tired to call anybody in the US. When I woke up this morning, I was still feeling sad. After spending an hour in prayer and devotion and working out at the gym, I felt better though. Today, it was rather quiet in the office and now I'm relieved the Sabbath is here.

In fact, it's only now that I'm finally able to pause and contemplate about the things in my life I can thank the Lord for. I'm sure we can all come up with a long list here. But tonight, I'm especially thankful that Christ has paid for my sins and that He is interceding for me in the Most Holy place in Heaven. Indeed, He is blotting out my sin in the Sanctuary. I love this song!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What a Week

Another Sabbath day has passed and I feel extraordinarily blessed this evening.

This past week, we had kind of an exceptional situation at work. We are normally four assistants who give secretarial/administrative support in our unit, but both of my colleagues who normally assist the head of unit were out of office for most of the week. So I had to share this task with my other co-worker (each of us are usually assigned to one of the two deputies). 

The most challenging day was Wednesday. It was just a simple rejection of a complaint that had to be prepared, but it was accompanied by an elaborate administrative procedure, involving a not so user friendly computer application of our Secretariat-General. The thing is that I had done this procedure only once before, but this was over a year ago. In fact, we are dealing with a lot of complaints in our unit, and we reject a majority of them for various reasons. However, such files tend to stay open for quite some time, since the case handlers have more important things to do (i. e. the complaints and cases that we follow up on) and thus they tend to procrastinate with these "little fish". Anyway, it took me the whole morning to launch the procedure, and I got desperate again and again. However by lunchtime, all the problems were solved and the complainant was still notified by Sec-Gen on Friday. I was really thankful for having accomplished this task, and I now even look forward to the next procedure of this kind.

Today at church, we had another meeting for our Amazing Facts seminar, and I thank the Lord that it went really well. The church leaders are still very cooperative and there seems to be no problem with the finances. In fact, I'm getting really excited about this endeavor. There may still come obstacles and difficulties our way, but I have no doubt that the Lord is in it and that He will bless our efforts abundantly.

In summary, I would say this past week was a roller coaster emotionally for me. However, fear and worry does not come from the Lord, because He "hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).

So I'm ready for another week now. I don't know yet what kind of challenges I will be facing, but I know the Lord is still at my side to cheer, strengthen, guide and uphold me. I cannot thank Him enough for His presence and His transforming power in the lives of His children. Yes, He is able!

  1. ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to take Him at His Word;
    Just to rest upon His promise,
    And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
    • Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
      How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
      Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
      Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
  2. Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to trust His cleansing blood;
    And in simple faith to plunge me
    ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
  3. Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just from sin and self to cease;
    Just from Jesus simply taking
    Life and rest, and joy and peace.
  4. I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
    Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
    And I know that Thou art with me,
    Wilt be with me to the end.

Friday, November 12, 2010

His Perfect Example

The week is over and I'm so glad it's time to rest again.

The training course I attended on Tuesday and Wednesday was very fruitful. It was on public speaking and given by a British lady who had a theater background. My primary motivation to follow this course was to improve my skills in this area, mainly for my medical missionary endeavors (and also for my work whenever necessary). We all had to give a 10 minute presentation in front of the group, and I chose the topic on sugar and its impact on the immune function. I had presented this before at Uchee Pines and even at my last cooking class, but after learning all the theory about public speaking, I was quite apprehensive. The teacher was very encouraging, as I honestly didn't think that my performance was "fantastic", but this is what she said. I also got positive feedback on the topic itself, as they were quite intrigued by it. The improvement suggestions were very useful, and I hope to be able to apply them in the future.

I went through chapter 7 of the Desire of Ages this evening and I'm really touched by it. Jesus gave us such a perfect example of a life fully consecrated to the Lord and to the people around Him - already during His childhood and youth:

As a child, Jesus manifested a peculiar loveliness of disposition. His willing hands were ever ready to serve others. He manifested a patience that nothing could disturb, and a truthfulness that would never sacrifice integrity. In principle firm as a rock, His life revealed the grace of unselfish courtesy.  {DA 68.3}  

Jesus was the fountain of healing mercy for the world; and through all those secluded years at Nazareth, His life flowed out in currents of sympathy and tenderness. The aged, the sorrowing, and the sin-burdened, the children at play in their innocent joy, the little creatures of the groves, the patient beasts of burden,--all were happier for His presence. He whose word of power upheld the worlds would stoop to relieve a wounded bird. There was nothing beneath His notice, nothing to which He disdained to minister.  {DA 74.1} 

Reading these quotes, I wish so much more to be a blessing to the people around me - at church, at work, or wherever else I get in touch with people who are sorrowful and sin-burdened. However, I tend to think that I'm still far away from Jesus' example. I can only pray that He may draw me closer to Him and mold me more into His image. But the key is that we draw closer to Jesus, and this is only possible by studying His Word, His life, and His character.

Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did. As we try to become acquainted with our heavenly Father through His word, angels will draw near, our minds will be strengthened, our characters will be elevated and refined. We shall become more like our Saviour. And as we behold the beautiful and grand in nature, our affections go out after God. While the spirit is awed, the soul is invigorated by coming in contact with the Infinite through His works. Communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strengthen as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things.  {DA 70.4}  

May this be all our experience!

Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm back to my daily routine for almost a week now. It has been fairly easy for me to readjust to the time zone (since I had never really shifted into Colorado time while I was there), but I would have rather stayed in the sunny mountains for a little while than coming back into the grey city. In fact, November is one of the most ugly months here. Nevertheless, here is my place of duty, and it was definitely time to come back.

Last Sabbath afternoon, we had the first co-ordination meeting for our Amazing Facts seminar, which is going to take place next spring. It was really high time to get together with the responsibles of the three participating churches, since the event is only about five months away. I was encouraged that the leaders of the French speaking church were very cooperative, but this whole thing is still so unstructured. So many things to think about and so little time to accomplish everything.

At work it was still quiet last week, as many colleagues took advantage of the holidays beginning of November to take the whole week off. In fact, my head of unit came in just for Thursday afternoon, but went on a business trip the next day. He certainly has been working on important things in the past few weeks, but he hasn't gotten around to look into his pile of incoming letters, which have been accumulating again. Well, I can't do anything else but reminding him of urgent matters to be allocated. The "big wave" may come anytime. But I will be on a training course for the next two days, so they will have to manage without me.

Bottom line: I feel a bit overwhelmed. I'm just praying for God's strength, wisdom, and guidance. At lunchtime, the sun came out and I decided to go for a walk to the nearby park, which was really invigorating. However, I managed to lose my cellphone. I don't think it was a pick-pocket, I was just being careless. Of course this was the last thing I needed today. But I called the phone company and they are going to send me a new chip. The fact that it was a very inexpensive phone gives me some comfort. Of course I could have avoided this to happen but maybe I needed this lesson. But there are definitely worse things than that.

I've just been thinking about one of my favorite quotes in Christ Object Lessons:

"Press with determination in the right direction, and circumstances will be your helpers, not your hindrances” (COL, 332)

Well, it's time for me to go to my voice lesson!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eden Valley part II

The rest of my time at Eden Valley was very enjoyable. Especially the weather on Friday and Saturday turned out exceptional, as it was very sunny and mild. I also got to hike some more and was able to visit with several people.

On Sunday, I got to do something for my health and wellness which I really needed after my long travels and all the packing at Cindy's place. After breakfast at the President's house (it's always good to know that there are people who care for you), I had a massage appointment with a former staff volunteer at EVI who is currently a student nearby in Fort Collins. Joy and I worked together on the farm when I was there in 2008. She gave me an excellent treatment, and I felt so much better. ´

On my flight back from Denver to London, I happened to sit next to a lady from India. I figured that she was a Hindu, since she had a caste mark painted on her forehead. She seemed to be very obese, and from her hands I could tell that she was either affected by rheumatoid arthritis or gout. I felt impressed to reach out to her, and so when they distributed the special meals, I asked her if she knew the difference between her hindu meal and my vegan-vegetarian meal. Then she shared her dessert with me, and she also gave me a sample of an Indian specialty. It was a mixture of seeds that they eat there as and after-meal digestive and breath freshener (roasted anise, fennel and other seeds). I had a flyer with me with an outline of the eight laws of health which I gave to her. She looked it over and seemed to be quite interested. In fact, she asked me about coffee, and I told her about the importance of drinking water. So she got the health message now, and I pray that the Holy Spirit will touch her life. 

I'm very thankful that I could do this trip, and I guess this is part of the answer to the question why I wasn't able to change my job this past summer. If I had started a different post as from September, I would have never asked for a vacation end of October. So the Lord definitely knows what's best! Of course it wasn't easy to come back to dreary Brussels yesterday afternoon. But arriving at my place, I looked out of my living room and saw some beautifully colored trees in the backyard. That made it easier for me to get back to reality!

What follows are a few picture impressions of my stay:

Eden Valley Campus

A deer
Snowy mountains
Valley View

And here the look from my living room - no Colorado mountains in the background, but  beautiful fall colors!