Saturday, August 25, 2012


As promised I'm going to post some impressions of the few days left I had with Sharon and Ann-Marie after our return from the camp meeting beginning of last week. As soon as we had arrived home on Monday and got settled back in, we went on our way to the European Parliament. They offer audio-guided tours there for tourists twice a day. So I dropped them off there and was able to run an errand in the meantime. Then I had to see my chiropractor. When we were sitting in the waiting room, there was another patient joining us, and Ann and Sharon struck up a conversation with him. It turned out that he was actually from Holland, but that he was the principal or teacher of a private school in Brussels. Sharon asked him: "So I assume you are married to a Belgian?" He said "No, I married Italian" or something like this. Anyway, at the moment I was called in for treatment, a man stepped into the room, and he introduced him to them as his husband! Needless to say that they were a bit irritated... (I've kind of gotten used to such situations here already :-).

Then we went downtown and looked for a Chinese restaurant, since they were craving for Chinese food. This is difficult in Brussels though. You find more easily a good Italian restaurant, and I couldn't be of much help, since I usually never eat out. Anyway, we found a Vietnamese place, and the food was actually quite delicious.

The next day was my last opportunity to do sightseeing with them. Since we had lost half a day on Monday, it turned out that we had to choose between a 2-hour audio-guided bus tour through the city of Brussels, or to drive about 1 1/2 hours to visit the city of Bruges north east of the country. Doing both didn't seem to be feasible, since we didn't head out early enough in the morning. We actually first passed by at my office to say hello to the people. As it was prime vacation time, there were not many colleagues around, but at least they got an impression of the cultural diversity of my work place. We met John from the UK, Antonia from Spain, and Thomas from Germany. Then we spontaneously decided to drop the city tour and drive to Bruges, which in my opinion is the most beautiful man-made place in Belgium (of course it doesn't top the God-made things in this country). It's a quaint little town, and we enjoyed strolling around, even though we had only a couple of hours. They were really impressed, and Sharon was finally able to get some souvenirs. For me, it was indeed a nice change to big city life (although Brussels still seems to be a village compared to places like London or Paris).

On Wednesday morning, I dropped them off at the airport. Sharon headed home to Delaware, and Ann-Marie continued her mission trip in Hungary. She is currently working there with Dr. Horsley and family, as well as Lehel, my former class mate of Uchee Pines. On 3 September, she will pass through Brussels again, but she will only stay one night here and then head back to the US.

On tour in the European quarter

In Bruges - they offer chariot rides there

The chariot is coming!

Bruges is beautifully situated with a river flowing through

There was a wedding taking place at the local town hall

So all in all, I had a great time with my American friends. It's also nice to have some quiet time again though.  For the last 10 days, I really needed to recover from our camp meeting. Ever since I'm back to work, I went home every lunch break to take a nap. Today was a day of rest indeed, and I really feel recuperated by now. So I'm ready for the upcoming events of the next few weeks: Our church retreat next weekend at a Monastery outside Brussels, and the following weekend a seminar with Ron Halvorsen in Aachen, Germany.

The Lord is good. I think I couldn't enjoy life more at the moment.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Finally an Update

Eventually I can pause and sit down and reflect after all the happenings of the past two weeks. I have been tremendously blessed, but also extraordinarily stressed. The German camp meeting was a real blessing to everyone involved. As mentioned before, it was the first time that we were at this particular venue, and of course there were a lot of unknowns. But we were so thankful that everything went so smoothly with the owners of the place. They are a lovely Christian family of some independent protestant denomination, who run this place by themselves (with some staff in addition of course). It was the very first time that they cooked vegan and they did an excellent job. The communication was very good, in spite of the different beliefs.

Everything went well with the arrival of Ann-Marie and Sharon during the week before the camp meeting. I also took them to my church on Sabbath, and Ann-Marie gave a health talk there. Our journey to Germany went very well. I had the best rental car ever - a Ford Focus. It was actually a great deal, since I paid for it as much as I would normally pay for a small car. This size was perfect for us, and the car was just great. I had never driven with 6 gears, which made it even more easy to speed up. I did know that Ann and Sharon had never been on the German Autobahn (were there is in principle no speed limit), but I wasn't really aware that they had probably never gone on a speed of 170 km (105 mi) per hour. I hope I didn't scare them too much!

Arrived at the venue, there were also some other team members who came already on Sunday (the meetings only started Monday evening), but unfortunately, the preliminary work did not turn out the way I would have wished. Thus, we only started Monday morning with the preparation of the name tags, and alas, I realized that about 50-60 names were missing on the word document our IT person had prepared for us. Until now, I have no idea how this could have happened. It really stressed me out, since I had to prepare all these missing tags manually. I did have people to help, but the main burden was on me at this moment. Plus there were many details concerning the registration of the participants that only I knew about, so when the crowd came, people would ask me one question after the other. The result was that I was totally wired that evening. My brain was like a PC that couldn't shut down, and eventually I didn't even get a wink that night. Unfortunately, the following nights didn't turn out much better (since once I'm out of balance, I really am, and it takes a little while to get back to normal), and thus, it was pretty hard for me to make it through the days. This strongly reminds me of last year, when I was in a similar situation. It was just after the death of Thomas, who had helped so much in the past, that we had to learn to make it without him. I had similar problems with sleep then, and thank God, somebody was able to take over with the interpretation of a seminar that I was in charge of. This year, I also had an "angel" filling in for me, so I was relieved not to put an additional burden on my team members. I realized that I just can't take up such a task if I'm in charge of registration, as this already fully consumes me. Anyway, we do have a solution for next year, as I will get more help, for which I'm very thankful.

So we had about 280 participants, which was a good number. We couldn't have handled many more in this situation. The speakers were all very blessed, especially the Meyer family had such a good influence on the people. When I considered sponsoring part of their travel costs, I didn't even imagine what an impact they could make on individuals. There was one Russian-German lady who went up to Joel Meyer at the end, sharing with him that the Lord had told her through him everything that she needed: Concerning her personal life, her marriage, and the upbringing of her children. They decided to home school and to move to the country. Wow! I couldn't hold back my tears.

All in all, I'm very thankful for this experience, although I would have really liked to enjoy more fellowship with the people I knew already as well as with the folks I hadn't met. Well, hopefully next year! But at least I had a blessed time with my American friends. The camp ended on Sunday morning, but we only drove back to Brussels on Monday. Until they left on Wednesday morning, we still had some time to do sightseeing in Belgium, which was quite an experience - but more about that later!

Uchee Pines Reunion picture - from left to right: Joella, Mark,
Joanna, Joel & Joyce Meyer, Ann-Marie Scott, me, Jana Meldt

"Always cheerful" sung in German

The children also had fun

Indeed a lot of fun
While the mothers were relaxing
A snapshot down in the village
The beautiful country surroundings
Above: Ann-Marie teaching - Below: Joel & Joyce Meyer speaking

The gym in which the main meetings took place
The venue