Friday, March 27, 2009

back on blog....

8 Long/Short Weeks

We’re back on blog with LOTS to update you all on!! It’s super challenging to even know where to begin….SO much has happened and changed since we last posted!! Talk about a really wild ride!!

Eight weeks ago we arrived in Amsterdam….yes, eight. Totally crazy. The weeks have flown by so quickly. And the weeks have moved by very slowly. It all depends on the day and the mindset! Much has changed and much has stayed the same.

We boarded our plane in Columbus, Ohio on February 1st amidst much happy/sadness! Tears and laughter, closing chapters and opening chapters, dreams becoming reality, waving good-bye and waving hello, empty nesters leaving the nest, hopeful and fearful. In one ‘long/short’ flight our lives are forever changed and yet so much the same!!!

One of the greatest changes has been the way we are sharing life with our family & friends back in the States. Thank God for modern technology!!! I (roxi) truly could not have made this move without skype. Instead of talking with my kids and granddaughters face to face every day, we now talk most days with at least some of our fam via skype! It is really amazing just how connected we feel….just because we actually get to see each others faces!!! The e-hugs & e-kisses are surely not the same, but we are learning to share life in new ways and it’s not so bad! We’ve also developed a new love for video taping our everyday life here in Amsterdam so you can all stay connected with us! Our goal has been to post a new ‘life video’ every week, so check them out on Facebook or You Tube (search Bernie & Roxi)!

We have already found an apartment and have been living here now for almost a month!! Our new address is:
Groenmarktkade 12 #3
1016 TA Amsterdam
So, we are setting up our new home and things are beginning to feel more comfy. The thing that is very different about our home here is that we need to walk up 3 very narrow, winding flights of stairs to get to our front door (you’ll see on the video tour!!). One would think we would be losing lots of weight very quickly!!! Another difference is that our patio is now on our rooftop!!! Bernie will be grilling from our roof top terrace as soon as the weather warms up a bit!!! Watch out Amsterdam!!!

We are working hard and much has changed in this area!!! For starters…we are working together!!! So fun! After 33 years of marriage and Bernie going off to work by 6am every day…we are now having breakfast together and going off to work together!! (other than this weekend….Bernie, Eric, and John went to Copenhagen, Denmark to visit and do some research at the Copenhagen Vineyard). Our ‘work’ for now is learning to live in this culture, meeting new friends at the markets, cafĂ©’s, pubs, developing and investing in the relationships with new friends in our small group, having lots of gatherings to get to know people,….soon to be language learning, team meetings, retreats….lots going on already (same/different)!!

Overall, life is good and we continue to wake up each day humbled and amazed at the work God has called us to. We are overwhelmed at the need and the call, BUT GOD is at work preparing many to hear the Good News of Jesus! Our overall sense is that many folks have an interest in anything that can offer hope, life, purpose, peace, fulfillment, relationships. People are not interested in ‘religion’ that tells them what they can’t do and that has no relevance to their everyday lives. This is very good news for us because our goal is to build real friendships with people we meet and model before them that being in a real relationship with Jesus makes a difference in a real way in real every day life!! Relationship….not religion. Good news for us all!

There is so much more to share and we will attempt to get better at sharing life more often via Blog! Please do view our videos as you’ll get a better sense of everyday life for us here in this amazing new city!!

Tot ziens! (until we meet again!)
Roxi and Bernie: living life in Amsterdam

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Be very careful what you pray for….you just might get it!!!!

I have never been one for fast rides and for sure have never, ever liked roller coasters.  I remember several years ago when my kids were young, being shamed into taking my 10 year old son on the BEAST….what was I thinking???  He didn’t want to go and was scared to death of rides.  I certainly didn’t want to go and was even more scared than him…BUT I gave in to peer pressure and took Josh on the Beast!!!!  I remember seriously thinking, ‘this is the day we die’….what kind of mother am I???  As we approached to top I was getting sicker by the second.  The anticipation of having to come back down was overwhelming.  As I tried to make sure little Josh was safely held in, I realized I was totally out of control….there was no holding him back…no even holding my own head back.  As we peaked at the top and started our crazy assent downward, Josh tried to release his buckles and jump out!!!!  Oh my gosh….this was the scariest, longest few minutes of my life.  I remember thinking I must be the biggest fool on the planet….young boy dies while jumping off the Beast…mother regrets taking him on the ride.  To this day I get sick all over just thinking about that ride. 

Well, this week we are just 30 days away from our departure to Amsterdam.  We have been planning and praying for over a year now, and we have made the long journey to the top of the ride….and the next 30 days will be the very scarey crazy assent downward!  Everything is totally out of control.  Within the next 10 days we will pack everything we own (that we haven’t already sold) and either put it in storage, give it away, take it to the kids, or take it with us the Amsterdam.  We will completely move out of our home.  We will write our wills.  We will set up our new international bank accounts.  We will have our final Dr. visits.  We will buy more life insurance (which, by the way, isn’t real easy if you are a ‘missionary’ by profession).  We will sign over a Power of Attorney.  We will leave our current jobs.  We will go to many parties.  We will make lots of time for our kids and granddaughters.  We will go back to South Dakota to say our good byes to mom and family.  We will go away for Christmas with our kids.  We will have more parties.  Drink more coffee. Say more good byes.  Go to more dinner parties.  Drink more coffee.  Say more good byes.  Go to a wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Say more good byes.  And then board our plane for Amsterdam!

God is always so good to remind us of things.  He has been reminding me these days that even though I don’t like scary rides and feeling completely out of control, that these are all things I’ve prayed for!!!  Things like, “God, I want to run the race and finish well,” or “God, I want to leave a legacy for my kids and grandkids of being ‘white hot’ for Jesus all the days of my life,” or “God, please don’t allow me to grow soft, complacent, settled, comfortable,” or “God, I want to always, always obey You, even when it’s really hard”…

Yeah, this is all stuff I’ve prayed for.  God often times takes us much more seriously than we take ourselves!!  The really sweet thing is that after I stepped off the Beast I knew I could survive WAY more than I ever thought I could!!  Walking this journey out in faith has also shown me that I can survive WAY more than I thought I could!!!

Warning!  Be very careful what you pray for!!!...and then get ready to enjoy the ride!!!