Enrique Karabitian, Trinity I
This piece of art was part of a collection in contemporary thoughts on the Trinity. It was so small inside the massive sanctuary but it made my mind and heart dance. They seemed to be dancing together. It have me great delight to think of God dancing in community an gave me hope for our ability to dance in community. What is man’s chief end? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Let’s enjoy Him in the dance of community.
It really is hard to believe that we have been in Belgium for a little over 3 weeks. It has been very stretching and confirming.
Last week we finished up language and culture acquisition. This training really reminded me how much I want to be the expert and usually feel like I am just that. In my flesh I believe I know exactly how things need to happen and am normally pretty willing to share it with anyone who cares to listen. This training continues to remind me of my desperate need for Jesus and His finished work. I also need to take the stance of a learner more often.
After a hard week of training we had an extra day (Friday and Saturday) off. The family loaded up on a train on Friday afternoon and arrived in Amsterdam 2 hours later. This was a great time to get away from the Centre and just be with our family. Living with 8 other missionary families is fun but you sometimes need to be with just your family. We stayed on a house boat for the night and had a nibble plate for dinner. I haven’t made breakfast since we had arrived ( something I do every day when we are at home) so I cooked up some eggs in the morning and we headed out for a day of Anne Frank’s House and a canal boat tour. The preserved children’s growth markings on the wall took my breath away. A grasping to a normal life in the midst of chaos and evil. The canal ride was a great way to see a lot of Amsterdam at once.
We arrived back to the Centre to prepare for a long day of worship. I preached and was translated into Turkish at our Arminian church. It was a fun experience that I get to this coming Sunday but this time into Armenian. After service we found a great Moroccan restaurant where we are lunch and waited forlorn the 3:00 service. Needless to say that by the time we arrived back at the Centre we were pretty worn out.
Michael Elling stopped by to grab a beer on Sunday night. Michael is a great friend from Indianapolis who is moving here this month with his family. His girls are friends with our girls.
Monday started with training on contextualization and it was challenging. To think of the gospel as a custom fitting suit makes us move to grace in our own lives and for those around us. Law is easy because it is one size fits all but grace is hard because it is specific.
The rest of training pushed us to think differently about church planting and structure, mercy and justice ministry, and tried to prepare us for culture shock.
Two highlights this week were the great dinner and Bible study with the Arminian Church
The second was hearing everyone sing “happy birthday” to our sweet Georgia and then just Shay and I taking her to downtown Brussels ti shop for a present and have a special treat. Pretty amazing birthday for her.
One more week to go. Keep praying for us. We are living it here but excited to get home to are our people.
This week has been an adventure.
We ended last week with a day retreat centered on Bonhoeffer’s, “Life Together.” It was a good reminder that all that we do is “In Christ.” That our our work, our community, our worship and even our families should be surrendered to Christ and Him alone.
On Saturday we spent the day in Brugge. It was pretty amazing for our first official day off from training or being involved with local churches. We took a train from Brussels to Brugge and walked about the city. Climbed to the top of Belfort (360 plus stairs), took a canal ride through the city. It was a long day that was super enjoyable. We did not realize that this eventful and rewarding day was needed for the week ahead.
Sunday was a train and two tram rides to our church where we listened to a sermons preached in french, translated to turkish and then translated to english for us. It was a good time but could be very difficult to follow but we knew that the Gospel of God’s amazing grace was being preached and that the these brothers and sisters where giving Glory to God and enjoying him. Our girls really enjoy the tea and cookie/cake time after the service.
Tomorrow we will wrap up our week of Language and Cultural Acquisition training. At first I wasn’t sure if this would be that applicable to our call to Oz, but I was wrong. This week has helped me gain an appreciation for how different things can be and how even in a language that I speak I will still need to build relationships with people from the stance of learning not teaching. There is an Aussie way and I need to learn it not try and get people to do it my way. This is probably true in most things. God’s way is better than mine because He knows His plans and desires more than I do.
We have Friday and Saturday off this week and then I preach on Sunday in the church we our worshiping with. Not sure what we are doing on the days off but we hope to discover God’s beauty whatever we do.
Also discovering I need to sync photos with my wife so I can add some to this blog. Mine are iphonetasitic (and very few)
Week one of CCMI is über our belt and we are starting to get acclimated to life in one room together and sharing a great retreat center (they call it a guest house) with about 50 other people ( half of which might be under 13). Last week we spent time getting ready to explore and discover a new culture. This is done through observation and by talking with people. We have hung out in pubs, parks, and churches trying to discovery what the people around Brussels and Zaventem hope for, live for and long for.
This week we have really been investigating our own hearts and what the church is called to be as God’s ambassadors. It is challenging and causing us to seek deep in to scripture and pray to allow God to reveal to us His plan for the church in Oz.
We have also taken trips into downtown Brussels and the close town of Lueven.
Today we felt the last week of travel and getting starts kick in. It was hard at times to stay focused in training. Please keep this as a pray for us as we continue for the next 3 weeks.
Below is a picture of the girls riding
scooters through the streets of Zav.
There are many great things about being here but one of the best is watching the World Cup with folks who really care about soccer in the pubs.
Thanks for all your prayers
As I write to you today I am listening to the rain fall on the windows of the room i will be sharing with my wife and 4 girls (Braden got bumped into another room with interns) for the next 3 1/2 weeks out side of Brussels, Belgium for CCMI (Cross-cultural Ministry Internship). God is pretty amazing and terrifying. Continue Reading