Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Try again

What do you do when you’ve put a ton of effort into a project and it flops? I am still trying to figure that one out.

This month we wanted to get our course “Getting to know the Bible” going again. We first offered the course back in November. For that effort we distributed about 2000 flyers and knocked doors. We ended up with a good group for both sessions of three lessons. This time we distributed over 2500 cards inviting the neighbors, put up posters in all the local stores, knocked some doors and . . . welcomed no one to the one session of three lessons which we had planned.

We of course have been praying for these efforts, as have many of you. Sean was more upset for me than I was, I think. He kept mentioning how I had put so much effort into it, that it was disappointing that no one came. He was right. But I know that we need to keep on trying.

So we have set anther date (end of April) when we will once again offer the course. The cards we distributed mentioned that the course would start soon. This time we will also get some press releases in the local papers and knock some more doors. And we will pray, as we have from the beginning.

Sometimes it is hard to know if I should share the struggles that go with these efforts. But to be honest, I am glad that I can share this. We cannot do this alone. And, thankfully, we are not doing it alone. Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chillin' at the hoot

Originally uploaded by sraabs.
You may have heard me mention our 'hootenannys' here. Most people here say "A what?" - which is what many of you might be saying as well. A few years back Paul Brazle got these started - a good time for fellowship built around a fun meal, some guitar playing and just plain old good conversations. For those from the hicks (or is it sticks?) this is known as a hootenanny.

Most of our visitors (this is always a good time to bring visitors who are less likely to come to a religious event - a good time to share friendships as well) had no idea what this was. But we had to explain the concept anyway, so why worry about the name.

Anyway, we usually get some guitar-players together, play some John Denver or Beatles or some such, eat some chili-hotdogs and brownies (preferably not at the same time), and have a good time for a few hours getting to know people or renewing friendships.

Some weekends we combine this with a youth late movie and sleepover. This weekend we even added a concert with Listen Up! (we hadn't really sung together since November last year) and a new group we are encouraging, called "In Hymn".

It was a good weekend! Especially since we also got to see Sue Foster (who worked with us for two years in Maastricht) who is making plans to return and work with Luk and Holly Brazle in Ghent. She is here for a few weeks trying to make plans and get some information.

And of course there are some people who can do all of these things and look cool at the same time. So if you're one of those, drop on in at our next hoot. We'd love to have you!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Shirley update

Today I learned (Shirley already knew this) that a neurologist and a neurosurgeon are two different things. The neurologist deals with brains. The neurosurgeon deals with nerves. We went to the latter today.
Again, it is not nice to know that there is something wrong, but it is good to know that it is not all in your head. So the neurosurgeon confirmed that Shirley has a pinched nerve caused by a herniated disc. They want to take an MRI (magnetic resonance image) at the end of the month to better see exactly what the situation is. There is always an option to operate - which sounds pretty scary, but they said is fairly routine (hopefully THEIR routine).
In the meantime, Shirley is doing a little better - sleeping better at night and the pain in the arm is not as frequent. Thank you for your prayers, thoughts, calls and emails. We have a wonderful Father who continues to strengthen us through all the different situations we experience.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ladies Retreat

Good fun
Originally uploaded by sraabs.
Shirley got back yesterday from the Ladies Retreat which was held in Speyer, Germany. This retreat is held every year at the beginning of March for the Ladies in Europe (this year organized by the ladies in Heidelberg). It is a great time for these leadies to see each other again (they come from all over Europe) and to get some good spiritual food for the two days they are together.

Shirley was worried that she might not be able to handle the drive to the retreat, but it was only three hours this year (some years it is 5+ for ladies from here). Shirley, Karla and Geesie (from Maastricht) went with Ruth (Karla's mom) and Margreet (from Haarlem) and enjoyed their time together.

These weekends are also always a good time for the boys back home - they get to cook for themselves (Stephan and Sean took good care of me :-) ) and see how much these women really mean. You always know how much you had when it is not there.

For our family it is also always a bit of a special time - the ladies who organize always have some special things for missionaries (THANK YOU!). This year we got some root beer, macaroni & cheese and lots of other things. Sean was especially impressed with the marshmallow spread for bread. And we thought we were decadent over here with chocolate going on bread!