Everybody’s Doing It

 

A very wise woman and my previous boss once told me a great piece of advice for being a manager and one of the best life lessons I have ever received.  She said:

If everyone was doing what you are doing, would it be okay?

She used the example of being late. If everyone in the store shows up 15 minutes late, is that okay? No. So, as managers, we had to set the example and show up on time or even early, because that’s what we wanted everyone else to be doing.

I like the way this advice is phrased because its self reflective. You aren’t judging what everyone else is doing, but rather turning it around and asking are you the one setting the example. And it applies to more than just managing a store. In fact, I have been using this question in a lot of areas of my life- especially regarding moral standards.

For example, gossip. If everyone, was talking about everyone else, would it be okay? Its easy to answer that question. It seems very black and white. It is. But it works.

In fact, its biblical. It’s basically just another way of saying, “Do to others what you would have them do to you,” isn’t it?

If every single person in the world was loving people unconditionally, would that be okay? Yes. More than okay.

If every person had patience with everyone else, would that be okay? Yes.

If everyone lived the way the Bible instructs us to live, would it be okay?

You could also ask that question like this:

If everyone served those in need, gave to those who were hungry, comforted those that were hurting, helped those who couldn’t help themselves, would it be okay?

Its a simple question and there is simple answer.

We often get angry at what the Bible teaches, because we read the teachings and then, we look around our world and see people who have read those words acting completely differently than what we have just read. Even as Christians, we often allow ourselves to live in a world of gray, making excuses for our actions, and then turning to the Bible for justification. We can spend all day twisting and interpreting Scripture to try and determine a justification for our actions, but we know. We know that it all comes down to this:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:37

And if everyone were doing that, would it be okay?

Bettdecken für Bulgarien (Blankets for Bulgaria Service Project)

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

Der König wird ihnen dann antworten: “Das will ich euch sagen. Was ihr für einen meiner geringsten Brüder getan habt, das habt ihr für mich getan!” Mattheus 25:40

Every year, members of Gemeinde Christi-Chemnitz drive nearly 1000 miles to deliver warm winter clothing to the Church of Christ in Sofia, Bulgaria. Last year, between 85-100 people from the Church and surrounding Sofia received jackets, coats, pants, shoes and blankets all given by Church members in Germany and Switzerland. Of all the items collected, blankets are in short supply and always an item that is needed. Out of this need and a desire to teach service the children and youth of our church, Krista instituted a new service project–

“Bettdecken für Bulgarien” (Blankets for Bulgaria)

On April 28, the children of our church along with their parents gathered together to cut, tie, and sew fleece blankets to be given to each family in next year’s clothing drive.

The blankets are very simple and a great project for kids. We simply laid two pieces of fleece measured at 2.5 yards x 2.5 yards on top of each other. We cut out the corners using 5 in x 5 in cardboard squares as our sample. Then, we cut 1 inch strips all the way around the pieces of fleece. After cutting, we went back around and tied the strips from the bottom layer together with the strips of the top layer. Then, a pocket was sewn onto each blanket that will hold a Bulgarian Bible that will also be given to each family.

Together the children made a total of six blankets. The kids loved the outcome of the blankets and the parents loved the creativity of the project. And we know, this will be something to make our contacts in Bulgaria feel extra special, and stay extra warm this winter!

 

 

Our goal with this project was to get the children of our church directly involved with a ministry that their parents are already involved in and to teach our kids the importance of service.

Watching the energy and excitement of these kids was infectious and a good reminder of what childlike faith looks like and how much fun it is serving others! We hope this project can be just the beginning of many service projects to come for our kids in the church in Chemnitz.

 

A special thanks to Alameda Church of Christ and WEEM (Women for Eastern European Missions) for providing the resources needed to make this project a success. Thanks also to the kids and parents who spent their Saturday morning making blankets with us.

We will be delivering the blankets made by our kids and by women associated with WEEM to Bulgaria in November of this year.

A Letter to myself as a Child


Child-Grass-Hills-Walking-Nature-Forest-485x728

 

Dear child Krista,

You are so motivated. In fact, you are so driven, that you often miss recess because you are still copying your essay perfectly before you turn it into the teacher. You take three times as long as everyone else because your sloppy copy has to be perfect, too.

Don’t worry. That will change, somewhat. Although, when you are 25, you will still be putting a lot of pressure on yourself. Think about that. You could stop the cycle now!

Your life is going to turn out completely different than what you expect. You know how you have lived in the same house your whole life? Well, when you get older, you are going to live in three different states in the span of 6 years and after that, another country.

You are a free spirit at heart, although you never forget where you came from. One day, I think you will want to settle down- but you have to see the world first. Or at least, some of it.

You love meeting new people and every relationship you create is very precious to you. You take people’s hearts and feelings very seriously. As seriously as you take your own. Too seriously, sometimes. People’s hearts will break and they will get hurt. So, will you. But you don’t always have to be the one to pick up the pieces. Things will work out and God and time are much better healers than you are.

You can’t be everything to everyone. Accept that some people come into your life for a short time, to teach you something or to help you get somewhere. If you don’t maintain every relationship, it doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad friend. You have the gift of connectedness and growing apart or moving away doesn’t break the connection. It will always be there, because at some point in life, you meant something to each other and you did something for each other during that season.

Seasons change. And so will you. Change is not bad. Learn to deal with it as soon as possible, because many seasons of change are headed your way. More than you can imagine, now. Learn to cope. Memorize scripture. Try yoga. Pray without ceasing.

Learn to stand up for yourself. Its okay to say no. Its okay to speak your mind. Do it lovingly. Don’t back down based on reactions. Other people don’t control your time or actions. You do. Its your life and you have given it to Christ, not to the world.

Stay strong in your faith, and don’t let anyone put you down for it. Its who you are.

You are beautiful just the way you are. If anyone tells you differently, they are lying and they can’t see the beauty in themselves.

Hold on to your P. Your ability to perceive what is in people’s hearts despite their circumstances or actions is a beautiful gift. Time and age will make you grow cynical and more judgmental. Fight it, as best you can. People need you to see the best in them, because often they can’t see it themselves.

Don’t compromise. You hold yourself to a higher standard and those around you, as well. Only because you can see their potential and yours and don’t want to settle for anything less. Don’t settle. Don’t compromise. The messages you will receive in this world will be confusing and sometimes hurtful. Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean you should compromise who you are and what you believe. Being creative and emotional and free-spirited is something the world needs as much as someone who is logical and analytical.

And finally, you love to try new things. Don’t ever stop. You learn about yourself, about the world, and most importantly about God, when you expand your mind and horizons. No dream is too big or too small. Once you accomplish one dream, move on to the next. When you look back on your life, you will be happy when it is a string of dreams that have been realized. Never ever stop dreaming.

Love,
Your adult self

Germany Bucket List- Updated May 27, 2013!

 

Yes, I know that Bucket List makes it sound like someone is dying.  But no one is dying, although we are coming to the end of a life. And that is the end of our life as HIM Workers.

Stop! Don’t ask what the future holds! We are praying for God’s wisdom in that everyday! And we ask that you pray, too.

But the reality of the situation is that at the end of August, we will no longer be HIM Workers. Our dream will be…completed! There is nothing like the feeling of having a dream, setting a goal, and living it. It happened. We did it. God call us to Germany. We went.

We did it.

We will be HIM alum…

So, enough with the reminiscing! The point is that we are trying really hard not to get sad! But instead to be happy about this wonderful experience that we’ve had. I am sure you can expect some great posts from us in the future of reflections on our time as HIMers. How we have grown, what we have learned, what God had done in our lives through this experience, what God has done in Chemnitz through this experience, etc.

But for now, a bucket list. Instead of feeling like our time as HIMers is over and feeling sad about it for the next 4 months, we have decided to create a Bucket List! That’s right. Things that if we were to never, ever to step foot in Germany again (not going to happen, just if!), what would we absolutely want to do in the next four months. So, here’s the start of my (Krista’s) list.

Germany Bucket List (Part 1)

1. Take the perfect picture of the yellow fields – Completed!

Chemnitz stands at the bottom of the Erzgebirge (The Ore Mountains). When drive up into these mountains, around this time of year, all you can see is a sea of yellow. Breathtaking doesn’t describe beauty of the fields of rapeseed (which is used to make canola oil). Last year, I was in awe but only was able to take a picture while riding in the car one day. It was okay but didn’t truly convey the beauty of these fields. My goal this time is to take a picture that shows the true awesomeness of the sight!

2. Finish a novel in German

I have started many a novel in German, but let’s be honest. It takes so much effort to read in another language- no matter how much it helps your language skills! However, I am resolved to finish one novel (even a kid’s novel) before August!

3. Bike tour around Chemnitz

Our original goal was to do a Bike Tour down the Elbe this year. With everything as it is, it doesn’t seem like time or resources are going to allow for that. While that is still on our lifetime bucket list, for our Germany bucket list, we have decided to take a bike tour around Chemnitz. We recently found out that there is a path that circles the city and we intend to ride it before August!

4. Go to Saxony Switzerland

Saxony Switzerland is a beautiful mountain range on the Saxony/ Czech Republic border. It is a popular place for “locals” to go hiking and camping. I went once when I was here in 2007 and I have wanted to take Chris there ever since we arrived. It is only a 2 hour train ride from us, but we haven’t been able to find the time..until now.

5. Sit in a cafe all day

I know this one may sound a little silly and I honestly can’t remember where the idea originated from. Maybe its from the romance of European cafes. Think about it. When you imagine Europe, don’t you just imagine people riding their bikes around, wearing scarves, and sitting in cafes drinking coffee all day long. Our dream has been to spend one whole day- breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same cafe- reading, drinking coffee, and inviting a different friend to every meal. That’s not really what people do in Europe, of course, but why not live the dream?

Staying focused on Today

Our goal with this list is to help us focus on the opportunities we have for the next four months. Instead of spending four months saying goodbye, we want to spend the time enjoying life as it is. We want to enjoy the friendships, the activities, and the experiences instead of constantly thinking about how everything is going to be so different in four months. It will be. But we can wait until then to be sad. For now, we are celebrating this German life 🙂

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6: 34

Deshalb sorgt euch nicht um morgen — der nächste Tag wird für sich selber sorgen! Matthaeus 6, 34

What’s on your bucket list?!

Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee, Book Review

Right Where I Belong is the newest teen novel by Krista McGee. I have to admit that I choose to read this book because of the name of the author! Clearly, God was using that to His advantage, because it turned out to be just the book I needed right now.

Right Where I Belong is inspired by the story of Ruth in the Bible. Fifteen year old Spanish born Natalia follows her recently divorced stepmother, Maureen to America after her father breaks Maureen’s heart. Maureen is the one who introduced Natalia to God and Natalia feels an allegiance to her and at the same time is disgusted by her father’s actions. Her adventure in America allows her to find new Christian friends, grow in her faith and God’s call for her life.

Throughout reading this book, I kept thinking- this is a very sweet book. Its the kind of book that you want to read while sitting on the beach or in the park on a warm spring day. Its a feel good book- the Lifetime movie of books.

I really connected with Right Where I Belong at this point in my life. As a Christian, it reminded me of many of God’s important promises that He gives us in the Bible. Such as, a promise for a hope and a future and the promise to give us good gifts. It was really interesting to watch Natalia navigate her newfound Christianity and learn what it means to pray for God’s will in her life.

I also really enjoyed Natalia learning to live in a new culture. As you can imagine from our experiences in Germany, I could really relate to her adventures. If you are looking for a feel good, easy read that also offers a great dose of encouragement, I would definitely recommend Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee.

 

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Note: I’m required by the new FTC guidelines to tell you that this post includes Amazon Affiliate links.

Blog Ministry

As many you of may have noticed, there have been a lot of changes and updates happening to our blog in the last couple of weeks! We have been trying out a few new things and also trying to be more consistent in letting you know what’s happening in our lives and ministry.

Our goal is to recreate this blog to become an integral part of our ministry. As many of you know, we are missionaries and the life of the missionary feels like a constant state of change. We are hoping that this blog can become a ministry that is a little more consistent and a ministry that can travel with us wherever we go!

How can you help, you say? Well, keep coming back! You are the reason we are doing this! Look the right under the Stay Connected label. Sign up for our blog updates through email! Keep us accountable and we promise to keep up the consistency!

It has been a fun goal to undertake and we are really enjoying learning what it takes to make a great blog and a great ministry tool.

So, we just wanted to say thanks for bearing with us through all of the changes (and there will be more to come)…and-

what are you ideas? Is there anything you would like to see from our blog in the future? Stories you loved that maybe you want to hear more of? Ideas for how we can reach a larger audience? What do you see a blog ministry looking like?

As with anything in ministry, we are giving this prayerful consideration and giving it to God! We are excited to use and share our gifts with you, even across oceans, no matter what continent we find ourselves on!!