Monday, 21 January 2013

Greener than a German

Some of you know our electric bill has been insane this past year, nearly $200 a month! Our provider estimates how much electricity you will use for the year based on several factors and they charge you monthly based on that assumption. At the start of the new year they reassess your usage and either you owe them more money because you used over what they anticipated or you get money back if you use less.

We have been waiting for the first bill of the year to find out which side of the fence we have landed on. We have heard some really nasty stories of fellow Americans who have at the start of the year owed quite a bit of money. Knowing that we are not frugal beings, we tried really hard to keep our usage to a minimum in order to avoid the nasty surprise bill this month.

We have put on hold a few big purchases that we have needed in order to be careful stewards of the money we have been blessed with. For several months we have been waiting and finally the letter has arrived.

Being that it was in German we understood very little of it. In fact the only part that really made sense was that a large amount of money was left as a remaining balance.

898.17 euros to be exact.

We were shocked. How could this be? We tried so hard to leave lights off and  unplug appliances even though it made life so much more inconvenient. So Aaron brought the letter to church and asked someone what it meant. They weren't entirely sure but they thought it meant that we did owe the above total.

When He came home and told me the news I was confident that God would handle it for us. I really didn't believe that we had some how managed to waste so much, but if we had I knew that God would come up with the money, because even with what we had saved for the purchases that were put on hold we would not be able to cover it.

Aaron walk to the electric company down the road and asked them to explain what the notice meant. Turns out We are so frugal that we would be rated below the Fantastisch category and that we used so little energy that the above total is what they owe us! In addition our new monthly payment had been dropped down to only 57 euros a month. So not only do we get a huge chunk of money back, but we also will be saving money this year by paying a much lower monthly bill!!

So to sum it up:
  1. God is ALWAYS working ALL things together for good (even when they are hard to bear at the time)
  2. We now know that YES we were paying a crazy price for our electric bill
  3. We are better at being "Green" than most Germans

Monday, 4 June 2012

Every time we are in need way beyond our reach and we feel so overwhelmed, we make a list. It usually happens before a big move or a decision that will radically rearrange our life. We write out the basic ideas of what we are allowing to make us fearful of the next step and we pray over it. I know that when we write out the list that it is not magic and it's not that what ever we write God will honor, but it gives us peace. Knowing that we have written our needs down and that we can leave those things we wrote down at His feet. My favorite part is when we find the list weeks sometimes months later and we are able to see how He has answered each item and always far beyond what we had envisioned. We found a list from just before we moved here and it is awesome to see that the things that we were so stressed about when we first arrived here, God has slowly taken care of. He is so faithful and we are constantly in awe of just how good He continues to be to us.

Just a few more weeks and we will have been here for 7 months! Can you believe it? In some ways it feels like we have just barely gotten settled in and in others this seems like we have been living here for such a long time.

We have been pretty busy with life, last we posted our Twingo had fallen into a coma and we were trying to figure out what was wrong. Today we got "Ron" back and it turns out he just needed a new battery. Our pastor jumped him for us and he was sounding pretty rough but we drove him over to the Hobby shop on base and got him all fixed up. He is running much better and hopefully that will be the end of his "health" problems for a while. Also we bought a 2nd car. It's a 2003 Saturn station wagon and we named her (whoa) Black Betty (bam ba laam) The previous owner took great care of her and is a very sweet woman. So for the first time in our marriage we are now a two car family! One typical German tiny economical car, and one for when we need to fit more than just us in the car lol.

God has blessed us each with new jobs. We will both be working with the child care programs on Vogelweh. Aaron will be a part of this new program starting up with 4th and 5th grade boys teaching them how to be men who are respectful and of good character. What an opportunity to pour into these kids and really show them what a Godly man looks like! I will be working at the child care program for Kapaun, a base within the Vogelweh base, as a clerk. I will handle the registration and payments as well as general office keeping tasks. But the best part is that my job offers us health coverage! What an answer to prayer! We are still processing all the paper work but we should be starting our new jobs near the end of June.

We are a few weeks away from our summer youth retreat with our kids and we are so excited. We will be going away for a few days to look God's Word and the many comforting, truthful, applicable, and life saving aspects to it. It should be a great time of deepening our understanding of His love for us and realizing just how relevant His Word is. We have fallen more in love with our kids every week. It truly is our joy to serve them on Sunday mornings and Thursday nights. We look forward to planning our youth events so we can have more time to hang out with them. This PCS season we have already had to send some off and we have one more leaving next month, but we have also gained a few new kids too and we really are so blessed to be given this ministry.

Aaron and I recently went to the leadership conference in Siegen and we came back so refreshed! It was centered around the scripture Ezek 37: 3 "Can these dry bones live?" in reference to the work God has been, is, and will be doing with Israel. It was great if you would like to check out the sessions you can watch the online for free here: Epicenter Conference. I would highly recommend the talks by Joel Rosenberg and we really enjoyed Ray Bentley's messages as well. The conference was great, and it was neat to be able to connect with the greater body of Christ here in Europe. We were blessed to be able to stay with a friend's parents and they were so kind and warm. They made us delicious German breakfasts every morning and were so much fun getting to know.

I'm sure we are leaving much out seeing that it has been a little over two months since our last update, but I feel like this covers the most important topics. As usual I am hoping that we will be able to update more frequently, but if we are all being honest I most likely wont update this for another two months. We still do not have internet in the apartment or our own cell phones yet. We are praying that we will be able to budget for both in light of these new jobs we are about to start. 

Oh I almost forgot we finally got a new mattress and so we can now sleep soundly :) 

God has been so gracious towards us. Even while we were trying to figure matters out and settle in our hearts if this is where He was calling us to, He has blessed us and has kept us. When we came back from the conference we felt a real peace about being here and then things really started to fall into place. We are excited to see what this summer will look like as we see God's hand continue to work here in Kaiserslautern. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Oh goodness it has been quite a while since we have updated here! We must fix that right now.
Castle Hike group

So ministry has been going quite well! Last we posted we were starting our mid week study and it has been coming along nicely. We are working our way through Ephesians and though the first few weeks were challenging to teach through because of the theology jam-packed verses, we laid the ground work and are now seeing evidence of comprehension and they are engaging in some awesome discussion.

We have also put out a question box for the kids to ask us questions about the Bible, God, life, their walks and how all these things work together. We answer the questions on Thursdays at the study and so far the questions have been pretty easy to answer such as "Are there cats in Heaven?" but we challenged everyone to put a question in the box this past Sunday so soon we will be covering topics like dating, possibility of life on other plants, and forgiveness of siblings. It will be fun and we are really looking forward to answering them.
Underground below the Castle

Camera dodge fail
Aaron and Adrian
Our kids are really starting to grow together as a group and the last few events we have planned have been lots of fun. We are starting to see much more consistent attendance on Sunday mornings and we have even had kids who have brought their friends and they have really enjoyed themselves! We are so pleased to see things starting to come together.

As for Aaron and I we are doing well. We bought our first German car a few weeks ago, unfortunately this morning it choose to not start and seeing as how we know very little about cars, let alone this over sized German roller skate, we are praying that God will work this out. He is the God who sees, and He knows our needs better than we do. So we are fully confident that we have nothing to worry about. We still have Jen's car at our use and we are still looking for a 2nd car. But most of all we are looking to God and trusting our Father.

"Ron Burgundy"
We are still seeking out jobs that provide us with health care and as always we have a few leads that we are following up on, but in His timing and His will. That being said our current jobs are providing more hours that we originally thought which is great for paying bills, and for our tiny savings account. Life is not nearly as hectic as it was in CA, but it still seems just as difficult a lot of times.  New place, new challenges. We are so blessed to be living here, and to be stretched in these new ways and I thank God for placing us here, even when it is hard.

Awesome praise: A mom of two of our students Accepted Christ this past Sunday! It is exciting to see how God is working in this family and we ask that you would please keep them in your prayers :)

Well this is all I have time for now, still not internet at the apt so bear with us as we try to keep you all updated with our limited access. We love you and miss you greatly and we pray that you are walking in a way that allows you to experience a life full of steps of faith and that you are comforted by the Great Comforter the whole way.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

We finally got our sofa stamp so we are officially allowed to stay here until next January! Also we are test driving a car in a few days that we might buy!  If we end up buying it I will post pics so you can get a good look at our recent blessing from God :)
Speaking of cars... Aaron and I were walking back to the car we are borrowing from Jen after getting our sofa stamps super stoked to have finally taken care of one of the few loose ends of settling here. It had snowed the day before which means the roads and sidewalks were super icy so we were chatting while carefully avoiding giant patches of sudden death.

We get to the car, and notice that there are lots of little icicles on the bottom of the car so we start kicking them off. Once we felt the car was in tip top shape (ie we were starting to get very cold, it was only 16 degrees F!) we get in the car and I notice that the ice scraper on the floor is green, not red like ours. But Peggy had said that she left her ice scrapper in our car so I figured it was hers. So I ask Aaron' "When did you find Peggy's ice scraper?"
He asks, "What do you mean?"
"I mean our scrapper is red and this one is green so you must have found hers in the back, but what happened to ours?"

As I am asking him I am reaching behind his seat looking on the floor but there are all these reusable grocery bags stuffed back there that are not ours, but could have been Jen's. I look in the glove box to see if we stuck it there and when I close it we both start to realize this is not Jen's car, it's not even a Dark Blue VW Jetta like hers, but a BLACK BMW!!! "This isn't our car!" Aaron exclaims as we jump out and quickly make our way to Jen's car 2 spots over.

We get in the car laughing and slightly embarrassed and drive away no harm done.

We get down the road a little bit and I ask Aaron where the other glove is that I loaned him and he can't find it. It was in his pocked but now is nowhere to be found! We both know where it is...

So we drive back to the scene of the incident and I tell Aaron to "Look into the car, but not like a creeper casing it, just a casual observer and if you see the glove inside grab it quick so we can get out of here." He walks up opens the door and there it is, sitting by the drivers seat. Aaron quickly grabs the glove, closes the door and walks nonchalantly back to the car. We both laugh again, we left no trace.

This Thursday we start our youth Bible Study on Thursday nights, it is going to hopefully be a good opportunity for the them to be able to loosen up, and have an opportunity to interact with the passage instead of just being preached at on Sundays. We will be going through the book of Ephesians, and if you could pray that the youth would discover who it is they are in Jesus, and that that would get them excited to live and grow in Him.

We pray all is well with you all, and I pray that you all grow also in the knowledge of who you are in Him. May the One "who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, in Christ" show Himself strong in your lives this week.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Things are moving quickly!

A lot has happened in a very short time. We moved into our apartment on the 13th and have started to make it into our home. It’s a slow process, as funds are tight, but that doesn’t stop us from being able to make little changes and arrangements that give it the Glaize touch. We are so grateful to the families that have donated to us in so many ways be it time, prayers, and material items. Also I am proud to announce that the trip up the 3 flights of stairs is getting easier, and sometimes I find myself at the top without realizing that I have even past the first set :D

We are waiting for the BX to get a shipment of beds in so we can get a new bed and therefore sleep has been elusive most nights. Often Aaron lets me sleep on the long couch so I can have the nicer place, but that still leaves us in separate rooms in a new place with new noises and admittedly new anxieties common to nervous Nellie’s like myself. 

Cooking has been interesting as I learn how to cook on an electric range, try to figure out a German oven, and in general the oddities of a new kitchen. I think I might have mastered the trash system here, although I find myself sometimes stumped when I encounter a material that falls into multiple categories. Often I end up tearing up the package and sorting the pieces into the proper bins. For example, I went to throw away a Pringles can which has: a plastic lid, a paper can body, and a metal bottom!! I spend more time here thinking about trash than I did working at Knotts!

On the topic of jobs we have gotten much headway as Aaron has started his first day of work today and I start on Monday! After I received this job I admit I was not too excited at the prospect of working here. But my heart has come around and I look forward to learning all my job will entail. We both needed pants for our jobs and I also needed shoes, which caused me to learn just how expensive it is on base! Most people I talked to praise it for the great prices, but when it comes down to it I could find much better deals in “super expensive” California. I ended up buying my shoes on the economy (military jargon for off base) and found a much better selection at a better price.

We are starting to find our way around off base and though we still have much to learn we did get to go on a walk-about around Landstuhl and figured out Internet stuff. We will be signing up for a plan either Monday or Tuesday, but it will still be another 2 weeks before they can get it set up for us.  Our plan will include free calls back to America as long as it’s a landline! Although I know very few people who actually have one of those any more HA. Oh we also got bank accounts and a post box here! We sure would love to hear from you! Send us an email, and we will get our PO box to you!

Prayer requests:

  • The hearts of the youth would be softened and that we would be able to reach and relate to them
  • We need to take the drivers test and are about to select a car (or two!) within our means
  • That we would be able to buy a new bed soon
  • That we could be a blessing and a light in our new job endeavors
  • For our marriage; that we would be united and learn how to adapt to the ever changing circumstances and schedules.
  • That God would bring us friends we can relate and connect with.
We love you guys are we are encouraged every time we hear from you, knowing that we have not bee forgotten and are loved.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Quick Update

Just a quick update, sorry it has taken us so long to write anything. We are still waiting for our jobs to start. Christmas slowed everything to a halt so things are finally getting moving again. If you all could pray for me (Aaron) I currently am under some kind of review, and that will determine whether or not I am able to get the job and receive logistical support. I just need to get signed off by 3 or 4 different people, and so I am waiting for those results. I'm pretty sure I'm fine but just pray that everything goes smoothly and that it will happen soon.

These past couple of weeks have really seen us blessed. The youth have been talking a little bit more, which has been a blessing in and of itself because it shows that they are (slowly) warming up to us. God is really putting the youth that He has given me on my heart, I find myself just randomly praying for them as I go about my day. We have had on average about 7 each week, though if the total number of kids that have been coming all showed up on the same day we would have about 11. We have just been meeting Sunday mornings but starting in February we should be meeting Wednesday (or possibly Thursday) nights for Bible Study, games and other opportunityies to fellowship. Please pray for that, as Donna and I are kind of learning as we go here.

We have yet to get a car, but a few weeks ago a man felt lead of the Lord to donate $8,000 to so that we could buy one, or two. This was an amazing answer to prayer because we came with only about $1,300 to our name, and as time has progressed, that money has been slowly reducing, so we were wondering how we would be able to afford any kind of transportation. But, the Lord being oh so gracious sent someone to annonomously send us a check, and so while we still cant get a car until we get logistical support, we are blessed that we do not have to worry at all about getting around!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Apartment

We finally got a chance to head over to the apartment so I was able to take some pictures. It is 1 bed, 1 bath like our last apartment, but probably twice as big! AND no more going through the bed room to get to the bathroom! 

Other neat facts about the almost our apartment. This used to be the church's old office before they moved into the new building they now have. It is located 1 block away from the main drag in Landstuhl which means there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops that are in walking distance as well as the local farmers market every Friday. And we are within walking distance of the train station as well. We will still be really close to the church and it is very close to the base so travel time for our jobs will be quick. 

So let the tour begin!

Our apartment is on the 3rd floor which is quite a haul up the stairs, but at least there is no one living above us :)

The Living room/Dinning room area

Our Bedroom

The Bathroom. Aaron is pointing out that right next to the toilet there is an electrical outlet??

Note the random outlet near the toilet tank, as well as the crooked placement of the bowl.

The shower/ tub is pretty cool. The shower "curtain" is that piece of glass to the left and it unfolds to create 3 panels that form a wall to stop the water (ps the glass isn't dirty, it has tiny bubbles inside of it to obscure the person bathing)

The Kitchen. Do you see the double sink? It is not very common in Germany to have a double sink, usually it is single. Also check out ALL that counter space and the cabinets!!!

The large center cabinet is our refrigerator. Most German houses have built in frigdes like this.
That tiny little box is all the freezer space we have! Yikes!

This is the view from the kitchen and if you look real hard on top of the hill, or just at the next picture...
That is Landstuhl Castle! Once we get a chance I'll try to get a picture of it all lit up at night.

This image can be seen on one of the buildings near us. it's known as "Kilroy was here" as was very popular during WWII here is a link with more information if you would like :)

 Oh and i realized most of you have never seen rolladen before. They are these awesome shades on the windows that can completely block out the light which will be handy in the summer when the sun doesn't set until nearly 11pm at the peak of summer. Any who here is a video of Aaron explaining them.

Welp that's all for now. Hope you have enjoyed all the pictures these last few posts and I hope to be posting more as time progresses :) Miss you and Love you all!