Week 6 Europe

Final stop in Europe….Germany!

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First stop was Eningen where we visited Cornelia, who was part of our homegroup in NZ back in 2015. It was so good to catch up and encourage each other!

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Cornelia’s family took us to Hohenzollern Castle. Unfortunately it didn’t look like this on that day…As you will see in the next photo =p

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Twas a little grey and gloomy…and colder inside than out!

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We were all so cold after our tour of the castle that we went straight to the castle restaurant and ordered lunch…too much lunch…soup or stew for starters and then main meals. Dessert just was not an option!

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To aid digestion, our 5 German tour guides took us on a walking tour of the city of Tubingen!

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Second stop was Obertshausen (near Frankfurt) to see Mona, another German lass who was part of our homegroup for 5 months in early 2017. We had a great week staying at Armin & Ruth’s (Mona’s parents) and road tripping in Mona’s speedy Mini Cooper!

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On Day 2 (Day 1 we had a rest day, us oldies are getting tired!) we took a trip to the Hadamar Euthanasia Centre, a psychiatric hospital used in the second world war by the Nazi’s to exterminate ‘undesirable’ members of German society. Those with mental or physical disabilities, people who didn’t meet Hitler’s ideals were gased in these chambers. It is a harrowing experience to walk through these dungeon rooms knowing that thousands (200,000 according to Wikipedia) of people were murdered here.

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On the way home we stopped in at Idstein, the city where Mona studies. We climbed up this tower where witches were apparently thrown off the top to prove or disprove they were witches.  Too bad if they weren’t I guess.

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Day 3 was another rest day with a short trip to a very important tourist attraction….IKEA! We tried their famous meatballs. They were average.

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On Day 4 we ventured up the Main Tower to check out Frankfurt from 200m high…it was freezing!

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On Day 5 we rested (I know God rested after 6 days work, but man this holidaying is tiring us out!) and made Vegetarian Lasagne for Armin because he told us he was a 6 day vegetarian…

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….but obviously it was his meat day because he and Ruth took us out to a Steak house for dinner!!!

On Day 6 we got up bright and early to return the Noble Steed and catch our flight to Vancouver. We were lucky to get on the flight as we were put on standby because it was overbooked! And just like that our time in Europe came to an end. Chapter 3 begins!

Lessons learnt:
– The D on European number plates doesn’t stand for Denmark, but Deutschland
– Germans drink a lot of carbonated water…turns out this isn’t good for Jared’s gut
– European houses all have shutters on their windows….meaning you can waste half the day sleeping if you don’t set an alarm
– Europeans don’t use a top sheet and their towels are really small!
– Supermarkets are closed on Sundays in Europe!

Fun facts:
– Of the 68 utes (Yes, Jared counted!) we saw in Europe, 48 were in Italy.
– We drove 4703kms in the Noble Steed and filled up approximately 7 times
– We only paid for two nights accommodation for 6 weeks in Europe

Funniest words non-native English speakers used in Europe:
– When someone described their boss at work as their chief
– When someone described himself as a parasite because he lives with his partner in an apartment she owns
– When someone was not sure what the English word for pig was, so called it Pumba to insure we understood

Blessings:
– The hospitality and generosity of two amazing German families
– Returning the Noble Steed in one piece, not even a scratch!
– Seats at the back of the plane with no one either side of us and a bit of extra leg room!

Ponderings…
On our rest days with Mona, we watched a few good movies on Netflix. Though a little cheesy, Gods Not Dead (and its sequel Gods Not Dead 2) had some challenging messages. In the second movie, I was challenged by the question posed by God to one of the main characters “Who do you say that I Am?”

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

He is the great I AM, even if we don’t yet believe it.

As my faith has deepened in the past few years I’ve become more confident to acknowledge God in all I do. I’ve taken opportunities to share my faith lovingly and with respect with those I love and strangers (don’t get me wrong, there is plenty opportunities I’ve missed too) and tried to follow His leading when He asks me to do something. Its not always easy, but it matters.

The way we answer the question “Who do you say that I Am?” has eternal consequences. If our honest response acknowledges God for who He really is we will spend eternity with Him in heaven. If our response denies Him we will be eternally separated from our Creator in ultimate darkness, otherwise known as hell.

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:32-33)

My challenge to anyone reading this… If you know Him: I challenge you to take all opportunities to acknowledge Him. Be courageous! And if you don’t know Him yet: Why not ask him who He is? Jeremiah 29:13 says: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” If you genuinely ask Him who He is, I assure you He will answer.

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