Many of the kids here at Black Forest Academy are gamers when they have free time… which isn’t often. A lot of them will hang out playing Minecraft in the yearbook room after school. When we dorm sub at HBR, some of the guys are usually playing multi-person games on the Wii or PlayStation… until study hours anyway.
Valerie and I aren’t really gamers, unless you count Settlers of Catan or Scrabble. But recently we each set a new high score! I scored in the middle 400s and Valerie scored over 600! Pretty good, huh? Unfortunately these were scores from the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale. Hans Selye who coined the term stress (meaning anxiety) describes it as, “The non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. Change = our life in the past few years.
Recently a friend of a friend who is serving on the mission field in Thailand explained how we often feel here in Germany:I’d heard about the stages of culture shock – honeymoon, crisis, recovery, adjustment – but sometimes it’s hard to recognize the hurricane for the debris and the wind that’s nailing you in the face. And, when you are still struggling with some of the same issues two years later, it’s hard not to think you must be the broken one. (Click here to read the entire blog post)
I’ll be honest. After almost two years, there are still many days when we struggle. Currently there are three specific issues that are significantly adding to the stress of our life on the mission field.
1) We had a low-speed, single-vehicle accident in our van on the snow and ice. No one was injured and praise the Lord the guard rail withstood the impact. Unfortunately the body damage is more than we can afford and our basic liability insurance will not cover the repairs. Even though the van is still drivable and mechanically sound, we’ve decided to sell it for as much as we can and start over with a simple used car that can last us for the rest of our time here. We currently have about $1750 USD set aside, but would like to add a few more dollars to move up the “reliability” scale.
2) Our home here in Germany was recently put on the market by our landlord. She has been great to us, but it’s time for her to make a change too. That means we will be “showing” the house occasionally as well as having to keep our eyes and ears open for another place to rent if this sells. We’ve been really blessed to have a comfortable “home” here, even after Eli moved in.
3) All of this is leading up to a US trip this summer that will cost around $2,900 USD for our airfare. We used miles and some missionary funds to cover the trip in October. Air travel was much cheaper then. We’ve been saving up since returning to Germany, but we’re not anywhere near the amount required.
So please pray. Stand with us in faith. God’s resources are beyond measure and He has the ability to make the impossible possible. Every month we see that and live that truth first hand because of your faithfulness and generosity. If you’d like to assist financially, consider a $250 special gift toward an efficient, reliable car, or $100-$500 toward airfare costs. We’re just going to be humble and lay those needs out there in faith.
A friend visiting from the states said, “I don’t know how you guys do this!” after experiencing a stressful morning just trying to get a shippment from German customs. The only explanation we have: God. Only His sovereignty, His grace and His peace that surpasses understanding can sustain us. Your prayers and support are a huge part of that. In turmoil, when things are changing and nothing makes sense, we know that God, who provides good and perfect gifts, does not change (James 1:17). He never gets stressed out. His Holmes-Rahe Stress score will always be zero.
PS – If you would like to contribute a special tax-deductible gift to help us purchase a more reliable vehicle or to assist with our travel expenses, please visit our DONATE page. Email us if you have questions. Thank you in advance for any above and beyond donations to help meet these needs!