Thursday, February 26, 2009

All Things February

Wir haben so viel Schnee! February has been a very snowy month here in Kandern. Shoveling the sidewalk and cleaning the snow off of the car have been almost daily chores for us (well for Mark anyway)! It has been so beautiful and has provided for many a snowball fight at school. The kids have really enjoyed playing in it and Ethan did something the other day that reminded me of myself as a kid. Being from the deep south, the first time I ever saw a substantial snow as a kid, I made a snowball and put it in the freezer. We currently have a couple of snowballs in our freezer. I think Ethan is not so sure he'll see this much snow again:)

(photo courtesy of my friend Sandee Shuman)

February also provided some great opportunities for ministry. On Valentine's Day, Mark spoke in the middle school chapel service. His topic was Love is a Verb. He challenged the students to look for ways to practice intentional (not random) acts of kindness and love to their friends, families and to the world. He did a great job!

Later that afternoon, the middle schoolers had their Valentine's Day Party. It was quite comical watching these goofy kids participate in Speed Talking (a tame form of Speed Dating).

I had the opportunity a few days ago to read to Ethan's class. This was a real treat for me because I miss being in an elementary school. I read one of my favorites, Olivia by Ian Falconer. Olivia is a spunky, stubborn and precocious little pig who gets into trouble sometimes. After an exhausting day with Olivia, her Mom says to her, "Olivia you wear me out, but I love you anyway". As soon as I read that passage, Ethan exclaimed to his entire class and teacher, "Hey Mom that's what you say to me!" Busted:) As many of you know, Ethan is our spunky, stubborn and precocious little one. Please keep him in your prayers as he is still having some adjustment issues that we are working and praying through.

February was also another lesson in German culture (not that every other month here hasn't been). Normally stoic Germans let loose in February during their version of Carnival called Fasching. In the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, there are wild parades, loud bands, lots of drinking, strange costumes, activities to ward off evil spirits and even spouse swapping!

In the towns, colorful cloths and underwear are strung out over the main streets. The underwear is put out to show that swapping of partners has happened. It really is a spiritually dark time in our town.

(photo above and below courtesy of my friend Eileen Dueck)

Thank the Lord that He is still our light amidst the darkness of this world. We ended the month of February with an Ash Wednesday service at BFA. Mark and I helped lead it with our friends and colleagues, Bo and Leigh Bowen. Bo is an ordained minister who shares our love of liturgical worship. The service was such a gift from God and a beautiful way for us to enter into the Lenten season.
As always, your faithful support of our (yours and ours) ministry here means the world to us. We thank God for you! We pray that you will experience God's graces and mercies in new and fresh ways this Lenten season...kyrie eleison.
Blessings and peace,
Susan, Mark, Meredith, Evan and Ethan