As I mentioned in this post, I am a part of a weekly small group made up of nine or ten Iranians and Afghanis, my internship supervisor, one other American missionary and myself. We were having a great time singing, talking, and praying last night. Towards the end the leader turned to the three Americans and said something in english to the effect of, “We want to pray over the three of you and ask forgiveness for our country’s hatred towards America. We were taught from an early age that America and all Americans are evil. You three are ambassadors of your people, and this small group is an example of the inter-cultural love and unity that is possible when God is involved.”
We stood in the middle of the circle and the group prayed over us in Farsi. Though I couldn’t understand the meaning of the words they were speaking, I could understand their hearts. Soon enough, big fat tears sprang into my eyes and began to roll down my cheeks. I just kept thinking, This is what the world needs more of– not political peace talks or conferences or charismatic leaders– but God. If we could all interact with one another as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ instead of adversaries, how much pain, suffering, hatred and death could be avoided? How many misunderstandings could be sorted out through the power of the Holy Spirit?
When you travel, power is automatically bestowed upon you as an ambassador of your country, whether you realize it or not. Your behavior is a reflection of your culture and it absolutely does matter. I am just glad that although I am an American, I am a Christian first and foremost, and therefor am filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, who is infinitely greater and wiser than I could ever be in my human weakness.
Last night was powerful. I will remember it always and carry it with me where ever I go, reminding me of the only true healer and best politician this world will ever know.
Today I am 21. I also spent my 20th birthday in Germany, which you can read about here, and who knows where I’ll spend my 22nd! Last night I went to dinner with my grandparents who live near here and had a lovely time. Then this morning my apartment mate surprised me with beautiful orange roses, I went to coffee with a friend, and then went out to dinner and drinks with three other wonderful Pepperdine students currently interning in Frankfurt. Although I miss my family and friends back home, I could feel their outpouring of love and encouragement today in numerous ways.
Though I can’t say I seem particularly older or wiser, there is definitely something distinctly special about the age 21. It has a different sound to it than 20. I am gaining distance from my teenage years and undeniably entering adulthood. Being a ‘twenty something’ is such a scary, unknown, exiting time in life. This is the year I will graduate from college, get a job (hopefully), move into my first real apartment, and so much more. I can’t wait to see the doors God opens up for me in the coming months and years, and where this wonderful life leads.
P.s. Guess who else shares my birthday? Donald Trump…#honored.
I’d like to tell you about a little phenomenon I’ve come to call “The Cold War.” No, it has nothing to do with the Red Scare or the 1950s or communism at all for that matter. Instead it has to do with the German language.
Every day I go out to a new cafe and order something. I say, “Ich hätte gern ein Kaffee.” I know for a fact my grammar is correct, and my accent is not horribly obvious. But they always respond in english every time without fail! After I take a moment to look around and make sure there’s not a flashing “American” sign above my head, I am left to decide which language I should proceed in. We’ve reached a stalemate.
Now I know they’re just trying to be helpful, and are eager to practice their already perfect english, so part of my is tempted to just give in and speak english. Maybe I should just make things simpler for us all and say, “Yes, I would like a small coffee, thank you.”
But the whole reason I’m here is to learn German! So often I’ll reply in German again, stubbornly smiling and attempting to subtly send them a message. But the really awkward part is when, after I’ve implicitly or explicitly insisted we speak German, I make a stupid mistake or don’t fully understand. Then I’m force to swallow my pride and ask again in English. My face be like:
Its quite the experience my friends. I know I sound somewhat dumb complaining about first world problems, and I really am grateful to have help if need be, but it’s just so frustrating! Over all, though, I’m completely in awe that an entire country know a second language so thoroughly. It is incredibly impressive and inspiring. Bravo Germans, bravo.
But the Cold War rages on.
Last night I went to a house groups that my internship supervisor leads. It was at a couple’s apartment who moved to Germany from Iran about seven months ago with their five year old son, who is adorable and full of energy. The group consisted of ten Iranians, nine of them men, plus me and my supervisor. She gave the lesson in English and one of the men translated to Farsi. Though I couldn’t exactly grasp everything everyone was saying, I could definitely sense the Holy Spirit’s presence among us. I even played around with the little boy for quite a while, no words necessary!
I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous going into it, and fumbled through some awkward conversations full of misunderstandings and moments lost in translation. But everyone was so kind, hospitable and open. A few of them showed me pictures of their families back in Iran and expressed how much they miss them. They are working hard to learn German (which is not an easy language!) and establish their new lives here. The German government requires them to complete a certain level of language courses before they can get a job, and one man conveyed how frustrating it is to not be able to work when you are free and willing. But their sense of gratitude was palpable none the less, and it certainly rubbed off on me. The whole time I kept thinking what is my life?! Who would have thought I’d ever find myself in such an interesting situation? I feel so incredibly blessed to be here this summer and add these opportunities to my treasure trove of life experiences. One over-arching theme in our discussion was finding peace in Jesus Christ no matter our circumstances. They inspire me to remember that no matter what, we can have abundant peace because of what our savior did for us.
I hope this is encouraging and that things are going well across the pond! I miss you and think of you all often 🙂
P.s. A few more photos from Frankfurt below!
Hello from the other side of the pond! I made it to Germany on Wednesday night after a long, sleep deprived journey and have begun adjusting to life here. My first stop was Hildesheim, the city in Northern Germany where I spent three months last summer. I visited old friends and even got to spend an afternoon with the family I nannied for. I’m not sure if the three little kids really remembered me, but they sure were cute and fun to play with! Then yesterday I took the bus down to Frankfurt where I met up with one of the missionary. She showed me around downtown (pictured above) and pointed out all the essentials (grocery store, subway station, park, etc.) Frankfurt is a beautiful city. Berlin, Munich or Hamburg often come to mind when people think of German cities, but Frankfurt is a true gem! It’s totally underrated– just big enough to stay exciting but small enough to feel like you can become an expert.
My German is coming back slowly but surely– it feels good to exercise my language muscles again! The main difference I’m noticing this time around is my confidence level. I’m not as afraid to open my mouth and make mistakes as I was before. I just go for it and hope for the best!
I miss my friends and family back home already but I can tell it’s going to be a good summer.
^The Altstadt in Hildesheim
^A pretty garden I passed on my walk through Hildesheim
How are things with you?
I’m sitting here at my gate waiting for my flight from LAX to Germany. The airport makes for great people watching, don’t you think? I’ve always secretly enjoyed observing the masses of people, each with a unique story, all headed off to interesting destinations. I’m one of those annoying people who will actually talk to the person sitting next to them on the plane if they’ll indulge me because I’m just so curious (and nosy)!
I can’t wait to be back in Germany for the summer. I just know I will get emotional when my plane begins to descend. There’s something so magical about the country. I will undoubtedly miss my family and friends back home, but I’m looking forward to having new adventures and stories to tell them when I return.
I hope you’re having a lovely day filled with spring sunshine. I’ve got to board my 12 hour flight now…not looking forward to that part quite as much