Arrived in Munich
Blog -> Family
it's been a while since we were writing on our blog. Over the last year or so, as God started calling us towards Munich, we realized that the transition and the move will have to take all our focus, time and energy. We wanted to make sure that we finish well in Shanghai and don't neglect anything that needed to be done while we were still in Shanghai, because we were too busy keeping this blog alive. That was our priority. That's why we put the blog on hold for the last 10 months or so.
But now that we have arrived in Munich, we want to restart this blog and at the same time, keep everybody updated on "how things are going with us" here in this new place. So we'll restart this blog today, and you'll get a mix on here between some of the teaching (like I've done before), personal updates about us and our family, and of course also how the church project is going. And today we're starting by simply keeping you all posted on how our first week here in Munich went and how we are doing.
So, we've been here for 5 days now. And God has made things amazingly smooth for us so far. Not to say that there are no challenges (I'll get to those later). But considering that we are only here for 5 days, things are really going quite well.
First of all, we had an amazing group of people who welcomed us. Andre and Yeon (part of the Alpha family in Shanghai) picked us up upon our arrival and brought us to our temporary home. Without us asking for anything, they also filled up our fridge and gave us German SIM cards, so we had German phone numbers the moment we arrived. Martin & Vivian (another Alpha couple who now lives in Munich) allow us to stay in their apartment for the month of July (they are in Berlin right now, with his parents, expecting their 2nd baby soon). Then we had another friend of Martin & Vivian who welcomed us here in this place, and she also brought us food. We felt so spoiled, but knew that God was welcoming us here.
Then we visited MICC last Sunday (http://www.munichurch.de/), which is a very nice International Church that already exists here. The Pastor welcomed us with open arms. He doesn't see us as competition, but embraced us and is excited about the vision that God has placed on our hearts. And he will try to find ways to support us in our launch of the new church. And then God so encouraged Anna, because the second song we sang was her final performance at her school, which she misses so dearly. It was God's way of saying to her: "Anna, you're not at that school anymore, but I'm still here with you."
And then, it looks like I'll be having a parttime job as a programmer with my previous client from September 01st onwards. We know each other, we trust each other. That would be the perfect arrangement for us, since we already know each other and we know we could work well together. We wouldn't get rich with that, but we could survive without having to live off our savings, This way, I wouldn't have to feel the pressure of "having more people come to the church to pay our salary" (In know such thoughts are wrong, but they do come up when your livelihood depends on the church). But at the same time, as a parttime freelance worker, I would still have the flexibility to balance family responsibilities, my job for income and my real vision for being here, which is starting the church.
And then lastly, we received another referral from a friend in SH who has a friend who lives in Munich now. Very possible we have another founding member. Which brings us to around 10 by now (Nobody actually commited to the church yet, but we do have around 10 people who expressed interest in being part of this church). All without doing any kind of advertisement. He's amazing!
So far the great stuff. But of course that doesn't mean there are no challenges. It's hard to adapt. We are missing Shanghai and SCF. Anna probably suffers the most right now (Thankfully she was able to WeChat Call her best friend in Shanghai a couple of times already, that helped). I personally feel quite comfortable here, since I'm able to enjoy some of the things I missed for the last 12 years (Talk about "Prinzenrolle" chocolate cookies. Only Germans will truly understand this desire! *haha*). Abigail is too young to fully get it, as long as she has the four of us around, she doesn't care where she is. But of course, for the rest of the family the transition is much harder. Missing Shanghai friends, not having friends here yet. Uncertainties about our future, our next steps, etc. Plus the practical challenges we are facing.
Which brings me to our main prayer requests
- Prayer Requests
Worldly speaking, finding a place in Munich is a nightmare. Every place that is being offered has dozens or hundreds of applications within a day. The competition is really high. As a result, you have to apply for an apartment like applying for a job (CV, Evidence of Income, etc). Some tenants are very child friendly, some are not at all. Once you mention that you have kids, some landlords already filter you out. Plus, with me having lived in China for the last 12 years, I don't have all the "standard German documents" concerning income, tax receipts, etc. That again is a reason for many landlords to filter us out.
So worldly speaking, it's tough. But we know God is bigger than that. Last Saturday we visited a place, we're now on the shortlist for that apartment, together with 2 other families. The landlord is now reviewing all the families and will then make his pick. We also have some other leads that will hopefully result in a conversation with the landlords and a visit to the place as well. So it's not hopeless. It's just time consuming, and nerv wracking.
We can stay at our friends' place until the end of July. There's a natural deadline we have. But we are hoping and praying that we have something way earlier, to save our sanity.
So our biggest prayer request right now is that God would lead us to the right place. And we'd prefer if He did that sooner rather than later. But in the end, we trust in His timing.
Another prayer request is simply to adjust well. Dealing with all the emotions we are facing in a positive way. Yes, we do miss SCF. Yes, we miss our friends. Yes, we do feel a bit lonely here, not really knowing anybody yet. And yes, the uncertainties do trouble us, challenge us and bring us down at times. Yes, we are facing all that.
But our goal is to use these emotions to move forward with God, rather than dwelling in the past and/or questioning what we know God has called us to. We want to bring it all to God and draw nearer to Him, rather than getting stuck in a negative way of thinking.
The emotions we are facing are probably quite normal. When I went to HK in April, I attended a workshop on relocation, culture shock, back culture shock, etc. So it's not that we are doing really bad, what we are going through is probably very, very normal. I would even argue that most people face these same emotions on a much more intense level. I think overall we are doing pretty well. It's just different hearing about these emotions from someone else (even close friends) compared to experiencing them yourself. And this time, it's us going through all these emotions ourselves.
Thank you for supporting us in your prayers
Alright, so that's our update for today. Like I said, we plan on writing here more regularly again. A lot about us. Sometimes a teaching (look through the blog archive to check out previous teachings we wrote, before we put the website on hold). Sometimes about the new church.
Anways, if you would like to follow us, follow what's going on, this is the place to do that. Leave your email address on the bottom of this page and you'll get informed as soon as we have an update. Follow us on Facebook Twitter or WeChat, and you'll get all the updates there as well (Yes, I was able to keep my WeChat account and link my new German number with it. So looks like I can keep the existing WeChat account long term :-)),
But at the same time, if you want to unsubscribe from our email newsletter,... please also feel free to do so. We won't take it personally. We don't want to bombard you with emails that you are not interested in. So if you don't want to receive our updates by email any longer, simply unregister (There's a link at the bottom of each email to do that).
Alright, that's it for today. We hope to stay in touch with all of you. Keep us posted how things are going, both in Shanghai and wherever you are right now.
We miss you all!
In Christ's love,
Ryoko & Bernd, Anna, Noah and Abigail
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