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March Update from Munich

Blog -> Family



Dear friends,

Recently I got a few requests again from people, asking me how we are doing, how things are going, etc. That gave me a hint that I probably haven’t been writing a blog for a while. And yeah, it’s been 2 months. So it’s time for an update.

Overall, there are no major news since the last time I wrote. But in small things, life is certainly changing. So here are a few things:

 

Family

Overall I think I can say that 4 of us have fully arrived by now. Me and Abigail never had any major struggles. Anna and Noah are slowly settling down. Anna is now really connecting well with her class and school. She’s now fully integrated in her class. She gets invitations to birthday parties, she’s exchanging “friends books” with her classmates (a typical German school tradition), she’s now nearly as fluent in German as she is in English, she’s again one of the top students in her class,… I think we can now officially say that she has arrived. It was rough for a few months, it was difficult, it stressed her, she wanted to go back to Shanghai,… But in the end, I think we can now say that “she made it”.

Noah is in a similar situation. He never suffered as much as Anna did (partly because of his character, partly because he didn’t have such close relationships in Shanghai yet, partly because he’s still in kindergarten and doesn’t have any academic pressure yet,…). But he’s also getting more and more comfortable here. Joining the football team every Wednesday is another highlight of his new life here. And he’s also getting more and more integrated in his kindergarten community. We’ll officially enroll him in school next month, he’ll start in September. And by now, he’s more than ready. He might actually have the same main teacher that Anna is having this year. That would be perfect for him, because she’s really, really good. She’s very firm, very strict. But at the same time, very, very loving and understanding. She’d be the kind of teacher that Noah can thrive and grow with. We’re praying he’ll get her.

Abigail is still just herself. She’s totally happy to go the childcare 4 times a week. She’s always smiling, always happy, always cheering everybody up. And she’s so mature. She’s even listening in to our “adult conversations” and sometimes interrupts us with something really profound. She’s clearly listening, understands what is being said, and when she feels like she can contribute to the conversation, she just does. Last Thursday was her 3rd birthday, yesterday we went swimming with/for her, which was a fun outing for the whole family. She’s such a blessing to have in the family.

Ryoko on the other hand is still in the most difficult spot of us all, which is probably as expected. Learning the language is hard. Adjusting to the culture is hard. She’s an extrovert, so not being able to simply “go out and talk with anybody at any time she would like to” is difficult for her (A struggle I’ll never fully understand,…). Still struggling about “what she’s supposed to do professionally next year” only adds to all the stress she feels. Right now she’s leaning towards doing a program that would get her ready to work with children. But no final decision has been made. Thankfully, Spring is slowly arriving here, which makes things easier for her emotionally. But of course, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s struggling.

As for myself, I’m quite happy that I’m working on a second (and possibly soon third) project now. I feel more focused and efficient at work these days, now that I have a healthy time pressure on my shoulders. (When you have little to no time pressure, you tend to be less efficient,…) Of course, financially we’re a lot more stable now, we can enjoy a few more things and we have also started paying into the German retirement fund. Overall, we’re very thankful for the timing. Having this project earlier would have stressed me out. But we also knew that “something had to change soon”. And when the time was right, God just brought it to us. (I didn’t even apply for it, I was simply recommended by someone else, and got the project) God knew when the time was right, and He just made it happen at the right time, without me even having to “make it happen”. Once again, He showed what a faithful Father He is.

 

As for Aletheia: It’s a weird mix of ups and downs we are going through. There are certainly some promising signs. (e.g. we are now receiving regular financial contributions from some members, some of them look like a tithe,… We also gave prayerwalking as a group a try last month, and it turned out to be something that really helped our members to grow in their faith,…)

But at the same time, we still struggle stabilizing the group. I don’t want to go into details in a blog that can be read by anybody, incl. the members of the group. But let me just say this: Some of our members are not committed to the group at all and need to grow up in their walk with Christ quite a bit. Our hope was that this group would be a core group to start a regular service with from April onwards. But reality is simply that the group as a whole is not nearly ready to take on such a task together. Some individuals would be, but the group as a whole is not. So our main prayer request right now is that God would send us more people that have the necessary commitment and maturity to take responsibility for the group. With all this said, we will not be having a regular Sunday service in April, as we originally aimed for. And we have no concrete timeframe of “when to aim for this service again”. We’ll have to wait for God to do something, before we can pursue the idea of a Sunday service again.

As for our Explorer Group: We had a one-off evening in late January, and it went pretty well. We had around 15 people come to our home, and most of them were really, really interested in exploring the claims of Christianity, nearly all of them would like to join the group. The only struggle was that they were all students, and we hit right into their exam and then holiday season. So there was no way of starting the group in January/February. We have now invited everybody back for April 23rd, for another kickoff type of event. Most of them said they would come again. We’ll also do some promo again and hope that some more people will join. Our prayer is that this will then turn into something long term as well. But as of right now, we simply have no idea what to expect,…

So as you can see, nothing major has changed since our last blog. We’re still settling in, we’re still adjusting, we’re still in the process of arriving. And Aletheia is still in a similar spot that we’ve been in at the beginning of the year. So yes, nothing major has changed. But we know we are still on the right track. Last Friday, God spoke to me again so clearly that despite the discouragements we face at times, He’s still with us, He’s in it, and we’re still pursuing the things He has called us to. It all just takes a bit more time than we anticipated. We’ll just keep pressing in, and we trust that God will make things happen, when the time is right.

So that’s our update for today. We appreciate all the love and care we still receive from many people in Shanghai and all over the world.

With Christ’s love,

Ryoko & Bernd, Anna, Noah and Abigail



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