After what seemed like 2 or 3 weeks (actually just 8 days) of finding out how to navigate/shop/live in a new city in a new language, we were ready for a break. Linda had done her first Bible Study and Ed had led his first Sunday Worship, so we decided to take a “preacher’s weekend” on Monday. Many preachers find that after the crunch of preparing for and leading Sunday activities, the following Monday is their only way to have a day off.
Nico and Natacha had recommended that we visit Laboe, a small beach town at the mouth of the Kiel Fjord on the Baltic Sea. With the weather as good as it was likely to get for a fall day in northern Germany, (68F high and partly cloudy) we decided to head out. It is about an hour trip by ferry, which is neat in itself. We always like to take a boat ride – even if it is to the Baltic Sea! It was a WONDERFUL day – as Linda said – she felt like we had been on a mini-vacation. So here are some photos.
We also got to visit a WWII U Boat. It was captured by the British after the war and given to the Norwegian Navy. About 1960 it was given back to Germany and it was set up as a museum. It is AMAZING how tight it is inside. We counted beds for 26 folks – and LOTS of machinery. Also, there was a torpedo – it is quite large as well. The submarine had 4 torpedo tubes. The info at the museum said that 30,000 to 40,000 German submariners died in service. But they sure wreaked havoc on the seas during the war. It was all quite sobering.
The city of Laboe is charming. Some of the houses were built in 1902 as week-end beach front homes. Also charming were the beach site restaurants. Germans can certainly charm you with “Backfisch” (fried fish sandwich).
We finished our first week “soloing it” after Nico and Natacha left for the US. They arrived safely without complications in Baltimore to start their 5 state whirlwind tour of churches and family. Please pray for traveling mercies and endurance.
Linda led Bible Study Wednesday evening and a good group attended. We were quite surprised by our newest member, Natalie from Birmingham, AL!! She is doing immunology research at CAU as a Fulbright Scholar. It was nice to be able to talk “southern English” a bit.
Linda leading the Wednesday evening Bible Study
On Sunday morning we attended the German Methodist service and had a wonderful time talking to Pastor Harmut Kraft, the local Pastor who speaks English. He is familiar with Atlanta, having been to Emory for lectures. He & his wife (also a pastor and current District Superintendent) also travel to Nashville several times a year, as they are part of the Upper Room Ministry. He serves a 2 point charge, Kiel and Hamburg. He gave us a lot of insight regarding Methodism in Germany, which unfortunately is in decline. This once thriving church had 20 attending this Sunday morning. The pastor explained to us there is a district retreat for kids 12-14, so attendance was lower than normal.
The church building is very international. After the 11:00 AM German Methodist service, there was a 2:00 PM Ghanaian Presbyterian service in the language, Twi. Then followed the Kiel service in English!
Ed lead the Sunday afternoon Kiel Church service. He gave a personal testimony regarding our call to missions and our work in water projects. He then brought them a message about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. Our friends at Eatonton First UMC heard a version of this message earlier this year. We had a good group and as always, enjoyed a great time of fellowship afterwards. It seems like churches around the world love to drink coffee and tea and munch on cake and cookies! There were 19 attending the service, and we had the following countries represented: USA, Germany, Kenya, Philippines, Peru, Romania, UK, South Korea, Uganda, Indonesia, Sweden, Nigeria, Switzerland.
The City of Kiel is in the northeast corner of Germany on the Baltic Sea almost to Denmark. Actually, the City has been ruled by Denmark, Russia, Prussia and finally Germany. It is the home of the Christian Albrechts University which was founded in 1665! It has about 26,000 students from all over the world, which is one of the reasons that Nico and Natacha Chantel founded the Kiel International Church here. It is one of the busiest ports in Germany which makes it a real cosmopolitan area.
Our first day after recovering from the 6 hour ahead jet lag, we spent walking around the city. We walked probably 5 miles, just exploring. Many of the shop keepers, restaurant staff, and tourist guide folks speak at least a little English – more than we speak German. So getting around was easier than we thought it would be. Here are some photos of our day.
We arrived in Kiel, Germany on Saturday Sept 1st without any difficulties and Nico and Natacha Chantel were waiting for us at the bus terminal. Thank you Lord that the long trip went off without a hitch. The Chantels (on the left above) are the couple in ministry at the International Church of Kiel. We are covering for them for the month of September while they visit the US. They have a beautiful, comfortable apartment (flat as they say here) and have welcomed us graciously into their home and church.
We worshiped with all of the wonderful folks at the International Church Sunday evening and were blessed with the amazing diversity of the group. Folks from 18 countries were in attendance!