April 17, 2012
Dear friends and family,
We want to keep you informed about some exciting developments in our family. We will be moving to Germany this summer! We hope to arrive in Germany in early August, but we may arrive earlier depending on details. We then plan on living in Germany for at least three years. We will make our home in the city of Munich, which is in the German State of Bavaria and in the foothills of the Alps. Munich, the third largest city in Germany with a population of 1.42 million, is famous for being the home of the BMW automobile, the home of Oktoberfest, and for making some of the best sausage in the world. Housing is extremely hard to come by in Munich, but we have been fortunate to find an apartment with a Christian housing community called the Collegium.
We plan on staying in Munich for at least three years. During this time Andy will work on his Doctorate of Theology at the University of Munich (LMU). This school is one of the leading research universities in Europe, with a more than 500-year-long tradition. It is consistently ranked as one of the top 100 universities in the world and has more than 45,000 students in attendance. In his dissertation, which will be supervised by Professor David du Toit, Andy will examine the Apostle Paul’s concept of desire. Hannah-Joy will be busy taking care of Melody (and Andy), learning the German language, and possibly working part-time as a nanny.
Why Germany? There are several reasons we are eager to move to Germany. We love to travel and experience new cultures. We have always dreamed of living overseas. Moreover, there are several benefits for Andy getting his doctorate in Europe: there is no cost of tuition in Germany—school is free; the doctoral programs last for three years, as opposed to five or six years in the states; a doctoral degree from Germany or from Europe is considered more prestigious, opening more doors for Andy to teach once he graduates.
What are we doing right now to prepare? Between now and the end of July we are preparing for our big move. We are beginning to sell things on Craigslist and at yard sales. Basically everything we own must go: cars, furniture, clothes, etc. Whatever we take to Germany will have to fit in a couple of suit cases. Our plan is to be finished with our yard sales, packed, and moved out of our house by the end of June. This will allow us to spend the month of July with family. Hannah-Joy will not teach this summer, and Andy’s last day at the bank will be at the end of June. We are also trying diligently to learn the German language. Andy will have to pass a German competency exam before he begins studies in September; much of Hannah-Joy and Melody’s knowledge of the language will come when we arrive.
We wanted to keep you informed of our exciting news. We also ask that you would keep us in your prayers throughout this process. Here are some of the ways you can pray:
- Pray that everything leading up to our move this summer will go smoothly (saying our goodbyes, selling off our stuff, leaving our jobs, etc).
- Pray that we will successfully learn the German language.
- Pray that all of our financial needs will be met—that a grant or research position will open for Andy and that a part-time nanny position will open for Hannah-Joy.
- Most importantly, pray that we will have wisdom on how to live as missionaries in Germany. We don’t just want to treat this as an academic endeavor or as one big adventure, but are asking God to use us as a light in this very dark land. Germany is by all means a mission field. For example, only 25% of the population believes in God. Among this 25% are those from various religions. Those who consider themselves Christian often do so simply because they were brought up in church, or are mildly religious. We recently saw a statistic saying that 95% of Germans believe in evolution. Germans on the whole are wealthy, successful, and career oriented. So this gives you a picture of the type of culture we will be seeking to influence for the gospel. Pray that Andy will have many opportunities among the students with whom he will interact, that Hannah-Joy will be able to meet other mothers, and that together we will have many opportunities at the Collegium where we’ll be living.
If everything goes according to plan, we will arrive in Germany in August. We want you to know that you have a standing invitation to come see us. We’ll eagerly welcome visitors any time. We understand that for most of you a trip to Germany is unrealistic. But please keep in touch with us. We can only imagine how much we are going to miss you and how homesick we’ll be. Regular emails/Skype chats or any other form of communication will be heartily welcomed. And we’ll plan on sending out regular updates about our adventure. Please let us know if you would like to receive these updates. Also, we will be providing regular updates on our bowdenblog. So, as the Germans say:
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Andy, Hannah-Joy, and Melody.
April 13, 2012
I have not been devoting much time to blogging lately, as you’ve probably noticed. Instead, I’ve been pouring my energies into the German language. I thought I’d share some helpful links for those of you who are also interested in learning this language:
- i tunes U has some great German podcasts. Make sure you enjoy some of the University of Freiburg’s “Rede des Monats.” I recommend Anton Vögtle’s Die griechische Sprache und ihre Bedeutung für die Geschichte des Christentums (1971) (see lecture # 19). Vögtle speaks with unmistakable passion, and his German sounds a bit Scottish to me.
- i tunes also has some very helpful links. Beginners will find the Goethe institute’s Radio D and Warum nicht? series useful. Deutsche Welle also offer some helpful sources, such as their Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten.
- Finally, it’s important to have fun while learning a language. For this I recommend Die Sendung mit der Maus. You can view new episodes weekly, and can also puruse video segments. Although this show is for kids, I would advise some caution as some of the material is not child appropriate, in my opinion.
I hope these resources help you as much as they’ve helped me. Sometimes it seems that fresh resources provide much needed breezes of motivation and fight of the stagnation that so easily creeps into language learning.