October 4, 2012
Dear friends and family,
Exactly two months ago today our family arrived in Munich, Germany. Over these past two months a song from “Fival”—one of Andy’s favorite movies as a kid—has often gone through our heads. In “Fival” as the mice are sailing to the new world imagining that everything will be perfect and wonderful, they burst into song: “There are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese…” Our attitude in coming to Germany was very similar to the mice in this song. In reality, however, these two months have been extremely stressful and difficult for various reasons. For Andy, these two months may have been among his most stressful ever. Nevertheless, God has made it perfectly clear that this is where we are supposed to be, and he has been faithful every step of the way.
We sensed God’s faithfulness in this process from the very beginning, when we decided we would definitely move to Germany, trusting that ALL the details would fall into place. And that is exactly what has happened! As we’ve already reported, just weeks before our move, the last of our stuff sold, and Andy found out he had received a partial research grant.
Upon arriving in Germany, after the “newness” began to wear off, we ran into several obstacles. We were denied the “ideal” gesetzliche insurance (due to the fact that Andy is a doctoral student) and were left in a huge lurch. Without insurance we would not be allowed to begin studies or remain in the country. Furthermore, Andy was preparing for his German proficiency tests, which if he did not pass would again mean we could not begin studies or remain in the country (nothing like a little pressure). But as it turns out, these obstacles were overcome: we were able to obtain private insurance and Andy passed his tests, allowing him to officially matriculate as a student. That left one last hurdle—obtaining our residence permit from the government authorities. For this one needs a notebook full of forms and documents, a lot of patience, and a little bit of luck (for example, one should hope that the government representative is in a good mood that day). With this in mind, we arrived first thing on Tuesday morning this week to apply for our residence permits. We waited in the initial hour-long line, but when it was our turn we were quickly dismissed: “We’re sorry, since you have a child you need an appointment.” Are you kidding me? So we made our appointment and came back a couple days later—and successfully received our two year residence permits!
Now that all the bureaucratic hurdles have been overcome, we are looking forward to settling into a routine. Hannah-Joy begins her part time nannying job this week. For 3 days a week she and Melody will be looking after a seven-month old girl for a couple of hours a day. Andy’s studies officially begin in the middle of October. In addition to his research grant, an opportunity has also opened for him to work part time on a publication project for Professor Jörg Frey.
On a cultural note—especially since Oktoberfest is in full swing at the moment—we thought it would be interesting to highlight how proud the locals here are about their beer. Fellow students living in our apartment complex were quick to inform us about the 6 breweries located in Munich, each of which conforms to the 500 year old Bavarian purity laws. Additionally, instead of there being a soda machine in our apartment, there is a beer machine. There are beer gardens all throughout the city. This week in the public transportation office, around 10 in the morning, we noticed that a couple of the workers were sipping beer at their desks—and that was perfectly acceptable!
Most of all, here are some things we’re thankful for, and some ways in which you can be praying for us:
- Praise God that every bureaucratic detail has been successfully taken care of
- Praise God that He has more than provided for us financially
- Praise God that Andy passed his German tests
- Pray that Hannah-Joy will have the opportunity to befriend other mothers, and that Melody will be able to meet other kids her age
- Pray that we will have wisdom about whether to get involved in a German or English speaking church
- Pray that Andy will have wisdom as he begins researching and writing his dissertation
- Pray that we will be faithful to share the gospel as the Lord gives us opportunity, that we as a family will be able to partner together in doing so, and that God would keep our marriage strong despite the stresses of a new culture
Finally, you continue to have a standing invitation to come see us in Germany. We’ll eagerly welcome visitors any time. Please let us know how we can be praying for you.
Andy, Hannah-Joy, and Melody
September 29, 2012
I’m proud to say that my family blogs. It is so interesting to see how each personality is reflected in their blog. Here are their links, if you are interested.
My dad blogs HERE. He takes some amazing pictures and also reflects on Scripture.
My brother-in-law blogs HERE. He is quite the musician, as well as a great husband and father.
My Uncle blogs HERE. He shares some really good thoughts about the Word.
My wife blogs HERE. Her blog is my favorite, but I’m biased, of course.
My older sister blogs HERE. She has not updated her blog in a while, but she’s been a little busy chasing her two kids around.
My younger sister blogs HERE. She also is a mother of two, but somehow manages to find time for an occasional blog post.
May 14, 2012
Enjoy these pictures from mother’s day weekend. You’ll see some pictures of Melody with pig-tails–this was the first time she ever wore them.
February 10, 2012
February 7, 2012
You may have read the article today (click HERE) about the numerous negative factors associated with spanking:
Research shows that physical punishment makes children more aggressive and antisocial, and can cause cognitive impairment and developmental difficulties. Recent studies suggest it may reduce the brain’s grey matter in areas relevant to intelligence testing. “What people have realized is that physical punishment doesn’t only predict aggression consistently, it also predicts internalizing kinds of difficulties, like depression and substance use,” said Durant. “There are no studies that show any long-term positive outcomes from physical punishment.”
Surprisingly, no references are given in this article to the “mountains of evidence” against spanking. And, what this article failed to mention is that spanking is good for the parent’s grey matter. Personally I was spanked as a kid. My parents spanked lovingly, consistently, and appropriately. I’m pretty skeptical that a little smack on the tush can harm the brain’s grey matter.
December 20, 2011
Today my thoughts are with my sister Rebecca, who just began having complications with her pregnancy and is on mandatory bed rest. Rebecca, I listened to this song today and thought immediately of you; I first heard it with you as the family was dropping me off for college in Toccoa. I pray this song reminds you that “the pressures of the world on your shoulder” are no match for HIM:
December 19, 2011
Well, let me officially say I’m back and ready to blog again. As you may have noticed, I decided earlier this fall to take a break from blogging. Now I’m going to give you an update on what I was working on and accomplished during my blogging sabbatical:
- I finished my th.m. thesis (masters of theology). My thesis, which clocked in at 172 pages, was entitled “Interpreting Microstructures through Discourse Analysis, with Specific Application to the Text of James 5:13-18.” And, with my th.m. thesis completed, I graduated this past Friday and am officially done at SEBTS (which means I have no books checked out from the library, but soon can check out a maximum of 5 with an alumni account). Family was here for the weekend to celebrate.
- I was officially accepted by the faculty of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität-München for doctoral studies. Now I am awaiting the final word from the school’s international office. The application process was quite thorough: I had to get several references, academic transcripts (including elementary and high school), even SAT scores from high school.
- I completed my application to the DAAD, which offers scholarships for students to study in Germany. In order to apply for this, I had to again gather transcripts, references, etc. I also had to take a German proficiency exam, which included speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension. On my test I received a 3 out of 5 on each area, meaning I can communicate in German in general topics and in scientific topics of medium difficulty. Before I can begin at Munich I will need to be completely fluent. Needless to say, I have spent and will continue to spend considerable time working on my German.
- Any spare time I had was spent with my wife and daughter, who is now a year old, beginning to talk, and walking up a storm.
So, there you have it. That’s what I’ve been up to. In my next couple of posts I’ll let you know what I plan on doing now. Also, tomorrow evening (Tues) we’ll be having my German conversation partner over for dinner. I’ll be sure to post pictures so you can “meet” her.
August 3, 2011
We had a great time at the beach this week. Granddaddy rented a beach house big enough to fit all 25 family members. We celebrated Granddaddy’s 80th birthday, he and Grandma Janice’s 15th anniversary, Grandma Janice’s birthday, Uncle Craig’s birthday, and Kim’s birthday. Melody got to see the ocean for the first time and loved it! HJ and I were so sad to have to come home today. Why can’t beach trips last forever?
July 3, 2011
We returned last night from a week in Georgia, where my wife’s folks live.
Thanks for the wonderful visit, Mom and Dad, we love you guys. Now, HJ and I are home and eagerly preparing for my sister to spend the week with us, and then for my cousin and his wife to spend the following week. Don’t you love summer!
April 24, 2011
Today we are with family celebrating my sister’s 16th birthday — her birthday fell on Easter this year. So far we have dyed eggs together, and tonight we hope to have Mexican food for dinner (Sara’s choice). We’ll stay with family for a few days before heading back home. The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow so we may head to the beach for a few hours.