Monday, November 30, 2009

Spiritual Feast in Rothenburg, Germany

Last week was the Euro-American Family Retreat in Rothenburg, Germany. This is the 46th year of the Christian retreat, originally hosted by military families based in Germany.

Rothenburg is a medieval town. (Click photos to enlarge.) The original city walls are still standing, thanks to a U.S. general who decided they should not be bombed during World War II. Then, as the city was being rebuilt after the war, residents went with the medieval style, including roof tiles and signage. It's a charming, quiet town. So we did some tours, some shopping during free time.

A highlight of the week was recording 45-minutes worth of songs and prayers for Christian friends who are deployed out of Kaiserslautern, Germany. Our brother Greg Larson came up with the idea. He ministers there and had a list of folks who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We prayed for them by name and sang our hearts out.

Brother Frank from Oklahoma City led the singing and prayers. It was rousing, to say the least. Greg planned to send the music files to the soldiers by Thanksgiving morning. What a clever idea!

Here's a taste of our singing. This little video is a patched-together production because it was recorded with my regular digital camera, which does 30-second video. So. . . it's a little choppy, but still you get the idea.

So yes, we sang a lot and what a treat that was. Most of us who serve overseas rarely sing in English and, you know, there's something about singing in ones native tongue. Leading songs above is a dear brother who serves as an army chaplain in Germany.

This is Sunday worship. Our lessons were from John 17, which one speaker described as the second Lord's prayer. As you may know, this prayer is Jesus' prayer during the Last Supper with His disciples, where he pleads for glory, for unity, for protection from the evil one. Such a poignant passage.

Group Shot: 105 were present from 15 countries. Everything was in English. Simultaneous translations were available in French and Romanian.

Mike Armour - the one gesturing and talking, above - and wife Fran were with us from Dallas. Mike was one of the featured speakers. He's president of Eastern European Mission, a vital printing ministry which serves us well.

The children loved their classes. Three sisters from Dallas dedicated themselves to teaching the children's classes morning and evening. Parents were thrilled and so were the kiddos.

Lucky me ~ got assigned to room with Linda, lead teacher for the children's classes. Oh we had so much fun together and survived four nights in a very small hotel room. What a delightful person is that Linda!

Back out on the streets of Rothenburg. . .

Our tour, starting with the city map.

Keeping warm, couple from Belgium.

Waiting for 3:00 sharp, when something dramatic was to happen with the windows of the town hall.

Three little kittens who lost their mittens, waiting for 3:00 drama.

End of tour, heading back toward city hall.

Aeroflot flight Frankfurt to Moscow. Back to Russia on Thanksgiving afternoon. This would be . . . over Germany. Or maybe Poland. Hard to say!

Parking lot at Moscow's Sheremetevo-2 airport. Then connecting flight to Rostov-on-Don. International trips are never inexpensive. But a magnificent investment ~ learning and growing, meeting new friends, exchanging ideas. Such Christian conferences are invaluable. So thankful for those who organize the Euro-American Family Retreat!

How about you dear Blog Reader? Ever been to Rothenburg, Germany? Or to the Euro-American Family Retreat? Please do share. . .!

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