Sunday, October 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Season

When October arrived, we were surprised at how quickly the time seemed to pass “when we’re having fun” and enjoying our assignment! We’ve been blessed with so many rich experiences!  I think everyone should visit another country and enjoy the cultural diversity of our world and of our church’s servants.

Fall colors beginning
One Sunday, one of the ladies approached me during coffee time after church, asking if I’d help her with decorating the church for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in Germany is in early October but, since many folks in this international church are from the States, Thanksgiving here will be a season (October 6 – November 28), rather than one day or a weekend.  After discussing the things that would represent harvest and thankfulness on the altar table, Dorothea agreed to pick me up near the end of the day Monday from work and we’d go shopping!  We started at a bäckerei (a bakery), where Dorothea ordered several loaves of sunflower-shaped bread, with extra rolls, so everyone can have some.  She also recommended the Zweibel Küchen (literally, onion cake), so I got 2 slices of the delicious quiche that Dan and I each enjoyed for dinner that night.  Next on our list was a stop at a farm along the road where a farmer had presented for sale, on farm wagons, his harvest of squashes and gourds of every shape and color! We picked out some for the display, then each bought a couple to take home – every section had a designated price and there was a place to leave your euros, honor-system purchasing!

After that, she drove to a farm on the other end of Büsingen where we bought apples and pears for the display and for ourselves, again with an honor system for payment after you weighed what you wanted.  From there, we went to the church (which is right across the grassy area in front of our apartment building). I’m sure it was a sight, two gray-haired ladies carrying the side handles of a basket full of colorful fall produce!  We made plans to carry out the decorating later in the week!
Thursday was a German holiday, so Dan and I drove to Liechtenstein for the day.  Dan always “does his homework” before we go somewhere new, so we had a map and we had a GPS to get us to Vaduz, the capitol city. It’s a charming town, famous for postage stamps and for its castle, where Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein, currently lives.  Lunch was delicious at a outdoor cafe and we took lots of photos.  I think it’s impossible to take too many photos of charming stone castles and streets in Europe!

Friday after work, Dorothea and I met to begin the fall decorating in the church, promising to finish up on Sunday morning while the worship team was practicing before worship. Continuing this domestic theme (decorating and cooking, etc.), I spend most of Saturday cooking and baking to get a little ahead for the next few days – squash soup, potato soup, banana bread and cookie dough!

Sunday was quite a treat! Our European Thanksgiving worship service was great and the display was beautiful with so many pretty fruits and vegetables, bread, fall leaves, and chrysanthemums. Afterward, several of us piled into Nancy’s car to go to a nearby town, Gottmadingen, to their semi-annual fair. The Gottmadingen Nazarene Church always has a booth where they sell Thai food (they cook for 2 days ahead, just to have enough, and they always sell out!) to make money for missions. We helped them out, of course, by purchasing our lunch there and spent a couple of hours wandering all the vendors’ booths. There was a real variety of stuff – from traditional clothing to modern clothing, biergartens to cake shops, spices and music CDs. Dan bought a leather hat; he’s been looking for something European for the cold weather, especially since he didn’t even bring any baseball caps with him for this trip.

Between the people and the food, we're being blessed every day! Thanks, God, for giving us another opportunity to be useful while experiencing these benefits!

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