I just wanted to write a brief update to bring you up to speed with what has been going on here. It has been 5 months since my last update. The good news is that God is still good. He is still at work in our lives and the lives of those He has given us to serve. He continues to supply for our needs, pour out His mercy and grace upon us and He continues to bless.
As you may know, there was a bomb that was exploded by a Syrian refugee in Ansbach on July 24. It was during a music festival, and praise God, no one was killed, except the bomber. There were 15 people who were injured and four of them were injured fairly seriously. I am suprised how fast life has returned to normal. It has almost been forgotten.
Just days ago a six year old boy drowned in a lake near our house. He was out with his grandfather and wandered away. They looked for him frantically and found his body the next day.
These events stir us to tell people that there is a good and loving God who is willing to extend forgiveness and grace through faith in Jesus Christ to anyone who wants it. Pray that God opens doors for us to share his love with more and more people.
Tina and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary on September 1st. We took a few days off work and drove down to spend a couple of days in Italy. The boys have never been to Venice so we found a cheap hotel in Vicenza and then spent a day in Venice.
We have been working on gaining Italian citizenship. Tina’s father was Italian, and her grandparents came to America in the 30’s. We thought it might be a good thing for Tina and the kids to have EU citizenship in case God wants to utilize it in the future. It would allow us to stay in the EU, if I were ever to separate from working for the Army, which is what allows us to currently stay in Europe without a visa. It’s a long slow process, but it seems like we’re close.
We also took another day off work and drove in to Austria to explore a castle. We had such a good time there. Next to that castle is the longest suspension walking bridge in the world, It is 500 feet above the valley floor. Afterwards we had a picnic near a river where we waded in the water and skipped stones. It was a great day! God really blessed us that day with simple little pleasures and family time together.
Calvary Chapel Ansbach continues to study through the word. We recently finished the Book of Acts and Sunday, September 25th will be our first study in the Book of Romans. I’m really excited to get into the book with our fellowship.
Our fellowship has been decreasing in size over the past 12 months so we dropped our mid week study. The reason for the decreasing numbers is the United States Army has been rearranging their assets in Europe to better meet future threats. It has resulted in a temporary downsizing of forces in our area. Therefore, soldiers and Department of Defense civilians have been moving from the area.
That being said, there is a plan to increase the size of the US Army in this area again in 2017. It’s just a another part of the cycle of ups and downs when you minister to soldiers and expats that are always on the move.
God seems to be opening a new door of ministry for us. I was recently asked to share the teaching, through the Gospel of John, in another village about 45 minutes away from us. I was asked to share the teaching because the leader doesn’t feel he has the time to continue as frequently as he would like to. The study is small group, primarily Germans, and will have to be translated. So, praise the Lord for another chance to share His word with hungry believers!
Finally, we need your prayers. We are facing a very challenging time. It is probably the greatest test of our faith we have ever faced in the last 38 years of Christian life. We just don’t know what to do or what’s going to happen. We are trusting the Lord to do whatever He thinks is best for us, but were on our knees pressing in in prayer none the less. Now isn’t the right time to share the details, I’ll let you know the details soon, but until then, would you please be praying for us? Pray for strength, for wisdom and patience to wait upon the Lord. Thank you.
Well, that’s about it, at least that’s the nutshell version. If you have any questions or prayers we can lift up on your behalf, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be blessed to stand with you in prayer.
Gary and Tina