Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
This could not be any more fitting of a scripture passage for this day. We casually left our Berlin hotel, and by casually, I mean we all overslept our free breakfast and our check out time. But the Familienhotel Citylight Berlin Hotel was amazing. As I came strolling down to the front desk to ask what time check-out was at 9:30, I was told that check out was 10:00 am. There was no way I was going to get all three kids out of bed and all the bags packed up in 30 minutes. So I kindly asked about a late checkout, and the gentleman at the desk said to take our time that we could leave as soon as we were ready. Then getting to the train station near the hotel, I had to decipher what trains we needed to take to get to Schönebeck, as there is not a direct route. I am sure that we paid more than we needed to, but after two train changes we arrived at our destination. Before we left the states, Jeff and I decided that in order to make the best of this trip we needed to embrace our challenges and our difficulties with laughter and love because this was God’s journey, not ours. God sent us on this journey and we will arrive in each location on His time, not ours and we will do the work He puts in front of us, not the work that we want to do. That has been a central theme for our planning process and now for the journey itself. We are not doing this for us, but rather because He asked us to do this, and we just said “yes, send us where you will”.
Johannes was there to pick us up at the Schönebeck train station. He walked up the stairs as we got off the train, looked at us, counted our heads, and we introduced ourselves. Our first experience in Shönebeck was with Johannes driving us around town, although we didn’t know he was taking us on a tour of the city. So we are driving around in his van, showing us Anjali’s school, the market place, the Catholic Church, St. Jakobi, David and Lucia’s school, and then our apartment. What was so funny was when we left the train station, he pointed one way as being towards the church and then turned the other way and took us to Anjali’s school. Both Jeff and I were thinking the same thing, “are we staying in an apartment by Anjali’s school? And if so, we were going to have a long walk to get to the church to help…” We were so confused, and even more so when he just drove past it and then continued on the tour. Once we got to St. Jakobi we understood what happened…we just got a tour of Schönebeck.
Once we got settled into the apartment, which was situated above the office of the church, we were told by Johannes that we were to have dinner at his house tonight. It was a wonderful dinner with his wife, Birgit, and their youngest son, Moritz and his girlfriend, Charlotte (they both spoke great English). We felt very welcomed to our new home for the next 2 months.