Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Last Days At Rhein River Baptist Church ~

We shipped 109 boxes and four pieces of furniture back to the states

It stills seems a little surreal that our military base in Mannheim has closed and we have left Germany and our beloved Rhein River Baptist Church.  As you can imagine we have experienced many different emotions over many months.    Over two years ago when the rumors of the closing of our base became more substantial we began praying that we would be able to leave a strong German/International church when the base closed.  Usually when a military base closes the church that ministers to the military will close as well.  But over the past few years God has brought more and more International folks into the church.    By the time the word became official that our base would close in August of 2012  we had a good congregation of German/International folks so we also began praying for a pastor to replace Tom.  We love our wonderful international church family, but God has called us to serve the U.S. military and that is what we must do.   God was so good to send us Bro. Walter Clark and his sweet family.  The Clarks served in German works in northern Germany for about ten years.   The Clarks came to work with us a year ago as the director of German ministries, with the goal of becoming the pastor when Tom resigned.   Tom spent much of the year mentoring Bro. Clark and preparing our people for the transition and consequently it was a very smooth transition.  

The Walter Clark family with us on an outing at Luisen Park in Mannheim.

We were blessed during our last days to be able to spend personal time with many of our families to say our last goodbyes,  On our last Friday night the Clarks planned a church-wide farewell fellowship which was a tremendous blessing. But perhaps the most moving thing we experienced in our last days was our final service.   In addition to our precious German/International family, over 30 of our former members who are now stationed at various other military bases around Germany came back to be a part of our last Sunday.  The service was such a blessing, filled with beautiful music, testimonies, joy and of course, lots of tears.   We enjoyed a church dinner and then an afternoon service instead of the Sunday evening service so we were able to travel the hour to Wiesbaden to be with Mark and Julie in the evening service at Grace Baptist Church.We flew back to the states the next morning and were thrilled and surprised to be met by a delegation of family and friends at the Chattanooga airport.   During August we will have our biennial Rhein River Reunion in Pigeon Forge, get settled in our home outside of Chattanooga and report to some of our supporting churches in the Chattanooga area.   On September 8 we officially begin our traveling with missions meetings in Missouri and Ohio.

Our Bradley's Special Day

Happy 16th Birthday, Bradley
Sixteen years ago on August 19 we welcomed our grandson Bradley into this world.  We didn't know it then but he would be our only grandson and we are so thankful for him.   Growing up he was an energetic little guy and kept his mom and dad on their toes.  He has grown into a loving and caring young man.  Even though he is a "cool sixteen year old" he will still come up to me sometime, without any reason, and say, "I love you, Oma."   That melts this grandmother's heart.  He loves sports - especially the Tennessee Vols.  He loves the Lord and is very active in his church.  We love you, Bradley and are very proud of you.