It’s a sad thing

when you go to work and the first thing your project manager does is look at you and says in a sympathetic voice, “Did you have a final this morning?”

Do I really look that bad? hahaha

Between work, school, discipleship, and other things in life… it’s been… crazy to say the least. I’m definitely thankful for all the opportunities that God has given me 🙂 But I’m also very tired.

This Sunday I went to Cornerstone in West LA – I think it was just what I needed. The pastor spoke about necessity of prayer especially when you have a condemning heart. It’s important to bring all of you, sin, exhaustion, failures, joys… everything to God in prayer. That reminder combined with hearing Joni talk about waking up everyday with a prayer of dependence on God has really helped me get through these last few weeks 🙂

Thanks God. For everything 🙂


Keep Smiling

Today the lady at the front desk of the building where I work asked me my name. It’s been a little over three weeks and she had never asked before. At first I thought maybe I did something wrong.

She shook my hand and told me that I had a beautiful smile and that I should keep smiling.

That just warmed my heart 🙂

She kind of reminded me of that old video, Validation. Good video.
I hope that I can encourage others through a smile.
I was thinking as well… this smile cost a lot of money hahaha. Guess it was worth it 🙂

Indirectly speaking of validation. I went to city hall today. I found out that the engineering department no longer validates parking. I also forgot to bring my wallet. The $1.50 in my coin purse didn’t even come close to covering the $10.40 parking fee. Bad times.Very embarrassing.

This Time Next Year

My roommate and I at the GettyMy roommate for the last 3.25 years. Yesterday she got a job offer far from me. It just made me think, this time next year, we’ll be in totally different places living totally different lives than we are now… but for now it’s nice having her sit in the desk behind me 🙂

Welcome 2012!

Cutie peas!

Tehe 🙂 This years favorite present to give out. I now have six little peas on my desk smiling at me.

This last year has been a life changing year. I noticed this morning it was probably the hardest its ever been to make resolutions and God expectations – mainly because I’m not really sure where things are even though I’ve been thinking about them for a long time. I guess the biggest thing coming up now is where God is leading for my next step in life. I don’t feel like I’m 22, or that I’m ready to enter into the “real world”, but by the end of summer the latest I won’t be a student anymore!

My driving verse for this year… and hopefully my whole life was written in my 2011 journal … but I didn’t find it until about half way through so I figured it deserves to be written again to start off the new year… especially since it’s the year where I’ll be going onto the next stage of life where a lot of changing will be happening.

Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

A large struggle for Christians, especially Asians, is to desire riches and high standing – a lot of it a pride issue, a lot of it comes from previous financial struggles or the need to “provide” for you family… which sometimes means an over abundance of riches that can become life consuming. And then of course are the lies. The lies that God does not exist and lies that even if He does exist, our momentary happiness comes before worship of Him. It seems like it’s always the big life changes that bring about extra lies – from middle school to high school where we started to think we were like adults and knew things about life, but we were so immature… then again from high school to college where we met types of people we were not used to and were exposed to ideas that we were not used to and we could make our own decisions about what we wanted to do with our time… and now from college to the working life when we’re really making money and becoming independent and we don’t have the same type of constant support of friends and family. Yup, it’s going to be an exciting year!

Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan

This book has not only widened my view on world missions (and my life as a Christian in general), but also grown my respect  for The Gospel for Asia.

Revolution in World MissionsThe book goes through K.P. Yohannan’s story of how he was called to begin and develop The Gospel for Asia. Personally, I love books about missionaries. The way in which missionaries are called and the faith that they have in giving up so much for the sake of the Gospel are truly amazing and testaments to God’s power and provision. Their stories challenge me to live out my faith more and get that courage to look for mountains to move.

This book was recommended to me by my good friend Terry Gee, and I am very glad he told me to read it. If you’re interested in picking up a copy, you may have/ borrow mine or go online to their website and pick one up (they’re free/ donations accepted). I’m also looking into getting/ reading the PDFs of some of Yohannan’s other books.

Or, if you don’t have time to read it for yourself/ want more insight into the book before reading it, the following are some quotes that I really enjoyed from the book along with some of my own commentary (ya know, since this is my blog):

“Why do they always have to be either entertained or entertaining? I wondered. It was as if they were trying to escape from a guilt they had not yet defined or even identified.”

Something I’ve always agreed with. Why do people walk around with headphones in their ears all the time? Why do they blast the music loud on the radio to the point where I can’t hear what they’re saying. It’s the whole notion of the new generation needing constant entertainment, constant noise, constant stimulants. Many times these things detract from hearing and seeing the real beauty that is around us and hinder us from being able to spend quality time with people and with God. Entertainment and music feel good because they drown out thoughts… but personally I think thoughts are good and healthy.

“To my horror the food and ‘fellowship’ frequently cost more than the money they had just given to missions.”

A few summers ago Dave had us see what it was like to live off of the average wage of a Mexican. I forgot exactly how much we were given for a meal, but it wasn’t much. After that, I remember some of my teammates mentioning that they’d forever feel guilty about buying boba since the price of one cup of boba could feed a person for a day. Last week I had a conversation with my friend about boba as well. After adding it all up, we decided that she spends over $100 on boba a year (maybe $200 depending on how much the boba costs). If I spend money on superfluous things, I have no reason to say that I’m poor or hold back from giving to God’s ministries.

“Holding evangelistic crusades and bringing people to Christ are not enough: Someone has to stay behind and nurture the new believers into maturity. For the first time I began to understand the goal of all mission work, the ‘perfecting’ of the saints into sanctified, committed disciples of Christ. Jesus commanded us to go to all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all the things He had revealed.”

Especially because of my involvement in short term missions, going to Urbana, and being part of the evangelism ministry at AACF this quote really hits home. When I was young, one of my life goals was to bring someone to Christ. As I grew up, I realized that’s not all there is to it. People can easily profess Christ, but keep their old selves unchanged by the Gospel. I decided later that my goal was not just to bring someone to Christ, but to see that person become involved and serving. Committed disciples of Christ. That’s what I want to be and that’s what I hope others to be as well. Many times, this is actually the harder part.

“If something fit in with what God had said to me, then I considered it. If not – no matter how attractive it appeared – I refused. The secret of following God’s will, I discovered, usually is wrapped up in rejecting the good for God’s best.”

Reminds me of what Arther Hsieh always says, “good is the enemy of best”. In context he was talking about receiving money from a church. The church had decided to support the ministry, but with certain qualifications. In all human standards it seemed reasonable, but it went against the way that God had called the ministry to run. I think many times I find myself in this situation. If I say yes, it’s not like bad things will happen… though it’s not exactly what God’s calling seemed to be… but you don’t want to risk the chance of loosing what you’ve seemingly been blessed with…. so what do you do? I suppose it is this… always go for God’s best. In the end he spoke from his heart and rejected the offer unless the qualifications were removed. In the end, the leaders not only learned an important lesson on faith, but also continued to support the ministry.

“Every Christian leader should have this engraved in his subconscious. No matter what you do, never take yourself too seriously… God always chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. He shows his might only on the behalf of those who trust in Him. Humility is the place where all christian service begins.”

“The words echoed in my mind. This is His work, I told myself. Why am I making it mine? Thee burden is light. Why am I making it heavy? The work is a privilege. Why am I making it a chore?”

This is something I have to be reminded over and over again. I like he says to never take yourself too seriously. I think I do that a lot… when I think that something seems so important, so crucial, and it’s up to me to do it. It’s like grades in High School… or any school. In retrospect, many times we take ourselves too seriously.

“Why do you think God has allowed you to be born in north America or Europe rather than among the poor of Africa and Asia and to be blessed with such material and spiritual abundance?”

This is a question I have wondered recently. Knowing that this is where God has placed me… what am I to do with it? How am I as a Chinese American female engineer meant to serve the Lord? God has blessed me with many things… how am I to use these things to serve Him?

“Any ‘missions’ that springs from the base things of the world is a betrayal of Christ and is what the Bible calls another gospel. It cannot save or redeem people either as individuals or as a society. We preach a Gospel not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.”

“A spiritual battle fought with spiritual weapons will produce eternal victories. This is why we insist upon restoring a right balance to Gospel outreach. The accent must first and always be on evangelism and discipleship.”

“If you believe the Bible you say you believe, the very knowledge there is a real place called hell – where millions will go and spend eternity if they die without Christ – would make you the most desperate people in the world to give up everything you have to help missions and teaching the lost as your top priority.”

These last three quotes were powerful. Yohannan was commenting on all the social justice ministries that have been popping up and very popular as of late. I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot recently in my own ministry and the things that I enjoy doing or the ways that I’ve wanted to serve the Lord. I know that I’m typically a Martha. I’m the kind of person who just wants to do things to serve people… but God called Martha away from the physical work and asked her to be like Mary. There are people who go out and only preach the Gospel with words. Then there are people who go out and try to preach the Gospel through action… but never actually preach the Gospel. Neither tactics are good… and too often now there has been too much action and not enough Gospel. There’s this idea now that we must meet people’s physical needs before preaching the Gospel to them… but too many people die who have been tried to be helped physically while spiritually they died. What good is it if they live a longer life on earth if after they die they still spend eternity in hell? Anyone, even non-Christians can do good works, but it is only the Word and the Gospel that saves souls. Too often am I afraid of outright sharing the good news of Christ. Too many times I make excuses saying that I need to do this first or that first for the person to hear me out… but many times the spirit is working and ready before I am. We must both live and preach the Gospel… that is our mission for eternity.

The Gospel for Asia does amazing work for God, preaching through both word and action. Yohannan describes the way that their missionaries are trained and their guidelines. They train nationals to serve. In this way they connect culturally, they don’t need language training, and well… many times can be a better witness than a foreigner. These missionaries aren’t afraid of losing their lives, they don’t care to live in nicer conditions or take showers everyday, but only care for the salvation of unbelievers – even if that means that they give up the money for dinner to continue to run their ministry. Above all, their ministry stresses faith, prayer, and complete dependance on Christ. Prayer is not a thing they just do, but it’s the center of their ministry. They hold faith so strong that they would give up donations of thousands of dollars to hold to the truth and God’s best.This is what I want for my own life and any ministry that I serve with.

Last day in Frankfurt, off to Wien!

Santuary at BeroeaToday was my last day at Beröa. Once again I thought of going out to the city, but I ended up canceling that plan. My flight was at 5:30 and I wanted to make sure that I got there on time. Since I might not know the bus system, I didn’t want to take my changces of getting too lost. So in the morning I cleaned up my things. It actually took longer than I thought. By the time I had cleaned my room, eaten breakfast, gone online to check on flights and where to go when I landed (since the airports didn’t have wifi), and packed my things, it was just about time to leave. I was hoping to get to say goodbye to people, but I guess no one’s really around on Saturdays. I checked the rooms, but there was no one here. I wrote a few thank you letters and put the money in their mailbox with my key. I took a few pictures and I walked out the door.

Entry way at BeröaI went over to the train station and tried to figure out how to pay. There was an English version of the instructions, but it was still confusing! I ended up accidentally purchasing the wrong one, but I figured it would be ok because they don’t really check and I tried to buy it, but their instructions were just too confusing! Then I hopped on the train. I figured I could hop off at the main station and look around Frankfurt’s innercity before going to the airport and pick up some lunch there. Unfortunately I misheard the stop and got off too early again. Oh well. So for half an hour I wandered the streets of this other station… whose name I cannot remember. I went to a little konditorei (like a sweets bakery/ café) and bought this delicious pudding roll thing. I bought two for a pretty good price. Then I hopped back onto the train and was shuttled off to the airport.

Mmmm pudding rollThe Frankfurt airport was quite amazing. Really… the LAX airport is the worst! The check-in is a lot faster and easier. They didn’t have me take my shoes off or anything. I was quite surprised.

Protesters!I was also surprised to see a group of protestors near the entrance of the airport. Scared me! For a minute I thought I wouldn’t get to go to Wien (Deutsch for Vienna). Luckily though my flight and my pathway was not effected. So then I decided to explore the airport since I was early enough that my gate was still preparing for a different flight. I walked to the end of the hall (they had many many gates) and then I took the people movers back. I really like people movers, they’re very fun. The ones here are extra fun because they’re a little raised so you can ride it going up and then have a fun time coming back down as well.

The actual flight was on a very small plane since most people take trains versus planes when traveling around the area. It was the second time that I’ve been bussed out to a plane and then get to climb the stairs directly into a plane.

_MG_4243When I got into Wien it was already 20:30 (yeeaaa, military time is used here so I changed my phone time to reflect this and adjust to the way that time is normally read). I walked over to the CAT to take me to central city where I would be able to take the U-Bahn (meaning underground train) to the hotel. The CAT is very comfy and reminds me of the Metrolink with several floors and nice seats and lots of space. It also moves slower just like the Metrolink. The difference is that it only has two stops – the airport and the central city. It’s basically built for travelers coming in from the airport – everyone I saw on there spoke English. Getting off the CAT I was a little surprised… I expected the U-Bahn to be relatively nice… but I suppose it was under construction so it was kind of creepy walking through the tunnels trying to find where to go by myself at night. By the time I got off the U-Bahn it was already dark ~21 or 21:30. I was  little afraid because I didn’t know how safe Vienna was. The streets were a little cobblestony. There was a lot of graffiti and some shady looking people around (or rather I just thought they were shady because they smoked and were drinking and stuff). Then I went down a small alleyway to get to the hotel and I thought I was totally going to get mugged. Later I learned that Wien is actually one of the safest cities and that the graffiti isn’t because of gangs and such but more of social commentary and art movements. There’s a lot of graffiti because they don’t work to remove the graffiti, meaning that a lot it has been built up over a long period of time.

Denk (think)

Denk (think)

Then I checked into the hotel and went up to room 208. Soon after getting in, my roommate for the night came in! She was a little jet lagged and had been out all day so we sat and did work till she fell asleep and eventually I went to sleep 🙂 It’s fun to be with people from America again and have the same excitement of entering a new city together 🙂

Yay! Hotel room for the night :)

A walk through the Erzhausen forests

Entrance to the foresty areaToday I was to be out on my own. Unfortunately instead of waking early, I got out of bed at around 11:30. After going back to my room (from sending off the missions team) at 4am I wasn’t able to sleep. My body thought that I had finally returned to America and stayed up all night. Poo poo. Plan #1 ruined.

At first I was planning to go into Darmstadt since everyone had been saying Erzhausen was more of a small town than a city. I guess more like a Walnut to LA… or Walnut to anywhere haha. Unfortunately everyone I asked was busy. It’s exam time and everyone is studying, plan #2 ruined (well not completely). I went outside to take a look at Erzhausen. It was quite a nice self-guided tour. Unfortunately, German weather is horrible in that it rains at random times throughout the day. So in between rainstorms I took a walk from one covered bus stop to another.

Trashcan outside!The fun parts of course were seeing the signs in German, seeing the stores just as I had learned them in class like the Bakerei. I also found this! These interesting looking trashcans set outside of homes. I’m not sure how they work or how efficient they are, but they look really cool, like mini robots ready for action outside of every home. I felt a little strange taking pictures… how would you feel if you walked outside and saw someone taking a picture of your trashcan or your mailbox? Ya – especially since this is a small town and not a place where you might find many tourists.

Then at one point it began to pour so much so that I became discouraged and headed back to my room where it was safe. I decided then that going to Darmstadt might be bad idea because I didn’t have any place to run to over there and I didn’t want to be horribly out of place with my poor German. Instead took another nap because I had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep. When I woke up the sun was shining and I didn’t see any rain clouds! Yay! By this time it was already late so I decided it was better to stay in the area than to go too far away. On the other side of the railroad tracks is a forest that, according to the sign has a trail that is 13km long (multiply that by about 0.6 to get the mileage).  So I decided it would be a good time to try out some camera skills, get a good walk, and get my thinking time in.

A street in ErzhausenIt was quite fun getting to walk through the forest on my own. Being in Erzhausen is like being at a retreat 🙂  There were many small paths seemgly going into the forest, but they were closed off. Finally I found an open path and took the road on my own. At first it was fun, but then I started getting creeping feelings like a bear might come out and eat me or a creeper would be hiding in the bushes – totally ridiculous, but I think living in Los Angeles as made me paranoid or something.

Eventually I turned back and returned to the normal path. During my long walk I really thought about myself and about life. It’s a little ironic… paradoxical? Something like that… I really enjoy adventures, trying new things and going out and making the most of everything – like going down dark paths through random forests not knowing where they go or what I will see in there. At the same time I’m a very tentative person because I’m afraid of change and not very confident in myself – I like having all my things organized just so, I was afraid of getting a new laptop… I’m definitely a pack rat because I don’t want to throw away memories or regret the change that it causes later since I can’t take it back.

Big slug!!!By the time I walked back it was very far past dinner time. I went ahead and bought a pizza and ventured down to the kitchen by myself. I won’t lie, I’m a bit awkward – especially since I can’t speak German very well and a lot of the people I knew had left. Luckily there was one nice guy who spoke English relatively well.  He helped me cook my pizza. So I had pizza with lettuce for dinner- also sort of my only real meal of the day hahaha.

Just as I was finishing and leaving, another older student began talking to me. That was one of the best conversations I had in Erzhausen – one that I was expecting at Theological seminary and from a German.

We talked about a lot of things – his ideas on the church, a part of his testimony, his view on the German culture. We discussed how culture really influences a church, the problems of church politics, and in general what it’s like for Christians in America and in Germany.

Its interesting that we see common trends in the church no matter where you are. In the same way that the Chinese churches are having cultural troubles, a lot of the churches here are having cultural troubles with the young generation and the old generation. He asked me if our church had worship or if we played praise songs (meaning hymns versus the more contemporary songs). In the same way that so many of us think that a lot of the contemporary Christian music is all fluff he thinks that there’s been a lot of fluff music entering into German worship. I noticed that a lot of fluff songs were English ones. It made sense to me too… I mean, why do you want to sing worship in a language that a lot of people don’t know – and this was for normal worship. We talked about how we love hymns because they convey the gospel and actually have substance and meaning other than feelings and being loved.

We also talked about how the church has become very legalistic so that the Gospel becomes like a trap rather than freeing. The first thing people told him when he became a Christian was that he was sinful and basically listed out all the things that he need to change , but didn’t fully explained to him how the Gospel frees. Instead of being free in God’s love, he was trapped by imperfections  – something common of today’s Christians’ in America. Then it was cool because he shared about how he used to have extreme depression.  However, God spoke to him during that time and brought him out of his depression. The gospel did for him what I believe the gospel should. Christ freed him of his guilt and his pain and  accepted him as he was. He studied the scriptures for himself what was really required of a Christian and what it really meant to be saved by the blood of Christ and not by works or the law. It was interesting to hear because I know of other pastors or leaders who dealt with depression and don’t seem to have completely overcome it. Talking to this guy, I would never had imagined that he would have felt insecure or depressed ever in his life – he was completely transformed and his sin was overcome by Christ and not by his own power.

We also talked about the need for the perfect combination of reading the word and living the life and using the spiritual gifts. A lot of people have too much of one and not enough of the other. Rarely do we find someone who has both.

Then I got to talk to him about his wife whom he only recently legally married (as in the papers are signed) and will ceremonially marry in September! So exciting! It was really cool hearing from him. I asked him what he loved about her because it’s taken them 8 years to get married. I really liked his answer.

Soon it was getting late and the students needed to sleep so they could get up to study… or to go study so that they can sleep during the day hahaha.

Ja! Apfel Lift!Random note: It seems that all countries except America have realized that sparkling cider is super delicious and should be just as accessible as coke. Here is the German equivalent of Manzana Lift hahaha. The German one is less sweet. Sorry I can’t bring any home.

YOUnited in Mission!

Prayer room!This morning I got up nice and early to have a delicious breakfast. Apparently breakfast is important here 🙂 Not like at home 😦 Germans love their breakfast – in fact, dinner is the lightest meal of the day. I saw many of them simply eat slices of bread for dinner (haha! So what I do isn’t that bad for me).

As Eileen and other prepared for the missions conference I took her guitar over to a prayer room 🙂 I didn’t think I’d get to play guitar for 5 weeks so it was such a big blessing that Eileen let me borrow hers (it was a very pretty Ovation – I haven’t played one of those in a long time).

YOUnited in missions schedule :)

And then YOUnited in Missions started! It’s a conference about missions held here at Berӧa with Pentecostal Christians from across Deutschland. German missions conference! My favorite! I guess I missed Resolved, but I got to do this instead.

Lobpreis!Opening worship (lobpreis) was led by a team from Berӧa that included Eileen on the guitar and Jonny on the keyboard. To my surprise, the team was led by the drummer who could sing while playing! What talent! To my second surprise, they opened with a song in English. Apparently, compared to American Christian music, German artists are “a little behind” (quoted by a German). There aren’t many Christian bands that are very popular and they enjoy listening to English praise bands.

As seen on the schedule (in German), there were messages and workshops 🙂 The messages were good, but I only understood bits and pieces since the preachers speak very quickly. I tried to take notes… but all I could understand were very basic concepts.


For lunch we had wurst und brӧt. It was basically the German equivalent of hot dogs. The wurst was a lot bigger and much more delicious 🙂 They also like to eat their wurst not in the typical hot dog buns, but in regular dinner buns. Actually it’s not even really a regular bun… its like the kind that’s soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. It was quite difficult to consume, but quite delicious. I also had a nice bottle of their equivalent Manzana Lift! It would seem that all countries except America recognize the deliciousness of apple soda. Their soda is a lot less sweet compared to Manzana lift, but just as good. I didn’t take pictures because I was at lunch and had left my camera inside. Also, Germans tend to not take as many pictures as Asians… once again I felt out of place taking pictures of everything.

_MG_4066I skipped the workshops and swapped it with a 1 hr nap since I would have an even harder time listening during the workshops and I was a bit jetlagged. I guess I didn’t think that I would be so affected by the time change… but I definitely am.

I woke up just in time for dinner! Yay! For dinner we had chili and bread. I got to sit with Eileen, Jonny and his roommates, and one of the guest speakers son (at least I think that’s who he is). It was one of the first times I got to sit in/ be a part of a real German conversation. After people started to realize that I understood most of what they were saying, they felt a little freer in speaking around me in German. They talked about many things, but one main thing we talked about was German culture. I had asked Eileen about it earlier and others were beginning to chime in their ideas. One of the things Eileen had said was that Germans are extremely individualistic and strongly opinionated. They aren’t friendly  and tend to keep to themselves. She says that German guys don’t know how to treat a lady. On the other hand, German girls tend to be very strong … which in turn I suppose is why the German men don’t treat them like women and also feel like they need to be extremely strong… I hope that made sense. We were joking around with simple loving terms (like I mentioned before). In America we tend to call our loved ones darling or sweet heart. In German they say treasure… which is “schatz” hahaha, not the loveliest sounding word. All the guys started laughing and trying to say it in the deepest angriest voice they could make hahaha.

Outside :)Another friend asked me about some English grammar, a question that actually puzzled me as well. When someone asks, “It’s good, right?” we always answer “yes it is”… why is it that no one answers “yes it’s” … is it proper to say this? I told him he could, but people would laugh at him. English grammar still confuses me. It’s extremely fluid.

Following their language, Germans are extremely organized or strict. It was already obvious through the way things were organized at the school. Each person had their own drawer in the freezer and refrigerator; all the dishes were nicely put in. All containers were labeled. Each pull out cabinet was marked for a specific person, there was a nice schedule of who was to clean what and when. They have weekly inspections to make sure the dorm rooms are kept clean and the cleaning supplies are well organized. Of course they have to be organized because they are a school housing many students… but still, they have a very good system.

The speaker after dinner actually spoke in English and his wife translated for him into German – Dr. Mark Gabriel. He was once a strong Muslim and even went to a Muslim college and became a professor there. Later, God really opened his eyes to the Gospel and he converted to Christianity. Obviously his heart is for the Muslims and teaching Christians to understand the Muslim culture and to evangelize to them. Unfortunately though the topic was extremely interesting… like I said, it was usual nap time and I had a much difficulty staying awake.

Afterwards, there was a worship time (though, as other of the seminary students agreed, it seemed more like a performance) led by Outbreak band, one of the few well known praise bands in Germany. This was followed by a message that I was too tired to understand and then a very long prayer for all of those who were committing themselves to missions and for the team that Beroa would be sending out. At the end of the night we (I say we because I was too afraid to start conversations on my own auf Deutsch) with some of the students to came from other places. Once we started talking they were quite friendly. One of them wore bracelets with Spanish on them; the typical “Dios es amor”. I asked him if he spoke Spanish, but he said the only Spanish he knew was what was on the bracelets. Haha, too bad, I told him my Spanish is better than my German… though after this trip, that might not be the case, certainly I know more German grammar than Spanish… I just haven’t had the chance to use it as much.

Then I helped the missions team prepare for their trip by making sandwiches. It was quite fun, just hanging out and getting to know what they’re like on a normal basis. At 3:30am I got up to join with the send off in prayer and good byes. Now that Eileen is gone I have no one to take care of me or show me around 😦 … time for adventures of my ownMaking Sandwiches!! I had a group picture of the missions team but I can’t find it D: I hope I didn’t accidentally press delete! D: D:

Auf Erzhausen

So E lives in Erzhausen, a small town by Frankfurt. I was given the directions to take the S3 to Erzhausen. Unfortunately, little did I know that the S3 did not connect to the airport. Ok, I can do this. I went to the travel agency and asked for the way. My first time speaking German in a long time… totally butchered – they guy just spoke to me in English. I was given specific instructions to get off of the S8  at the main station or Frankfurt Hbf, walk to the other side and take the S3 to Erzhausen.

The train stop at ErzhausenMistake #1 getting off of the first train too early.

There was a sign that said Frankfurt am (main) … something … so I thought that was it… but it was not quite. Apparently several stops begin with Frankfurt am main, but the one I was looking for was specifically Frankfurt Hbf. But I got off am main and was thoroughly confused when I couldn’t find the train I was looking to connect to. I took some pictures of this place, but I can’t seem to find them 😦 Anyway, it was relatively deserted (not what I would think the main station may look like) and small.

Mistake #2, trying to ask for directions in German to someone who didn’t look overwhelmingly friendly. Finally I built up all my courage and went up to someone in my best German. I said excuse me – immediately the lady spurted something and walked away. What a shot to my confidence. But… hey I didn’t want to be lost in Germany forever. So I built up more courage and walked up to someone else. This lady spoke English and clearly didn’t want to wait for me to fight through butchering die Deutsche sprache. She directed me in the right way and I was off.

_MG_4027Riding the train was super fun. Everything outside is so beautiful and green. Everything here definitely feels different than America, which as not what I had expected. From my memories in the past, the cities all seemed like America, just maybe slightly different buildings… maybe like another American city… but no, this is different.

Something I did notice was this feeling of really sticking out for the first time in my life. I’ve been to camps and other places before where I was like 1 of about… 1 Asian before… but I never felt like I stuck out. For some reason this feels different…

1)      On the train ride (approx. 20 minutes) I saw 3 Asians… they were all girls.

2)      I have all these urges to take pictures of things, which would really make me stick out.

3)      I’m obviously a traveler carrying a big backpack and a bag.

4)      I look extremely young comparatively because of my Asian bone structure.

5)      I’m carrying around a little Pooh Bear and a hello kitty water bottle.

Later on my way back to the airport I was waiting to transfer trains. A little German kid was standing a little distance in front of me with his mom. He saw me and started pointing and looking a little amazed. I had a feeling I might be one of the few Asians he’s ever seen. It’s kind of like on our China tour where all the Chinese people wanted to take a picture with the blond kid in our group.

_MG_4032Anyway… something cool I noticed was the way their train doors worked. Instead of opening all doors at every stop, one must give a little tug at the handles or press a button to open a select door and only that door. Good system.

When I got to Erzhausen it was a much smaller town than I had imagined. The school was pretty much across the street. On one side of the railroad tracks was the town and on the other side was a forest.

To my happy surprise, the school is a seminary! I’m currently sitting in on Systematic Theology auf Deutsch in Berӧa Theologie Seminar. Too bad I can’t understand much. I almost wish I took my classes first before coming here so that I would be able to speak and understand more D:

I get to stay in a room by myself that can hold up to 4 guests and it only costs 13 Euro a night 😀 It’s a little lonely, but quite nice.

The table at which we ateI’ve already met a lot of wonderful people. Eileen is a pretty outgoing/ popular person around these parts so I’ve quickly gotten to meet a lot of the students. Slowly slowly my German is beginning to return to me. I could understand some of the class and passing conversations.

For dinner Eileen and her boyfriend cooked me a delicious Korean meal. We ate with two of their friends – also a couple. I guess I was like a 5th wheel haha. I was able to practice my German a bit since Eileen’s boyfriend and the other girl don’t know much English.

It’s interesting that there seems to be a lot of couples here. Some of them are already engaged and Eileen’s roommate is getting married next month! It’s quite interesting to get to see how German couples interact. It might better be compared to the Asian culture than the American culture, but I noticed that the couples here are a lot more expressive in their love both in words and in actions. Ya… there’s a lot more hugging, kissing, holding hands, sitting on laps, and spending lots of time together, than I usually see around me at home. They all use very loving terms calling each other our equivalent of darling or sweetheart all the time. They cook and eat almost every meal together… in fact all except one couple I always saw the couples together. I asked that one couple why that was (sort of?) and she said it was so that they wouldn’t be distracted from their studies since they were at school. They were the ones who were getting married soon. Eileen and her boyfriend cook dinner :D

Anyway, the school is quite cute. Everything fits in one building – the classrooms, the teacher and student’s rooms, the student and teacher kitchens, the chapel, etc. They sell food in the school and its all on an honors system in terms of paying. It’s a good thing they do too. I went walking around the city later and there weren’t really restaurants or stores close by. I heard that there was a market, but I never found it haha… of course I was too afraid to turn on any streets since I could have gotten lost and had no one to call after Eileen left for her missions trip.

At night I got to talk to Eileen a little bit and hear about how she had decided to even come to Germany. We were also able to share with each other our heart for missions and the need we saw for God in the areas that were in (Germany and America).

I also got to talk to her briefly about relationships – I’ll keep that information out since it’s a little personal on both sides.

So many exciting things are happening here in Germany!!! Sleep time 🙂


Off to Frankfurt!

Cool thing at the airportDuring this time I have become more aware of my photographing habits. At home I snap pictures of just about everything, sometimes too many things. I’ve realized now though that it just isn’t as fun taking pictures when there’s no one around that you know to take pictures of. I like to take pictures of people a lot of the times because that’s something that only people around them can captures. Like… buildings and monuments and such are just not as fun. After all these tourists coming and taking pictures, almost every angle has already been snatched somewhere in the world – but people are always interesting. It’s also easy to find a post card of a place or pictures that probably look even better than mine, the only difference is that I can have people I care about in those pictures – proof that they’ve been there and remembrances of what we did. It’s also not as fun because I look like a super Asian tourist with a large camera annoyingly taking pictures. I realized that if I don’t want to seem too touristy I would have to give up a lot of photo opportunities that I would have otherwise taken. I feel especially our of place and conspicuous in these areas where most (if not all) Asians are tourists and not natives.

My eating day continues onto the airplane where we were served dinner. 100_2554I’ve always relatively liked airplane food and never quite understood why people made fun of it (though I’ll comment on that later). For dinner I had chicken and rice with peas and carrots, a nice container of corn, a piece of bread, and a brownie for dessert. I ate slowly because I wasn’t quite hungry yet, but eventually finished it all… sort of like how I finished my lunch.

100_2553I had a nice window seat and not extremely personable neighbors. I watched Yogi Bear and Serendipity (one that I had been meaning to watch) and finished up some German reading. I also tried to sleep so that jet lag wouldn’t be so bad once I got in. But unfortunately I learned that airplane seats are very uncomfortable for sleeping and there’s a lot of turbulence on the way to Germany.

Luckily I had a good seat next to the wing so I could look out the window and watch the changing of the mechanical parts as we took off and landed. One interesting thing I noted, though Pooh’s head is covering it in this picture was that there was a small piece of metal  on the engine that almost seemed like it was just there for looks. Upon closer inspection during the time of incline I noticed that it created a small wind tunnel that added to the strength of lift under the wings. I could actually see the tunnel created. It was quite fascinating, but I didn’t get a chance to get a picture – perhaps on the way back if I’m lucky.

During the landing, I looked out the window. Frankfurt is a beautiful green! When I got off the plane, it was so fun seeing everything in German. I converted my money and got a sim card. Unfortunately the store couldn’t get the data to work on my phone… which is unfortunate because I was hoping to get around the city using the maps on my phone… fail. Hopefully I can figure it out… And then began the adventures of Audrey who has forgotten almost all of her Deutsch. I was able to get the instructions from the airport for which trains to take and then I was sent off to transfer trains and find my way.

And the story will continue. Currently it’s about time for orientation to start. Bis spӓter!

By the way… every time I try to type an umlaut I have to look it up in symbols… is there a better way?