For the past 10 days or so, we've been busy hosting Daniel and Christy Kihm as they do their site visit to their future home in The Netherlands. It has been great having them and Baby Sofie with us in our home. We were all hoping that baby Sofie would first learn to roll-over here in Europe. And sure enough--thanks to some guidance from Marco--baby Sofie rolled over for the first time!
Also on this trip was Church at the Crossing Pastor Andrew Gale who represents the church that has most been involved in supporting the Church of God in the Netherlands over the years. Andrew is extremely wise and brings a lot of wonderful questions and observations to everything he is a part of. Jamie was the leader of this site visit and we prepped with the Kihms in Berlin first, then Jamie and the Kihms and Andrew journeyed to the Netherlands, before returning to Berlin for a de-brief.
These sight visits are extremely important. They give the future team members an on-the-ground look at how our team works, our region, and their future mission-field. It's the first time they truly get to interact with the people they are going to serve and the churches they are going to assist. It's also a time for us to let the host nation know about the life and challenges of missionaries on the field. Most importantly, it's a time for everyone to get on the same page and make sure expectations are very clear. Placement is everything--and we are extremely careful with placement at Three Worlds.
Jamie took the group to Cologne, Germany which is near the border with the Netherlands. That would be their base over the past few days. Jamie rented a car and took the Kihms to visit various neighborhoods in the Netherlands to look at future housing options. There was also time to look into immigration issues as well as learn the lay-out of the land (grocery stores, post office, etc). Then this past Friday there was a BBQ with the leadership from the various churches in the Netherlands.
On Saturday was the key business meeting with all of the leaders from the various churches, which now span the length of the Netherlands from top to bottom. Saturday night was a very special 3 hour service in which each church introduced themselves to the Kihms via music. From the Congolese church to the more traditional churches, to the children----they all performed. Jamie, the Kihms, and Andrew all reported that the evening was spectacular!! It was quite a wonderful introduction to the Church of God in Netherlands--and to the Three Worlds that exist there. Our guys were absolutely raving about this service. Thank you so much to Adriaan Bais and all the leaders who organized this fantastic event.
That evening Daniel Kihm preached his first sermon in the Netherlands and he "knocked it out of the park" according to Jamie. She said it was absolutely excellent. I'm not surprised.
The next morning, the team was split up visiting different churches. Daniel preached in the Congolese church. Throughout there was time with Pastor Bais and his wife Uschi as well as other socializing times.
Finally, on Monday, I picked up a very tired, but extremely excited crew at the airport. We spent the next couple of days debriefing about the trip and seeing some sights here in Berlin. It was Christy's first time. Daniel had previously had an XZ Berlin experience here that was one of the things that really solidified for him that this was the part of the world he felt called to.
This morning, I took Dan, Christy, and Baby Sofie to the airport. They are now back in the USA. They did an outstanding job throughout this hectic week (get used to missionary life---it's really extreme and crazy most of the time). It was very fun to have Sofie here and she was extremely good throughout all the travels on planes, trains, and automobiles.
We thank all of those that have signed on to support the Kihms as they raise funds for the Netherlands. We have no doubt we made the right choice by adding them to the team. All of us are anxious to have them over here, living with us, and helping to bring dynamism to this region. I'll be adding more photos in the coming days.