It occurs to me that some explanation of the host organization, Proclaim! International, is in order. My understanding is that they are passionate about sharing the Gospel through the creative use of the arts. This includes concert tours, street evangelism, etc., and partnering with local churches around the world. This is fascinating to me, and I really wanted to get to know some of the stories of the people of Proclaim. And believe me, they have stories.
I met a person who is an evangelist and musician in Croatia. Having lived through the Soviet years and now into the post-Soviet millennium, he’s seen a lot. Also met a delightful couple who has lived in the missions field their whole adult lives, and now are attempting to emigrate to north Africa to establish an orphanage. There is the humorous British man, a missions lifer, who told me tales of smuggling Bibles and skiing the alps. I met a man from Peru, a mime by training who recently received his M.Div, who uses his theater training for street evangelism. There are single young ladies, older couples, young families, and wonderfully unique, regular folk who just felt God’s calling. And I have felt very blessed to be in their presence.
So here are some odd notes and observations from the last few days:
• Coffee here is strong, not brewed but pressed, small and expensive. I think Starbucks has warped our understanding of what coffee should taste like. No venti non-fat decaf caramel macchiatos here.
• I forgot to mention that I was picked up from the train station in a sporty rented Alfa Romeo. ‘Now here’s a classy organization,’ I thought to myself. Apparently European cars aren’t quite the status symbols here than in America. There are Mercedes and Audi subcompact cars, Mercedes freight vans, Passat delivery wagons, and old and trashy BMW sedans. The taxis are Mercedes too. Kinda makes you think how silly the whole status car thing is.
• The Proclaim group was extremely appreciative of my contribution to their Gathering. I get the feeling our paths might cross again somehow.
• The security guy at the Frankfurt airport had to check my bag when he saw something suspicious in the X-ray machine. He laughed out loud when he discovered my gifts to the girls, glass jars shaped like bears filled with gummi bears. He didn’t bother with the cubans I bought for the boys.
• It was great getting to connect with Kim and Jeanne Peterson. He has relocated to Florida and will be on staff to Proclaim! there, so there was much to catch up on.
• My trip home was excrutiatingly long. A two hour tram to the train station, a two hour wait (freezing in the unheated terminal which was probably in the upper 20s fahrenheit), a two hour train ride to the airport, six hours waiting in the airport, a ten hour flight from Frankfurt to Denver, another two hours at the Denver airport, and then a two hour flight to Sacramento. And I gained nine hours back on the trip. You can do the math.
• Rude, self-centered Americans traveling abroad sickens my stomach more and more.
I’ll wrap up in my last blog.
Photos: (top) Window shopping in Heidelberg. (bottom) Hoisting some German brew with Kim and Jeanne.