Layna arrived

Written by Ymea

Yes, I know it's time we get in touch again. Layna is now 3 weeks old and alive and kicking! We thank God and the many people who thought of us and also helped in a very practical way. It all went a little differently than planned - better! In April, after a few weeks of preparation, we took the first group of students on board. Ymea was on board with us until the end of May, when she moved to Volos. The small Protestant community there has provided a room for her and helped her move in. In the meantime we had decided after first experiences not to give birth to our child in the hospital in Volos. But a birth in the small flat of the church was also not possible. We found a midwife through a friend from the community, and the midwife knew about a family from Germany who had also planned a home birth. Ymea had some questions and got in touch with Laoura, who had a room for us as well as answers. So Ymea then moved from Volos, the city to Platanidia, a small village 15 minutes from Volos. Meanwhile, Theo released me a week earlier than expected, so we were able to prepare for the labour together in Platanidia for almost two weeks.


All this sounds so nice in retrospect. But we had many conversations and prayers during this time. The experience in the hospital was so daunting for Ymea that, for lack of alternatives, she seriously considered birthing alone. Until we found the midwife. Then the news that a home birth in the room of the church is not possible. Where? Hotel? For us, the people who offered their help and a place to live and to give birth were genuine answers to prayer! On June 16 at 2 o'clock the contractions started - every 3min. Since Ymea had exercise contractions before, we were not sure if this was just another test. So we waited 3 hours until we called the midwife - oh was I happy when she arrived! At about 8 o'clock the second midwife came (in Greece there always have to be two), and about quarter to 9 little Layna arrived. Indescribable. We spent the first week together. Ymea's parents came to visit, her brother Lysander came by bike. (He's on his way to the North Cape and - yes he knows that Greece is not on the track.) Then I had to go back to the boat. The farewell was difficult. Especially because I did not know that a week later we would be back again in Volos. The registration for the birth certificate here at the registry office was also not finished, because the authorities wanted more than expected. So, back at the Encounter, I'm training the new group, the "Moodys," students from the Moody Bible Institute Chicago. Ymea and the little one stay in Volos, Ymea's parents take care of the two. They also help with the next move - to Ingrid, a sister from the church in Volos, who had invited Ymea to stay with them after the birth. It was very nice to learn that we will be in Volos with the Encounter after a week, so I could visit the two. (it was a very long week!)

To my surprise, Theo suggested I can stay here to do the rest of the formalities. We would then meet up again in Patitiri before the Encounter heads to the north. And so it happens that Layna is officially born now after two and a half weeks. I have time to write an article and spend another week together with the two - almost - alone, before all three of us meet Theo, Sandra, the Moody students and Rika tomorrow (8.7.) on the Encounter. Please continue to remember us in your prayers, especially for the life on board with a now 3-week-old baby, that she stays healthy and that the heat does not bother her too much. We want to thank all of you who have thought of us and prayed for us! Everything went very well. Thanks also to all who support us financially! Thanks to our parents and siblings for prayer, advice, office work, shipping services and your love. Thanks to Ymea's parents and ^her brother Lysander for visiting us and helping Ymea when I was not there, thanks for the exciting taxi ride! Thank you Theo and Sandra for the prayer and the more work without us. Thank you Joseph - thanks to your volunteer effort, that it was possible for me to be dispensable for almost 4 weeks, and thank you for cleaning the fenders! Thanks to the church in Volos. Especially Meletis and Angela for the first apartment and the help with everything around it. Janna, who had a lot of time for Ymea and kept her company when she was alone in Volos. Nicki for the accompaniment to hospital appointments to translate, contacts and company. Thanks to Vassily and Laoura for the room, help with moving in, shopping and your kindness. Thanks to the midwifes Alice and Popi. Thanks to Dimitris and Ingrid for their hospitality, cooking and taxiing and help with the authorities. Thank you Miri for going to the authorities in Stuttgart for us! The list can't be complete ... maybe Ymea will write more later. Thank you dear father in heaven! Thank you that we were allowed to experience once again that trust in you will not be disappointed!


Learn, learn, learn,...

Written by Ymea

At the beginning of the season I wrote this story:

I hate to eat alone. I would rather not eat at all than to eat alone!

Spring Impact is so full that even without a teacher 2 people can not sit at the table. Sandra is used to it and it doesn´t matter to her. I have the feeling that I am expected, as a woman, to also stand or sit behind the kitchen counter. It took only 2 days, until I realized today, that I sit and eat alone, excluded from the table, to conversations only listening and not being able to interact with the group. To realize this during the meal made me sad. Sandra thought it was the food which is too hot for me :-) Meanwhile, I also had thoughts like, it is probably a sacrifice, what I have to bring. Besides, I thought it can be blessed. But perhaps it is also a selfish desire and I should learn to give it up. The first chapter from the book "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, which we read together with the students every evening, was exactly what I needed to hear - "It's not about me"!

I was able to enjoy blessings soon! Not all of the sailaways were fully booked and also the fall impact training still has free places. So I almost always had the opportunity to sit with our groups at the table. How selfish my thoughts were in April this year! I am currently learning so much about myself and how God wants to change my character. I don´t like it! Just as a child doesn´t like being rebuked by the father. But, of course, I like it when I've got the lesson. But it takes soooo much time and again and again I notice that I still react in ways that don´t please him. Rika (boat dog) feels probably similar. She wants to please her master, so she learns to sit when told "sit" and gives her paw. But it has to be repeated continuously. How often do I forget in small things, to live that it pleases God. That is why I like the verse in Philippians, which encourages me and I don´t have to feel like I´ll never achieve it:

"...for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Phil. 2,13


Parking spot in greece

Written by ToM

2212.5km later (Vogtland-Schladming-Skopelos) it deserved the peace at this beautiful car park. On the way from Schladming to Skopelos we stopped one night in Belgrade (Serbia). I (Tom) have also organized a new mobilephone number - EU Roaming included. That Serbia is not yet part of the EU, I noticed when my phone told me that there was no credit left. Vodafon wanted 99ct for 50Kb and the mobile phone has naturally cheerfully sucked up until 40 € (2Mb) were consumed, so after about 5 minutes in Serbia. That wouldn´t have been as annoying if we had found the hotel immediately ... so we had to find it without Google, but finally arrived.

At the border from Serbia to Macedonia the officials wanted to see the green insurance card. Oops! They send us to a counter where a nice gentleman would have issued us such a card - for 50 bugs. (I wonder if I would have got a receipt) Well bad was (or good!) that we had not enough cash and a card payment wasn´t possible. So we should have gone back to Serbia to the next city, get money and come back. When I headed back through the border - I had another look in the glove compartment - and there I found an insurance card which was almost up to date. It was enough for the border guards. I turned a second time and we continued our trip.

Then the toll stations in Greece. No card payment. No ATMs at motorway service areas. The cash was already scarce in Macedonia. At the end I still had 11 and Ymea 22 cents in the pocket. We stayed in Volos and the next day we went by ferry to Skopelos. And here we are. On Monday we will start preparing the ship for the season ...




Written by ToM

As Christians, we trust God. Logical! But what does "trust" look like in practice, and how does it manifest itself in our lives? It is easy to say that we trust God when the water and the times are just calm, the sun is shining and we have nothing to bear or suffer from. But it has to prove itself in the storm. I (Tom) had an interesting experience on our flight to Austria. We sat in the latest aircraft - the stewardess couldn´t point it out enough during the obligatory safety briefing - and I enjoyed the view. I thought about the creation and how brilliant and great our Creator is. Suddenly, "Ladies and Gentlemen, as you have certainly noticed, we are going through a few turbulences. We kindly ask you to stay in your seats." Great! Hopefully, all these screws are properly tightened. I can´t really describe what was going on in my head, but the whole situation was as if God were asking me, "Do you trust Me?" And at the same time I had the impression it could be quite "dangerous" to imprudently say "Yes!" at this point. What if God´s plan is not to let the plane land in this world? So what? Do I trust him?

I started gathering arguments why a crash would be a bad idea: our parents, all the other passengers, and the many things we could do here on earth for our Lord ... And it was like he was saying, "Let me worry about that! Do you trust me?

At this point I didn´t manage to say: "Yes, Lord, Your will be done!" I said something like: "Yes, you know everything and you can do what you want, but I´d really like you to stop shaking the plane." And later we safely landed in Salzburg. Of course, I still ponder over the short conversation. Great lesson! I believe that God wanted to show me how deep my trust is in him and that there is still potential for growth. Not just for such situations, but for our everyday life with him. And, of course, my desire is to answer this question better next time. But sometimes it is easier for us to hang our lives on a safety rope than to fully commit it to God.

Do you commit your life to god?

Best regards

Short stop in Austria

Written by ToM

On the way to Greece we stopped for a few days in Schladming at Tauernhof. Our brothers and sisters in Austria gave us a day in the mountains and we still have a few formalities to do like changing residence and signing a service contract. Maybe I can get the car´s wheel alignment readjusted as well.