So, way back in July, I recounted how we, the Martins, got a call from God to minister in Germany. Our mission was to work with a ministry called Wittenberg 2017 (which you can read about in detail following the link), along with joining the 24/7 prayer movement by getting involved in the Gebetshaus Augsburg. We had left the States with only a promise of a temporary place to stay outside of Augsburg, in a town called Gessertshausen. From there we would have two weeks to find more permanent accomodations somewhere in or near Augsburg.
Reaching Gessertshausen was almost as challenging as getting to our connecting flight in New York had been. Once our flight had touched down in Frankfurt and we got through the unexpectedly non-interminable line for customs and immigration, we had to wrangle our huge amount of luggage- five large suitcases, backpacks, laptop case and jackets- through the hall, to the cab stand, hail a cab to transport us to the Hauptbahnhof, then find and board the train to Ulm, then find and board the train from Ulm to Augsburg with the stop in Gessertshausen (there was a local express that did not stop in Gessertshausen, and that one we had to avoid), and en route to Gessertshausen, make contact with our host, Stefan Karrer. No problem.
Or, would not have been, had we not all three been tired, jet-lagged and gaining, minute-by-minute, a fuller understanding of just what we had done. We were really in Germany, to stay. For at least two years. There was no house to go back to. No cats. We would not be at either Hope Chapel or Christ the Reconciler for the foreseeable future. And Felicia would have to start going to school. Public school in German. One step at a time…first we had to find that train…. The platform in Frankfurt turned out to be on the lower level. Getting all the luggage there required two carts and two trips with an elevator.
Once we arrived at the station in Gessertshausen, contacting Stefan was pleasantly easy. He recognised the previously unseen Americans at once on his first pass, we schlepped the luggage in his direction, got it all packed in the car with some effort, and were soon on our way to the apartment they had so kindly offered us for the first two weeks of our stay.
The room we found we were staying in had until rather recently been a storage area, essentially, like one of those garages converted into an outdoor living room one sees in the southwest in the States. And all three of us were in that same room. Quite a come-down from the three-bedroom house in Round Rock. But we had two weeks to find a new place to live. So, we settled in, prayed, stowed our gear as best we could and got ready to live out of our luggage for 2 weeks. Our hosts were not what you’d call encouraging about our prospects of finding a place quickly.
They were good folks, the Karrers. They were both involved in the local Evangelical (i.e. Lutheran) church and had connections with the Gebetshaus that went back a while. Their neighbors, the Liesegangs, were Pentacostals, it turns out, and very enthrusiastic about America, which was encouraging. And, though we could not know it at the time, they were members in what would later become our home church in Augsburg, Die Arche.
Another pleasant surprise was that the weather was significantly cooler than we were accustomed to from ten years in Texas. And it was not flooding…as it had been in the Austin/Bastrop/Elgin area when we left.
And not 36 hours after we arrived, Stefan came up to me and said (translated from German): „John, you won’t believe it, but we got two calls today offering apartments. This never happens.“
I smiled because, in the economy of answered prayer, „this“ is exactly what one should expect.
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