Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Amazing Race...Belgian Edition

These last few days have been a blur. I remember saying something about a slower pace of life…well, it’s picked up a little bit.

Friday we were asked to meet together as a group at 8:30 AM (about 20 of us) for an undisclosed event. We were broken up into 6 person teams and given a sheet of instructions and a time limit of 9 hours. It was a game just like the Amazing Race television show, only confined to one country. We had such a great time. Our team subdivided into two smaller teams. Myself, James and a friend named Jeff went to Ghent to collect all the info we needed, and the other half went to Brussels and Antwerp to get everything else.

Here we are taking a picture of De Grill Restaurant to complete our Amazing Race checklist. Notice James pointing to his "grill."

We learned a couple of things. Ghent is a great place we’ll be visiting again, it has the best waffles in all of Belgium, and you never know who you’ll run in to. While in the visitor’s center, a girl came up to James after hearing his American accent. Turns out she lives in Newport News, Va., and goes to Liberty College! Who would’ve thought.

Mmmmmm...Belgian Waffles covered in Belgian Chocolate!

Saturday we met up with the American couple (who have been working with the French speaking church in Brussels for 16 years) to help them with a project they’re working on. They’re hoping to open up a multi-purpose storefront/coffe shop/counseling center to be open to people who are looking for some guidance or just a friend to listen. This area of Brussels was located outside the city walls during the Middle Ages and since then has continued to be a community of downtrodden, desolate, and lonely people. We walked around, looking for For Rent signs, and prayed with them for God’s guidance. They also told us a lot about Brussel’s history. Our day with them ended at a Turkish Doner restaurant. Similar to Greek food with lamb pita sandwiches flavored with a yogurt sauce.

James and I continued our day with some more exploration of downtown Brussels. We ran into a celebration of soup week and got some free Tomato soup and bread, a nice treat. And I was super excited when we saw some “Free Hugs” girls. Of course, I got a free hug.

Here's James enjoying some free tomato soup in front of the tent where they served it

I LOVE FREE HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many of our nights have ended with our new favorite board game, Ticket to Ride, and enjoying a new Belgian beer. Many of you will be playing this game soon, it’s tons of fun.

Sunday morning we experienced another French service, this time with a translator, which helped a ton. We spoke with a church member afterward and found out all about the church’s mission to Central Africa. It’s an awesome story, we’d love to talk to our friends about it who have faithfully served in Uganda for so many years, you’d love to hear about their dedication and love, so similar to yours.

Sunday afternoon we enjoyed a much needed nap, mostly because of our limited hours of sleep that allowed James to listen to some of the Eagle’s game (it began at 2:00AM our time). In the evening we visited a Community some friend’s of ours have been attending (some of them are in the picture posted in the last blog entry). It’s called the Well, a very postmodern church that meets in a restaurant. It’s different in many ways, one is the lack of preaching, more of a presentation and then discussion in small groups. We enjoyed it.

Then we enjoyed dinner at the above mentioned restaurant. Sandwiches and frites (French fries, which are misnamed since they are originally from Belgium). They really are amazing. And yes, they do use mayonnaise, my dream come true. Not only do they use mayonnaise, but they serve many types of flavored mayonnaise. The one downfall, they charge for it.

The past couple of days have been some classroom training...tons of great information. Here’s a cool thing I’ve learned (if you don’t particularly care about what the Bible teaches about marriage, no need to read any further). God says a wife should be a help to her husband. I’ve never really had a good working definition of what that means. But, the same Greek word that is used in Genesis to describe Eve’s role in Adam’s life, is used to describe God’s role in the lives of the Israelites while they are at battle with enemy nations, as well as during other times of distress. Essentially, we are our husband’s right hand during war (i.e. during life). And since we all know that God is essential to His people, it makes me pretty excited about my role in my husband’s life and in our marriage.

Again, sorry for the novel, but I’m experiencing some pretty cool stuff here, and it’s easy to write a bunch. Thanks for sticking with me if you’ve made it this far.

We miss you all so very much, thanks for the encouraging emails and prayers!


Anonymous said...

Hi James & Jennifer - It's so much fun reading your reports from Belgium. Keep 'em coming and don't worry that they're too long. I love it! It sounds like you're having an awesome time there and learning lots. We're praying for you guys and miss you a bunch.
Judy Joyce

Anonymous said...

Hey JAmes and Jenn,
I've loved reading your letters! I feel like I'm there with you. I'm drooling for the chocolate though!
It sounds like God is really blessing your time there. We miss your greatly!!
Love SuSU

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an amazing time!! Thanks for all the info on your fun adventures in Brussels. We're missing you in small group, Jennifer. You're both in our prayers.
Amanda Leicht :)