In the year of 2008, things beyond our control were developing which would take us in a new and different direction. Barbara’s mother was 89 at the time, living alone in her own home and in need of help. After much prayer we sensed the Lord leading us to move to Germany and take care of her.
This was not at all to my personal liking. First, I loved being in our country where my work was, where my disciples were, and now where my boys and their brides were.
Second, my ability to speak German was very weak. I would have to start learning another language at the age of 62—not an easy or welcome prospect.
Third, I did not like Germany. As beautiful as it is, in my opinion it is over-regulated. There is a rule for everything and everyone works to make sure you obey!
After functioning within the very flexible cultural situation of the Middle East (with the exception of bureaucracy), this change would be hard for me. In our old country you can cross the street anywhere there’s no barrier; you can park on the sidewalk if it’s low enough; you can ignore certain traffic lights that all the drivers agree are irrelevant; you can wash your car yourself. All these are forbidden in Germany.
However, when the Lord calls, the best response is obedience. And when we obey, God gives us joy whether we get what we “want” or not.
There was, however, one big “plus ” to life in Germany: driving on the autobahn. On the German freeway system, you can drive 110 miles an hour and do it legally! I could look forward to that!
While living in Germany, I would be able to continue my area supervision work with the use of email, skype and occasional visits to our old country.
So we began our preparations for leaving in the Fall of 2008.
The summer of 2008 proved to be an incredibly stressful one for me. We were finishing up a big construction project for the business, one that had promise of a good profit. However, that was the year the world-wide financial crisis crashed onto the scene, and our hopes of good sales were dashed. This left us unable for the moment to pay back all the interest-free loans we’d been given. Fortunately the men who had made the loans were willing to wait for repayment.
Then my car was stolen. It was an old one, a 1993 Fiat station wagon, a model no longer in production. Used parts were hard to come by, so it is probable that the thieves immediately chopped it up to sell for parts.
At any rate, we never saw it again. I was sad to lose it, for we had hoped to sell it and use the money to buy a car in Germany. We would just have to trust the Lord to work that out. So we praised Him and moved on.
However, there was MUCH more stress to come which made for much pressure and spiritual growth.