Sei getrost und unverzagt, fürchte dich nicht und lass dich nicht erschrecken!
Be confident and unflinching, fear not and do not let yourself be alarmed!
—1 Chr. 22.13b
Those were the words of mandate from David to Solomon, having prepared the arrangements for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. That’s right, that was a mandate (yes, there’s that word . . . again), not a “charge.” This Temple-building business was not something that was “up to Solomon to ‘git it done;’” rather, it was a gift of authorization to Solomon to receive a certain place among the people of YHWH, and thus to act in particular ways in actually building the Temple, which was something for which David (not Solomon) had entirely prepared and was ultimately responsible. The Chronicler takes great pains to ensure that you, the reader, know all of this, and you simply don’t argue with the Chronicler (if you do, you’ll lose). The Christian life is not a life of charges from God; rather, one of mandates from Him. It’s not a matter of “gettin’ it done,” but of being given authorization to act in particular ways. It’s not a matter of making do with what you’ve scrounged up, but rather finding yourself in a situation where God has prepared everything for something for which He’s ultimately responsible. It’s not a matter of acting in accordance with fear, but rather, in accordance with promise, and doing so entirely with confidence and joy. It’s not up to you; it’s up to God, and He puts you in place to participate in all of it.
Returning to the Field
After an aggressive, fruitful Home Service in the United States, we returned on 8 August to Leipzig. Aside from a delay in Chicago, the travels went well. We were greeted by Leipzig colleagues and friends, and slept rather well the first night back. Aside from one difficult night, our children have re-acclimated quite well, and as I write this, all of us are largely in sync again with the Leipzig daily timetable. As our life is now rooted in Leipzig, it is indeed good to be back.
Our first order of business has been to prepare for the new normal—which is to say, to prepare for our new stage of “We have a child who goes to school.” Yes, Thomas did attend Kindergarten this past year, but
“Kindergarten” here in Germany has a more relaxed, recreational character detached from “school” than does the Kindergarten experience in the United States. “School” in Germany begins with first class (first grade), and here in Saxony, the entry into school (die Einschulung) is especially marked with great festivity. So, currently we have much to prepare, and preparing we are.
Part of this preparation has entailed the acquisition of the German driver’s licenses, and I’m happy to report that we now possess temporary (and soon to be permanent) German driver’s licenses, and have full
facility to driver our car, which has already made life much easier! In the midst of these preparations, it appears that we have entered the final stages of negotiations surround the use of Lukaskirche. A question or two remain, for which we’re awaiting answer. The plan is still to begin our Test Phase at Easter 2015, and also to begin renovations at approximately the same time. Events are currently being planned. I’m also actively engaged in planning and preparing for work in broader Europe over the course of the next year. As always, I’ll keep you posted as developments occur.
May God in Christ through the Spirit bless you now and forever.
Christopher & Elizabeth Ahlman
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