Randy in 1985

Send-off to Germany Party at the Community Christian Church in BRF,WI

35 Years

On 25 April 2020 I celebrated 35 years of moving to Germany. I had already been a year in Austria near Vienna and 7 months as an intern the Pforzheim area of Southern Germany. But on the 25
th I left the States on a plane to live here permanently. I came with 2 suitcases and a rudimentary knowledge of German. I had everything packed for a container. I was not leaving anything behind at parents or friends.
I came with an understanding of the work in Germany, thanks to my internship. I came with hope for seeing people come to Christ and starting churches. I came with youthful enthusiasm. I came single and I came to stay.
35 years later I am still here. I am no longer single. I am no longer youthful. I no longer understand what I am doing. The longer I stay the less I know. But I still have hope that people will come to Christ because I see Him as the only hope for this world. I am still compelled by the love of Christ.
I notice the years. Late nights have never been my thing but even less so now. My energy level is lower and I tire quicker. I can see the end of my working days approaching.
I still love people. I still love mentoring younger people and interns. Preaching is still a passion. I still pursue truth and try to get others to do the same. I still challenge people’s preconceived ideas and the all to common “march in step” mentality. I still talk too much and listen too little. I still need to grow in the Lord and live in grace even more.
Some days I think I am old and wise and other days just old. Some days I still fight with a proudful spirit and other days I am humiliated by my own stupidity. I try to read the Bible every year and open my heart every day to what God wants to tell me through His Word. I pray but never enough. I rejoice but never enough. I complain too much but am learning to be thankful in every situation.
Katy and I have been going through slides; sorting, scanning and tossing. Through these slides; I have been reminded how I have been touched by so many people over the years. Over 200 have been connected to our church in Peine somehow and another, 100 or so in the Hannover church. There have been over 20 interns or summer workers. We have had two sending churches who have helped, given advice and encouragement (Community Christian Church in Black River Falls, WI and Huron Christian Church in Huron, SD). Our parents have stood by us over all these years. All our supporters, most have been with us for many of these years, have faithfully given and prayed. We have had super co-workers in Peine and Hildesheim and Hannover. And role models across the Europe and the USA. You are really special to me because you have helped God form me into what I am and am becoming.
It has not been an easy 35 years. I have wanted to quit many times. There have been financial difficulties. The dollar has gone up and down. Churches have dropped supporting us, churches and individuals have picked us up finically. There have been back stabbing, hurtful words and deeds, and discouragement. People have rejected me because of Christ and His Gospel and also, sorry to say, because of my imperfect personality. On good days all this makes me appreciate what Christ went through in His 33 years on earth. He surely can understand me. On bad days I am angry, bitter and just want to cry. I have battle scars and wounds that never quite heal.
Yet I would never trade these 35 years for anything in the world. 35 years is just a speck in history. Because of these many years, we see people open up and ask questions. 35 years builds trust. 35 years builds character. 35 years in reflection is really nothing. Moses lived 40 years in the wilderness before he even started his work. Noah preached for over 100 years. So what’s 35 years? A milestone on the way to more…