Many of you know that as members of Wycliffe Bible Translators, my husband and I have been teaching children of missionaries in Germany for the past five years. At this point, because of Social Security treaties between the United States and Germany, we have been required to return to the United States for at least a year and a day. We plan to return to Germany after meeting that requirement. While here however, we are still Wycliffe members and we have work other than teaching that we plan to do for Wycliffe.
A frequently asked question since our return has been: "What do you miss about Germany or what are you glad for now that you are back?"
One thing I enjoy in the United States is the speed with which I can do laundry. In standard German machines, a load is about 1/3 of the size of here and takes about 45 minutes. Drying that load in my condenser dryer takes approximately 90 minutes.
The weather in our part of Germany is much like Seattle so there aren't a lot of days that I can dry laundry outside. Our apartment is already so humid that we run a dehumidifier to avoid mold so inside drying is not a good plan either.
Another thing I enjoy here is the ability to understand everything that is said around me. I love chatting with clerks in stores or people living around me. I can seldom do that in Germany because I don't know enough German. It can make one feel isolated from the community. I hope to make progress on the German language during our year here.
What do I miss about Germany?
I miss the tree-covered hills and the flowers cascading out of almost every window. I miss the unified goals and purposes of our teaching environment. I miss the students I worked with every day.
However, the more I've thought about the differences, the more I've become convinced that the really important things are the same anywhere in the world. No matter where we live, people around us need help, or a smile and a friendly greeting. There are those who need to be shown more of who God is through our words and actions.
No matter where we live, we need to purposefully live out the truth that God is present everywhere and that his purpose for us is to be lights in a spiritually dark world. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light" Ephesians 5:8.
With this in mind, I pray that each of us can focus on the most important aspects of life wherever we live. Let us expend our greatest energy and purpose on the needs of peoples' hearts rather than everyday things like laundry.
Helen McCormack writes the Reflections column every six weeks. She and her husband, David, are serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators.