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A Winter "Wunderland"

My dad was in the army when I was a kid. For a time we lived in a beautiful little village called Zintlhammer. We were living on the economy which meant that we were not on a US military base. I remember walking with my sister to a little restaurant and dance hall called "Ponyhof" to buy a novelty ice cream. I was about 5 or 6. I loved living there.

Ponyhof in Pressath, DE


One winter we had an incredible snowfall. It was beautiful and clean and cold. But I was Calvin without a Hobbes. Our landlord Herr Greund had a three college aged kids who built a colossal snowman. For years I imagined it was 9 or 10 feet high, but was sure that was just the perspective of a small child. I recently talked with my mom about it and she confirmed that it might have been bigger. It was a magical winter.

Across the street from our apartment was a huge hill. It was the perfect slope and size for sledding... to your death on the road below. But that didn't stop me. I remember working up the courage sitting at the top of that hill on my sled to push off the first time. If you didn't roll off or apply some kind of brake before you reached the bottom, there was a chance you would end up as a frozen pile of jelly and crushed bones on the icy road. As my sled sped faster and faster down the hill, it occurred to me I hadn't considered the need to stop. It was exhilarating, fun and terrifying all at the same time. While I considered my options, I was suddenly saved the need to stop at the bottom of the hill. My sled runner caught something and sunk to one side. I rolled off at top speed face first into the snow. It was amazing! I still remember it 40 years later.

The call to missions is much like this. The initial rush and exhilaration is powerful. I have enjoyed the excitement of this ride. I'm safely at the bottom of the hill. Now what? Well sledding on a hill like this requires a lot of work for the rewards. You have to climb back up the hill. That's where we are now. We are climbing an enormous hill. We are seeking partners to join us on this sled ride. We call it support development, but it is really family building. This is by far the hardest hill I have ever had to climb. I just keep reading Calvin and Hobbes strips and looking forward to the next ride down the hill.

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