As it says at 3:20, when no one stood behind me but my shadow
on the floor, you know how to
In the 09spring our dad finally made up his mind to visit 78N 15E. That's the city of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipel. He flew with KLM and SAS to get there. Around minus 15C in mostly perfect sunny weather with blue skies. But freezing windchills on the snowscooter driven by Jedidja. They tried to reach the russian Barentsburg base but had to return due to a snowstorm. The local churchpriest promised to bring the children's magazines later. Exploring the icecave was impressive. Sleeping on the dutch Noorderlicht ship, stuck in the Tempelfjord ice, was like coming home. This miningtown feels like the wildwildwest. People from 42 nations try to make their dreams come true including our daughter. An out-of-this-world location to explore as you can see at these webcams.
In the 10winter we guided our son by train to his bibleschool in Berlin, Germany. As you know a city with lots of history. Marc's dad grew up with the cold war and communism. Added with WW2, three hotelnights were needed to see the most important locations. After the guided bustour, the french-, german- and Berliner Dom, DDRmuseum, Alextvtower and the Stasiheadquarters were visited. For a young guy a great town to explore history and to check the evil part of the past. During the 10spring Rianne made a surprising visit by plane to Svalbard. Jedidja was delighted to show her mother around and introducing her to many friends. They made visits to the gallery, museum, church, shops and restaurants. Both were aware that this would be the last time they would meet, greet and talk alone. Another familychapter will come to its conclusion, a new one will begin shortly.
And that began with Norah Rianne. Our first granddaughter was born in Tromso, Norway, on May 31. The proud parents are Jedidja & Inge. All is well because of so many prayers. We see and hear her on the webcam. An invention which erases any distance. In summer we will meet and hold her in person. Uncle Marc by the way, came back from Mozambique and South-Africa. That outreach lasted seven weeks. His graduation, attended also by his dad, followed at the bibleschool in Berlin. Great to find out what a cool, laidback and wise guy this person is. Together they visited the former Stasiprison, Stasiheadquarters, Eastsidegallerywall (Mein Gott hilf mir diese tödliche Liebe zu überleben), german-russian warmuseum Karlshorst and the huge soviet warmemorial in Treptowpark. At the Spreebeach they ate flammkuchen: a delicious mix of pizza and pancakes. Right in the former borderzone between east and west, where 25 years ago they would have been shot or attacked by a hungry german shepherd dog.
The 10summer was centered around our first granddaughter Norah. The three of us flew with SAS to Bodo, Norway. By car we drove 200 km south (RV17) along a magnificent coastline with islands, fjords, mountains, tunnels and ferries. What a thrill to be part of this grand creation for ten days. Norah was baptised in the lutheran church on sundaymorning. Amazing, when you talk to her she smiles back! But i'm afraid the grandparents need to study some conversational norwegian to keep track of her. We all went on a fishingtrip in a fjord. None of us had ever done this at home. It sure is fun when you catch one every ten minutes. At dinner we ate them all. Marc and dad visited also the Svartisen glacier. On dad's birthday we toured on a shrimpboat and had dinner at Rodoy island. Our family is expanding and opa & oma are in the middle of it.
As grandparents together to Longyearbyen? Not a bad idea so why not in the middle of the totally dark 11winter in which it seems 4 a.m. 24/7. When you've children, you travel to destinations you never dreamed about. SAS brought us all the way, although we had to pay for coffee and tea! The stopoverhotels at Gardermoen were fine. Tell norwegians you follow a norskkurs, and they open up immediately. They probably don't prefer to speak foreign languages. Tons of snow everywhere, so dad was in a very good mood. Klemming our daughter and playing, singing and clapping with our granddaughter. Now you know why grownups act weird when they try to make a lasting impression. Observing Norah while she's trying to walk, is giving us a proud feeling. No generationsgap at all when there is love in the family. Bert came also for the northern lights but they were alas invisible behind the clouds.
Another expansion in the family. On July 3 in the 11summer we welcomed Luna Johanne to the world. She was born in the Mo i Rana, Norway, hospital. Our second granddaughter who is so sweet, quiet and observing. We are proud of her mother who has so much drive and energy. Now Norah has someone to play with or to tease. The grandparents can hardly wait holding her. July is also Bert's birthday month. He asked 7 friends to have dinner with him made by a female cook. In return they offered him to make a one hour planetrip above the state of Drenthe. But above it was so windy that he and his son came out shaken up. But the pictures are nice. More than nice was mam & dad's visit to Svalbard. Twelve days to get acquainted with our newborn granddaughter Luna and Norah. Luna can handle all the noise produced by her older sister. Who in turn likes to read, sing and clap. Bert was directing six wild huskies and taking boattrips to Barentsburg and the fascinating russian ghosttown of Pyramiden. On the water a whalemeat dinner and whiskey mixed with glacier-ice to warm up! By plane he went to the norwegian coalminingtown of Svea where he got a guided tour deep into the coalmine until the very end.
In the 11fall Marc went to Longyearbyen for the first time. He flew together with his mother who had been there before. The most enjoying part for him was to meet Norah again and how she had grown. The last time he saw her was six months ago. It was wonderfull to watch the second child Luna, that will one day say 'uncle' to him too. Besides playing with the children, Marc also looked around town. It was special to experience the quietness and to see all the snow. One day he went to the cabin built outside Longyearbyen located in the middle of nowhere. It was special for him to look around and watch only mountains and snow. He walked around the cabin and the feeling that icebears could be nearby, was intriguing. To conclude he made a short video when he was outside that cabin with barkings dogs in the vicinity.
Walking is a favorite thing our dad does with great pleasure. Time to walk in Germany in the 12spring. Be part of the international Beten & Bewegen group. Without any training Bert had to walk 26 km, a distance he never mastered in the past. All in the Weser river area near Porta Westfalica. Day 41 of a three month tour which has a total mileage of 1800 km! We prayed for each other, for cities and people we met. A real privilege to walk, talk and pray on a warm sunny day in beautiful nature. Yes we were "ziemlich fertig" but God can and will use our weaknesses. Because the power of prayer results in Einheit, Erneuerung, Erweckung, Hoffnung und Licht.
On September 9 in the 12fall Ingvill Eline opened her eyes to observe her mother. Of course in the Mo i Rana, Norway, hospital which is a very warm and cosy place to be for mother and child. Even when it's right at the arctic circle! Almost 2700 gr in weight and 48 cm long. She is cherished by her two older sisters. As a family we're proud at Jedidja's perseverance. She is presumably able to handle alone 3 kids over a 40 month period and beyond. #Respect! Hopefully the older kids understand that now it is number three who has the privilege to sleep and drink all the time. But running a stable family is saying goodbye to painting the town.
Now let me tell you what's cruel. Dumping your stereo companionfriend at the recycling center! Emotionally very tough and therefore it took Bert several years before he could make up his mind in the 13spring. Bought in 1977, this tuner/amplifier would become his musical buddy in every mental situation. The Marantz 2235B stereophonic receiver from Chatsworth, CA, USA. The power source for 8-track, turntable, reeltoreel, tapedeck, cdplayer, headphones, you name it. Connected to Infinity speakers a personal resource for his mind and heart. 36 Years around him, one year longer than his marriage. Is there life after this breakup? This canadian singersongwriter hits the same problem in songs. She has to move on by calling it quits although she's opposing that. Bert had some smalltalk with Catherine MacLellan herself afterwards, about how she loves to sing the sad songs dealing with this cloud around her heart.
The christian center Krelingen in Germany was inviting guests for their Ostpreussen midweek seminar. Dad got there by train in the 13summer. Looking forward and excited to meet people he met in the past. Attended by 60 persons he followed lectures and presentations about the past and present of Kaliningrad's region and Masuren. Russian contemporary life embedded in german history. Fascinating stuff! Leading pastors were Erhard & Luise Wolfram from Hannover, Lorenz Grimoni from Duisburg, Martin Westerheide from Krelingen and Dietrich Klinke from Nienburg. Mostly sitting among germans who were children when they were shattered by war and expulsion. To find out that every family is part of a generation that is either evil or peaceful. What you sow you must reap? Not always in relationships will or can you reap what you sowed. Is love your cross to bear? Hard to accept, to overcome or to live by! When in this case the distance between Pennsylvania and Winnipeg was too far for love, as John told me. What's left is wondering what's she's doing now which results in someone being teared apart. Who accepts time washes clean love's wounds unseen?
Maybe never heard of Reformation500? One of the main scholars in the history of the protestant church is Herman Selderhuis from the Apeldoorn university. Vrolijk orthodox director of Refo500 and also guiding 85 persons in the 14fall to Münster, Germany. Bert was one of them. His dream came true. Visiting many churches, museums and castle, it became clear that the architects of the past were masters in their art. Not to forget all the religious wars they were also part of. Next trip destination could be Emden, Germany. Which was a safe haven for many dutch protestants in the 16th century. History teaches you why we do what we do today and why we think what we think.
Time to take it to a higher level in Assen. Mam & dad were ready in the 14winter to move from level 0 to the 4th floor. Just 4 km up to the northeast. From the Peelo area to Marsdijk. Lots of our own history needed to be dumped in the garbagecan. Painful but also an energizer. Less sleepingroom but much more livingroom. Feels like a hotelsuite without the usual checkout time. Able to watch sunrises and sundowns while sipping on a glass of sweet white wine. A real gift from above! More space, sun, clouds, wind, air and stillness makes life more fullfilling. Is that equal to what Winnie-the-Pooh meant, when he said:"How lucky I am to have someone who makes saying goodbye so hard."
The 16spring was the last chance to join a german lutheran group with a Kaliningrad destination. Joined by his brother, Bert accepted Wolfram's invitation from Hannover. The busride brought him first to Torun, Poland. A grand historical town not destroyed in the war. After a visit to Frombork's cathedral near the Frische Nehrung, the russian border was crossed. Hotel Usadba in Orlowka was like a mansion. Many old german churches were observed. A boattrip on the Pregolja river in downtown Kaliningrad was followed by an organconcert in the Domchurch. In the navaltown of Baltijsk not much was happening. Perfect weather at the beaches of Yantarny, Svetlogorsk and Zelenogradsk but at the Kurische Nehrung they should spray all musquitos. The Salzburgerchurch in Gusev was the place to renew so many old friendships. Full of melancholy cause so many Continental concerts were done here in the past. The HeiligeLinde cathedral was impressive, the Masury boattrip wonderful and the Gdansk city busy. Another stop was at the Finkenwalde garden in Szczecin in memory of pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who knew which cross was approaching him by saying "we are concerned with Christ and nothing else". His last stop on earth was KZ Flossenbürg. Our last stop was in the Berlin citycenter. What a privilege to be part of a tour that makes sense at all times.
First the first time in 10 years going south instead of north. It was about time! Mam & dad went to Austria again, in the northern part of Tirol, in the 17summer. Where gas and hotels are not expensive. Three nights in this christian hotel in Weissenbach in the Lechtal area, followed by 6 nights in Wildermieming. Very hot weather so they loved going up in open chairlifts. Enjoying the scenery with coffee and apfelstrudel. Watching the beautiful biblical paintings inside some catholic churches where Jesus never leaves the cross. Where they make gravestones personal with a picture on it. On their way back they visited the german concentrationcamp Buchenwald, located between Erfurt and Weimar. Evil all over the place. But the historical town of Weimar is worth a visit. At the last day they went to Point Alpha at the former DDR border between Hessen and Thüringen. A US Army observation post to protect the Fulda gap in the coldwar. A great place to watch how freedom in the end was victorious over communism.
In the 17fall the Gemeinschaft evangelischer Ostpreussen again organised their Ostpreussen midweek seminar. This time at the Schönblick center near Stuttgart. A perfect place with concerthall, swimmingpool, bible bookstore, good food and icecream in the Schwäbisch Alb. Bert got their by high speed train that at times drove 300 km. About 50 persons, of which some were born in Königsberg and Masuren, attended lectures by Erhard & Luise Wolfram from Hannover, Wolfgang Freiberg from Ellingen, Lorenz Grimoni from Duisburg, Eduard Prawdzik from Mosbach and Alfred Scherlies from Vellmar. History, philosophy, theology, literature, art, music and religion were the main topics about a former german state which today is more russian than ever.
You're never too late to learn something. Our dad, in his senior retirement years, loves to attend courses in college again. Once or twice a year he visits the local senior academy in Groningen. Teachers from college or university are digging a wide range of topics. Bert's interest is mostly music and history. He has attended Berlin's Wende, Bach, Soviet-Union and DDR-Stasi. The three Baltic states are scheduled for the 18winter while today's Russia is for the 19spring. Soviet communism and the Berlin war will be attended in the 19fall. After that it will be Beethoven in the 20winter. History teaches us that man learns nothing from history, said Hegel. True but personally history gives Bert a fuller understanding of himself by pulling his roots to the surface. Additionally, social science has a huge impact on everyone's personal education and character. Growing up in the times you're now lectured about, is also part of processing your past, like Jennifer Morrison from Chicago had to endure, and getting a well balanced fulfillment in life based on the one and only JC.
Now let's go back to 1975. The first time ever I saw your face! Before we were born our parents dated 23 months and decided to get married in 1978. Started in a small apartment, moved to a family house on soil and live now higher up again. Experiencing ups and downs, changing churches twice, making friends, losing parents. Goethe told us "Was man tief in seinem Herzen besitzt, kann man nicht durch den Tod verlieren". So people show up in your life and have left. The last time I saw her.... Generations come and have to go. Many sweet memories but not all of course. Nobody told us that life would be fair. So does time really heal all wounds? They were blessed with 2 children and 3 grandchildren. In the 18summer it was party time to celebrate their 40 years of marriage. Which we did in a family resort nearby. Still no health issues so we are thankful. But time where did you go?
Maybe never heard of Neugnadenfeld, Germany? Close to the dutch border this moorvillage has a remarkable history. It started before the war as Alexisdorf, a forced laborcamp. One of the 15 Emsland camps located just east of the Netherlands. Many russian soldiers died here during the war (Was ich an Liebe und Treue hab, wandert hin zu deinem fernen Grab). After liberation by the canadian army the Moravians were sent to this nomansland, renamed it and built everything from scratch. Turned the old armycasino into their church. Bert had been here twice before but went again with his son Marc in the 18fall. After the Herrnhuter churchservice with brassband, they were invited for lunch where they met people who came from the east in 45/46. The russian kriegsgräberstätte, german graveyard and the history museum in the lagerbaracke were also visited. Suffering families all around (Jeder Herzschlag ist ein Schritt zu dir) but with lots of prayers, courage, perseverance and God's grace, the bad days never returned.
As parents time to visit our son in Berlin in the 19spring. We took the train leaving from a german station and parked our car for free. Hauptbahnhof Berlin was reached in 4½ hours. The busride brought us to Wedding not far from Tegel airport. Four nights were reserved in a hotel connected to the Charité hospital. Traveling by SBahn or underground by Ubahn is a must. On sunday we visited Marc's evangelische freikirche in Kreuzberg. We also attended the Humboldt university at Unter den Linden. Walking 3 km from Brandenburger Tor to Alexanderplatz is impressive. You're inundated with history on both sides of the street. Bert's favorite square is the Gendarmenmarkt. Finally we watched Sanssouci and das Neues Palais in Potsdam. Can't wait to go back to Germany's capital. There is so much more to do.
Marc was picked up in the 19summer at the Berlin Schönefeld airport where, in Ulbricht's words, niemand die Absicht hat einen Flughafen zu eröffnen. He and his dad were ready to visit Poland and baltic Russia. For Bert it was his 12th time to walk in the rebuilt Königsberg town. The german group of 35 persons was led by pastor Wolfram and his wife from Hannover. Twenty years ago he was president of all lutheran churches out there. Our hotels were located in Gdansk, Kaliningrad, Svetlogorsk, Gusev, Mragowo and Dlugie. It was easier to cross the russian border than the polish one. So emotional to meet russian people, pastors, old friends and so on. For the first time he was able to get inside the russian baptist church of pastor Anatoly Krikun at Gagarina street. Organconcert, boattrip, german bunker, citybustour was scheduled in the capital. The weather was perfect at the Ostsee beaches and the Kurische Nehrung. Concerts for us were done by kids, youth and senior choires. The cultural performances of the russian christians is impressive but they can't in any way rely on political trust. Fernweh is the result, so another trip to this orthodox territory, which I call my homeland, is always imminent.
Our dad went for the third time to Krelingen, Germany. In the 19fall he visited das 30 Jahre Mauerfall Kongress among 45 Germans. Memories, thanksgiving und future were the topics the speakers talked about over 4 days. After 40 years the DDR was gone and went into history. This peaceful revolution and the reunification was a complete miracle. You tell me who was responsible. Was it Schabowski or our Lord in heaven? Five DDR christians informed us about their lives. Karin Bulland from Zwickau, Hans-Georg Filker from Berlin, Reinhard Folmer from Elbingerode, Matthias Storck from Herford and Jörg Swoboda from Buckow. Albrecht Kaul from Kassel apologized for not being able to attend. The two hour movie "das schweigende Klassenzimmer" was also on the screen. Swoboda's concert saturdaynight and his churchservice sundaymorning concluded this emotionally impressive seminar.
Thanks for dropping by folks. We suggest you bookmark our site and make us your favorite family. Bimonthly we will update our familylife. So there is more to come!! Updated: 20 January 2020. Interactive worldweather at www.ventusky.com.