Sunday, July 13, 2008


Erin and I have been going through the book of Hebrews over the past 2 weeks. The book goes through the history of Israel to show them the path that God took to bring them salvation. The writer explains to them how the history their people went through pointed them to the One who would offer a perfect sacrifice and be their High Priest forever. Sometimes it does good to look back over life and see how God works. I am constantly amazed when I look back and see how God has used my past to mold me for today and tomorrow.
Erin and I have had the priviledge to be able to visit family here in Europe. We have gained great knowledge about our families and why our relatives made the move to America. On both sides times were tough here. They both left Europe with a hope of finding a better life for them and their decendants, a promise land. What if one of them would have chosen not to come? Erin and I probably would have never met, maybe would have never been born. What happened in the past effects what is today. Yesturday I stood in the very spot that Hitler addressed the troops at Zepelin Field in Nurenburg (forgive the spellings I dont have a dictionary handy). I thought how strange it was that one man could affect the world in so many ways. Even today Europe and the world is different because of Hitler. What we do, what I do, today could have lasting imprints that will affect tomorrow.
I have been so thankful for my cousin Nicolas in Switzerland and for Tony, Kathy, Ralph, and Tante Marie here in Germany. They have loved on us greatly and have truly made us feel as though we have been part of the family all along. I will miss them dearly and look forward to the next chance that Erin and I have to visit them.
It is good to look to the past to see where we are and where we are going.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Goodbye Switzerland

We have now been in beautiful Switzerland for about a week and a half and it has been a wonderful week! first we rode a train from holland down through germany, overnight, and ended up in the mountains of chateau d'oex where we met my mother laura and her husband dan. from chateau d'oex we travelled over to huemoz to visit the swiss l'abri and caught them on a sunday afternoon when all the students just happened to be playing a volleyball tournament. so jade and i were able to join! it was fun, and the view of the mountains as i served the volleyball was surreal. (it sure beat the gym walls of sweaty high school and college sporting events).

the night before going to the swiss l'abri, we stayed in a hostel in gryon called "chalet martin". at first glance it was a crazy party house, full of young, drunk twenty somethings. but then we got to talking to a few guests and we realized that 4 of them were travelling around for wheaton college's youth hostel ministry (yhm). and those were the 4 others we were sharing a room with for a night. what a small and fortunate world.
from there we headed into the heart of the alps by meeting up again with my mother and dan for 4 days of hiking and eating cheese, first in zermatt (home of the famous matterhorn mountain) and then in murren. my favorite day was hiking to the top of gornergraat mountain and back down (an almost 8 hour hike). it was incredible, and we felt accomplished, a good kind of tired, and tan at the end of the day.

this weekend we have been staying with jade's 8th degree cousin, nicolas junod, his beautiful wife johanna and their boys, michael and patrick in bevaix, near neuchâtel. we have never had better hosts in our life. nicolas picked us up promptly at the train station on friday afternoon, and we spent the whole weekend sightseeing, eating, laughing and talking with their family. nick had an entire itinerary planned out for us, and we had our own tour guide, complete with lessons on the junod geneology from hundreds of years passed. a few facts i will carry with me is that in the 1400's, when people began getting surnames (last names), the surnames for a family were chosen according to a character trait of the family, their trade or for example where they lived. junod was chosen because they were "youngish" looking... which is what the name junod means! (no wonder everyone thinks jade is younger than he actually is)
also, the only junod that jade's related to are those from the specific lignieres village in switz. and many of his ancestors have been known in profession as farmers of the land. there are MANY more facts we have learned over the weekend, and are excited to share them in more detail with any of you as we return to the states in person. we have loved our time with the junod family, and look forward to continuing a relationship with their family over the years.

switzerland is, by far, one of the most physically beautiful places i have ever been. at the beggining of our trip, it was funny to hear jade say that every view reminded him of the scenery in the lord of the rings. we also chuckled each time we saw a large group of asian tourists in the alps, and we even came up with a code name for the phenomenon :-)...InvAsian! apparently, switzerland is a popular place for asian people to come in june and july. we have also seen george clooney's face around each corner, as he is one of the top figure in ads for Omega watch and the Nespresso coffe from Nestlé. we are starting to get used to it...though at first we were a bit upset by the frequency of his face on billboards : )

well, my brain is tired of thinking, which includes the thinking i have had to do to write this email, so i will write more soon...
tomorow morning we head to germany to learn a little more about my family heritage!
we miss you all and OH YEAH...we have just uploaded some of our favorite pictures from our trip so far on a flickr website (which is easier with uploading than this blog) there aren't a lot, but we have very limited time here on the internet, so we will show you all many more per your request when we return! (we have taken over 800 pictures total!)...
just follow the link: