Monday, July 22, 2013

More KIBA and a Little Pankow

We started Thursday just like every other day of KIBA: dancing and mumbling singing along with the (German!) KIBA songs. Evie was in her favorite place.
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These wonderful ladies were a HUGE help for us Americans who knew very little German. They helped translate what the kids were saying to us as well as what was going on in our morning and mid-day meetings.
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Evie spent Thursday looking at books in her stroller. She's still working on her English.
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Caleb was solo in his class on Thursday because Sam was "home" sick. (I forgot to mention in my last post that Wednesday night started a contagion of sickness that lasted nearly two weeks! Thankfully the bug only lasted about 24 hours, but it hit thirteen of the fourteen members of the Phillips and Starkey families whether they were in Berlin or not). During this day's class, Caleb got to share about his experience when the tornado hit their home a few years ago. Germany doesn't have tornadoes so the kids were all curious about what it was like.
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Sarah and Sam {not pictured here} were able to join us for the second half of the day, which I was really happy about. Both because Sam was feeling better and because Sarah and I were in charge of that day's craft and I didn't want to fly solo.
We planned to have the kids make groggers {noise-makers traditionally used during Purim fest}. While the story of Esther is read, the children shake their groggers any time Haman's name is mentioned. It's a clever way to keep the kids engaged.
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This is the first completed grogger.
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Although Sam was feeling well enough to be at KIBA, he opted to stay back and be creative with the moms instead of heading to the park for baseball with the dads.
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Gloria, who was part of the team from MN that ran the first KIBA, was an awesome help with the kids. She helped teach the oldest group of KIBA kids in the morning and then did a lot of translating for Brian and Sean in the afternoons at the park.
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As we headed home that day, I noticed that the walk was beginning to feel familiar and the things I'd noticed the first few days were becoming the "new normal." So I snapped a few shots of our way home in order to reset my vision.
Pankow: from KIBA to "home"
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Just like Pankow became familiar, I think it's easy to get familiar with every day life and to lose the alertness that God wants us to have. It's so easy for me to focus on my daily tasks {cooking, cleaning, reading, snuggling, tickling, disciplining...} and forget that God has me doing these things for a bigger purpose, I just need to reset my vision in order to see that He's asking me to serve and love and teach my family so that He may be glorified. I need to remain alert to the Spirit's prompting so that I don't miss the beautiful details in my children and lose appreciation for the privilege I have to be home with them.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Home Sick

Day three of KIBA started just like all the others. Two wonderful people played with the big kids so the rest of the KIBA team could meet for prayer and preparation for the rest of the day. Then we gathered as the children arrived and started singing. We listened to German kids' songs (the ones used for KIBA) almost exclusively for weeks before we left for Berlin. Despite that, there was still only one song that I could sing confidently: Ich Lieb Dich, Jesus {I Love You, Jesus}. And I think that's because there are only twelve words in the whole song.

Song time was one of the few times Evie could roam {not Rome} around without disturbing the teaching, but all the dancing and moving about made her a little nervous. She spent most of song time in someone's arms.

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No matter what country you're in, kids can't sing songs without actions. I'll be the first one to admit that the actions helped me to know what the songs were about too. One of the songs was about how creative God is and it listed some of the unique traits about different animals. One of the lyrics said something about a bunny - hase - {obvious from the "ears" made by two fingers on top of your head} and its nose - nase - {at least I thought it was the bunny's nose because the action was to scrunch up your nose and point to it with your finger}. I think my assumption was correct because at one point in the week I told a little girl that she had paint on her nose and used the same word. Lest you think my German improved dramatically from simply being able to ask about the weather, I should clarify that I didn't actually tell this girl that she had paint on her nose. I pointed to my nose, said nase and positioned her so she could see herself in the mirror. It's amazing what you can get across with hand gestures and grunting. Anyway...the actions came in handy.

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The kids in Sean's class acted out the story of Esther most days. Again with the actions... For Jack, this may as well have been a silent production.
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This day the kids made castles our of toilet paper tubes. There was a Bible verse written on the castle German :)
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One Wednesday each month, FeG Pankow uses a room in the community center to offer a "cultural" experience. This month's Wednesday just happened to be the same week we were in town so we were asked to share a little Minnesota culture with the attendees. We told them about what it's like to live here and gave them a little taste of Minnesota with Pearson's Nut Rolls, root beer, s'mores and Sarah's {now world} famous chocolate chip cookies. After the initial introductions I took the kids back to the apartment so they could get a decent night of sleep.
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I don't know if it was all the reminders of home in the presentation or that we'd been gone for nearly a week by then, but I was really starting to miss the kids back in Minnesota.
While the rest of the team fielded politically charged questions, I had a quiet evening looking through pictures and writing what would be my last blog post from Berlin.