Sunday, May 14, 2006

Freiburg: 1st Sunday - Monday


After almost 9 hours of sleep (rare indeed), we rolled out of bed to find a coat of fresh snow covering Freiburg and, cameras in hand, started the trek back to the Strassenbahn so we could go to church.

Walking to the Strassenbahn:

The Black Forest covered in snow:

Fack being, well, Fack, on the Strassenbahn:

Calvary Chapel:

Calvary Chapel is a small English-speaking church where about half of the worship songs are in German and there is a translator for the sermon. We definitely felt a little out-of-place at times, but overall the experience was overwhelmingly awesome, especially to know that even though we might not be able to understand each other, we are worshiping the same God and He doesn’t have any “language barriers.” After church we split up for lunch and I joined a group going to a local Italian place called “Bellas.” We had some really great pizza and Shane was able to catch up with an old friend (Lori, who, if memory serves, is the former roommate of his cousin when they were at Purdue and is now on staff with Crusade at Illinois Catalytic). After lunch we headed back to the hostel, dodging the crowds of people going to the soccer game at the stadium near us (a few people from the team went to the game) and spent some time relaxing in our rooms. Liz and I split off to head back to the stadium so she could buy a scarf (the guy selling them had already packed up and left), and by the time I got back into my room I discovered I was stumbling into a minefield…

Every once in a while, Shane, Chip, Fack, and I (or any combination of the above) will find ourselves with the need to discuss something serious and/or (more rarely) confront one another about something. We’ve taken to referring to having one of these talks as a “pow-wow” and I walked right into the middle of one. Apparently there was some misunderstanding or something (doesn’t really matter) that needed to be talked out and it ballooned into a very fruitful discussion about some related topics and how we approach some of them. I think it was especially interesting for Travis, who’d never seen Christian brothers go at it in such an intense, direct, and yet still loving way. It was also the site of the second instance of me saying something with Fack responding with a “where have you been all my life?!” comment because it was either perfectly tuned to our senses of humor (as in the first case) or especially insightful to the question at hand (as in this one). For those of you who don’t know Fack or the dynamic between us, I consider those lines from him to be very similar to death threats from Toby; something to be treasured and tallied. Anyway, that first pow-wow of the trip ended up being encouraging, fruitful, and helped set a tone of openness for the guys that extended through the rest of the trip.

Later that afternoon we broke into teams for a scavenger hunt around the city to help us get to know the area. A few pics…

My scavenger team (left to right: Emily, Michelle, Mindy, Travis, and Ken from Illinois Catalytic) in front of the Döner place:

My “postcard” shot that turned out way better than expected of the Münster cathedral:

A vertical panorama of the Münster stitched together from three different shots:

I kid you not: a SmartCar convertible!

After getting some food at the Döner place, we all met up at “the office” to get to know the teams from IU and Illinois Catalytic a little before heading back to the hostel (“The office” is the local HQ for Campus für Christus and is an apartment they use for gatherings and the English Café coffeehouse):

Later that night, I was back in the hostel and decided to track a couple of people down to back up their pictures to my portable hard drive. When I found them in the basement, I discovered that I’d stumbled into yet another pow-wow, this time mainly between Fack and Pauline with a few others listening in. I quickly realized two things, the first being that this was going to be another one that I wanted to be a part of, and the second that I was needed to translate Fack-ese (his characteristic style of communicating) into something everyone else would understand clearly and vise-versa (and a little bit of that for Pauline also). The bulk of the conversation consisted of trying to define and clarify the question Fack was asking because there were a lot of misunderstandings with what he was trying to say and we didn’t get very far with finding answers, but I’d still label the whole thing as a success. Moreover, something very important happened while we were down there; Shane got invited to join in a game of Table Foosball (regular foosball for us, but they also use that word for soccer) with some German high school students staying there on a class trip. Eventually they finished the game and Shane went to go hang out with them in another area of the basement for the next few hours. You’ll hear more about them later…


We started off our morning with a group devotional/praise and worship time, and then dove straight into some basic cultural and evangelistic training:

Then we headed for the Mensas (the cafeterias at the university) to start our ministry time. Shane and I headed to the Science Mensa (one of three at the school and located near the science department, rather than by liberal arts as you might expect…jk). After buying meal cards and putting some money on them, we got our food and started looking for someone to sit down with. Eventually we spotted a late-20’s guy sitting by himself and, practicing one of our newly-learned German lines “Ist heir noch frei?” (“Is this seat free?”), we were able to sit down and start a conversation with him. Now in Germany, they have a very post-modern culture that loves to share ideas (and unlike here; politics and religion are allowed as discussion at the dinner table), but it is often a case of sharing ideas without any intent of looking for new ones to adopt or convincing others of your position. This usually results in people being very open to talking with strangers over just about anything. Sadly, this guy was not one of them. He was a grad student in physics and engaged us in small talk for a little while, but anytime deeper subjects would come up (even just his religious background/beliefs) he would tend to shut down. We did get him talking about the protestant/catholic divide in Germany a little and Shane got into a little bit of a faith vs. works debate with him that taught us a lot about German culture but ultimately got us nowhere with this individual.

That afternoon we met up at the office and split into two different groups. The first group went to a giant tower on a hill overlooking the whole city and the second group (myself included) rode about a half-hour away by train to visit a small town that had the ruins of a ~1000 year-old castle. The castle was at the top of a tall hill and was surrounded by a vineyard. We spent a couple hours hiking to the top of the hill and taking pictures in and around the castle.

The castle:

Hiking up the hill:

A panorama from part way up the hill:

A two-frame panorama of the town:

We think this is going to be his album cover someday:

Don’t fall Mindy!

Fack found a perch about 20ft up inside the castle walls:

The Purdue students and STINTers:

After getting back to Freiburg and getting some dinner, we went to the hostel for Campus Time. Stealing an idea from one of the IU girls I’d overheard mention it, I’d made some special arrangements earlier in the day, so we were able to have a genuine Black Forest cake that evening.

Campus time:

Why they dressed up Lerola's (Fack's guitar) case, I don't know, they were just playing with my camera:

Big eyes:

Then, after some praise and worship, Shane came running into the room demanding our help. He’d been downstairs continuing to build relationships with those high school students and apparently they’d asked him “would you like to learn a cool German dance?” He agreed, one of the kids started playing some music off his laptop for the whole room to dance to, and Shane was stunned to realize that he did already know that particular dance. I kid you not, the 30-40 Germans in the room all got up and started doing the Chicken Dance!! Yep, they thought that regular staple of American barn dances was a German thing. So naturally he ran upstairs and tried to recruit us to go down and join them (I was one of the few who actually did). It was hilarious, and it helped him continue to build those friendships and even begin the process of sharing the gospel with them.

Freiburg Table of Contents
Freiburg: Intro and the Team
Freiburg: 1st Friday - 1st Saturday
Freiburg: 1st Sunday - Monday
Freiburg: Tuesday
Freiburg: Wednesday
Freiburg: Thursday
Freiburg: 2nd Friday
Freiburg: 2nd Saturday
Freiburg: 2nd Sunday
Freiburg: The Quote Book


At 10:04 AM, Blogger kathy said...

Calvary Chapel, HOLLER!

(sorry, my home church is a Calvary Chapel church)

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At 10:07 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Hey was searchin for 'freiburg' in blogger and came across your blog and just want to say a massive thanks for all the photos and your thoughts on the place. I'm going there in sept for my erasmus year abroad as part of my german course at uni in the uk and it's really cool to get an idea of what the place is like before i go. so yeah, major thanks for the blog man!


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