This has been on of the best weekends I’ve had so far in Berlin. For the first time, I feel like my cold heart moved from “flirting with Berlin” to “wanting to get serious.” It really is a fantastic city full of life, youth, and excitement and I really like being here. Last night I hung out with a German friend from church who speaks fluent English, and we were talking about everything under the sun for hours! Then I went to a goodbye party at a very classy and huge bar for a co-worker who left the company. I had such a blast getting to know the other teachers who come from Canada, France, the US, Scotland, Ireland, Poland, etc. It was so nice to speak English for hours on end, sharing hilarious stories about life, work, experiences, etc. Laughing for hours on end really is good medicine for the soul. There’s something so special about getting to know people who are native speakers of English outside of your home country; there’s a very special bond formed since we are all trying to make it in a foreign country, living as outsiders, learning about ourselves and the world.

On Friday night we attended our sweet bi-monthly Japanese Bible study. Our hostess always cooks a delicious Japanese meal for us and we chat for a while, learn something from the Bible, sing a few songs, and prayer together. It’s truly a miracle how connected we are to Japan even though we’re in Berlin: Matthias has several German students from Japan, we have a fantastic Japanese teacher, lots of Japanese friends, and we constantly have chances to speak Japanese. Many time I think to myself that I am using more Japanese than German, even though I’m going to German language school 12+ hours a week.

Matthias and I are so thankful to be going back to Japan, despite the recent events. Matthias is thinking about going over to Japan to volunteer with relief work for a few weeks in April or May, but we are waiting to see what doors open up and praying about it constantly. If it were up to us, we’d be on a plane back to Japan tomorrow, but we trust God has very good reasons for keeping us here for the time being.

We know so many folks directly involved in relief efforts, driving up truckloads of relief supplies to folks who have lost everything. Our friends have seen the devastation up close and are working to help with cleanup by clearing debris, or by cleaning what’s left of people’s homes and neighborhood. Others are setting up ministries to help children living in the shelters. We know of many young wives willing to let go of their husbands for a few long weeks so that they can help in Japan. Also, it’s amazing to hear of friends building relationships with the town leaders and those who have lost loved ones, weeping with them, consoling, comforting, helping, and hugging. One missionary I know wrote, “The stories of many in the shelters is also vivid in my mind…especially the couple who lost all three of their children in the tsunami…ages 8, 10, and 13.”

Please pray for Japan.