Matthias and I spent a few days in Langeoog, an island in the North Sea in Lower Saxony, Germany. We attended a gathering of church leaders in our denomination, the Free Evangelical Church of Germany (FeG). To get there Matthias drove for about four hours and then we had to take a ferry and very colorful train to our hotel. What is most interesting about this island is that there are no cars on the island, only bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, and electric-powered cars. I checked Wikipedia and supposedly “only the fire department and ambulance service have standard motorised vehicles. The policemen and doctors get about on bicycles.” This made for the freshest, cleanest, most beautiful air I have ever breathed in my life. I wondered how much crime there can be on an island without cars.

We were blessed with weather that was so mild that there were times that I didn’t even need a jacket. We had been told that this time of year Langeoog is normally frigid and we were well prepared with heavy jackets and long sleeves, gloves, scarves, and caps. Thankfully, we didn’t need them!

The colorful train!

Langeoog is a popular tourist destination and has a lovely beach. Tourism is the island’s main source of income and there were plenty of charming hotels and shops. We thoroughly enjoyed strolling along the beach at a time of year which is usually quite chilly. On our way back home from Langeoog we stopped in the Netherlands for about 25 minutes to go to a supermarket. It felt very odd to hear Dutch and see signs in a language I couldn’t understand. Before and after our time in Langeoog, Matthias and I had the chance to speak at several FeG churches about our call to Japan. We were so encouraged by the enthusiasm and kindness shown to us by the church members. It was also a good chance to practice my baby German, and I think that MAYBE I’m starting to get over the hurdle of being so afraid to make a mistake. I was also super motivated to study and took up my German textbooks for the first time since we came back to Germany in September.

I don’t have any news about our return to Japan, but we feel that we are growing closer to our return, especially since we spent a few weeks with the Japanese pastors and have been giving presentations about our call to Japan at several churches. What we do know is that we hope to be back in Japan by next summer 2012, God-willing, and we plan to move to Tohoku. Specifically, we would like to live in Sendai but are also open to moving to Ishinomaki. Our mission is currently trying to see if we could partner with several other families sent to Tohoku through the Evangelical Free Church.

Matthias and I regularly follow news in Japan and I came upon the following cool videos and article. Crash Japan seems to be doing wonderful work in Japan! http://crashjapan.com/ I am also posting the video of our trip to Tohoku this past May and June. For those of you who are also interested in Japan, enjoy!

Mobile Cafe – what a great idea!

Interview with a CRASH volunteer:

Video of our trip to Tohoku:

A very interesting article with before and after photos entitled “Half a Year After the Tsunami”: http://www.japan-guide.com/blog/recovery/111018.html You have to click on the current photos to see the “before” photos.

Description: A little bit over half a year after the tsunami, we revisited some of the worst hit cities along the Sanriku Coast in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures on October 18. In most areas the debris has been sorted and collected into huge mountains, paving the way for reconstruction. The towns are expected to come up with concrete reconstruction plans over the next few months.