Last Wednesday I celebrated my 35th birthday with the Pietschmann family! Can you see that inside the cake is a handmade drawing of me on a stick holding a 3 and a 5? We enjoyed a real Filipino feast and a had a wonderful evening of fun and fellowship.

Simon and Joedel, a German-Filipina couple, with little Samuel

I was so moved by Joedel’s hard work to make my b-day so special – it fills my heart with such joy. It was a good lesson for me about loving others! I truly hope I can love people in Japan as well as this couple has loved me. Everything was perfect – the balloons, the Filipino food, the amazing dessert, the cool presents, the homemade game, the love and care, the funny jokes, and the relaxed atmosphere.

We took a walk on Friday night and got a spectacular view of a nearby village as the sun was setting.

On Saturday evening, we were invited to a friend’s home in Frankfurt. Rebeca is Salvadoran and her mother and brother came to visit her all the way from El Salvador. A lovely friend named Erika joined us, a gregarious German woman who was raised in Chile and fully bilingual in German and Spanish. We had fun sharing lots of stories and photos of Japan. It was a wonderful evening, despite my ever-worsening Spanish abilities, and we both really enjoyed hearing stories about each of their lives.

Tomorrow we will visit Matthias’ family in southwest Germany and on Sunday his home church will hold a farewell service for us. After that, friends from NJ will visit for a few days and then we will travel to Berlin to visit a church and meet up with German, Peruvian, and Japanese friends there. What an international life!