I’m writing this immediately following our third communal Friedenshaus potluck meal. Each time we’ve met, the numbers have increased. This afternoon, Marla estimated approx. 60 people squished into our cozy church basement for some shared food and conversation. The mood was lively and people were obviously enjoying themselves. Of those in attendance, approx. 20 were under the age of 12 and kept themselves busy running up and down stairs and playing games.
We were also pleased to have Nelson Kraybill join us. Nelson is the current Mennonite World Conference president and pastor of Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Indiana. He just happened to be visiting at the right time. Marla and I remember Nelson from Marla’s year studying at AMBS in Elkhart in 2004/05. At that time, Nelson was the seminary president and fellow attendee at Prairie Street. Nelson took advantage of some of our keen English-speaking Syrian students and wasted no time in engaging them in good conversation.
This week was also spent preparing for the start of our sewing circle. We are planning to have our first meeting on Feb. 27th and need to have supplies and a sample blanket ready by then. Marla has been chipping away at our sample quilt, sewing a few sections together at a time. We have also been soliciting donations of old cotton clothes to use. Pictured below are the three bags given to us by a local thrift store. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding of what we needed and most of the bags were filled with sweaters and coats that were unsuitable for quilt-making. When I called the store to explain, they were very apologetic and offered to get us more usable clothes.
We are quite confident that this is a project that will grow like our potlucks. At first, only a few people may hear of this. But with time, news will spread of another opportunity to not only gather but also to practice speaking German. We are pleased to hear that not only are our students interested in attending, but also a number of women from our Ludwigshafen congregation as well. We are thankful to God for the opportunities this will bring. The people that have visited Friedenshaus have helped make it an inviting, welcoming space. We pray that it will continue to be a place where newcomers and long-time “Ludwigshafeners” can get to know one another and build peace.
German Words of the Week: “Die Spinnen/Die spinnen” – another one of the peculiarities of the German language is the use of capitalization. German capitalizes all nouns, so it is possible that you can have two words with different meanings, based on capitalization. So, the phrase “Die Spinnen” above, simply means “the spiders”. But, when you remove the capital, the phrase means “They are kidding”. Strange, but true!