(NOTE: This post is part of a series we’re doing about a Vision Trip we’re making to the area where we’ll be living within the next 12 months.)
We arrived safely at the gate in Zurich around 7:15 this morning. It was the quietest major airport I’ve ever been through. It was also the easiest and quickest passage through customs and immigration I’ve ever experienced, even better than coming home through the US. We received a bit of a treat when we got to the car rental counter—when he saw the amount of luggage we had (including the two 70-pound foot lockers), the gentleman behind the counter gave us a free upgrade to a larger wagon (a Hyundai i40), so that we could make sure everything fit easily.
We loaded up the car and drove away from the Zurich airport no later than 8:15 am, local time. We made it through Switzerland, into Germany, and arrived in Kandern in about 90 minutes, with only minor delays due to morning traffic in Zurich. We must’ve gone through about two dozen tunnels on our way, some more than a mile long. We saw horses, fields, and vineyards along the way, as well as one castle (in Lorrach, which we might visit later in the week).
The last 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) into Kandern were on a small, two-lane country road (much like an Farm-to-Market highway in Texas, except with no shoulder). On either side we were bounded by mostly fields, farmhouses, and forest. Arriving in Kandern was a lot like pulling into any small town you’ve ever been to, except the town appeared more suddenly, and there were fewer visual indicators that something was happening—it was just suddenly upon us.
We’re staying at a guest house run by some Canadian missionaries with Teach Beyond, as a hospitality ministry catering to missionary families. It’s called The Sanctuary, and it’s housed in a building that was originally constructed in the 1300s as a mill—it’s pretty cool, it meanders quite a bit (as 800-year-old buildings might), and is very cozy. The Reed family are amazing hosts—they even made homemade granola and scones for breakfast.
We spent the better part of today wandering around town—we probably walked 2 or more miles, through back streets, and side streets, and sidewalks. We unsuccessfully visited two different ATMs (luckily, we had cash to exchange for Euros…) and had some pizza for lunch. We also visited two different grocery stores, got some simple food supplies, and generally explored town.
As we were coming back from our visit to the second grocery store, we ran into a fellow Wycliffe family who we met last week in Texas, at a photojournalism conference. We had a nice chat, and managed to set up a visit to the local SIL offices in Kandern for tomorrow.
We set out around six this evening, looking for dinner, but were not able to find an open restaurant which actually had food. (Many of the shops here take turns closing on different week days, or something like that, so the kebab/gyro shop was closed, as were a few others, including the noodle house. We were recommended to visit Mr. Chicken, but when we got there, around 6:45, Mr. Chicken was out of his rotisserie chicken.) So our dinner tonight consisted of stuff we could easily find at the grocery store without too much difficulty.
We had an after-dinner meeting with the parents of the girl that Phoenix is going to school with tomorrow, and had a chance to talk more about what it would be like to put our children in the German public school here in this community. There are clearly pros and cons of doing this, and the conversation brought up more questions than it did answers. Our plan is to visit the public school in the morning as Phoenix visits with her new friend, so maybe we can find out more.
Prayer needs met today:
- Safety in arriving to Kandern (and the blessing of the larger car, which fit everything so nicely)
- We found (no, seriously, we drove by it twice) and checked in to our guest house (and the pleasant surprise of the Reed’s generous hospitality)
- Phoenix made fast friends with the girl who will be hosting her at public school tomorrow morning
- We were able to begin addressing two of our TWNS: schooling and doing life
Ongoing Prayer Needs:
- That God would continue to lead us to the right people, and that we’d be open to the daisy-chain of contacts that we come across (“Oh, it was so nice to meet you….you should really talk to Mr. & Mrs. This-Family-Who-Can-Totally-Speak-To-Your-Concern-Because-They’re-Living-It-Right-Now…” That’s already happened two or three times today.)
- That Phoenix would have an uncomplicated visit to the school tomorrow, and that it would be appropriately informative for our decision-making-process
- That we’d continue to have safety in driving about in new areas
- That we’d listen to our bodies about when it’s time to rest
- That God would allow us to continue to engage the TWNS