When we first started writing about our time in Germany, Miranda and I shared with you our hopes, expectations and concerns for our trip there in March. We also shared three major Things Which Need Sorting (TWNS): school, location (town/country), and how do we do life. Now that we’ve been back for a while, and we’ve had a chance to reflect on our experience there, we want to report to you on this so that you can rejoice with us in what God has shown us.
The first TWNS was to examine and choose the best schooling option for our children. There were about a half-dozen different options, in two countries, that we had to sort through. We can say with confidence that we had great success. We were able to explore first-hand both the German public school and the local international school experiences. We were also able to have more in-depth discussions about other options, including those existing in France.
We are happy to report that we’ve made a decision on school: we’re going to be putting the kids into the elementary school associated with the Black Forest Academy, in and around Kandern, Germany. They have a bi-lingual program which will give our children a great head-start in learning the local language and building relationships with both other Missionary Kids and local German children. There will be additional cost for this choice as compared to the public school, but we feel this is the best overall choice for our family.
The second TWNS was to choose a location where we would live. The big question we had was do we live in Kandern (or surrounding towns/villages), or in France, on the other side of the Rhine? We visited both locations, and spent a great deal of time in prayer and discussion about which might be the better choice. Both locations have pros and cons; neither is an undesirable place to live.
Ultimately, our decision came down to the issue of community and support: where would we likely better be able to build and develop a sense of community for ourselves and our children, and where would we better be able to serve during our first overseas assignment. We ultimately chose to live in or around Kandern, as our children will be in school there, our office will be there, and many of our team members will be there as well. This allows us to go to work, school, and play in the same community—hopefully allowing us to also build deeper relationships more quickly with those around us.
Finally, there was the more nebulous question of how to do life in whatever place we felt God was leading us to as our new home. When I previously wrote about “doing life,” I mentioned the daisy-chain of people—one meeting leads to another (and another, and another), so that ultimately, one’s network of connections is greatly expanded and enriched. We experienced just that as we went about our days there in Europe—in ways that could only be explained as God’s provision for us. We leaned heavily on a few of our Wycliffe-associated friends and teammates, but were able to meet people from a variety of organizations and places around the globe. Those relationships are continuing to pay dividends even today.
We learned quite a bit about how we might (and might not) do life in this part of the world, even though we were there only a week. We had new friends who invited us into their homes, just to see what they were like. Others hosted us for dinner, so they could share their experiences with us and impart any wisdom they had gained in their own endeavors. Still others invited us to experience life with them in different ways, showing us around town, taking us to local stores, and even inviting us into their offices to participate in mini-rituals of community. We have a better idea of what kinds of places we might choose as our home, as well as how we might arrange transportation for the family. We also know where to get groceries, and how to use the farmers’ roadside veggie patches (it’s a lot like how you pay for parking at some of those unattended lots in downtown Houston).
In summary, we feel that our trip to Germany and France was an incredible blessing, and we praise God for making it possible for us to go. Miranda and I really enjoyed getting to know so many potential new friends, and Phoenix had a great time and many of her fears were allayed by our travels there.
We look forward to sharing with you again soon about our final time-frame, and what the next 6-8 months will hold for the Peacock family.