Thursday, December 16, 2010


We loaded in the car and headed out with much excitement. Our first part of the trip was to make the 5+ hour trip to Riga, Latvia.

From there we flew 2 hours to Germany!

From the airport we had another 2 hour drive to our hotel. Needless to say, we were exhausted when we got to bed around 3 a.m.

After a night of rest, we looked out our hotel window and saw the first place we wanted to eat....Kentucky Fried Chicken. YUMMY!!!

There were several other places that we recognized - Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway (we didn't get to eat there), and Toysrus.

Friday night was a Missionary Christmas Banquet at Rhein River Baptist Church. The church was decorated beautifully with lots of lights, Christmas trees, poinsettias, and candles. The evening was wonderful with delicious food, good fellowship, singing, specials, and awesome preaching.

Ron and I in the hotel lobby waiting for our ride to the Banquet.

People from Rhein River Baptist Church handing out gifts to the missionaries.
We enjoyed the Banquet immensly and the service the next morning was also a blessing. It was a joy to meet lots of other missionaries. Before the Banquet we only knew one other family there. By the time we returned to Estonia, we had established friendships with several other families. The greatest joy was seeing our kids in the company of other missionary kids. Email address were exchanged and our desire is that some lasting friendships may develop as a result.
The people of Rhein River Baptist Church went all out to make this a special occasion for missionaries. They were a huge blessing to our family!
It was a special treat to get reaquainted with the Shipman family (missionaries in Germany). We met them years ago while on deputation. We had a couple of opportunities to spend time with their family which was a great blessing.

Sarah and Joanna Shipman (missionary in Germany).

Proverbs 18:24 says, "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly:..." Well, Caleb took this verse to heart and was very friendly and made lots of friends.

Caleb and Mrs. Hornbeck
Mrs. Hornbeck is a fellow missionary (military in Germany) and was also one of Caleb's teachers on Sunday. He found her at lunch and visited with her. Then he found her again Sunday night after church. When I walked into the fellowship hall I found them sitting together eating dinner.

Caleb's teacher for Sunday School (which he freely showered with hugs)

This little girl's family is also missionaries in Germany. Her mommy asked if Caleb would take a picture with her. Since it's so cute, I thought I would add it.

Caleb and two of the Shipman boys (missionaries in Germany)
Daniel and Andrew made some friends too. These boys are brothers and their family serves in England. They were able to spend a lot of time together Sunday and I am hoping a great friendship will develop between them.

Daniel and Andrew with Judah Shipman

eating lunch Saturday afternoon with the Shipman family

We enjoyed doing some special things as a family too. The mall was decorated so beautifully for Christmas that it was fun to just stroll around and look.

at a little bakery in the mall getting hot tea and cookies
Monday night we got to go to a Christmas market. It sure was festive!!!

Caleb in one of the shops we went into to get warm.

in another shop (didn't mean to get Caleb's head in the shot)

they were smiling even though they were freezing cold

enjoying some German food at the Christmas market

we found this little shop to wait in out of the cold. Of course, we had to try some goodies and have hot tea.
Our time in Germany was fantastic...we made lots of memories. One of my absolute favorite things about the trip was the preaching we heard. We were so thrilled to find out that Dr. David Gibbs was the special speaker for the Banquet Friday night.

Then the icing on the cake was that he preached two more time Saturday and three more times Sunday. WOW!!! Every sermon was just what I needed. Bro. Gibbs is one of my very favorite preachers. Some of the stories he told were incredible - one was about the funniest story I have every heard. Everyone was rolling with laughter. In fact, I laughed so hard I was in tears. Another of his stories was so touching there was probably not a dry eye in the place. Yet another was quite shocking and very convicting. With every single story was a challenge from the Bible on how to be a better Christian.

our family with Bro. Gibbs
We are thankful for the opportunity we had to attend the Missionary Christmas Retreat in Germany. It was a blessing!


  1. I'm so glad you were able to go and that you had such a great time! Thanks for telling us about it and letting us see the pictures.

  2. Eun Kyuing Faith KimDecember 16, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    Great Blog it is :D
    I am really happy to hear a good news of your missionaries family:)
    Have a good Christmas Season!
    Lord with us all the time:)

  3. What a wonderful trip! That was one big KFC, glad you got to eat some familiar foods :) I just love the market that you went to the snow covered street with the lights was just beautiful!

  4. I'm drooling over the Pizza Hut. I love the picture of you and your husband. You look beautiful! Sounds like it was a very nice banquet.

  5. Love all the pictures, Rachel!! Looks like you guys had a great time!! How cool that Dr. Gibbs was the speaker!!Merry Christmas!!!

  6. That trip definitely looks like a lot of fun and a big blessing! It is encouraging to see all the big smiles on the kids' faces. Happy to see them interacting with so many other missinary kids. Glad you all got to go.
    Kudos to the church in Germany for being such a blessing.

  7. It looks like you all had a wonderful time! What a nice time for your family and how special for your kids to spend time with new friends. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Wow! 26 pics in one blog post! I loved it!

    Glad you guys got to do some fun things together and eat some good health food. Even though there are virtually no American fast food franchises here, KFC opened up several locations here a few years ago and it is now a family favorite! In fact, they recently opened one right down the street from our house! If you come visit us, we promise we will take you there:) Good to see all the men gathered around the pizza box attacking it! Stephen would fit right in!

    The banquet looks like it was a wonderful time. To get to hear Bro. Gibbs that many times in such a brief period of time would certainly be spiritually challenging.

    The snow-covered streets of the Christmas market look like so much fun! Everything is so beautiful both inside and outside of the stores. My favorite picture is of the kids waiting in the shop with the goodies and tea.

    Thanks for sharing all these pictures. What wonderful memories for your whole family to cherish!

  9. Oh, Rachel, I am so glad you were able to go to Rhein River's Missionary Retreat! We went for the first time last year... you may have seen my blog post about it. We would have loved to go back this year, but are too far away this time!

    So glad you got to see and fellowship with the Shipmans. They are dear friends of ours as well, so it was good to see them in your pictures.

    I do not know if we will get to go back in the future, since it was an incredibly expensive trip for us, but I would do it in a heartbeat if I could! We certainly left there encouraged and blessed.


An encouraging word is always welcome and much appreciated!


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