Saturday, January 25, 2014

Happenings

I'm back from the US now for about two weeks, and in a sense life has been back to normal. However, there have been quite a few happenings within this short time frame.

Last weekend, we had Dr. Gerhard Padderatz speaking at our church. He is currently the President of ASI Germany and he is also one of the editors of a magazine published by the Conference to which my home church belongs. His idea was to come to Brussels to get material for an article about Seventh-Day-Adventists working for the EU institutions - and I was supposed to be the chief witness. So I showed him around a bit at the Commission and introduced him to some of my SDA colleagues. Since he is an excellent speaker on end-time events, I invited him to give a short seminar at our church at this occasion. It was very well received. In fact, he is one of those speakers I could listen to for hours and never get tired.

Last Tuesday, I attended another conference of the European Sunday Alliance. I had reported on the last event back in 2010 (see my blog). Again, the representatives of different stakeholders came together to launch another pledge for a work-free Sunday in Europe. And again, they brought good arguments forward in favour of Sunday as a universal day of rest. It was interesting how tenaciously all these people from a variety of backgrounds (religious and non-religious) took a stand on this initiative. From a political standpoint, it still doesn't look at all that a work-free Sunday will be implemented on EU level any time soon, but it's interesting how some individual member states have been pushing forward legislative action in this regard. And in the end you don't know how these people will eventually be able to take an influence on the political decision making. Again, I came to the conclusion that we have to get ready for more difficult times, and that we need to keep praying for religious freedom.

Yesterday, I joined the majority of our task force on a mission to the Belgian livestock market. Since we are dealing with the food sector, this trip proved to be an excellent opportunity to get to know this particular sector. It was indeed interesting to see how they do trade with these animals and how they breed them. However, in a way it was also saddening to see what kind of life they have. If I hadn't been vegetarian already, I think I would be from now on!

Some ponies
One next to the other....

This one got sold, but didn't really want to follow its new owner
Sticks they use to test the quality of the meat and to push them around
One of the best bulls in the insemination center
This is the lab were they do artificial insemination
On a cattle farm
Little calves separted from their mommies

Thursday, January 9, 2014

GYC and Florida

The GYC conference was a blessing. On 31 December, I flew down with Franklin, who also works at Ann-Marie's ministry in Arkansas, as well as another young men from her church. Franklin organized for us to stay that night with a nice family who attended some of their health programmes in the past.

Although this time I can't really say that there was one particular seminar or meeting that was outstanding to me, the overall experience was good. The atmosphere was very spiritual as usual, and it was nice to see again many people both from the US and from Europe. The convention facilities were very good, although I had to cross the street each time from the hotel I stayed in order to attend the meetings. Of course I've also enjoyed the warmer temperatures; however we have had two rather cold days since I'm here. On Friday it went down to about 10°C (60°F), and it was exactly the day we went on outreach. But the sun was shining so it wasn't a problem.

Since the conference ended, I've been staying with the same family, as they kindly offered to host me for a few more days. However, I've been spending the days with my friend Rosalina who also lives in the Orlando area. Her family was staying at the same ministry in Hawaii while I was helping out there in 2009. They are currently transitioning houses, so I couldn't stay with them. Yesterday, we went to Daytona beach, and this time, the temperatures even went down to 8°C and it was very windy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the trip.

So tomorrow, I'll be headed home. I don't really look forward to a five hour layover in Philiadelphia and another one in London, but I hope everything will go smoothly!

Finally I was able to donate my German K├Ąthe Kruse doll to 3ABN
 - with Camille Gilley

Mark Finley lecturing

There were over 6000 participants
Outreach experience...

Downtown Orlando
Legoland at Downtown Disney
With Mickie and Minnie
Impressive lego animals

At Daytona Beach
The birds were a bit scary!