About Denise Krebs

I'm the chief learner in life's adventure.

Traveling

We just worshiped at ARC this morning, one of the three last sermons Keith will be preaching there this year. When he announced that, I realized how quickly the time is going. American Church has been a wonderful place to grow as parents, people and as disciples of Christ.

As I said in an earlier post, this transition is not easy, but it is good. We are happy, and sad. We are blessed. Humbled and blessed. We are probably scared a bit witless too at times, which makes it easier to just keep following. We don’t have to rely on our own wits, but we have a faithful good shepherd leading us into tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, that is the day we fly to Bahrain for the first time ever. (The first time either of us have flown off of North America.) We’ll be there for a week, and we hope we’ll be able to share photos here on this blog while we are there, so you can see it along with us. Thank you for your prayers and support.

2013-09-15 Inspiring

AMH Personnel Have Audience with the King

We received a note with a link to a news article from the Chief Executive of the American Mission Hospital in Manama. He told about having an audience with His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa this week regarding the work of the AMH in Bahrain.

Keith and I are so blessed and humbled to have a chance to work in this mission that has such a rich history of doing good in Bahrain.

Read more about the hospital personnel’s meeting with His Majesty here on this post on the Bahrain News Agency.

How Big is Bahrain?

We haven’t been to Bahrain yet. We know it is a small constitutional monarchy in the Arabian Gulf, an archipelago of 33 islands,  just east of Saudi Arabia.

Lately I’ve been thinking of that descriptor “small” and how it relates to my idea of a geographically small area. As a geography major, I’m always curious about things like that.

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, Bahrain is 3.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. I have seen this statistic in other sources, too. In fact, I’ve repeated it to other people who asked about the size.

The size of Bahrain was still something I couldn’t picture, though. I have been in Washington, D.C., twice. It seemed big to me because we got around by public transportation and walking, lots of walking. Some of you know what I’m talking about. You, too, have visited in the summer and walked the two miles between the Lincoln and Washington Memorials. To hear that Bahrain was 3.5 times the size of Washington didn’t make it seem small at all.

Knowing that one fact didn’t add to my understanding of  the size of Bahrain, so I decided to do some math and get a better idea about the relative size of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

First of all, I would like to suggest a correction for the World Factbook. Bahrain has a strong land reclamation program, and is growing in land area. Washington, D.C., is not really 100 square miles, as it was at the beginning. Some of the land was given back to Virginia in 1846, so our nation’s capital is officially 68.3 square miles (177 km2). Since Bahrain is 294 square miles (762 km2), it’s really more than 4 times the size of Washington, D.C.

Anyway, closer to home.

Again, the total land area of the Bahraini archipelago is 762 km2. Total land area of Sioux County in Northwest Iowa, where we live, is 1,990.6 km2. So, I discovered Bahrain would fit into Sioux County 2.5 times with a little room in the Iowa county to spare. That gives me a new understanding of what “small” means when I describe the Kingdom of Bahrain.

People around here can understand that because we drive in and out of Sioux County on a daily basis. That is going to be a big change for us.  In Bahrain, we’ll only be driving in, not out of Bahrain.

Sioux County with Bahrain Map

Coffee, Tea, or Diet Coke

I’m not much of a caffeine addict, but I do like Diet Coke. 

When I was in college, I didn’t drink coffee. I remember my mom on occasion would tell me, “You’ll probably learn to like it someday–to be polite and social and to stay awake.”

Now, this was before caramel mocha frappachinos, dirty Chai tea lattes, iced vanilla macchiatos, and all such expensive, sweet and creamy coffee options.

The coffee of which my mom spoke, the coffee of the mid-twentieth century, was Folgers, or for those with highbrow tastes, 100% Columbian Yuban. Yuck! I refused to drink that to be polite.

I always took pride in the fact that her prediction did not come true. I married a coffee connoisseur, yet thirty years later I had never drunk a cup of coffee. I think I still managed to be polite. I drank water, herb tea, lemonade, milk, and Diet Coke, and I got along just fine in social situations.

Now that we are going to Bahrain, I revisited that prediction. My mom’s prophetic voice has come back to me. I am reminded that I am going to a place full of new cultures. Bahrain is an Arab country with many different peoples living and working there among the Bahrainis. I’m sure there will be all kinds of possibilities for drinking coffee and tea “to be polite and social and to stay awake,” as my mom said.  I’m looking forward to participating fully in any hospitality and kindness shown to me.

And so, I did it. I drank my first cup of coffee. It was sweet and creamy and coffee-like. Keith made me a vanilla latte, and I drank it all. I even took a photo to commemorate the event.

No Turning Back

Because of the flood we had at the end of May, we have stored some items from the basement in the garage.

As our call became more evident, we began adding more and more household items to the growing mountain of this life we are leaving.  Stuff

What do we do with all our stuff? There are just too many of this and that, plus boatloads of memories to sort through. Stopping to read an old letter or look at a picture or imagine reading that book to a toddler have been tender diversions.

For the most part, this purging has been good. We are encountering shelves and closets long overdue for a major cleaning.  We are convicted about our over-consumption and buy-ological urges over the years.

The grip “stuff” has on our lives is loosening. It’s not always easy, but it’s good.

Today in church we sang “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.

~Lyrics by Sadhu Sundar Singh

 We haven’t even looked back over the last three months. I know God has made our call so clear and certain that we won’t turn back. However, this morning, singing that song reminded me that we are having a garage sale next weekend. Then we’ve asked Zestos, a local nonprofit, to pick up the rest. Most of our worldly possessions will be gone after that.

Hmmm…no turning back is right.

But singing that song also reminded me that many people give up much more than my measly worldly possessions to follow Jesus.

Books We're Reading

Some new possessions we’ll be reading over the next few weeks.

 

 

We Will Follow Him

Our journey began on April 28 when the retiring chaplain challenged those qualified in the congregation to consider whether God was calling one of them to take his place.

I had always thought Keith would be a great chaplain, and I immediately thought he should consider it. Katie leaned over and told me, “You and Dad should do that.” Keith, sitting at the front of the church, had the same thought at the same time.

Dozens of circumstances and all we read and prayed that first month pointed us to the fact that we were being called to go to Bahrain. We have never looked back.

When we watched this video, used in a devotion we read on leadership, we both laughed and cried. It has become a theme for us:

“We will follow him, follow him
Wherever he may go…
There isn’t an ocean too deep,
A mountain so high, it can keep,
Keep us away, away from his love.”

From “I Will Follow Him” by Little Peggy March