Help My Unbelief

Lord, I understand you can use any leader in this world because you are ultimately the King. “He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” Daniel 2:21 However, it is a trying time in America. We need you to sort through all the rhetoric, lies and issues. I know you are doing it, but help my unbelief. Amen.

Jacob had a dream. God promised so many unconditional blessings, and Jacob struggled to believe them. “If you will be with me…” he said, conditionally.

Yes, God WILL be with you, Jacob, and all of us.

Here are a few slides from a devotion I did at the AMH chapel this morning.

Wake Up

My Exhausted Guardian Angel

Thanks for all the prayers! We are now officially licensed drivers in Bahrain.

View From the Driver's Side

Since the traffic wasn’t too bad, Denise took her maiden voyage about a month ago. Safely.

Now, today she tried her first solo drive. Safely. Praise the Lord.

Krebs Timeline

Katie is finishing up a graphic design class in college this semester. She made a Krebs family timeline for a  final project.

KrebsTimeline

I thought it was beautiful. She said I could share it on our blog.

The various trees in her graphic are palms in California, where Keith and I grew up and were married; a ginkgo from our house in Michigan, which we took an annual Father’s Day photo in front of; an orange tree from our house in Glendale, Arizona;  a corn stalk from our backyard in Iowa; and now a new palm representing Bahrain.

At this time of transition, we poignantly think about all the places we’ve lived, all the roots we have put down over the years. The trees Katie chose are a beautiful reminder of these special places.

We are not a giant oak of a family with roots in the same community for generations. We have been a family that has uprooted itself several times. While it’s not always been easy, we can all look back and see that we have grown as a result. We have lifelong friends in each place. In addition, we have left a part of ourselves in each home.  Now, we are saying goodbye and moving once again.

We hope to take our next  family photo very soon in Bahrain.

Keith and Denise 1988

Father's Day Ginkgo Tree

 

Krebs family circa 1995

Maria and Katie with their cousins

Maria and Katie with their cousins

 

Arizona the Beautiful

We love Arizona. We lived here for ten years from 1994-2004. Our daughters grew up here, and we all have good friends here. We have enjoyed this beautiful week to connect with three churches, including our church home while we lived here.

Churches continue to inspire and bless us with their uplifting prayers, good wishes, and financial support. We couldn’t be doing it without them. Many thanks to our Arizona brothers and sisters.

Keith, Maria, Katie and I were together for two meals in Arizona. We celebrated Thanksgiving at In-N-Out Burgers and Z-Tejas, as we weren’t together for Thanksgiving this year.

ztejas

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

Crossing the Water

Back in March after reading Acts 16:6-9, I asked God how Paul could know so clearly what he was supposed to do.  Especially when I noticed that the word “come over” in verse 9 in the Greek means “cross over a body of water.”  Can I, like Paul, know your will that clearly?

The answer has been “yes” and “wait continually.”  My new supervisor for the Middle East, Duncan Hansen, told me, “Enjoy each mile marker along the way.”

A big mile marker arrives Monday.  Denise and I are flying to Bahrain to be introduced to our new home.  I will give devotions to the staff at the American Mission Hospital on three mornings. Go on hospital calls with Appu.  Meet with the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital, Dr. George Cheriyan. Spend time with the senior pastor at the English language congregation, Jim Harrison. Meet with the leaders of the English Language Congregation.   Denise and I will also spend time with Josh and Alison Perkins and tour the Al Raja school.  I will deliver the message in worship at the Friday morning service and at the Sunday evening service.

Appu wrote me and said that the Indian families were asking if Denise and I liked Indian food.  I responded that we had gone to Indian restaurants three different times while we were in Seattle  back in June, and we were looking forward to eating Indian food with our new friends.  We have lunch and and supper with a different family each day.  It is going to be good!

Denise and I thank our Iowa church family and all our friends and family members for their love and support during this time of transition. Their outpouring of love has been so appreciated and needed as we approach the mile markers ahead of us.

We look forward to sharing with you our experiences from our new home.

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.