I am going to invite you a bit deeper into the workings of my daily life. I am going to take you on an excursion of what it is like to live in the life of Pam. First things first, God is number one in my life and He is doing amazing things. This past Sunday, I experienced my first Mass in Germany. Even though the Church was not very full, the power of the Holy Spirit was moving swiftly and He put a new excitement in my heart to be here.
I could also tell that there are many people here who are on fire for the Lord. Though we are not big in numbers, we are big in heart. The teens are amazing and are so dedicated to Christ. I was also blown away by the holiness of our priests; they truly know what it means to be in a deep relationship with God. Even though I am not fluent in the language, I felt a great unity with Christ and His people by celebrating the Mass and consuming the Eucharist together. God is good and I am honored to be here!
Now, I would like to invite you deeper into my own day to day life of survival. As we all know, people have to eat to live. We have to nourish ourselves spiritually and physically. It is pretty easy for me to feed my soul as it consists of spending time with Christ. However, nourishing my body has always been a bit of a struggle as I have a plethora of food allergies. In the U.S., I had my diet under control. In preparing to leave the country, I knew that I was going to have to adjust my diet, but I wanted to keep it as normal as possible. I thought this would be pretty easy as I normally eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains.
Upon arriving to our new home Saturday evening, I learned that some of our friends had brought me some dried beans, vitamin juice, green tea, and rice cakes as a welcome. It was a great relief to have such a gift waiting for me! However, I knew that I was eventually going to have to experience grocery shopping at some point in the near future and expand my menu.
Monday morning quickly came and Amanda offered to go to the store with me to help translate the labels. She also brought a German-English Dictionary, just in case we came across any unfamiliar words. I was ready for the challenge and was excited to find new foods to try.
When we got to the store, we started our label reading extravaganza. There were so many different kinds of ingredients listed in foods that I never would have expected to be present. One of these ingredients was translated as egg white protein. (I developed an allergy to eggs this past June). Item after item showed that it had egg white protein: juice, bread, jelly, dairy-free margarine, and many more things that would not normally have eggs in them in the U.S. After much discouragement from finding egg protein in almost everything, I told Amanda that I was ready to just buy some vegetables. We went to the frozen vegetable section to find spinach as it would last longer than if it was fresh. When we read the label, it showed that there were dairy products in it; thus, spinach wasn’t even safe for me. So, I then decided to buy some potatoes-thinking that they would be safe as they just grow out of the ground. But, when we read their label, it showed that even the potatoes contained egg white protein. I nearly had a melt-down in the store because I was quickly learning that I was going to have to survive off of dry beans, green tea, rice cakes, and lemon juice for the next year. I couldn’t fathom how or why potatoes were injected with egg protein; but, I took it as a call to dive deeper into simplicity and humility. The vitamin companies would soon love me as their products would become the answer to my lack of nourishment.
When we got home, we decided to investigate this egg white protein that seemed to pop up in every source of food…including potatoes. As we continued our research, we learned that the literal translation of the word we kept reading was, indeed, egg white. However, the actual meaning of the word was protein. It could be any type of protein, not just from eggs! I felt so silly actually believing that potatoes were injected with egg whites! I was so relieved to learn that I could actually eat food in Germany!
The next day, we went to a specialty store and were able to buy corn (not rice) cakes, oat milk, dried apricots, potatoes, and spinach (without dairy products). This was such a gift as I knew that God was calling me to this country to love His people here; not to become sick, malnourished, and incapable of being a missionary.
This experience gave me a lesson in realizing my own poverty. In the U.S., I depended on myself for so much. I could control many aspects of my life, including reading food labels and not consuming foods I am allergic to. However, here, God is calling me to trust Him with everything (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) in a new way. All I have is Him and His providence. I can’t control much because I can’t comprehend the language. I have to rely on others to help me, which I do not enjoy doing. The only way I am going to grow this year is by trusting in God more firmly and by allowing others to journey with me. So many times we go on mission thinking that we are going to help other people; in reality, God just desires to do more transformation within our own hearts. God is good and God is here.