Berlin, Germany Summer 2019 (History Repeats itself: Uneasy feeling in Germany).

Sorry Germany lovers, the Caylor-Browns will not be returning to Germany.   If you would like to recall our first unpleasant experience with Germany or read for the first time what happened to us in Munich in 2012,  please read:

Don’t Eat at Woerner’s 

In 2012, I honestly thought it was the warm weather and hundreds of extra tourists that made the Germans edgy: There are other turbulent currents under the sea of migratory change in Germany.

The pleasant photos you will view were the onset of our arrival and the celebratory feeling of returning to Europe on Friday June 21. Three weeks later we returned to the Berlin travel hub to fly back to the United States after a wonderful and engaging Central European vacation. On Tuesday July 9 around 10 AM, Berlin Train Nazis entered the train we were on, violated us, and made us pay 120 Euros for not having inner-city train tickets. We asked the “train police” to escort us off the train and help us buy a ticket. They refused! They told us they would call the police and turn us in at the Train Station stop. Carter and Ammon were SCARED TO DEATH especially after studying then visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and seeing what Germans did to Europeans nearly 100 years ago. The train Nazis first told us that it was 60 Euros each (240) we did not have that much! We did not have a ticket because no one else bought a ticket all morning on neither the bus nor the train. We asked them to 1) Please escort us to an ATM, or 2) Escort us to the Ticket kiosk and explain what we needed to do. “No, it’s either 120 Euros for you two adults or we call the police!”  Earlier in the morning we had tried to read the kiosk, and it was very confusing. Three weeks earlier we had walked everywhere without the train/bus system. Thanks be to God, combined, Sean and I had EXACTLY 120 Euros!!  We will not travel to Germany again. The whole time in Berlin we felt oppressed and troubled spiritually… much like foreign travelers felt traveling in Germany in the late 1920s and 1930s. The German authority figures are bullies using “terrorist tactics” (we are calling the police, they said) to manhandle their citizens and foreign travelers.

So, we finally “shook off” the scare of the Berlin police imprisoning Daddy H and Daddy S (what would have happened to Carter & Ammon!!), finished the day, and prepared to go home. The following day at the Berlin , Tegel, Airport was horrific. We were there 2 hours ahead of time, but there was AWFUL and EXTENDED bag check in and security check lines.

As soon as we stepped up to the passport counter Sean and I were targeted. The “gentleman” scowled at us. Hours before, all our liquids had been placed in zip-bags and the beverage bottles had been thrown away. All my pockets had been cleaned out and the items placed in my backpack, but at one point in the security line Sean had asked me about the taxi receipt we had just gotten from our ride from the Novotel Tiergarten to the airport. I took the wallet out of my backpack and read the time we had arrived at the airport.  In haste and out of habit, I placed my wallet back in my pants pocket. So, in the security line, I went last in our family of four. Sean had gone through the bag search with Carter, and I had helped Ammon who went into a panic when she thought she might have food in her backpack. The little, middle-aged, militant (short haircut and uniform) security lady said in English with her militant, German accent, “Any food?” “No, I hope not”, I said in an exasperated tone. “Anything in your pockets. Everything out of your pockets!” My verbal reaction was “No!” She looked at my pocket and saw my wallet that I had absentmindedly placed back in my front pocket. In an elevated voice she repeated, “Everything out of your pockets!”, I was more mad at myself than her. With a look of disgust, I took out my wallet and tossed it in the bin. THAT WAS IT for the little security Nazi. She immediately lifted her hand to a female protégée on the other side of the X-ray machine, and I knew I was “in for it” … As I walked through the metal detector (stripped of everything metal and had CLEANLY passed through ALL the airports from Atlanta to Berlin, to Budapest, to Krakow) I began walking to the protégée, and I did, indeed, beep. The male security man began man-handling me. I did not know that they had done the exact thing to Sean who had also “argued about some food”. Carter went to the woman and said, “I would like to complain that you all are searching my dads’ private parts, and that isn’t right.” Another Nazi lady said, “This is the security check. We can!” …. It was awful, folks.

I will repeat, we will not be returning to Germany. HOWEVER, I did want to share these photos from our pleasant days.

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Brandenburg Gate (Happy Beginnings June 21, 2019: The dark cloud of the day was a Palestinian parade near Alexanderplatz shouting about racist Jews )

 

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Ruins of the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie.

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The Berlin Cathedral.

 

 

Releasing Your Kids Into Their Giftedness: Guest Blogger = Mark Schultz

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Hi, Haven here, or rather I am not here; I am over on Word Refiner Mark is the Hyper-Speller at Word Refiner, and he is filling in for me this time. I suggested he join me and he grabbed the idea and here we are switching places on Earth! He has an excellent dual themed blog about children and spirituality. These are big topics for all of us here at Parenting with Pride. Mark is writing about releasing your children into their giftedness and ministry. Without further ado, the floor is yours Mark. Please bring it back with a full tank.

 

Thank you Haven, I am honored to join you and your followers today. I know you will take good care of my people on Word Refiner. Have fun!

My children are grown adults, and they are all doing well. The oldest two are pursuing careers in their chosen fields of finance. Our youngest has given us three gorgeous grand-daughters, our most valuable treasures on Earth!

We raised our children to love books and Jesus from the earliest age possible. We modeled serving Jesus in different ways by serving in church and out. They have all caught the spirit of service. The oldest did a Short Term Missions trip in Argentina, the middle (our son) went to Israel with Jews For Jesus, and the baby went to Kyrgyzstan with Youth With A Mission.

One of the important things, we learned early on was that each child has a natural bent or giftedness. It was important for us to be aware and guide our children, not break them. The formative years are from birth to about 5. Their giftedness will usually show up by that time. Fortunately, a kindergarten teacher pointed it out to us, otherwise we might have missed the signs.

Esther, our oldest, had an epiphany at an early age of 6, she committed to listen only to Contemporary Christian music. We bought lots of it for her. She made tapes of herself being a radio DJ and introducing the songs. She listened to the local CCM radio station and called in a lot to talk with the disc jockeys. She convinced one man to let her see the inside of the radio station. I took her down there around 8 pm one night when Chris, the particular dj, was on duty. I watched him like a hawk and discovered he was very likeable and loved Jesus as much as we did. I took her to the radio station many times, so Chris could mentor her and she was allowed to volunteer. I was glad when she got her license to drive. Her volunteering eventually became a job working the midnight shift. She started her own program on another station and even found a sponsor to pay the airtime.

We went to a large church, one of the largest in the area, around 10,000 members and multiple services each weekend. There was a well-equipped Audio-Video department and our son, David, only 13 years old, wanted to help. He was very into technology. There was a policy in place at that time forbidding children from operating the expensive equipment, many thousands of dollars had been invested. It was very understandable to everyone, except David.

David was persistent, he hung around the sound booth or the camera stations for weeks, talking to anyone who would talk with him. The weeks turned into months, and David was there every week for at least one service. We lived a little over a mile from the church so he was allowed to get there on his own.

After 6 months, it became obvious to Doug, the department head and the entire department that David was not going away. They decided to train and mentor him, giving him a chance. The department was chronically understaffed, every church suffers from that problem I think. David really applied himself and proved that he was more than capable. He was also unencumbered by job or wife. He was very available. He began to fill in wherever there was a need. Sometimes he did multiple services. Eventually, he was part of a sound team and a video team. He worked very hard and proved to be quite reliable. Doug started to notice other kids were hanging around and discovered a deep well of willing volunteers! After a couple of years over half the slots were filled by very talented and committed teenagers.

Our baby, Amy, loved children and wanted to be a mother when she grew up. While in High School church, she was allowed to help my wife with a class of kindergartners. Amy ran the games very well. After a year of success, there was a class of 2nd grade boys needing a teacher. Amy applied and was accepted. She was one of the very first high schoolers given their own Sunday School class to teach. At the end of the year, she asked to move up with the boys into the third grade. After some discussion, the idea was approved and is now standard procedure. Every teacher is expected to follow their class until they leave kid’s church for Junior High Church.

Our kids surprised us then and continue to surprise us now. They still serve in a variety of volunteer positions as adults.