This day started with 10 hours of travel on a night train from Vienna, Austria to Mannheim, Germany, but ended with such a wonderful experience that I will never be able to forget. I just have to share it with you, because it seems to good to be true, but I have witnesses that said it did indeed happen.
So first I must talk about the train travel. It was nice, but I couldn’t sleep on there for the life of me. I got on the train at 12:20 am because the train was late. 6 hours of watching people come and go and a beautiful sunrise I was in Munich. I had 10 min to buy my next train ticket and get on the train. I did it, then I couldn’t find a seat that wasn’t reserved. Oh the joy of trying to remember how foreign transportation works. Finally found my spot on the train and started writing my previous days down for my blog… Oh this part of the story is not so interesting, lets move on shall we?
I got to my destination! I got off the train and saw a face that I’d never seen in Germany before, only in Micronesia. My friend Mareike greeted me on the platform with pretzel in hand as I struggled to get my luggage from the train and on to the platform. It was wonderful to see a smiling face after all that time trying to sleep and not being successful. We drove back to her home in Eisenberg as I munched on a delicious German pretzel and talked about life and all the things that were planned for that evening. There is nothing like being able to talk to someone about an experience that you both have some experience and knowledge about. We talked about Guam and the missions trip that brought us to the same place so we could meet. Now we were sitting in a car in awe of the fact that we were in the same place again, just on the other side of the world… I’m still in shock.
We made it back to Mareike’s house and I was able to meet her mother. She doesn’t speak a lot of English, but understands it quite well. So with Mareike as a translator, we were able to communicate just fine. I was greeted with a cup of coffee, a piece of “self-made” raspberry cake (made by Mareike), a soft bed, and a fluffy pillow. And in return I greeted those things with a smile and a heart full of gratefulness. I was told that Lunch would be ready about noon and I could rest until then. I took them up on that offer and slept. When I woke up there were so many amazing smells in the air my nose pulled the rest of my body down the stairs to see what in the world could be making those delicious aromas! What a spread. Some people might find this strange, but I’m a huge fan of German cuisine… And this was great German Cuisine.
I can’t tell you how amazed I’ve been at the generosity of the people that I’ve encountered on this trip. Very rarely have I been able to pay for anything because people have been so generous. Homes have been opened, meals prepared and served, and hospitality given out of a desire to bless others. I’ve told you thank you personally, but if you are reading this please know that I haven’t forgotten and will not forget about your generosity, and again thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has certainly made this trip even more likely to be finished now and I hope to be a blessing to you as you have been to me. THANK YOU
After Lunch we decided to go for a hike! I totally did not understand what kind of hike this would be, as I ended up wearing jeans and long sleeve shirt. We went and hiked the highest mountain in Rheinland-pfalz and climbed to the top of Ludwig’s Tower and climbed down to see an arch with an eagle on top, that was built into the side of the mountain. This arch was built in honor of Gen. Moltke in 1880, because of their victory in the war against France. Pictures are below. The view was breathtaking.
And then the moment you’ve all been waiting for… The concert experience above all concert experiences. :-).
I arrived at the location in Asselheim about an hour and a half before the concert to set up and all. As I walked through the gate to get the garden I was blown away. This was the perfect setting for a little concert. With a weeping willow tree as the back drop and a small fire place and plants growing along the wall I just couldn’t believe it. It was like something you saw in the films about the european country side. This was a dream location for me. I realize now I would rather play more small intimate venues then big stages, because of the unique perspective you can get as the musician. It also gives you un paralleled peace. It was beautiful to be surrounded by nature as I set up for the show.
I did a brief sound check and my equipment worked wonderfully! That little amp from Fender sure has some power to it and the flexibility with effects and such are great. My Voyage-Air guitar has been a life saver for me. It is a blessing to get a full bodied sound from the guitar while still being able to throw it on my back and in the overhead compartment on the airplane.
Just as a I finished the soundcheck and was ready to go for the show… The clouds rolled in. At first it didn’t bother me. There was no rain in those clouds, or so I thought. I was reassured that we had an alternative location if it started to rain and sure enough the rain started to come down. All went well though, as we were able to move all the electronics into a small barn like building and set up in there. Some might think this was a bad exchange, to go from a beautiful outdoor garden to inside of a “barn”. For me it was quite the opposite. The inside of this building had a small corner with what looked like a stage, perfect environment for lighting and such, and the sound seemed to work out alright. It was another dream location. Two in one place. I couldn’t believe it. God was surely looking out for me on this one, there is no doubt in my mind.
People started to trickle in and the building started to get full. It was a perfect, intimate, set up. I started at 7 and played until about 8:50 with a two song encore. The crowd was great. About 20-25 people showed up over the course of the 2 hours and I was able to meet with so many people and talk to them about where I was from and what I was doing. It was interesting at the beginning when I was playing to a crowd that didnt really know who I was or what I would be doing. It took a couple songs for the crowd to start responding, but when they did it was really positive. People were buying my CDs and asking for more information. It was great. I played everything from Jack Johnson, to Shawn McDonald, Josh Garrels, to Joey Charles and it seemed like everyone enjoyed their evening. It was neat to be able to share these stories, whether covers or originals, with people and be able to share why I was singing those specific songs.
I even had my boss from my time at Club Beyond in 2009 come to my show. It was so cool to have that mix in the crowd. She even brought me a picture from an event we did with the middle schoolers. It was quite the embarrassing photo, but it was still a great memory. Oh the things we do for the young people in our lives :-).
For the first time in my life I felt like this was something I could do for the rest of my life. i was using my God given talent to its fullest potential and i felt so alive. i may not have hit every note, or every chord just right, but the fact that I was there in Germany, in a building owned by someone I hadn’t met, singing to people I didn’t know before that night, all because I asked a question trying to chase after my dreams. Sometimes I pinch myself to see if this is real and it really hurts my arm every time I do it. But I’m still sitting in the same place and I realize this isn’t a dream I’ve had in my sleep, this is a God given dream that I’m living in this reality. Lord help me to not take for granted these moments and realize my blessings daily so even when things don’t go perfectly, I won’t give up on the path you’ve set before me.
I would like to thank Mareike for setting up this event and allowing me to stay with her and her family. I would also like to thank Charly and Justus and the rest of the Teichmann family for helping to provide the location for the event.
I know this explanation doesn’t even come close to getting across all the little things that made this night so amazing, but I hope some of the pictures can help fill in the gaps.