When Steve and I went to Germany to live, I didn’t know any German, and I knew so little about what it was like to live in Germany that I set out to live there with what I now see as an unbelievably naive optimism that was close to sheer stupidity in its ignorance. Sure I’d seen Germany on TV, and I’d had a good friend who was German, and I knew that the boss I was going to work for was American, and I knew that many Germans could speak some English, but what I did not know was just how different living in Germany actually was. And it began from the moment we landed. We were surrounded by people speaking German, all the time, and for me it was about as useful as being surrounded by a flock of squawking galahs. And day by day I came up against things which were done differently in Germany. Little things, like learning how to use the automatic ticketing system for the trams And then there were the big differences, like when you rent an apartment, it has no floor coverings, no light fittings, no built in kitchen (as in no cupboards, stove or sink or anything in the kitchen). And renting a furnished apartment was simply unheard of. Indeed there were so many differences that it came close to being too much for me and at the end of six months I can remember thinking, “Don’t they do ANYTHING like us (Australians)?”
But you know what I see now, looking back? All along the way God provided us with the people and the access to knowledge and understanding to make it possible for us to live and enjoy living in Germany. He sent the right policeman to sort out our visas. He gave us an apartment with a kitchen sink and really friendly and helpful neighbours. We got the loan of a kitchen stove from a student I worked with. There were classes in German, and people willing to help us learn it. He got a colleague of mine, who was not a Christian, to point out that we could worship in the local American military base church and so we found our Christian community home. Over and over again we had help and guidance and wisdom given to us to deal with the specific circumstances in which we found ourselves and with that help we learned to live in and really enjoy Germany.