The Vogel family showed us such kind-hearted and welcoming hospitality. All the family has such a splendid grasp of English - which meant our conversation flowed with ease.
We enjoyed visits to cathedrals, farms, wind turbines and famous cities such as Hanover and Hameln, where a modern day Pied Piper took us on a walk and explored with us the various possibilities behind the folk tale which has made his city famous.
We cycled by the River Weser, saw Hauke's old school, shared an evening bbq and some of us even drove tractors!
On our final day we visited the Vogel's family church. The Custos (verger) of 70 years showed us round. As we left he said to Hauke's father how wonderful it was to see the bond between British and German Christians.
That was one of so many precious moments during our time in Germany this week. In a sense it brought Hauke's year with us to a fitting conclusion. He was able to offer us his family's hospitality and I know that meant so much to him and was a great blessing to us. The truth is it felt like a 'family' visit - and for such kindness we give thanks.
As one of our party put it as we drove along the M25 after arriving back at Stanstead - 'Well, that was magic!'. A sentiment I thoroughly agree with - and one that appropriately describes a week in which I both drove a tractor and followed a Pied Piper!!
We praise God for the Vogel family and say 'thank you' to them once more for letting us 'borrow' Hauke for a year!
Here are some pictures of our adventures this week!
|We touch down in Germany at 10.20am after leaving Amersham at 4.00am!!|
|We arrive in time for morning coffee!|
|We see the 'Musicians of Bremen' statue|
|Hauke and his father welcome us so warmly to their lovely home|
|Erna drives the family's vintage 1949 tractor!|
|Hauke the expert tractor driver!!|
|Gathering for breakfast in the farmhouse|
|The Union Jack was raised at the farm in our honour!|
|Enjoying a boat trip|
|Visiting Hanover - where Hauke will soon be at university|
|Matthew and Hauke climbing up inside the farm's wind turbine|
|Being shown around Hameln by a modern day Pied Piper!|
|Visiting one of the family's farms|
|Sharing breakfast with Hauke's Mum and Dad|
|Hauke and Matthew play a duet|
|Visiting Hauke's church|