Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Risers are Gone

I will long remember the day that I found out the Risers were leaving. We had been in Germany for a few months and I was at the Riser's house yet again, this time to pick up a bed and dresser. It was a cold day in late November or early December. Spencer was with me. While loading the items in our car with Wade Riser, the dad, he informed me that his family would be returning to the States in early 2007, maybe even as early as January 2007.

As I got in the car and we were driving away I told Spencer the news. I cried for several minutes as did Spencer.

The Risers are an American Family that have lived in Germany for the past three years. The father works for Siemens as an engineer. Eva, the mother has generally about one or two extra kids at her house and is always doing nice things for other people. They have two boys (15 and 17 I think) who have lived in the States since the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year. They have three younger children, Sarah 12, Nathan 9, and Sandra 6 who live in Germany still.

Our kids love the Riser's kids. On our first Sunday when I saw Spencer playing soccer in the gymnasium with Nathan after church I thought Nathan was a German boy, because he spoke generally in German (Spencer did fine because you don't really need to speak any German to play soccer, although I've heard it helps). They have since become fast friends and Spencer loves being with another boy his age.

Hannah and Shantal play on a rotating basis with Sarah and Sandra. Just when one set is getting tired of playing together (say Sarah and Hannah), then the other set is ready for a break and they just naturally switch. Sarah is older, but enjoys being a big sister to our two girls (dress-up, make-up, arts and crafts, etc.).

All the kids play with Emma (our 18 month old daughter) or let her roam around their play areas and so she doesn't feel as left out at the Riser's either.

They have a great spirit about them and were a tremendous help to us when we first arrived. Their were so many people who did so much for us when we arrived and moved into our house, Sister Doris Klein, the Andre, Kraft, Crapo, Harzheim, and Grueneveld families among others helped make Christmas for our kids possible, cleaned our house when we were moving in, and did many amazing things for us. The Risers were among those who helped us, but since our two sets of children fit together so well, we ended up spending lots of time with them.

They spoke in church at the end of February 2007 and then there was a dinner held in their honor. It was such a strange feeling to see them go. They not only symbolically represented all of the help and support we have received since arriving, but were very literally the hands of God that reached down to us and made our transition into life here in Germany possible, especially for our kids.

The questions that kept going through my mind was how can we live without this same level of support that we had at the beginning of our journey? How will our children survive? Naturally had the Risers stayed we would not have seen them as much and our paths would have crossed less frequently and we would have mapped out our own lives here in Germany, but them leaving seemed to draw such a firm line and indicate so strongly that the time had come to move on from the "move to Germany" to everyday life in Germany.