Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Basel Experience

I live about 30 minutes outside of Basel, Switzerland. Basel is a beautiful city on the Rhine River, bordering Germany and France.

My ministry these takes me to places all over Europe and in the United States, but I am trying this fall to go into Basel once a week to spend a day there exploring the city and seeing what happens.

Let me give you some context as to what this is all about:

First, I choose not to drive to the city, but rather I drive to the train station and there take a train to Basel’s main station.

I do not know anyone in the city … yet. (I’m thinking positively.)

I do not know the city very well, so I walk around a lot, seeking to discover it for myself. I get lost along the way.

As I walk around, I pray, I observe the people and I try to find ways to connect with them.

Did I mention that I really do not know anyone there?

Our kids do not go to school in the city.

We do not live in the city, so it’s kind of like I am parachuting in one day a week.

This is a learning opportunity for me. In some ways, I feel like a volunteer on a mission trip. I’m basically starting at zero, trying to get to know a city and its people. I figured that would be an interesting missional experience to blog about and maybe others could relate to if they’re starting out in a new city or have been a volunteer mission trip leader before.

Speaking of volunteer mission trips, keep in mind that I am not specifically going into Basel to paint a building, dig a well or work in an orphanage. I am not going to the tangible, but the intangible.

I am entering into that culture for a limited time, but I am seeking out how God would have me make an impact on the city for Him, whether that means prayerwalking, helping a lady with her groceries or striking up a conversation at a coffeeshop. Coffee will always be part of the experience.

The question I am asking myself each time I go into Basel is, of what value can I be when I go into this city?

How would you go about doing this?


ewinwe said...

carry enough Swiss pocket change to recharge someone's expired (or almost expired) time on the parking meter. If asked, you can call it a random act of kindness (or use the Evan Alimighty version "Act of Random Kindness - ARK").
Not that I would go out of my way to do this ... but be prepared.

Maybe that is what you need to be ... a Boy Scout in Basel.

Camel Rider said...

I would show up with my camera and take some shots. If possible, I would try to connect with someone else taking photos. Even if I just visited the same photo shop each week to try to connect with someone....of course over coffee if possible. Maybe we could take some shots together and learn about the city at the same time.