Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wyk auf Föhr

I can say without a doubt that Wyk auf Föhr is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.

Wyk is the town; Föhr is the island off of northern Germany. Auf means of or in or on or something like that.  I don’t speak German.

It is a small island—tiny, actually; we went on a tour of the entire thing in about a half hour. But let me tell you: the beauty and peaceful essence of this island is something that is unmatched in my mind. About a third of the houses have thatched roofs, and each house was accompanied by beautiful gardens and shady trees. Sheep happily grazed along the many fields. Once again, there are no lines on the road, and people tend not to lock their doors. The whole island was surrounded by wonderful beaches. 

I flew my kite on one of those beaches. Illegally. Accidentally. Apparently there is a designated spot just for kite flying (sounds like my kind of place!) and I was not on it. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if my kite hadn’t caught a bad wind and took a nose dive, almost taking out a happy couple as they relaxed in the sand.

Should have thought that one through.

The choir had homestays for that weekend, and a friend and I stayed with Daniel, a 30-something man who just happened to be the head architect of the island. He designed their golf course. Cool guy.  Daniel is dating Susie, a woman from Nigeria who lives with a young family who hosted four other guys in the choir. Since they were all close friends, we kind of merged the two groups.  This group of men and women, all in their mid-thirties, were fun, loud, hilarious, drunk, and fantastic. And they allowed us to be loud as well, which was quite fun. We had a BBQ with them, they took us to a bar party on the beach that takes place every night and doesn’t end until the last guest leaves. It was wonderful to talk with different people and get to know their stories. The people here are relaxed and seem to be comfortable with who they are and the quality of their lives.

Föhr has four churches. The most ancient is from the 12th century A.D., which was just another church until, in the 1900s, people found that there were murals painted under the plaster on the ceiling. Take a look at these pictures.  Amazing.

We sang a concert in Föhr, but not at the oldest church. We sang at another one that was built about the same as the others, but probably had a bit more seating. It was cold inside when we rehearsed and when we went to the worship service on Sunday morning.

As we spent the day on beautiful Föhr, going to the beach and the FischMarkt (great food! I had a delicious crabcake sandwich!), I started to realize something peculiar. When I went into a shop, most of the time I was  asked by the person behind the counter something like, “So, what kind of music does your choir sing?"

The entire island knew about the concert.

And it seemed as if the whole population was at the church an hour before it.

I’m pretty sure that the whole choir felt as if God was reaching through our hosts toward our hearts. We had passionate and worshipful devotionals before hand, and then marched into the packed church with people shoulder to shoulder in the pews, standing against the walls, and sitting on the floor—all clapping an excited beat in unison until our director came out, during which they went crazy. 

The choir sang the best they have in a long time, and with each section of the concert, whenever we walked out to stretch and drink water and came back in again, the crowd was even more excited and wooted and hollered even louder when we were ready to sing.

Sometimes I forget the Unsung Hero of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. And let me tell you, it was moving that night. The air was heavy with it and the people in the pews and we in the choir were filled. We were all bursting with the sounds of worship.

Afterwards, with everyone still floating on the Spirit, the choir went its separate ways. A few of us, though, after showering and relaxing for a bit, decided it would be a pretty good idea to go dancing. Now may I make it clear that clubbing is not something that I like to do. ‘Matter of fact, I pretty much hate it. The horrors of high school dances added to my anxiety disorder causes me to avoid public dances like the plague. Every once and a while, however, the planets align and I decide that I would love to go dancing.

This was one of those nights.

From midnight to 3am, I very well could have starred in Saturday Night Fever.

There’s something I’m sure you all would have wanted to see.

That's all the documentation from that night. Dancing Brian rarely is filmed. Oh, and that girl is a friend from choir, no worries, Christie. :) 

When we were done dancing and pretty worn out from a full day, we took a taxi back to our neighborhood and walked everyone back home. On the way to one girl’s house, we got lost, which caused me and my roommate to not get back to our flat until 4:30. The sun was rising, though, and listening to birds wake up and horses go for their morning trot is quite nice.

As I went to bed, I reflected on my time at Wyk auf Föhr.  The beautiful scenery, the beautiful people, and the amazing tangible closeness I felt with God made me realize that Föhr is a place where I would be happy to visit and just forget to leave.


Praise God again for His flowing, freeing Spirit.  May your lives be engulfed with it.

Peace, perfect peace.








  1. You were SO right when you said in our conversation on Skype that your dad and I should move there after we retire. We shall live in the little white house, with blue trim and a thatched roof with pink flowers and listen to horses every morning during their morning trot!

    AMAZING blog entry again Brian! The story you tell and the pictures you take are beautiful!

    Love yoU!


  2. Wow, I am so proud of you! Looks like the first week of Europe/Germany was amazing!

    Still can't believe you went clubbing! I hope you know Justine thinks this means you can go all the time now :)

    So cool that you flew your kite on the beach!! And the picturesque little towns you've been to are so great!

  3. Yaaaaaay!!!!!!! Dancing Brian!

  4., Chris (and Sara and Linds)are you saying that you've witnessed Dancing Brian also? Where in the world did you see that? Do tell! Was it amazing?

  5. Actually this is from Sara: "Dancing Brian Goes Abroad" - we could make a movie! :) Sounds like an amazing time - keep the blog entries and photos coming - we can't get enough! Glad you're having fun - safe travels!

  6. From Sara again ... Our last experience with "Dancing Brian" was in Disneyworld in Florida! :) It was also accompanied by all of us randomly bursting into our own versions of Aerosmith's "Rag Doll" courtesy of the Rockin' Rollercoaster! "Flap Jack, Scooby, Doobie, Doobie" is the key phrase ... we're really quite good when we all get going! :)

  7. Dad here. Yep, I'm bloggin'. It's so fun to see you're having such a great time! I saw a miniature version of Dancing Brian at Haley's grad party for the first time... wow. Keep the photos and posting coming. Love reading them! Lawn's getting long. When are you coming home again? Love you, Dad.

  8. ***Comments on Pictures***
    --Pic 1-3---Oooh my goodness… these houses look like they came straight out of a fairy tale! I love, love, LOVE the little details on the houses like the window panes on the front door of the first house, the little metal do-dads on the second story windows and the ruffly-fluffly curtains on the second house, and I just love EVERYTHING about the third house pictured… everything… I waaaant it. Mom, you wouldn’t mind if I moved there would you?! Haha!
    ---Pic 4---Brian, why do the sheep have chains around their neck? Do the chains keep them in one place so they mow the grass evenly? Or is it a long leash that drags on the ground so the owner can easily grab them if they try to get away? I really hope they’re not tied together… humm… Come to think of it, I don’t have a sheep and I think I really need one… a sheep would fit in quite well: Jack (orange cat) could use the sheep as a form of transportation to his food to avoid walking, Fez (grey cat) would try to kill it every day but come up way short every time, and Logan would love to pick up Ms. Sheepy’s poop. Haha! It would be great! ; )
    ---Pic 6-7—Fyi- its not very “Bethical” of you to try to kill people with your kite.
    ---Pic 8---The girls in this picture have the most gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen!
    ---Pic 15---I sincerely hope that Dancing Brian’s dance moves have evolved a bit since his appearance in Disney World. I simply must know Brian, did your moves “pushing up the corners” and the all time favorite “LOOK I HAVE MORE SPACE!” shuffle make it to the club in Wyk auf Föhr???

    ***Other comments***
    ---I realize that you’re busy now, but later on will you be responding to the comments people are making on your blog? Or are you just talking at us and we will talk to each other? I ask because I have many very important questions I need answered such as: “why do the poor sheep have chains around their neck?!”

  9. hmmm...i don't know why the sheep have chains around their necks. they definitely don't seem attached to anything. maybe the farmers just try to create the illusion of being tied down to make sure they don't run around or something. i dunno.

    thanks, all, for posting's nice to hear from you. :)

  10. Hi Brian,
    Wow! I love seeing your pictures and reading your blogs-you are a very good writer, thanks for letting me share your trip!

  11. Oh good, thanks for getting back to me so quickly about the sheep. I’m glad to hear that the little sheep aren’t attached to the ground or each other; that would have been pretty sad… Would you mind bringing one of the sheep home for me? I think it would work for you to either have the sheep be your traveling buddy over the summer or, if you would prefer, you could just send the little sheep over to me right away... either way… haha!

  12. RE: House #3.
    LINDS: I claimed that house FIRST. But, yes, you can come and live in that house with us....bring Logan and Fez and Jack and Millie too!
    BRIAN: Was there a 'for sale' sign in front of it? Would you mind asking if they would mind selling it to us? Does it come with it's own trotting horses? How about sheep? (Linds won't be happy til she gets her own sheep.)

  13. Brian -

    I am SOOOOO envious. I love the Cinderella Castle. I am expecting you to gather lots of info on Spain so you can come back and be a guest speaker in my classes. Put together a slide show/power point and present.I am so very much wanting to travel there. You are doing it in such a wonderful way to find out about real culture and real people that you don't have to rely on the touristy things. They are fun too but not as much as the people. Just think about the wonderful memories you will have to share with us. What a tremendous experience!! Love you - Bergum

    P.S. The only thing that would have been better for this trip is if you would have taken the donkey off my desk again. I am sure he would have loved Europe.