Christmas Card 2011

We were totally on our game this year. Our Christmas cards are done before Christmas, with plenty of time to spare. I will never understand this, but somehow, getting these suckers out each year seems to put me back in “senior year of college procrastinator” mode.

But not this year. This time it was: Us > world.

Seriously, so proud of us. Particularly, me (Courtney). As awesome as Erick is, pumping out the Christmas card is not one of his “to do’s.”

So, correction: Us  me > world.

Many of you will be receiving this guy in the mail. You’ll hang it on the back of a door in your kitchen, or fridge, or wherever it is you display your Christmas cards. But then I thought, “hey!” why not share this card with the world!!! The Internet gives me this power. (Insert obnoxious evil laugh here.)

So here you go world. Merry Christmas from the Horrmann’s.

Personal Testimony: Erick

My personal testimony isn’t so much about how I came to faith in Jesus Christ. Since as far back as I can remember, I had faith in Jesus Christ.  I never had that moment where I “prayed the prayer” or accepted Jesus into my life.

My story is a testimony of making my faith my own, and discovering what my relationship with God really meant for my life beyond introspective faith.

While growing up in South Minneapolis, my parents made sure my younger brother and I knew that God was an important part of our lives. They taught that attending church, praying, and reading the Bible were things we should incorporate into our daily lives.

At a young age, I remember both of my parents being involved in our church, and it seemed only natural that I follow suit. I supported events my mom sponsored with the Sunday School. I joined the kids choir, helped recruit other kids to the events, and I was always excited about Christmas programs and other special events. I watched, and followed along, as my dad took communion and was still and quiet before the Lord. Not only did I begin to see church as something sacred and serious, but my faith as well.

Growing up in this church-centered family allowed me to really explore my faith. I found myself on many missions trips with my youth group and attended a private, Christian middle and high school. It was there I discovered that my faith was something that could be academically learned. There were things to study, memorize, and insightfully discover in the scriptures.

However, it was this discovery that led me to a very dangerous belief that was far from true — that I knew everything there was to know about my faith.

I came to college at UW-Eau Claire believing that I was the master of my own faith. An idea that God was quick to knock out of my head in a humbling way. In my freshman year of college I met Mike; a senior student in his last year of college who led a Bible study. I happened to be best friends with his roommate, and found out about the Bible study totally by accident (or not, from God’s perspective.) Through Mike, I discovered I knew little when it came to the vast and infinite knowledge I considered to be my faith. I re-discovered my faith, and began to uncover what God was calling me to do with my life.

I eventually went on to lead Mike’s Bible study after his departure from UWEC; and during that year, was challenged to go on a missions trip with Campus Crusade for Christ. I was casually a part of the ministry since my freshman year, and had yet to really “get involved.”

On previous missions trips I went on with my church, I re-built homes and worked with a children’s ministry with underprivileged kids. The goal of the missions trip with Campus Crusade for Christ was to share the Gospel with other people. To evangelize. Something I had always thought my entire life was for “those other Christians” that were maybe too into their faith. Certainly not for someone like me.

But God had bigger plans for me than I could have ever imagined.

Spending the summer with 60 other college students, walking around the beaches of South Carolina, and starting spiritual conversations with high school guys who were there to party, completely changed my life. I met young men who were lost, unsure and absolutely hungry for something of substance. Men who, deep down, were afraid of breaking the mold of party-boy and truly wanted to discover that there was more to life.

I saw the Gospel come alive that summer in a way I had never experienced in church or in my own quiet times praying or reading the Bible. I discovered that by actually sharing this love, and this Jesus I’d pray to and read about, was the piece of my faith that was missing.

I didn’t even know it, but half of my faith was being hidden from me by — well — me.  I praise the Lord every day for the perspective He gives me. I need Jesus Christ. He is infinite. And there is always more to discover about our Savior and the great love He has for us.

Get to know us … Day 28

Day 28: Favorite place we’ve traveled … and why

Erick: Disney World, FL

Okay, so you’re going to read Court’s after you read mine, which is good because hers is going to seem a lot more “cultural” than mine does haha! Either way, I am a big fan of Disney World.

Yes, that’s me and my dad in the picture. I know, “so cute!”

We went out as a family when I was 4 years old. I have some pretty epic memories from when I was there; from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which I was tricked into getting on, led to believe it was an actual train ride …) there wasn’t a moment where it wasn’t absolutely amazing. Well, except for when my brother Adam and I were in a gift shop and knocked over a porcelain figurine of the ticking-croc’ from Peter Pan … which my mom had to pay for.

I also went back to Disney World when I was 16 with my high school Symphonic Wind Ensemble (or “band”). What could be better than traveling with a bunch of your friends for 7 days over spring break to Disney World?? Plus all of the great memories from when I was there the first time, and then checking out all of the “adult” rides (or rather, the over 4-years old rides haha).

So between the memories from my childhood to the memories of my adolescence, Disney World is probably my favorite place that I’ve traveled to. I believe it’s an experience every kid (or kid-at-heart) should have and enjoy!

Courtney: Paris, France

Bonjour. Je suis Courtney et j’ai vécu en France pendant cinq mois.Echantée.

At the age of 19, I moved to France for five months. I was one of those college students who studied abroad; and to this day, I think it’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

Yes — even crazier than quitting my  job three months before I got married to become a missionary and receive no paycheck. That’s not crazy. That’s my life.

If we rewind about 6 1/2 years, we will arrive in Paris, France. I didn’t really know the language. I was sleep deprived, and had no clue how to get to my university in Caen, France (see Exhibit A). I was surrounded by the most beautiful looking food I’d ever seen, but was too terrified to order anything for fear of babbling my ugly French in front of real, live French people. I worried they’d throw croissants at me. And I’d prefer to eat them.

Exhibit A:

Eventually, I did get to my university. I did learn the language, I did order my own espresso, and I did speak French in front of real, live French people. And no one threw croissants at me. I traveled the country, and the continent really, for the next five months. I saw amazing bits of history, met wonderful (and some not so wonderful) people, ate glorious food and pushed myself way outside every comfort zone I’d ever created for myself.

And all roads led back to Paris. No matter where I traveled — London, Rome, Athens, Dublin, Venice, etc. — I always wanted to come back to the City of Light.

I. love. Paris. By the way — this is my favorite spot in the city. Standing on the foot bridge staring at this view, right here. *sigh* If I were more irresponsible, I’d forget this blog post and hop on a plane right now. Right now, I tell you! You’re invited. Wanna come with?

The city encourages me to do all of my favorite things. It’s full of culture, history, and everything aesthetically pleasing. I visited museums, drank more espresso than I ever thought possible, and meandered my way along cobblestone streets to gaze inside cafes, markets, and boutiques. And due to the wonderful French insistence on joie de vivre, Paris is low-key and laid back. Low-key and laid back is always good for me.

And to top this all off, my time in France led me back to the Lord. And specifically, the time I spent alone on my solo trips to Paris. I knew who Jesus was, but wasn’t walking with Him daily. But studying abroad naturally isolated me from everything I’d ever known, and I had a lot more time on my hands. So I read, I prayed, and I fell back in love with the Savior who gave me everything. Those five months were a blessing for my heart, head, and soul.

That’s why Paris, France is the best place I’ve ever traveled.