This afternoon I have the great honor of speaking on behalf of the Metro Nashville German Meetup Group. Melanie founded our group in January of 2010 and was our faithful leader until her other life responsibilities required that she turn the reigns over to me in 2011.
I remember the first time I met Melanie. It was back in February 2010 at a little Mexican restaurant here in Hendersonville. From the first moment she was welcoming and wearing her always-infectious smile. We only had about eight people at that first meetup, but Melanie created such an atmosphere that we all spoke as old friends.
Since that first meetup we have grown to over 150 members. Following the example Melanie set for us we continue her tradition of warmness, welcoming all who join us as old friends.
I don’t know if Melanie knew the impact her little German group had. But, for myself, I can say that it has truly been a blessing in my life. The friendships I’ve made are truly dear to me and are all thanks to Melanie putting herself out there and welcoming strangers as old friends.
Melanie has now departed this life, but the impact she’s had will continue to live on for many years to come. And, whenever I meet with my German friends and see a smile on a new person’s face, I will always think of Melanie.
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32 (ESV)
“Herr, nun lässt du deinen Diener in Frieden fahren, wie du gesagt hast; denn meine Augen haben deinen Heiland gesehen, den du bereitet hast vor allen Völkern, ein Licht, zu erleuchten die Heiden und zum Preis deines Volkes Israel.“ Lukas 2:29-32 (Luther 84)