I had the opportunity to begin language school this past month. It has been an intense and humbling experience. It is easy to take for granted the ability to hear others and comprehend what they are saying. I have been reminded of this daily as I hear my new language and learn how to converse with the other people in my class. We come from all over the world, with many different languages represented from Russia, Bulgaria, Belarus, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Ghana, China, Japan and America. My class in itself is a mission field. We look very different than each other and you would think that with our different cultural backgrounds we would have little in common. But language brings diverse people together. We did not understand each other very well when class started, but we are now slowly beginning to speak the same language. The more we hear each other speak, the more we recognize the message being communicated.
This reminds me of the importance we have as followers of Christ to daily speak the language of the gospel. It is easy to speak our own language and disregard others as just noise. Our opinion becomes the only one that matters and we forget that the greatest message is not our own and that we are not our own. We forget that Jesus did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but taking on the form of a servant He humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross. We lose sight of His willingness to set aside His own rights and privileges to identify with us. Many times instead of speaking the language of the gospel, we choose to engage a lost world with our own words. We cannot point people to Christ by speaking our own language. We must saturate our words with the message of the gospel so that others see Christ and not us. This is my desire, that when I encounter others they would begin to recognize the life-giving words of the gospel and not my own.
Have you ever had a day that was just going poorly from the very beginning, but it ended up being an incredible day? This past Wednesday was like this for me. My day felt like an uphill struggle with a mentally exhausting day in class and then a whole afternoon with disappointments about getting our vehicle modified and registered. I rushed home to pick up the girls and equipment for our first night of outreach into a local refugee camp and hurried over to the site mentally and physically exhausted. But as we arrived my frustration gave way to the encouragement of smiling faces of children and adults as we made our way into this run down, crowded building. These people, many of whom have seen things I will never understand, were yearning for someone to care about them. Just like that I was reminded of why we were here. The door is open and the fields are white. Cherry and Jeannie particularly have a tremendous opportunity to minister to the ladies in this camp. Please pray for the opportunity that we have to introduce these families to the gospel.
Our ministry this month has given us opportunity to begin outreach into underprivileged and refugee communities. Most of our work has been with children, which has also given us opportunities to connect with families. We have also been able to do this through our local church by helping with the youth and teen ministries. This has opened doors to encourage believers within our church as well as reach families outside our church with the gospel.
Cherry has been involved with leading a weekly mothers prayer meeting out of our home. She is also one of the class representatives in Quinn's and Gracie’s classes at school, which has allowed her to connect with moms from the school. We have begun weekly sports outreach into a community in Reinickendorf and at the Goerzallee refugee center in our local community. Both outreaches are off to a good start. I have also had the opportunity to continue discipleship with a young man from the Middle East and am enjoying meeting with him weekly. As time allows I am also helping out with a soccer outreach to Afghani young men. Cherry and the girls are involved with supporting these ministries. We are praying about the potential of beginning an outreach after the new year into a refugee camp in the north of Berlin, that has refugees from many different restricted access areas.
Our family is doing well. Jeannie has been a tremendous encouragement to us and has been a great blessing to our church family as well. The girls have struggled a bit adapting to their new school environment and making new friends (many of their classmates only speak German). They seem to be adjusting well now (Gracie got invited to one of her German friends birthday party:) My language studies are going well and have accelerated my understanding of the language with the intensity of the program. Please pray for me as I have testing next week to evaluate my proficiency to move on to the next class. Cherry plans to begin studying in the next month. We have a family retreat next weekend with our church family and look forward to getting away for a couple of days.
Please pray as we are in the process of getting our vehicle modified and registered here in Germany. It is a very complicated process. Specifically, our headlights did not pass testing and must be modified. We found out good news today that the headlights can be modified as we were unsure if this was even possible earlier in the week. We have budgeted money for this, but looks to be more expensive than we had planned. The vehicle will mainly be used for getting equipment to outreach sites and to save time getting our family safely across the city when needed. If you would like to help provide for this expense we would greatly appreciate your help. You can find information on this project at the link below. Thank you for your pray and support of our family!
Special Project for Vehicle Modifications
- Praise for good starts to our weekly outreaches and connections with families in these communities
- Praise for opportunities to serve together as a family in our church and through outreach
- Prayer for wisdom with navigating the issues we are encountering with our vehicle
- Prayer for strength and energy throughout the week in daily tasks and ministry
- Prayer for language studies so we can better connect with refugees