There is a chill in the air in recent weeks on streets of Berlin. Fall is a beautiful time in this city and the changing leaves display a finale of colors that signals all nature to gather for the coming months. As the cold creeps closer with every falling leaf, the warmth of our homes beckons us to gather close with family and friends. We are made to gather, to come close with others to share in moments of joy, hope, peace and even sorrow.
Living in a big city magnifies the importance of this. Cities can be lonely places. Filled to the brim with people, but void of closeness to others. It is easy to have everything, but lack the one thing we all yearn for which is community.
We are created for community. This is what we lost in the garden when we chose to break our fellowship with God and make our own way. In our brokenness, we recognize that deep inside of us is a desire to live in community with others. This is why we build cities and gravitate toward living close with others. This is why God promises us a new city so He can once again restore the fellowship with Him that we know is the one thing we lack.
Of all the needs I have seen in our short time in this city, the need for community is the greatest desire of the wanderers who have chosen to make a life in this place. As followers of Christ our willingness to invite tired, weary souls into our lives is the key to melting hard hearts weathered and beaten by a world void of hope. So we invite sinners into our homes, because we are just like them apart from God’s grace. We make them feel loved and welcomed, so we can introduce them to mercy. As a dear friend recently told me, mercy is the only thing that separates the hopeful from the hopeless. May we not waste another day to invite others into communion with the One who gave us a reason to gather.
“Now is the time; today is the day. Heaven will tell your story throughout eternity. May you live one worth telling. May you leave a legacy of vibrant faith and a pathway for others that is lavished with generous love and the kiss of God’s favor each step along the way.”
We have seen many opportunities to gather over the past month. We had the opportunity to invite a family from Syria into our home. We are hoping to connect with them again soon. We also continue to gather weekly with the kids we work with in Reinickendorf. This fall we are focusing on sharing God’s Word with them through different people in the Bible. We are also continuing weekly work in the east of Berlin in a refugee camp that we began working in last spring. Chad is developing strong relationships with many of the boys in the home through soccer and we are praying for open doors and invitations into the lives of families in this place.
We had some great opportunities working alongside our church community and encouraging other communities this month. Jeannie spoke at the kickoff for our community’s women’s Bible study and we are excited to see so many women joining these gatherings. Our family helped another local church at an outreach to their local community. It was neat to see how this church used a family fun day to invite their neighbors into community. We were excited and encouraged to be a part of it.
We have seen God moving to bring gospel workers from across the city together in weekly co-working days and there seems to be a like-mindedness in gathering together to pursue gospel advance together. We recently organized a gathering of workers for this purpose and it was encouraging to connect with others involved in evangelism and discipleship. We are praying the event is a doorway for greater engagement and collaboration on reaching Berlin for Christ.
Work with our local church family was encouraging this past month. Our teen group has doubled from this time last year and we are thankful for the opportunity we have to work with teens that are coming from all over the city. Cherry is meeting with two of our young ladies one on one each week. It is encouraging to see how God has placed her in a position to connect with these young girls and guide them toward Christ. The longer we are involved in this ministry the more we see how critical this group is for these young men and women. They crave friendship and Christian friends are hard to come by in this place. We recognize this ministry is a battle for life and death and we are determined to continue pouring ourselves out for this special group of kids so they can see how worthy our King is to follow.
This past week we were blessed to have a group of men from our home state working alongside us. They were a tremendous encouragement to our church family and served in many different capacities. Our church family retreat was a great success. We had 80 in attendance and were thankful to spend a beautiful weekend at a nearby lake. Our speaker Jerry McCorkle encouraged us to share God’s story and his passion for sharing the gospel was a motivation to those in attendance.
Pray for us as we start a new gathering next week with refugees we have been building relationships with over the past year. Our hope is to invite families for a monthly night of fellowship with the hopes of talking through topics that would allow for deeper conversations and invitations to studying God’s Word weekly.
The girls have settled into school over the past month and seem to be doing well in their classes. They both have some new girls in their classes that they seem to be developing good friendships with. We have enjoyed beautiful weather this past month and are thankful for the opportunity to be outside. This past week Germany celebrated reunification day and we found our favorite street food (Quark Balls!) at the Brandenburg Gate celebration.
We would appreciate your prayers for a number of ongoing applications and issues we are dealing with for living here in Germany. We are continuing to learn processes and how things are done here and these things can be challenging and many times consume time that we would prefer spending elsewhere. Thank you again for standing with us and continuing to intercede on our behalf. We plan to be in South Carolina for a couple weeks at the end of this month and the beginning of November. While the majority of our time will be spent with family, we look forward to connecting with as many of you as we can while we are in town.
God’s leading in finding ways to connect and encourage gospel communities in Berlin.
Wisdom in knowing how to navigate the complicated processes of living in Germany.
God’s leading into new opportunities for engaging people in our communities.
Rest and recovery during our visit to the States to be with friends and family.