Just down from our home sits this memorial in a quiet park next to the allied museum. In a city filled with so many memorials that remind us of the dark places humankind has gone, this memorial is a strong reminder of the nations that stood up for freedom in the face of oppression. I love the picture of these stallions bursting through and trampling the very device that held so many captive.
This is why in Berlin, Americans are known more for tearing down walls than building them. Maybe this is why I get kind looks from weathered Berliners on the bus when they hear my American accent or perhaps its because of one of the little blond-haired, blue-eyed girls sitting next to me. Regardless, this monument reminds me weekly that with the collapse of this iron curtain people were set free.
Ultimately, this story mirrors a greater story of what Christ has done for us. He has trampled sin and death and removed the barrier between God and us. Just as these horses are a picture of the forces that tore this curtain of oppression, we to see how Christ once and for all rent the curtain that separated us from God.
So as I reflect on this city I draw confidence that those living under sin can be set free. The wall of sin and death that once oppressed has come down. May we be the ones breaking out after Christ leading others to crush the sin that holds them captive.
So our approach when we encounter others becomes simple, we use the gifts God has given us to begin moving toward speaking of Christ. For our lives here in Berlin this is played out in many different contexts. In the camp we started working in this month in Pankow, we are breaking down barriers by building relationships through soccer. The more we get to know the families and children here the more they want to know about who we are and why we are here. Our hope is to work toward starting a Bible study in this community. Though we are limited and at times seem to be making little progress, we continue to pray that God gives us increasing opportunities to talk about Jesus.
In Reinickendorf, many of these barriers to sharing have come down. We weekly share who God is and how He relates to us through Jesus. It is exciting to see two of the boys who received Christ last year in our summer camp are consistently coming and growing in their faith. Please pray for the other children attending as we plan for our summer camp at Lake Tegel that they too would hear and receive Christ. We also look forward to continue to build our soccer outreach in Steglitz this Saturday. It has been a slower process getting this outreach off the ground, but we pray the door will begin to open as we try to reach families in our community in the southwest of Berlin.
We had a number of events that were great opportunities to share Christ this month. Cherry continues to work weekly by leading our teen girls Bible study in our home. I am thankful for her gentle, gracious way of encouraging these girls to live for Christ.
We were also able to encourage the men in our church by having our monthly men’s breakfast in our home. One of our future coworkers (God willing!) visiting from the States spoke during this time and was an encouragement to our men.
Our annual teen retreat was this month and I was able to speak to the teens in one of the sessions. This group included teens from our church, teens from other churches in Berlin and teens that do not attend church. We focused on who God is and how He relates to us, as well as who we are and our response to Him. We had a number of good responses from the teens. Specifically, pray for Cade, Nicholas, and Elliott as they see a need to know Christ better.
This past weekend we hosted Concert Singers from Charleston Southern University. Music, much like the sports we use weekly, is such a powerful tool to open hearts and we saw this on the streets and parks of Berlin. Those who would have normally walked right by us, stopped for conversations and accepted gospel literature. They also helped us continue to build relationships in the new camp we are working and spent time with our teens to encourage them toward Christ. Even after a day of walking over 10 miles they were joyful reminders of the God we serve.
As a family we had a great month. Our weeks were full and at some times exhausting, but we felt strength in our weakness and are thankful for this grace God gave us. The girls and I started riding our bikes to school last week. It is funny how a little thing like this can bring joy. Cherry and I had a great time on the teen retreat. We surprisingly slept really well and were able to spend some time together on the lake kayaking. This was one of our favorite things to do when we lived in the States, so it was a reminder God’s love for us even in little things like this. We were thankful to host a friend from our sending church during this time and she helped Jeannie with the girls while we were gone. It was a blessing to see her and she was an encouragement to us.
We also had a great time with our Pastor and his wife from our sending church. We had a great time showing them as many things as we could in the short time they were here! Quinn and Gracie had so much fun reading Bible stories with them and playing games. We were encouraged by their visit and they were a reminder of our church family’s love for us.
We thank all of you for loving our family and encouraging us to continue working on your behalf to make Christ known in Berlin.
- Praise for strength and joy in the past month's activities.
- Preparations for upcoming events and camps.
- Prayer for the hearts of our teens, that they would see the need for Christ to be first in their lives.
- Open doors in Pankow and Steglitz for the gospel.