One thing that has become real to me over the past year is the magnitude of oppression present in our world. Working mainly with people that have felt the full brunt of oppression, whether to evil regimes or from the forces present in a city veiled in darkness, it seems that justice has lost its course in the world we live in. Maybe this is why the calls for social justice that have been boiling for decades are finally spilling over.
Everywhere you look people are captivated by the best way to bring justice to our world. Bringing justice stokes our egos as humans. We want others to pay for the things they have done. We feel responsible for holding others accountable when they have transgressed the law or when their opinions do not match up with our view of pursuing justice.
But pursuing justice alone is a shallow end game for those living under oppression. One of the greatest tragedies in our world is that so many believers choose to spend their time arguing over how to bring others to justice instead of loving the ones being oppressed. This is where real restoration can be found.
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
It is easy to spend our time concerned with the agents of justice God has placed in authority over us, but tragically in so doing we are usurping the role of the Creator rather than following His command to love. True love seeks to reconcile those under oppression. It loves justice, but is more concerned with seeing others understand what love is. Real love seeks to identify others with the One who poured out His life for them. When following Jesus' command to love becomes our focus, than we realize that justice will follow. In doing this we put our faith in God’s hands and not our own. Our greatest debt was purchased with love and it is the only debt we owe to others.
“Let your only debt that is unpaid be that of love- a debt which you should always be attempting to discharge in full, but will never succeed in discharging.”
May the humility of Christ ever be on our minds motivating us to love others and leave the wrongs done against us in the hands of our Father.
We finished our last camp of the summer this month. It was with the kids from Reinickendorf we have worked with throughout the past year. Twelve children from our weekly outreach were in attendance. We spent the week at a nearby camp on Lake Tegel. Our theme for the week was based on Ephesians 2:10, that we are God’s masterpiece made to glorify Him. We started with creation and eventually settled into using Paul as an example of how God uses broken people like us to bring Him glory.
It was a great week of digging deeper into God’s Word with these children. One boy we have been working with made it clear that he wanted to begin a relationship with Christ after the week. Cherry and Jeannie made the meals for the camp. They were a picture of love by the hospitality they showed the children and staff. The girls participated in the camp as well and it was neat to see how God took a week of ministry for our family and gave our girls a wonderful week of camp enjoying the last week of summer.
The past couple weeks have been spent transitioning back into our normal school year schedule. Specifically, we have been planning events for the fall and narrowing our focus for ministry over the next year. Our weekly outreaches are starting back up and we are working on ways to connect with those we are working with for the gospel. Our focus through the fall will be bringing together resources that can help us start conversations in the communities we are working in. This includes the collection of gospel literature and media in appropriate languages that can be shared discreetly in a digital library in the different communities we work in. We hope resources like this and using them to start conversations will lead to opportunities for discipleship in these communities.
We are beginning a new year of ministry with the youth at our church. This includes a new Bible curriculum that we will be helping to teach on Sunday's that will open up new opportunities for discipleship with the younger children in our church. Our first teen event of the year is this Saturday and we look forward to working with this group again this year. Cherry will be overseeing discipleship for the girls in our youth group and will be meeting with our teen girls throughout the week. We are both working hard on language. Cherry has been doing weekly lessons online and I had the opportunity to give my first devotional in German during our camp this past month. We still have a long way to go, but are thankful to be making gains in this area. Pray for our church family in our upcoming family retreat next month that God would use the team coming to equip our church to reach our city.
We had the opportunity to take a weekend trip to Dresden. It was nice break from the busy summer schedule. We also took a week away from ministry to spend some time together as a family exploring Berlin and getting some much needed rest.
Gracie’s long anticipated birthday was a great day of celebrating as a family with McDonalds, cake, and shopping. What more could a girl want!
Cherry and I got to spend a night away in the city at a local hotel this past weekend. We had a great time and felt like newlyweds again. No kids for 16 hours! The girls are back in school. Quinn is starting second grade and Gracie is a first grader. They both were able to move up with their classes and teachers from last school year, so that has helped them tremendously with starting the new year. The cooler weather here in the city has been a welcome relief from an unusually hot summer in Europe. We hope you enjoy the coming cooler weather and all God's blessings in the new season.
- Please pray for protection for our family back home. Chad's brother's little girl (Georgie) had open heart surgery September 7th. Our family back home has experienced a lot this year with Chad's dad having bypass surgery earlier this year and Chad's mom recently shattering her arm.
- Please pray for an upcoming event we are helping to plan for October that hopes to bring church leaders from across Berlin together to collaborate on how we can create a movement in our city.
- Please pray for us to recognize the Spirit's leading in finding ways to connect with the people we are working with.
- Please pray for like-mindedness among gospel workers and church leaders in mobilizing the church in Berlin.