This past week we celebrated Father’s day. It coincides with Ascension Day, which is a national holiday here in Germany. My first experience with Father’s Day in Germany came four years ago on a short-term trip to Berlin. In fact, it was one of the things about that trip that I could not shake from my memory. It seems pretty simple to think that Father’s Day should be a day to celebrate the role of the father within a family, but part of becoming a progressive society presents opportunities to throw off traditional roles. Instead, Father’s Day in Germany is an opportunity for men to drink the day away and celebrate their freedom from this traditional role. Society has neutered the father and relinquished him of his role of leading and guiding.
The rising tide tells us that male leadership is not needed, that passivity gives rise to a better post-modern society. But this is where everything went wrong in the first place, Adam failed to accept his role and his passivity plunged our world into chaos. This is what the enemy wants, fatherless nations and a world that rebels against the Father’s plan. We will continue to see families and relationships disintegrate unless we are motivated to action. We cannot fulfil God’s purpose for our lives if we are not willing to step into the roles He has designed for us. May we be nations of men and women who lead our families to God by following the example of Christ.
We see as central to our ministry the importance of modeling Christ in our family. With this in mind, we continue to pursue opportunities that help us encourage families to seek God. We believe this starts in community with other believers and flows out to a lost world.
Over the past month we have had many opportunities to encourage families in our community. I mentioned in our last update about our men’s retreat and the opportunity to speak at this gathering. Cherry and Jeannie participated in our church’s women’s retreat and were able to spend time encouraging other ladies both single and married, lost and forgiven that were in attendance. We also helped lead our teen retreat this past month. I had the opportunity to speak to the teens on Saturday evening. The weekend focused on looking at the lives of four individuals that encountered Christ. A number of the teens recognised their need to encounter Christ in a deeper way and it was a great weekend building relationships.
We also continue to encourage families by working with our children on Sundays. We do this through teaching monthly as well as working weekly with our children’s group after our Sunday services. This allows us to connect with families in a deeper way as well as gives opportunities for helping create a culture of discipleship in our community.
We have continued to spend time with families in the refugee camp in Wilmersdorf. Over the past month many of the residents in the camp have been observing Ramadan. While this has made it tougher to connect, due to fasting during the day, I have been visiting every week and was invited to a meal last week by some of my friends to break their fast. We are helping organize a gathering this week, and we hope this will give opportunities for new relationships and opportunities to share Christ.
We are winding down our weekly program in Reinickendorf this month with the end of school. I had the opportunity to speak with the boys and girls twice this month. I shared the gospel clearly with them and many were asking spiritual questions after the talks. Thank you for praying for these children. They live in one of the toughest areas of the city. They are the fatherless and our team hopes to be examples of godly fathers and mothers to them.
Pray for Cherry in her language class. She has made many new friendships. Her classmates come from all different backgrounds and cultures. They know she follows Jesus and many of them are encountering Christ for the first time. They are not interested in spiritual things, but many are curious to know more about why she would leave the US for life in this city. Pray she would know how to graciously share the gospel with those far from God.
Finally, our team has many changes coming in the next month. Not only will our closest partners in ministry (Dye Family) be leaving for a required one-year in the States, but two of our closest partners (Miller Family and Hinton Family) in reaching refugees will as well. Pray that in the absence of these families, God would raise up new leaders and that this would give rise to new growth and new opportunities for the church in Berlin when these families return next summer.
We are thankful for some recent holidays that have given us some much-needed rest and time together as a family. The girls are ending the school year this month and we are battling burn out, while encouraging them to finish the school year strong. We have been working hard with Quinn to prepare her for next year (third grade), where she will have the big change of switching classes every hour as well as starting classes in German. Continue to pray for her as we work to give her a good foundation in English over the summer so she can make up for some deficiencies and be prepared for success with these changes. Gracie is making good progress and seems to be thriving in this environment.
We are thankful that much of our ministry this month has given us the opportunity to serve together as a family. Along with this we have been able to spend encouraging times together with our Berlin family. We are thankful for those we work alongside and the unity we have experienced that makes serving together a joy. Pray that we would continue to stay focused on being unified in Christ and that we would pursue one mission of gathering others to bring glory to God.
Wisdom in staying connected with families over the summer break. This always seems to be tougher with the vacation culture here in the city.
Wisdom in planning for greater influence through bridge events we are planning for the fall and that we would find effective ways of equipping the church to reach into these places.
Transition of our church to new leadership over the next couple of months.
Strength and consistency in finishing the school year strong with our responsibilities and for grace in shepherding our family well.