Germany on Friday and Saturday
We went to the schools early in the morning and spoke in the English and Religion classes. This was a harder day for some of us because the kids were less willing to talk with us in the Religion class. But this is understandable because it would be like us having economics taught in German. Religion is taught in the school system like any other subject. Thankfully the teacher in the class that Nate, Regina, and I were in is a believer and strong Christian.
One of the coolest moments of the day happened in the Religion class. In Germany, the population of born-again believers is around 2%. Many people say that they are Christians but really they just go to the State/Government church (the protestant or catholic church recieves tax money from the state). Young adult believers are under similar pressure to the peer pressure in the States. It can be hard for them to share their faith for fear of ridicule. It is even harder here because of the few number of people in the country who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and live accordingly. We have many many many free churches in the states while those in Germany are considered like “cults” or “sects”.
In this Religions class, the teacher asked the students “Who was Jesus Christ”. Only a couple of students answered, but one girl (around 15-16) said “He is the Son of God”. The teacher replied, “Do you believe that?” and she said “Yes.” Under his breath the teacher said “Halelujah!” This was very courageous of her considering that the students dont even like to talk about what bands or pop culture preferences they have for fear they will be ridiculed in a group of friends.
Later in the day we had team time and Regina and I have been blown away (as I am sure others have felt) with the spiritual lessons we have been learning here. Sometimes it is hard to take it all in becasue of both the new things learned in another language/culture and those spiritual eye-opening experiences. But the group time with Kip and all of us has been very beneficial and our group talks A LOT. 🙂 We have all gotten to know each other very well.
That night the young adults of the church came over to hang out at the church building with us and play games. THIS WAS A BLAST! We played lots of card games, table tennis, and fooseball. Talking with these young adults was SO encouraging and amazing. They are wanting to be bold in their culture and stand for Christ among their co-workers and fellow students. Please pray for them for it is very difficult here to do that because of the culture and the deadness of the religion. We talked about things that we have been learning (both German and American Christians). Dennis, a guy who is a strong believer talked about learning about wisdom in Proverbs and in Job. He speaks very good English and often opporates as a translater in our interactions with those our age. The girls, Vivi, Angelica, Monica, Mellisa are all reading (if I understand correctly) in the Old Testament. I can tell that there is deepness to their thoughts even when they don’t express it because of being able to speak little English.
We got together as a team around 9:30 am. Our host family did not have heat or hot water this morning so Regina and I skipped showers and were able to have breakfast with the whole host family. Andi, Annika, Lucas, Aaron, Micha, and Judith. A typical breakfast is EXCELLENT bread, jam, and hardboiled eggs. They also will eat “bretzel” for breakfast (pretzel) because it is. offered in the region and not in others.
Our team practiced singing together to be able to lead the English worship service tomorrow afternoon. Both Regina and I are giving our Testimonies tomorrow. Please pray for us as we are really exhausted right now and have been up late the past couple of nights. God has been good and the jet lag is gone, but the late nights and early mornings are catching up with us. We also had our bible study with Kip leading and we have been learning about how “Jesus is the Real thing and offers people what they really need”. It is a study in the book of John. We just finished the Samaritan woman at the well story on Friday.
Then a few of us went to the Pappas’ house to call home and (for me -to get a shower). Their home is wonderful and looks out over a beautiful vally with lots of house rooftops and trees shooting up on the hills on either side.
We went back to the church where Janell, Regina, and Kip were. Then Leoni (Nate is living with her family) and Vanessa (who has VERY good English–very clear English), and Dennis all came to the church to go with us down into the village. We brought fliers to hand out to young people downtown to invite them to come to the movie we showed tonight at the church. It was “The Blind Side” and was shown in English with German subtitles. This was definetly stepping outside our comfort zone by just greeting people who do not speak the same language on the street, but it was good. The group broke into two groups and while one group went shopping and to hand out fliers, the other group headed a different direction to hand out fliers. Later we met up for dinner downtown.
Then we headed to the church to set up for the evening’s movie watching event! We set up tables to look like a cafe’ and had candles lit on the tables. We also had german gummy treats (Haibro) and other snacks. The movie was a hit, and it seemed to be well recepted. Some had seen it before, but not many. there were not a lot of people who came from the community, but there were a lot of people who came from the church and it was good to hang out with those young people again.
Tomorrow is a full day. First there is the German church service that lasts from 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours and then a small break for lunch (provided by a member of the church) before we launch into another 1 hour English church service (without translation). Kip is preaching, Nate is singing a song and playing the guitar, Janell is playing the guitar as we all sing some praise and worship songs (known and unknown to German people), and I (Katelyn) and Regina are giving 3-5 minute testimonies. Later after the church service we will go home with our host families to spend the evening with them as we have not had a lot of time to spend with them.