31 October 2005

newsletter june-october 05

German Jungle June to October 2005

Man, it’s a jungle out there! This has been a really busy and productive season, and I am excited to be able to share some of it with y’all. I will try to keep my stories brief, and as always, I’d be glad to hear feedback and answer any questions!


There were a few changes in my schedule the last few months, so here it is again…

Mon: 1:30pm-5ish distribute soup for the homeless with a bike in the city, 7pm-2am Offen:bar (Christian bar) help out, talk to guests about God
Tues: 2pm-punker café, 6-9pm Café Chance drug counseling cafe
Wed: 1:30pm-5ish soup for the homeless, 7pm-2am Offen:bar
Thurs: 7pm-street group (open end,usually till 11ish)
Fri: 1:30pm-5ish soup for the homeless, 6-9pm Café Chance
Sat: visit people in detox/ therepy/ hospital; workshops
Sun: church!


Hans “beule” Gerhard (update): wow, rereading what I wrote about Hans in my last newsletter confirms in my mind how much God has been doing in the past few months. On Sunday, June 26, Hans gave his life to Christ in prayer. Since then he has made awesome advances.. he reads the Bible and has increadible understanding. Now he is once again in the Heines Klinik detoxing from drugs- voluntarily this time, and has already organized a place in monitored-living in another city for afterwards. That’s good, but my prayer is that he would go to Hanover to a Christian therapy. He wants too, but is unsure if they can meet his specific needs. I have been out to visit him as often as possible, and he says he misses having people to talk to about God and pray with. Last week he held a spontaneous mini-sermon based on John 17 for me- the passage that up to now has always scared him. And a few weeks ago, as I took Hans on a city-trip, (he isn’t allowed outside without a counselor) he told me he has been thinking about baptism and wanted to know if we could baptize him even though he was as a baby, that he feels like the Bible says to be baptized when you believe! Saturday. October 15, I had the pleasure of baptizing him in a pool based on his own testimony of faith in Christ! Pray for him to get into a Christian long-term therapy program and to stay clean and with God.

Markus Spoerhase: the 30-year old non-Christian with whom I pass soup out to the homeless three times a week. He asked me if my “Jesus Freaks” patch was meant ironically, not being able to imagine someone he regarded highly as seriously interested in Jesus. This is a guy who, to the outside world, seems to have things pretty well together. In his spare time he takes care of the needy, has no enemies, and “preaches” high moral standards. I said I mean it very seriously and invited him to church. Laughter. Several months later, in August, he suddenly started coming to church and to our “street group” Bible study. He then told me that the day he asked me about the patch, he went home and started reading the Bible. He considers himself a Christian because he was baptized as a baby… my prayer is that we will be able to break through his traditionalism and help him see God as his personal savior, and to ask Jesus into his life. Last week Friday, he went to jail to serve a four-month sentence for something he did not do.

Erik Ertel: an elderly alcoholic. Last month he lost his apartment for good and is now living completely on the streets. He had a bad accident and was in the hospital near death for a few weeks, then came out and Markus and I helped him out with a place to stay, food and clothing. After a week, he decided he would rather go back to begging and left Markus’ house and our counseling. He is a trusting Catholic, goes regularly to mass, and I pray that his contact there to the priest will be enough to turn his heart. He is caught in a cycle of habit and poverty that is hard to get out of, and with his age and health, if he doesn’t change he won’t survive the winter.


Our church is helping a new church in Ede, Holland to get started. The first weekend in September we went there to pray with and encourage them. I was invited to preach Saturday night (in English). Normally, our sermons are online at http://jesusfreaks-bremen.de/predigt.php but this one I had taken out because my English was so embarrassing! There are one or two of my sermons at the link though, for anyone who understands German. Oh, the topic of my Holland-message was “sheep in wolves clothing” just to raise your curiosity.
Suddenly one Sunday, I was approached by Kruemel, the Jesus Freak in chanrge of the church service, and told “you are the only person present who plays an instrument. You lead worship.” Now, you only have to know me a little to realize that I am not exactly a musician. I hadn’t played guitarre in three years, and I had never played well enough for more than personal devotional times… and never on an e-guitare in front of a church. Well, I got through it somehow, and for me it was an awesome time of praise. A guest came up to me after and said, “I came today because I wanted to hear really cool music… and I realized I came with the wrong attitude. You sounded horrible, but I really felt God.”

Current projects

Several of my goals from the past letter have become current. For example, I make short films for the introductions to sermons, lead the ministry team for drug counseling of the Jesus Freaks Bremen, and attend a preaching seminar.

There are two projects I would like to say a bit more about. The first is a short film project with the secular punk-project. The film will be shown in an alternative movie theater here in the city and has a chance to be “bought.” Our topic is “girls in Bremen- their safety.” Through this project I have been able to talk about more sensitive and personal issues with the punk girls than before. It has created a safe space for them to talk about their experiences and emotions.
I have also started a Christian improv-theater troupe. We meet once a week to practice, and are getting ready to perform in public. My desire is that we will be able to use the shows to start conversations with the audience about God. Its going to be a challenge, since all of the troupe members are beginners.

In the Making

This Christmas I will be celebrating with a few friends here in a very special way. We will be inviting some of the homeless and disadvantaged people who I have a closer relationship to too join us for dinner and entertainment. We are hoping to be able to provide presents for them (a Bible, candle, and something warm to wear each). In addition the Jesus Freaks will be going out during the afternoon and offering coffee, spiced tea, and cookies to the homeless and punks, and asking if we can pray with and bless them.

I am also still planning to make the short films that I have previously described. I now have contact to a professional film editor through a local church, and have found actors.

The Jesus Freaks and the Christian drug-counseling center Neues Land are in the process of setting up a half-way house. I helped bring the two groups together and am co-leading the project. The first step will be an apartment where we can offer short-term living space to people between detox and therapy. We are hoping to be able to find one before the end of the year. The house and more intensive work is set as a two to three year time span of development.

Additional Prayer Needs:
I am still waiting on my medical insurance to come through.


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