28 January 2010

mr smith auf deutsch

andreas just wrote me that his father was taken suddenly to the hospital tonight.
he didn't say more (grrr) and so i am asking for prayer for whatever to not be serious and for him to get better soon.

salvation army and salvage market

this week i have been really busy working at the salvation army. christin is not what you would call organized.. her office was a dump (literally) and there weren't enough cabinets to hold things.. (notice the past tense) so yesturday i dragged her to a second hand furniture store and helped pick out some furniture that would work for her space. i guessed measurements by eye-balling, and everything fit perfectly! we got a lockable thing for binders and i repurposed a big wardrobe into storage space, and we added a coffee table and two chairs. then we spent the rest of the day and today and tomorrow moving everything out of the office, setting up the furniture in a new way (i made a fake wall out of all the cabinets and hid allt he stuff she doesn't need but can't trash in labeled boxes behind it) and ORGANIZING it. i wonder if my skills in this area are marketable? i forced her to throw out a lot of useless stuff, and threw some stuff out when she wasn't looking that just needed to go (seriously? ALL the empty bags and boxes she wants to store?! ALL?!?! and the broken microphone?! and the cassette tapes and floppy disks?!) quite a fun time.

and then i headed off to the indoor salvage market (like a huge garage sale) that is a three day a year tradition in karlsruhe. imagine a room the size of a soccer field........ i made a list so as not to get distracted and buy too much. on the list: gloves for biking in winter, a black knee-length wool coat in a modern style, and an electric coffee grinder (not chopper). well, i didn't get the gloves. but i got the rest!!! and paid.. drumroll please.. 6.50! to give you an idea.. the coat alone costs 150e and up in stores. on ebay i havent seen it go for under 50e. and it is BETTER than any i tried on in stores. thinner but warmer. with a modern, feminine and slimming cut. and the coffee grinder is from the leading brand (krups).

and then i headed over to steiger to teach englisch.. and was blessed by being bought a doener and coke for dinner. and someone else said she felt she should give me 20e. just like that! it was a good day. a good week. oh- and at street work yesturday it was -12 degrees... and yet people came... and they came because they knew we would be there! there is starting to be a real acceptance and appreciation of us, and we had another evening of AWESOME conversations with the werder platz people. karlsruhe is starting to feel like home.

27 January 2010

new housemembers

toru moved out, and daniel moved in. it looks like a good match for our flat.. he's 26, a photographer, and likes coffee.... a LOT. he even brought me a coffee sack from malawi, since i mentioned i was looking for some cool ones. :-)

our second new flatmate is the miele dishwasher i found on the internet (after months of searching and being disappointed bc they were all WAY out of my price range) for 35e!!!!! yep, thats right. its only 7 years old, from the top brand, in great shape, and has all the features you want (like a pull out shelf for silverware instead of basket, and a super-saver program for water and electricity). andreas was getting agrevated at my constant search and as a joke asked sunday on his way out"what? not going to refresh your search page first?" and so i did.. and there it was! best part? we picked it up ON FOOT because it was on our street!

20 January 2010

street work high

wow... i am flying! today was so increadible! like every wednesday, i went out with gospel tribe and the salvation army to werder platz. there were 5 of us (1 from sal army, me, and three gospel tribe). it was no longer freezing and snowing, which was a plus just from the get-go. it also meant there were more people on the streets for us to talk to.

we'd been praying to run into uwe and his girlfriend evelyn again this week.. last time we gave him a Bible. and they came! turns out they are from another city and just "happened" to be here twice on a wednesday evening. i was able to make a real connection and give a testimony of God's love to uwe, and evelyn talked for the first time! she had been kinda hanging back and very shy.

we also met romeo.. he had been around before, but always declined a coffee or conversation. this time he came because christin was playing guitarre. he left his bike unlocked, and went into the bakery to ask for milk (we didnt have any more for the coffee). when we were leaving and he still hadn't come back, i said they should wait while i go let him know. this simple act touched his heart so much, that he opened up a little and asked for prayer for himself and his children.

there were a handfull of similar stories today.. which is actually rather unusual. we are generally happy if even one of us has a good conversation. today we ALL had them.. and i had at least 3!! God is really working in people's hearts.

09 January 2010

open living room

ok.. i mentioned in my last post that a main goal for this next year is to make the "offene wohnzimmer" come into being, not just as a plan but as an actual ministry. surprisingly, no one asked what that means.

well, i am going to tell you anyway :-p but for now, i will keep it short.

my vision for karlsruhe is to create a space that is a cross between a living room, a cafe, an arts center, a social work center, and a church. make sense? basically, it will be a cafe with no prices. if people can pay, they are encouraged to make a donation. if not, then they should just drink free. there will be no waiters, but rather a coffee bar where people can serve themselves (and thus not feel self-consious about not having money). the people "working" there would just be hanging out, basically. it will be set up like the coolest living room. i have a whole concept about the appearance, but i said i would keep it short. i'll just say this: mary poppins tea-party.

the arts part comes into play also a bit with the furnishings, and also with the wall space- giving local (christian) artists a space to exhibit their work... and maybe sell it. also on fridays there would be various events... small concerts, theater performances, indie films, open-mic... these would also be "fed" by the christian community. (i am not talking about the story of jesus every week though) some performances would come from workshops led by myself or other volunteers.. like i can see starting an improv theater group with local teens, making documentaries with the punks, or working with some of the homeless on a poetry-slam. and so on. these workshops would all be free and take place every saturday. maybe more, if we have more volunteers.

everything in the place would be for sale- but not for profit. it would be based on a sliding-scale. thus, a punk kid just out of rehab would pay 5 bucks for a chair and a banker would pay 50 for the same chair. we would get the furniture from the trash, and refurbish it. i have a friend who is a carpenter and wants to take on two unemployed people as apprentices and teach them to do these restorations, helping them learn a trade and make a little extra money.

the idea is that we would be restoring. the trashed furniture would gain a new life through the carpenters, and the people in the community would be restored in spirit through their contact with us. (we hope) obviously, it is a bit more subtle way of reaching people with the gospel. but i feel in europe that the most important thing is for people to trust and to then be able to open their hearts- and learn that the message of the Bible is one of LOVE.

trust me. i could say a LOT more. like about the counseling, soup-kitchen, single-moms group, kids homework help, emergency apartments, shower and washing machine, etc that are in this plan... but i will stop here for now. i am open to comments and questions, and of course, if you feel God is placing it on your heart to pray for this project or you would like to support it financially, i would be very happy to hear from you!

03 January 2010

looking ahead.. 2010

looking ahead.. 2010

ok.. goal setting for the coming year. i do this as a way to help me stay accountable, and also to let others know what direction i am heading in in ministry and personal life.

~to do street work 2 times a week
~to get more involved with gospel tribe
~to find ways of working with the salvation army, if possible
~to find a church where i can begin preaching
~to make a new film for a festival that carries a subtle christian message
~to further develope the "offene wohnzimmer" ministry concept that i have been working on in 2009 and take steps to start making it a real ministry, not just a concept in development.

~to start a masters of theology program through distance learning (barring finances: to continue to take the online classes and complete at least 6)
~to memorize large passages from the Bble
~to find a new mentor
~to do more athletics for health (swimming, biking..)
~to get married! (is that a goal?)

rewind 2009

short overview of the highlights:

january through april, bremen
there was a lot that had to be worked through due to the circumstances we were left in by matze's actions. we tryed for a long time to salvage the hope house, but when there was no way left, we came to terms with the end and began making other arrangements. there is no easy way to discribe these months.

may through july
i moved to karlsruhe and began working with steiger and looking for a room in a flat (part 1).
started setteling in, meeting people, getting to know the city.
went to a seminar, wedding, and festival.
desperatly started looking for a new apartment, because the old one was... not good...

august through october
turned 30.
went to england as my present to see josh ritter (and also met the glorious undead).
was told i could have a perfect apartment. and after finding someone for my room, told i couldn't have it because the landlord didn't like the way steiger sounded.
frantically searched and found another place. moved. all in a week.

november and december
met gospel tribe and the salvation army and started doing things with both.
sewed a lot of baby stuff for friends.
finished the Bible.
celebrated christmas at andreas' parents and new years with my steiger friends.


ok, anothor year has passed.. so get ready for a series of long post dedicated to analyzing it and summing it up. this is primarily for the missions committee, since i know you guys want to know what i do ;-)

in 2009 i set the following goals. the goals will be in italics, and the response underneath:


~to host on average one guest a month for months spent at the hope house
technically, yes, we had more guests than that even. i spent 4 months at the hope house, moving to karlsruhe on may 1. in march we made the decision to end our contract on the house due to the circumstances at that time. we still managed to host a few guest, even if they weren't homeless.
in february for the jesus freaks bremen 10 years party we had a full house.
march saw the russian girlfriend of our matze-replacement come to stay.. and stay.. and stay... trying our patience a bit, and forcing us into hospitality more than we expected.
march brought us sibe, from switzerland for a few days.
i won't count andreas, but he was there a few times, too.

~to get involved with a missions organization
yes.. in fact, with two! starting in may i began volunteering at steiger and getting to know them and the city. i taught german and englisch classes for the staff, cooked many a meal for the house, went on outreaches to the party-szene at euro- cafe, joined in for evangelistic oriental-styled tea parties, and met with a staff mentor for the rest of the year.
towards the end of the year, i met a group that is very similar, called gospel tribe. i was able to join them for street work at werder platz and the market place for a few months starting in november.
and does the salvation army count in this category? i have some new ties to them..

~to revive the street group Bible study
i guess not.. since i am not in bremen, i am obviously also not still leading the street group.
in karlsruhe i am part of a steiger bible study (and so is andreas!!)
i got a surprise in karlsruhe, when i met the sister of an old street group member. it was very encouraging to hear that she knew who i was, and had heard very good things about me!

~to preach on average once a month
no.. 3 times is all i was able to manage. my last month in bremen was too hectic. and i am too new in karlsruhe to be preaching. still working out what church is the best for me. there are a few options. steiger meets too early ;-) (but i went there mostly) and kubik is awesome, but meets too irregularly. this comming year i may be able to start preaching at the salvation army though, christine's mentioned it twice now.

~to make a new film for PBS
alas, in karlsruhe i don't have any film contacts yet! but.. i was able to get final cut studio (it should arrive any day now by mail..) so i can start editing the film i have. it won't be for pbs, probably just for church or maybe a no budget festival.


~to start a masters of theology program through distance learning
nope.. still just doing the free courses that i have gotten off the internet/ itunes. the "real" programs are all quite expensive. anyone want to spot me tuition?

~to read through the Bible chronologically
yes- and in german! finished it at thanksgiving. ben from bremen was my reading buddy.. we challenged each other to stay on course, and both made it through.

~to find a mentor
yes and no... kate from steiger international was my mentor through the end of the year. for the new year i will be looking for a new mentor.

~to do more athletics for health (swimming, biking..)
yes- i got a bike when i moved to karlsruhe and it has been my sole transportation this year. (even the time i spent on crutches.. although i got funny looks for it) i even raved the route to andreas' village a few times in the warmer weather- either through the woods or fields. swimming is still too expensive in the south, and i didnt even find a nice lake this summer.

~to get married! (is that a goal?)