Newsletter – June 2014

Berlin Bound! – deBruyn Ministry Update – June 2014


Summary points:

  • We’ll be in Berlin in less than a month.
  • Please pray with us for our remaining time together with friends and family.
  • Please pray that God would continue to provide the remaining resources we need for long-term service in Berlin.
  • Our send-off party will be on June 18, from 4-9pm at Wabun Picnic area (details below)
  • Hiawatha Church is commissioning us on Sunday, June 29 at 10 AM, join us!

 
In less than one month, our family will be in Berlin.  Each day, we reflect on much that God has done in our lives over these past few years to prepare our family for life in a new place, and we expect to experience the joy of following Jesus to life in a new place as we see His hand of preparation and providence on our family, even when much of what “life” might look like may be different than it is here.  As I write this, I think about experiencing Jesus’ presence in new relationships, new places, new struggles and trials, and I know we can trust Him to continue to provide, prevail, and grow us as we walk in the thing’s He’s prepared for us.
During our remaining days here in the US, we want to make the most of time with our family and friends, so we’re making an effort to spend meaningful time with as many of you as we can.  If you’d like to see us before we leave let us know by giving us a call or sending us an email.  We’ll be having a send-off party on June 18 at the Wabun Picnic Area near Minnehaha Falls, in South Minneapolis from 4-9 PM.  We hope to see you if you can make it. 

Our excitement continues to grow as we’re closer to our arrival in Berlin.  With each passing month, we experience more of the things we’ve prayed about become answered.  The team in Berlin continues to grow, and the gathering up of God’s people from all different places to bring us together in Berlin for God’s purposes and for His kingdom amazes us. 

This may seem silly to you, but in a personal way it was something that I had wondered about and at times even worried. I wondered if we’d lose and miss corporate worship when we move to this far-away place. Then, last month we were able to join some of our team virtually via an online meeting.  The meeting was running late, and so when we joined, our team in Berlin were worshipping together around this table in a big conference room.  It was totally unexpected, and nothing I’d even prayed about very recently, but at once I was overcome with emotion and the depth and care of God’s love for us and the needs of our hearts.  Worship at our home church is something we truly love, and it was so awesome to experience God’s providing to experience worship in our new home, the city He’s called us to. 
 
Hiawatha Church will be commissioning us during the church service on Sunday, June 29th, at 10 AM.  If you’d like to be there with us to help send us off, we’d welcome your participation in seeing us off that way also.
 
Please continue to pray with us as we finish out our remaining time here, pray for our time with family and friends. Pray as the kids finish school in the next couple weeks. Pray that God will continue to provide the remainder of our financial support for long-term work in the city, we’re not fully funded yet and are hoping the remainder of the resources we need will be committed before we leave. We still need about 15% of our long-term financial support.  Some of our friends say “If you’ve been waiting to partner with us, now’s the time! Don’t miss the boat, jump on!”  Thank God with us for all He has done, and all he continues to do.  Pray for Him to bring about a revival in Berlin and for Him to be glorified in all that we do.  Thank you for your partnership in His work and with us. 

Update!

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Where are we at? We have been amazed at how God has provided for us over the past month. We set out at the beginning of March to have 66 new partners fill the remaining gap to us being fully funded. In the last four weeks twelve new households have joined our support team and three households have increased their giving. Thank you for stepping up in support of us!

We still have a ways to go. We are $3,150 a month away from being fully funded and we need to have this support committed by May 1st.  That means we are working and praying towards 27% being pledged in the next four weeks! We are still sharing with churches around MN and beyond, we still are sharing with small groups when the opportunity arises, and we are having meals and coffees with individuals to share about Berlin. In the “off time” we are writing letters and emails to people and working on the loose ends we still need to tie up before we leave.

Really what we need right now is prayer, will you pray with us? Pray that God will use the team in Berlin to His glory. Pray that He will provide the remaining partners needed for us to join them in June. Pray that the remaining pieces will fall into place so that we will be able to enjoy our final days in June with family and friends.

help us finish!

help us finish berlin

That math doesn’t add up!  
Keep reading to see how this equation plays out and how YOU can help us finish!

Sometimes Berlin feels so close. We’re without a home now and each day is focused on Berlin. We’re praying about it and talking about it all day. What is the reality? The reality is that we’re still 27% of our monthly budget from buying plane tickets and 32% of our monthly budget from moving to Berlin. It feels so close, and yet not close at all.

How can you help us finish? Pray with us! Pray for God to bring the needed partners alongside of us. Pray for the people of Berlin, pray that the ministries will have lasting and fruitful impact. Pray with us as we continue during this time of transition. None of this is possible without mountains of prayer.

Perhaps you’ve felt God leading you to partner with us financially. Great! We’re praying for people to partner with us by making a financial commitment to supporting monthly or annually. We are hoping to have our needed support committed by this Spring, so we can move once the kids finish school.

How does this look? We are praying for 23 people at $100 a month, 23 people at $50 a month, and 23 people at $25 a month.  When these remaining people join with us, we’ll be have 100% of the monthly support needed so we can move.  That’s how 23+23+23=100 in this thinking. Is joining us at one of these amounts something you feel led to do? If you are already a monthly supporter is God leading you to increase your support? Are there people you know who are, or might be, interested in Berlin who you could introduce us to ?  All these things are possible ways to help us finish. Certainly there could be more, if you think of them let us know!  Please share this post and help us spread the word!

Thank you for praying with us. If there are specific ways we can be praying with and for you please let us know. It is our joy to lift you up in prayer so send us an email, facebook message, or text.

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Ministry update – October 2013

Stepping out in faith.

After more than fourteen years of service at the EFCA National Office, Denny had his last day in the office.  October 1st marks the beginning of a new chapter in the deBruyn Family, as we’re now able to fully devote our time to developing ministry partnerships to join the work that God is doing in Berlin. On October 9th, the EFCA National Office had a special time prayer and commissioning for us as we transition.  What a blessing to have many of those who have walked with us for so many years behind us in support and prayer.

Would you please pray with us during this new season?

Here are some things you can pray for:

  • Pray that God would continue to call people to labor for his kingdom in Berlin, both in partnerships and in new workers willing to invest some of their lives in the city.
  • Pray for transition and adjustments in our family as we figure out new rhythms in life.
  • Pray for continued spiritual growth and encouragement for all in our family, and that we could mutually be an encouragement to others as we meet with them.
  • Pray for a full schedule!  That we’d be intentional in this time of partnership development, that we’d be able to schedule appointments and for God’s spirit to guide those conversations.
  • Pray for neighborhoods, relationships, and God’s leading in our witness to the world.  That we (you too!) would be sensitive to God’s voice in how we can share his love in this world.  Ask God for opportunities to pray with your neighbors and see how he responds!

Fruit from meetings.
We’ve had some really good meetings these last few weeks.  Mike Edwards, the Berlin Team leader was in town, meeting with other leadership from the ReachGlobal Europe Division.  One of those days, we spent with existing and future Berlin Team members clarifying the vision and direction for the Berlin Team, and praying for the city.  While Mike was here, we met with some local pastors in Minneapolis, and spent an afternoon discussing what potential for global ministry partnerships could look like and how people from a local network of churches could be involved in partnering to help reach an influential city like Berlin.  We know that to be a part of making a positive impact in Berlin, it’s going to take a cooperative effort with many individuals, churches, and like-minded organizations coming together, and that we’ll be far more effective and have far greater reach in partnerships than anything we could ever accomplish on our own.  In recent weeks Denny has had a packed schedule meeting with individuals, pastors, and even a “cluster” of pastors from different churches in southwest Minnesota.

Progress Update
As of this week, we’re up to 57% of our monthly support need.  We’re praying that we’d reach 60% by the end of October.  That’s another $350 / month that we need pledged in the next 10 days.  Pray with us.

 

The Berlin Team, currently living in Berlin:
(left to right)
John and Judy Westrum, Katie Dudgeon, Mike Edwards, John and Steph Hasler, Jim Baker, Erin Underwood (recently returned to the US), Timo Heimlich

We have some exciting news to share!  As of this week, we’ve received more than 51% of our monthly commitments from many generous people who are helping us see the work that God has prepared for us in Berlin.  If you’re some of those people, we are extremely grateful for your partnership.  Please continue to pray with us and ask God to raise up the remaining people and churches He has planned to partner with us on this journey.

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Our current plans:

We’re praying that God would raise up additional ministry partners so that our monthly commitments can get to 65% by September so Denny can leave his role in the Information Technology department at the EFCA National Office and focus full-time on developing future ministry partnerships that God will use for furthering His Kingdom in Berlin.  Please pray with us to see God’s provision in this way.

 

Summer:

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Isaac’s Baptism

Isaac was baptized a week ago, Sunday.  More on this later… We love to see our kids faith grow and them desire to walk with the Lord.  It’s such a blessing to get to walk with them in this life and encourage them to deepen their relationship with God.  We’re continually amazed at God’s work in their lives.

This summer has been full of all types of surprises.  Take a couple days ago for example, we received a letter in the mail and apparently during our trip to New Orleans, our car was flagged for some type of ticket on Sunday morning at 9:02 am while we were on our way to church at Trinity EFC in Covington, LA.  We received a notice from our rental car company, and are expecting in 6-7 weeks to see what this $18 fine is for.  We paid our toll on the causeway and we don’t recall speeding through downtown or running any red lights, so we’re curious to see what it’s all about.

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Conference was a great time of meeting many people.  Nicole thinks she met over 100 new people at this conference.  We’re hoping that some of the connections we made will be the beginning of relationships with people we can work together for the gospel for years to come.

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Denny running the chainsaw, because it’s manly.

Before the conference, we arrived to a tree limb down in our front yard.  Our generous neighbors from Ecuador came over to try and help us, but we ended up needing to get a chainsaw to cut it down the next day.  It’s a good thing too, because arriving home from conference, another tree dropped a major limb, so Denny’s had plenty of practice with the chainsaw if anyone needs help in that area someday.

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Our kids at gymnastics

Isaac and Leah both started in a gymnastics program, which they’re both enjoying.  Isaac’s gymnastics instructor is from Europe!  God keeps bringing about these connections.  We pray he continues to use us to share his love in this lost world.

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Micah at Soccer

Micah took up playing soccer, and has practice two mornings a week.  The practices are about an hour long, and at 4 years old he really only has patience for about 30 minutes before he’s ready to be done.  Hopefully this training will prove beneficial for building relationships once we get to Germany.  And hopefully during this time we have opportunities to share the Gospel with some of the other families there.  Pray with us for conversations.

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Some friends who have been living with us this summer.

We’ve been blessed to be able to share our home with many families so far this summer.  First Nicole’s family came into town, then we spent a few days with some ReachGlobal staff from Belgium talking about ministry in a post-Christian context, and what ‘church’ looks like in that culture.  Right now we are blessed to have some dear friends living in our basement during a transitional period in life. It’s so great to be able to pray with them and encourage one another in our walk with Jesus.

 

Denny and Scott (Belgium) and their 'conference beards'.

Denny and Scott (Belgium) and their ‘conference beards’.

Ministry Highlight:

We were so blessed to be able to get up at 4:45 am and take part of a Berlin City Team meeting.  We video-conferenced in to see our teammates and spent the morning drinking coffee, hearing about developments in Berlin, hearing about the big-picture vision from T.J. Addington (a Senior Vice President of the EFCA and Leader of ReachGlobal who was in Berlin for the meeting) and praying with our teammates and future-teammates.  This was such an encouragement to us and really helped in feeling more connected to what is happening there.  Please pray with us that God would get us there quickly!

 

Get the deBruyns to Berlin, 12 days of Christmas Challenge.

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Friends, is anyone up for joining ‘Get the deBruyns to Berlin, Twelve Days of Christmas challenge’? In this season of advent, expectation, and thanksgiving we are continually thanking God for his provision of His ultimate gift to us, and trusting Him for everything in life. We have been reflecting daily with our kids on God’s greatness during this season of Advent, as we await his Second Advent.  There are 12 days left before January 1, 2013! As people partner with us to get us to Berlin by next year, our goal has been to make 50% of our monthly financial need in commitments by January 1, 2013. We are currently 17.5% away from reaching that. That’s 50 partners at $50.00 a month or 25 partners at $100.00 a month. Would you consider helping us reach our Twelve Days of Christmas goal? We can start our training on January 15, 2013 if we are at 50%! Consider how you might partner with us during this season; Pray with us, join our financial support team, invite others in prayer and partnership, join God in the mission He’s has for Berlin in 2013 and beyond! For more information, contact Denny or Nicole deBruyn. Glory to God and thanks be to Him in this Christmas season!

Pressing on and Pressing In.

These last several months have been a rich time full of work and rest, progress and patience, encouragement and growth. God is so good!  We have found this a sweet time as we press on with the task set before us as we also press into God, continuing to learn how to trust Him completely.

Things you can be in prayer with us over:

  • For God to be made first in our family, and extended family, and for unity in the Gospel.
  • For God to continue to grow us deeper together with Him, and help us to wait on him as we work.
  • For our home sale to go-through smoothly.
  • For our kids to finish the summer well, and transition back into the German Immersion school.
  • For God to continue to open doors of opportunity, and direct us to the people He wants to be partnered with in life and ministry.
  • For God to continue to raise up a ministry support team around us and provide for this opportunity.  We’re praying to be beyond the 50% mark by January.

Working toward Berlin: We’ve felt God’s blessing over these last few months in progress and preparation as we move toward Berlin.

At the end of May, we finished our New Testament survey course through the Leadership Development Institute in Minneapolis, thus completing our last prerequisite with ReachGlobal before the Pre-Field Training event we hope to attend in April, Lord willing. The New Testament class was such a good thing for Nicole and I to do together.  We were able to read through the entire New Testament, and get a better overall understanding on the Biblical narrative in the New Testament.

Denny and Nicole teaching on Philippians in the New Testament Group Project

 

A couple of months ago we had a unique opportunity to be part of a “Missions Week” at Trinity Evangelical Free Church, where the focus was on “The Dark Continent of Europe”, and the theme was “Why Europe, and Why Now?”  (Perhaps these subjects interest you, or you’ve asked that same question yourself.  If you’d like to talk about either of those subjects, please contact us, we’d love to talk about Europe with you from a strategic missions perspective.)

Denny and Nicole presenting to a Sunday morning adult Bible study class during Trinity Missions Week.

Isaac and Leah talking to the Trinity Kids at church about their adventure to Berlin. (With ReachGlobal staff, Judy Westrum)

During the week-long event, Nicole and I had multiple opportunities to meet with people from the church, engage in evening focus groups, and present during the Adult Bible Fellowship hours with John and Judy Westrum, and Rich Trca (both fellow ReachGlobal Europe staff). Nicole and I were also invited to come and talk with Trinity EFC’s Youth Group,

Trinity Student Night – We were invited to speak about missions and shared with the students how God used things when we were younger to help prepare us for this season of life.

where my friend and fellow disciplemaker Jeff Conner is the Youth Pastor.  He’s engaged in raising up future leaders and disciplemakers at Trinity. Pray for them!  The week was a very encouraging time, and it’s so good to see another church that displays intentionality when it comes to global missions.

Some of the other things we’ve been doing as we work toward Berlin have to do with making preparations to move.  In June, we listed our home for sale and after six weeks or so we have an offer.

Denny and the kids painting the bathroom in the basement getting the house ready to sell.

We’ve been praying for God to provide the right buyers for our home and so now we’re waiting to see how these people are an answer to our prayers.  I’ve prayed two things; that the people who move into our home would be a light in our city for His kingdom, and would demonstrate the Gospel in the way they live, or that they would be people who need the love of Christ in their life and that they would encounter Him as a result of moving here.  As we were getting our home ready to sell, a few generous people volunteered to help us get it ready.  The times of working with these friends have been a blessing in multiple ways.  First, they sacrifice their time to serve us, and secondly there have been some really good opportunities to talk about intentionality in our lives as it relates to how we live for Christ as disciplemakers.  We are so grateful to God for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

This summer we had the kids involved with a German tutor one morning a week (which just ended a couple weeks ago), and last week they were involved in a German summer camp in which they got to make something different each day of the week.  They made Müsli Riegel (granola breakfast bars), Igelbrötchen (hedgehog rolls), Wurstsuppe (hot-dog soup), Hähnchenschnitzel (chicken schnitzel), Apfelkuchen (apple cake), and Käsespätzle (cheese spatzle).  Check out Nicole’s blog post for further details.  They start school again in just a few short weeks.

Isaac and Leah with their “Hedgehog Rolls”



We’ve been diligently working at developing a ministry team of individuals and churches.  This consists of making appointments by phone or email, then meeting with people and churches to discuss partnership opportunities.  To get a better idea of what that means, in the last two weeks we’ve met with numerous people over coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we’ve met with pastors and missions’ boards from four different churches here in the Twin Cities.

In the midst of this busy summer, we’ve also been intentional about making time for rest and reflection.  I spent four days in the boundary waters with some of my friends from church, and my friend Kris and his brother Jeff.  It was a time of developing deeper friendships and enjoying God’s great wilderness.

Some of my friends who spent a few days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, north of Ely, MN. (We did almost 35 miles in 4 days!)

A few weeks ago, Nicole’s mom came to town, and we enjoyed some good time with her family here, and in Fargo.

Leah’s Grandma teaching her how to needlepoint.

And two weeks ago, I went to Oshkosh, Wisconsin with my Dad and the kids to the Airshow for a few days of fun with Dad (Grandpa for the kids).

Me with my Dad and the kids at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI

Nicole had a few days to herself to rest and enjoy life, and to get a break from our busy schedules.

As we’ve had more opportunities to share with people about what God’s doing in Berlin, and we’ve seen our support level increase from 13% to 23%.  In the chart below you’ll see a map. Where the map is ‘lit’ with ‘dots of light’, that represents evangelical presence in the world. People keep asking ‘how close we are to Berlin’.  I thought a nice way to present that would be in the form of a flight-line of 4,862 miles from Minneapolis to Berlin. As we get ‘closer’ to Berlin, the miles will reduce, and the plane will get closer.  We’ve only got 3,743 miles to go! We are so encouraged by God through the people who have committed to join with us in this ministry effort, and we are grateful to Him for you.  At the same time we are challenged with being patient on His timing.  Waiting for our home to sell, waiting for people’s responses, then seeing God provide.  We feel he’s developing in us a further dependence on Him as we continue to walk with him and patiently wait for His to providence.

 

To contribute to our efforts financially, please click here.