Our tickets have been purchased!
We got the green light a couple weeks ago to buy tickets, and last Friday we secured 5 one way tickets to Berlin.
How does it feel? To be honest, our emotions are mixed. We’ve been on this road toward Berlin for a while now. The last time we were in Berlin was August 2011. Almost three years of sharing about Berlin with people God has brought into our lives. Three years of trusting and taking next steps even when we’ve felt stuck and discouraged at times. These years seem to have passed quickly with a combination of struggles and joy.
In three years Denny and I have spent countless hours talking together about Berlin and what our lives might look like there. Nicole spent a lot of time driving our two oldest to and from school so they can have the ability to communicate and develop relationships with other kids once we arrive. We’ve shared coffee, beer and meals with well hundreds of people talking about how God has lead us to Berlin. If you include the time in prayer and study in this list, you can begin to imagine all that we’ve been investing in this time of preparation. God has stretched us so much, grown us together, and helped us to daily put our trust in Him alone.
Now we are going! We are excited, filled with joy, and happy to see that God has brought us to this point. At the same time we are looking at these last few weeks in the U.S. and thinking- “That’s not enough time.” I find it amusing that now with so few days left I think not enough time and for the last two and a half years I have been praying (begging God) for this day. So, yes, there are tears both happy and sad and so many other emotions, in case you want to know.
These next few weeks will pass by quickly; our kids will finish school, we’ll continue to work on developing the remaining ministry partners needed to be fully funded, there will be many good-byes. Plus we’ll be packing and completing all the random stuff we need to get done before we fly out. Our day of departure is quickly approaching.
February is coming to a close, and as we continue on toward the ministry God is calling us to in Berlin we want to take another moment to praise Him for all He has done during this last year.
- Praise God for the amazing linguistic abilities He has blessed our kids with. Isaac’s teacher didn’t even know he had only been in the immersion program for one year and is amazed with his ability, this is truly a gift from God as he prepares even our children for life in Berlin. Both Isaac and Leah are glad to be done with their weekly tutoring.
Isaac and Leah at their last tutoring session
- Praise God for the wisdom, experience, and new relationships gained from the two classes we took in 2012: New Testament Survey and Multiplying Churches Globally. Both courses were great opportunities to learn more about our Savior and His plan for reaching the nations.
- Praise God for His continued faithfulness in bringing supporters alongside us. We began last year with just over 10% of our monthly support committed. God brought faithful, generous givers alongside of us to and brought us to 32.5% by the end of December.
- Praise Him for providing opportunities to share with people about Berlin. Over the course of 2012 we met with 71 different people, families, or church pastors to discuss the ministry ahead of us. We also hosted three Berlin desserts, one lunch, and participated in one mission week at a local church. That is a lot of meals (or coffees) and we are looking forward to sharing many more this year!
Denny and Timo presenting at the Berlin Dessert
As we continue on this year we would be honored if you would pray for us. Here is a list of updates with prayer requests.
- In January we began working on our final set of classes called Pre-field Training (PT) 3&4 and PT Live. The first two are online classes and the third event is live and held in Minnesota so we don’t have to travel. Pray that God would expand our understanding during these classes, that they He would use them to continue to prepare us for life in Germany and that He would grow our relationships with the other people in the courses.
- We are meeting with churches, mission boards, and other people interested in hearing more about how they can partner with us in ministry. Pray that God would continue to provide in this way. We are hoping and praying that God will provide the last remaining 67% so that we can leave this summer.
- We are in the process of selling our home. Pray for our family as we wait for God to provide a buyer, pray the buyers would be people who love the Lord and will be a light to the neighborhood, and that God would provide housing for us during the remainder of the transition until we move.
We also want to take this opportunity to thank God for all of our faithful supporters. We are encouraged daily by your generosity, prayers, and constant encouragement. We would not be where we are today without you! Thank you for your partnership with Him and us in this ministry effort.
Giving progress update
We had a wonderful time over the holidays with family in town. Knowing our time in Minnesota is short we have been intentionally taking opportunities to enjoy local places as a family. In January we visited the Ice Castles and the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens.
Celebrating at the Ice Castle at MOA.
Isaac 8: He is really becoming quite the helper around the house. He almost always is reading. His book recommendation is The Action Bible: God’s Redemptive Story.
Leah 6: Leah has been around several babies or kids younger than her lately and we can see her gift towards loving these little ones. Both she and Isaac preformed in mid-February at the Carnival of Cultures through the Twin Cities German Immersion School.
Micah 4: Enjoys going to Kinderstube (German preschool), but only on the days he doesn’t have yoga. J He is learning German numbers and letters at school and is doing well identifying them and attempting to write them out (in both English and German).
If someone would have told me 8 years ago that our family would be on our way to being missionaries in Berlin, Germany, I would have laughed. You see, 8 years ago Denny and I were in Budapest, Hungary and I was very pregnant with Isaac. It was here that Denny reminded me that he was in full time ministry already and that his mission was to serve the missionaries of ReachGlobal. “Okay” I said “That is very true, BUT just so you know, when God calls you to serve Him abroad I am ready.”
The thought of serving the Lord outside of the US has always appealed to me. My philosophy of missions has changed over the years, but the desire to serve the Lord in that way has always remained. So when Denny returned from Haiti in February 2010 and told me “I could live there.” I was floored. We talked and prayed, and prayed and talked some more. We sought the wisdom of people who were already serving in missions and who know us well. Everything we heard encouraged us to continue on and apply with ReachGlobal, the mission arm of the Evangelical Free Church of America. We followed that advice and were accepted as missionary candidates in October of 2010.
Following our acceptance we spent the next couple months praying and talking with different area leaders in ReachGlobal to find out where our family could best serve. In February Denny and I talked together about how God had been speaking to our hearts in regards to location. We both felt the overwhelming sense that God was leading us to Berlin. As we prayed for confirmation we received it in many forms, one of which was Isaac and Leah being accepted to a German Immersion school in St. Paul, MN 21 miles from our home.
On August 1st we flew across the Atlantic with all three kids for a vision trip to Berlin. We met with the city team leader Mike Edwards, three German church planters, one missionary couple from Canada, and John Hasler another missionary serving with ReachGlobal on the Berlin city team. Over and over we were asked to share our story of how God called our family to missions and in particular Berlin. We shared and we listened to the people we met with about the need for missionaries to come serve along the church in Berlin. Listening to German Christians talk about the needs of their people and their vision for reaching them is moving (If moving is enough of a word to use here). We had heard about the vision for ReachGlobal in Berlin and were excited about that, but to hear the vision of German church pastors is inspiring and we cannot wait to go be a part of the amazing things God is doing there!
When you ask God to do a work in your life, for years, be ready. He hears our prayers, the desires of our hearts, and He can and will, do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine. I prayed for years to go overseas, God answered. He did not answer me in the way I thought He would, rather He is showing us His plan and we are blessed to follow in obedience as He calls us.