The Deutschland Remix

(Eric here) Having read some of the things written so far about the Consumed 2010 Germany trip, I must admit that I’m feeling rather inadequate. Jamie (published author), Gretchen (semi-pro blogger and soon to be published author) and Lisa (Songwriter, Lyricist and SHOULD be published author) have all crafted incredibly descriptive and compelling narratives describing some of the amazing things that took place in the land of the Bratwurst. And while a few paragraphs can never fully sum up 10 days of a missions trip, their words have bridged the gap between hearing and being there quite well. So, instead of trying to destroy eloquence with my feeble attempts, I figured I’d do what I do best….be a geek and make a video. 🙂

I would like to share one thing I’ve been thinking about over and over again in regards to a portion of our time in Germany. Our purpose for all that we do under the banner of Consumed is both simple and profound at the same time, and if you’ve ever clicked on the ‘about us’ heading at the top of this page you already know what it is. In everything we do we are ambassadors for Christ, attempting to share the message of abundant life (John 10:10) with the world. And wrapped up inside that message – at the very core of it – is this concept of freedom. We just recently celebrated it as a global church body actually – Christ broke the shackles of death. His victory over the bondage of death has provided us the freedom to experience and live out the abundant, overflowing, more than you can begin to imagine life found only in knowing Him. With that being core to the ministry of Consumed – nay, shall I say to the very lives of those involved with Consumed – it was astounding for to begin to understand the story and background of the church in Dorsten, Germany. We learned on this trip – or maybe I just finally began to grasp the concepts – that the church in Germany is shackled to the government of Germany through a taxation system of giving and government guided system of leadership and control. The church in Dorsten – that we’ve now visited twice – was birthed out of the desire to be free from that system!! They broke away from the government system and established themselves as a self-proclaim ‘free church’. The specifics and details of what that all means impacts every aspect of that church body – and being ‘free’ isn’t always the easy or safe road. And as we were there with them on this past trip, I was struck with the thought that we…Consumed…as ambassadors of this message of ultimate freedom, have been led by God to build a relationship with a church who are desperately seeking to live out freedom on a variety of different levels and in very tangible ways. I feel (Lisa will be proud when she reads that!) that our biggest impact on this trip might have come in the form of the encouragement and edification that we hopefully provided the Dorsten Free Church. At least I hope. And for me, to see them pursuing freedom in very tangible ways was compelling – it encouraged me to continue the pursuit of the freedom that Christ provides….to continue to live in the truth that the shackles have been broken, sin and death have been conquered, and there’s a LIFE to be lived!

All Over The World (excerpt) by Matt Redman
Young and old, near and far
there’s a place for ev’ry heart to
join in your song
join in your song
And ev’ry nation tribe and tongue
come together join as one
give glory to God
glory to God

All over the world Your song will resound
All over the world Your praises ring out
We’re living to see You’re name and renown
All over the world

Laissez une impression coquette, pétillante et sexy à votre homme à la première danse avec lui. Vous auriez besoin de notre sélection de robe de bal sexy. Bretelle enlevée, encolure en cœur, une robe avec laquelle vous allez tomber amoureuse. Couture très recherchée et une mise confortable pour faire ressortir votre silhouette délicieuse. IL va l’adorer. Qualité excellente et à prix adorable.

Germany from Gretchen’s Perspective

From Gretchen Miller

24412_10150162642435788_880760787_11754935_4315573_n Just like my new German boot cup (it is so fun you have to drink out of it), my heart bubbles over with joy when I think about our time in Germany. It was my maiden voyage on a trip like this and I feel so blessed and humbled by the opportunity to go. Leading up to the trip I was reading the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan. In the chapter called “Supernatural Church” I came across a quote that became my heart for our time in Germany and hopefully for my life in general: “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit”. From the scheduling and rescheduling of the dates of this trip to the forming of our Germany team (Jamie and me, Eric and Lisa Beavers, and Dan Occhiogrosso) the Spirit of God was at work long before this trip began and His work continued throughout our time there. He quickly knit our hearts to the precious people that we met and the beautiful country of Germany. It would be impossible to recount all that happened while we were there, but there are some moments that stand out in my mind as “Holy Spirit” moments:

After a seemingly never-ending string of delays and rebooked flights, Jamie and I finally arrived at the Dusseldorf airport to meet up with Eric, Lisa, Dan, and Rob Stearns. We were late and headed straight to Rob’s church building for a “Jesus Jam” concert. We had been up for almost 30 hours. I was tired and I am going to guess it was not one of my prettier moments. But as the youth team led us in worship my heart soared and it brought me to my feet in praise. They were not speaking my language (although they do sing a lot of worship songs in English) but together with the saints in Dorsten we worshipped in spirit and truth and it strengthened me physically and spiritually. I love that!

From Jamie’s last visit to Germany he had told me much about Cologne and wanted to be sure we went back there this time around. Cologne has a cathedral built in the 1400’s that was the only structure left standing in the town following World War II. It is breathtaking. Apart from seeing the cathedral our intention in going was to have Occhy (from Ball for Lives) dribble in the courtyard area around the cathedral and see if that sparked some conversations. Last time Jamie and Eric were in Cologne they said there were all kinds of performers and lots of people around. But this time it was a little chillier so there were only one or two acts out and about. Occhy was a little unsure since he only had one basketball (he normally uses two) and didn’t know how effective his dribbling act would be. But God took what he had to offer and multiplied it just like the loaves and fishes story in the Bible. One person dribbling a basketball multiplied into several conversations with people about Jesus and we had the opportunity to hand out several copies of Jamie’s book Fully Alive.

One of the more humbling places we visited was High Point Baptist Church in Vilseck, Germany. Duane and Daylin Beach serve there ministering to military families stationed at the nearby army base. We put on a basketball clinic Saturday evening and were in the service on Sunday morning. Upon our arrival there we learned that many of the men were returning home from training that weekend and were in the 90 day window for deployment to Afghanistan. You could sense the weight of the burden they would soon be bearing. For the Sunday school hour, Lisa invited them to join her in worship as she sang some of her original songs. I was sitting next to a woman who had a 15 or so month old son- her husband was one of those slated for deployment. As Lisa began to sing the tears began to flow from the woman’s eyes. When I had met her earlier in the day, she was frustrated and even seemed a little angry with the situation (completely understandable). But as Lisa continued to sing and play, I could see the work of the Spirit comforting and reminding this woman of truth- the truth that God knew exactly what was going on and that he cared. I know the same was true for many of the women there that day. The amazing thing is that I know Lisa did not write those songs for that particular situation. She wrote from the overflow of her own heart as God has led her this past year through some difficult times. Yet the truth of who God is and how he cares for us translates to every thing we face and God used Lisa’s gifts to comfort and bring peace to his children that morning.

And finally, for me, one of the more unexplainable things I was able to behold was the spiritual empowerment given to Jamie in the midst of an unimaginably difficult time. We departed for Germany exactly one month after Jamie’s sister Penny passed away from cancer. The reality of her being gone our minds have not come close to grasping and yet in weakness, God gives strength. As I listened to someone share their struggle with understanding where God was in the midst of cancer, my heart immediately knew our interactions in Germany were not coincidental, but orchestrated by the God of the universe. Without having all of his own questions answered, I watched Jamie, empowered by the Spirit, offer truth, hope, and peace with a sincerity of really understanding the pain this person was feeling. My husband is a strong man, but he offered those words not of his own power.

Thank you to the many of you who prayed and supported us on our trip. God heard your prayers. My mind is still debriefing all that happened, but I return home from the trip with some new faces etched in my mind and heart. Even in the few days that we have been home the Spirit of God has brought specific people to mind several times for me to pray, now with a little clearer vision for their everyday needs and concerns. I will always treasure my maiden voyage overseas- the opportunity to see the work of God in another part of his world. And it encouraged me to come home to live out my faith in my everyday calling and to hopefully bear witness to many things “unexplainable”. I hope the same for you.

Much Love, Gretchen

Germany, Part 3

On Saturday, March 20, I woke up to a bit of a scare. Gretchen informed me that she woke up at around 3:00 am and couldn’t fall back asleep. Of course I was sleeping soundly throughout this entire time and she decided not to bother me. For the first time, she said she really sensed a kind of spiritual attack against her. As she lay in bed her mind was wrestling with all kinds of supposed inadequacies and shortcomings. When she realized that this was an attack she began to pray and fill her mind once again with truth. After an hour or so of battling the enemy in prayer, the lies she was subjected to became quenched and she was reminded once again of how much God loves and values her. Since she was up and in full fledged prayer mode she decided to begin praying for every one she could think of in Germany. She spent about 2 hours in prayer…wrestling with God on behalf of the lives of those she had some to love in Germany. By the time I woke up Gretchen was exhausted and very weak. So weak, we had to walk alongside of her to the car to make sure she wouldn’t faint or collapse.

As we left Berlin for Vilseck, I asked Eric & Lisa if they would join with me in prayer for Gretchen. Lisa began praying and she referenced the story of Moses’ and his friends holding his arms up so the Israelites would have victory in their battle (Exodus 17). Lisa said that since Gretchen was weak, she desired for us to come alongside of Gretchen and hold her arms up in battle. Off and on during that trip, we prayed both together and in the quietness of our minds for Gretchen. We were about to enter into a busy 24 hour period in Vilseck and we needed Gretchen at as close to 100% as she could be. By the time we reached Duane & Daylin Beach’s house she was nearing 90% (Gretchen’s estimate). As we prayed I was reminded of Paul’s words to the church of Ephesus in Ephesians 6 regarding spiritual warfare:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

(a statue from the Berliner Dome of Moses’ arms being supported by Aaron and Hur)

Our purpose for going to Vilseck was to come alongside of High Point Baptist Church in their mission to train up followers of Jesus for the work of the ministry. Vilseck is home to a U.S. military base so the great majority of people in the church are soldiers and their families. Duane Beach is the pastor and his wife Daylin does about almost everything. I knew Duane from college and contacted him a few years ago when Eric and I made our first trip to Dorsten. He told me to contact him if I ever were to come back to Germany so I took him up on this last year as we were planning our trip. After a few E-mails back and forth Duane and I decided upon the following for a plan of action while in Vilseck:

Saturday afternoon/evening – A basketball skills clinic for kids on the base

Sunday Morning – Lisa to play a concert during the Sunday School Hour, Eric & Lisa to lead music during the A.M. Service, Jamie to preach during the A.M. Service, and Gretchen to teach the children during the A.M. Service.

After having our car inspected and exchanging our passports for visitor passes we were allowed on to the military base Saturday afternoon. We did two basketball clinics for different ages in the high school gymnasium of the base. Since we had a lot of first time basketball players we didn’t progress quite as far as I imagined regarding basketball skills but it was apparent that the kids enjoyed themselves. I think this was the first and possibly the last time Lisa will be referred to as “Coach Beavers”. There were a few visitors there so I hope High Point will have some more contacts on the base and eventually some families can enter into the Kingdom of God as a result of a simple sports clinic.

It was very humbling to be with the people of High Point. During our time at the church facility on Sunday Morning I spoke with a wounded soldier, a guy that has already served three tours in Iraq, a graduate of West Point that was an Afghanistan veteran, and a guy entering the Army Rangers in the next few weeks. Most of the soldiers just returned from a three week training and are in the 90 day deployment window for Afghanistan. As a result of this, there were many heavy hearts as Lisa took her place behind the piano for her concert during the Sunday School hour. Lisa sang many songs regarding her battle for faith in God in the midst of diverse and troubling times. The lyrics to her songs resonated very well with those in attendance. There were many tears in the sanctuary that morning and God was using Lisa’s talent to bring truth, peace, and hope to the soldiers and their spouses.

During the service I was personally blessed to be led in musical worship by Eric & Lisa. Since they moved from MN to NC I have not had the opportunity to worship with them in that way. I had to go half way around the world to do it, but it was wonderful to sing to our great God with them once again.

I spoke on Hebrews 10 again and focused on the writer’s proposed responses to the reality of Jesus’ death giving us access into the Most Holy Place known as the very presence of God Almighty. At breakfast on Sunday morning, Duane and I talked about the battle as pastors to continually convince the body of Christ that “church” is not a building or a service. The church is not a location or a time of the week. Church is the called out ones following Jesus in a missional way of life. The writer of Hebrews 10 emphasizes this in his four “let us” commands. As I stood their singing I knew God was asking me to change from my original plan and speak on Hebrews 10. Based on a few conversations after the service, I know why God led me to that passage. I am always amazed at how God works!

For the children, Gretchen (with the help of Lisa), taught the children about their uniqueness and importance on this earth. She used Consumed Publishing’s book The Almost True Story of General Sherman (shameless plug – still available for purchase – wink, wink, look to the right). I have never seen so many kids in one church from an adult to kids ratio. There were literally kids everywhere. They are producing kids on that military base like rabbits. So Gretchen and Lisa’s ministry during that teaching time was extremely valuable. Imagine if a few of those kids truly believe God created them uniquely for an adventurous life full of meaning and purpose! The world may never be the same!

As we drove back to Cologne on Sunday afternoon to prepare for our flight home out of Dusseldorf on Monday morning we all agreed that 24 hours in Vilseck wasn’t even remotely close to being enough time there. Duane & Daylin are doing an amazing job in a transitional kind of church. I hope we can return there in the future for a longer stay and assist these great followers of God in their Kingdom work there. They are impacting the lives of leaders that will be sent out to many parts of the world. I pray as these men and women are prepared on the military base for physical battle they continue to understand the importance of High Point as a place to prepare for the spiritual battle they will be involved in for the rest of their lives.

On Monday morning we left Dusseldorf with mixed emotions. Our lives were touched and forever impacted by the people of Germany but we were excited to return home to the friends and family we left behind. God is building His church on this earth. Trips like this one are a great reminder to me of this truth. As I battle with God for the hearts of those in the Twin Cities I can become so immersed in my environments that I forget about His Kingdom being built all over this wonderful planet. I feel trips like this are far more beneficial to me than the people I was supposed to minister to. If we were used to impact their lives even half as much as ours were impacted then that is a really good thing!

Thanks so much for your support both financially and in prayer. Together we are freeing people and bringing them into the amazing, abundant life Jesus came to offer them! Let’s keep moving forward!

Over the next week or so I will post entries from Gretchen, Eric, and Lisa regarding their thoughts of the trip. So come on back!

(The Millers, Beavers, and Beach family)

26499_10150137520345024_612765023_11519589_3151963_n 26499_10150137520555024_612765023_11519600_2923484_n 26499_10150137520770024_612765023_11519607_6887653_n 26499_10150137521685024_612765023_11519638_1322626_n
(Saturday’s basketball clinic)

(Lisa singing at High Point)

Germany, Part 2

(Beavers, Millers, and Dan in front of the Berlin Wall)

Because of a cancellation on Wednesday in Dorsten, we headed to Berlin one day sooner than expected. Eric and I grew to love the no speed limit zones on the autobahn. There is nothing like the thrill of driving 180 km an hour without the worry of being pulled over!

We arrived in Berlin around 1:00 pm and immediately jumped right in with sightseeing. Berlin is such an historic city with more places to see than we had time for but we saw what we could. Our friend Kristi Walker led us to Potsdamer Platz where we saw part of the Berlin Wall that was left up, the Brandenberg Gate, Hitler’s bunker, and the Jewish Memorial. It was kind of eerie standing above the bunker where one of the most powerful men in history strategized, hid, and allegedly killed himself. It is hard to imagine so much evil generated from one individual.

Over dinner on Wednesday evening we met another part of Kristi’s team – the Good family. The Good’s also housed Eric, Lisa, and Dan while Gretchen & I stayed with Kristi. There were also two students from Baptist Bible College in Berlin with Kristi for the week as well. So poor Noah & Marley were stuck hanging out with the five of us for a few days. It was clearly evident that evening that both the Goods and Kristi were passionate about the city of Berlin. Their desire is to see many from this great city enter into the joy of salvation found in Jesus. I am so glad we were able to learn from them and hopefully assist them in some small way while we were there.

We squeezed in some sight seeing Thursday by heading to the town of Potsdam. We fell in love with this place. Beautiful castles, quaint little shops, and a gorgeous day made for a very enjoyable afternoon. As far as sight seeing goes, this was my favorite spot in Berlin (the bakeries may have helped too!).

On Thursday evening Dan, Noah, Marley, and Eric went to a gymnasium to play basketball with local students while Lisa, Gretchen, and I participated in a small group. Although the ballers said pickup basketball is done a little differently in Berlin than the U.S. (by different I mean they don’t pay strict attention to some basic rules of basketball like when you move you dribble, etc.), they had a good time meeting and interacting with other people. At the small group, I shared from Hebrews 10 about the freedom we have to access our Father anytime we want because of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. When I was finished leading this discussion Lisa sang one of her songs. The small group was hosted by the Dye family. The Dyes make up the rest of Kristi’s team there in Berlin. Once again, it was evident the Dyes love the people of Berlin and desire to be used of God to build His Kingdom there.

Following the discussion I spoke with a woman in the small group that was honest enough with me to share a difficult situation she is currently going through. I told her thank you for being authentic with me and promised to pray for her as the Spirit led. I also told her that my friend Rob Stearns recently went through a similar time in his life and I thought his book Rise Up would assist her. I told her I was glad that she could be a part of a group like the one that met at the Dyes. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she expressed her joy and thankfulness of the people there. She said they supported her and it was so great to be a part of them. This group was a reminder to me that when Christ’s Bride, His Church, is alive and functioning the way He intended, lives are changed!

Before leading a couple of small groups on Friday we went to visit a church in Berlin that was bombed during WWII. The church was left as is after the war so people could experience a little of the devastation the war caused on Berlin. Once again we were brought face to face with the reality of war and its consequences. We also went to the Berliner Dome near Museum Island. Although the Dom in Cologne will always be my favorite, the Berliner Dome was quite amazing as well. I am always amazed at the architecture of these buildings. The paintings and incredible details blew me away. I could have sat in there for hours and it wouldn’t have been enough time.

On Friday evening, Dan led a pre-teen small group while the Beavers & Millers joined a small group at the Goods’ home. I led the group in a discussion centering around the words of Jesus found at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus commanded those disciples to “make disciples of all nations”. It was incredibly powerful for me to hear people from the United States, Germany, England, and Honduras talk about what it meant to “make disciples” in the city of Berlin. God, in His infinite wisdom, had people from all over the world living in Berlin to build His Kingdom there. His church is being mobilized to every square inch of this earth so that all can hear the message of “life” found in Jesus. I was humbled that evening of the calling on my life…to be a part of the movement of God which began the moment Eve bite into the fruit. God loves people so much He has stopped at nothing to bring every one of us back into a relationship with Him. Such love is overwhelming! The evening concluded with Lisa singing one of her songs and Eric leading us in a song or two. Music & the love of Christ crosses all cultural boundaries. I am always blessed to sing in another country. These moments give me just a little glimpse into the musical worship that awaits us in Christ’s presence someday in Heaven.

On Saturday morning we packed up once again, said goodbye to both old & new friends, and headed for our next adventure. This time we left without our friend Dan Occhiogrosso. Dan was catching a flight to Rome later that day to support his dad while he ran the Rome Marathon. He was also going to join in with a church in Italy he has spent much time with. It was great to have Occhy (what everyone that knows Dan calls him) with us for most of the trip. Dan has a passion and drive to make a difference in this world that I have only witnessed in a few people. Dan is the type of guy that pushes me to make the most of every day. Dan doesn’t waste moments and I don’t want to either. Life is short and our possibilities for impact are few so lets live life to the fullest each day. Thanks for the reminder Occhy!

(the team with our friend & tour guide – Kristi Walker)

(Jamie reading about the history of the Berlin Wall)

26499_10150137515195024_612765023_11519439_7577732_n 26499_10150137515955024_612765023_11519455_2319475_n
(the bombed out church)

26499_10150137517965024_612765023_11519509_1650440_n 26499_10150137518435024_612765023_11519528_127852_n 26499_10150137518510024_612765023_11519530_3557847_n 26499_10150137518715024_612765023_11519536_1533802_n
(The Berliner Dome)

Germany, Part One


It was our intention when we left for Germany to keep this website updated with our whereabouts and stories of God working but the busyness of travel and sporadic internet use derailed this plan. So now that we are back and settling into U.S. life I want to take some time to fill you in. There is no way I can summarize the trip in one entry so I will do this in three entries over the next several days. Our trip to Germany was divided into three sections. The first part of our trip was spent in western Germany in the town of Dorsten with an afternoon in Cologne as well. After Dorsten we spent three days in the great city of Berlin. For the last part of the trip we spent a little over 24 hours in the town of Vilseck ministering to & with a church dedicated to serving military families in Germany. For this post I will write about Dorsten. If you are on facebook, Lisa & Gretchen have posted several pictures of the trip as well. Look them up.

After a few long flights we all finally made it to the Dusseldorf airport on Saturday, March 13. Because of several delays Gretchen and I arrived six hours later than we were supposed to. To make matters worse one piece of our luggage was missing as well. Poor Eric, Lisa, Dan Occhiogrosso (from Ball for Lives), and Rob Stearns were waiting in the airport for four hours and we had no way of contacting them to let them know. Since we arrived so late we had to rush right to the rental car place and get to Dorsten. On Saturday night Dan did the halftime show for Rob’s basketball game and the Beavers & Millers were involved in a concert called “Jesus Jam” at Rob’s church. So there we were at Rob’s church with the same clothes we had on since Friday ready to jump right into the mix.

After an amazing time of worship lead by the youth group of Rob’s church I spoke to those in attendance through an interpreter. I shared with them the words of Jesus in Matthew 11 regarding Jesus’ invitation for all those who are weary and weighed down with burdens to come to Him and take His yoke upon them. I shared with the group my personal struggles with losing my sister Penny to cancer and how I had to choose to bring my weary heart to Jesus for rest. I heard from several after the concert that God was speaking to them. I pray they continue to “come” to Jesus and find the only true rest available to them.

After a much needed night of sleep, we were involved in a few things on Sunday. During the A.M. service Lisa sang one of her songs and I once again spoke to the church through an interpreter. I challenged the group from 1 Chronicles 11 and the story of David’s mighty men. I told them that just as David’s mighty men desired to honor their king and expand His Kingdom, we need to be people of honor, loyalty, and perseverance as we pursue our King Jesus and look to expand His Kingdom on this earth. Dan shared about Ball for Lives and how he is striving to serve Jesus and make a difference in the world by using a basketball. I think those in attendance were impacted by the truth of Scripture and the testimony of a present day mighty man of God.

A special moment for me during this service was to see Gretchen practicing her gift of mercy and heart of compassion. During the service one of the girls from the youth group was obviously having a difficult time and could not control her tears. Although this girl did not speak much English and Gretchen definitely does not speak much German, a simple message was communicated from Gretchen to this girl – I CARE! Gretchen moved from her seat, knelt in front of the girl, put her hand on her and began to pray. The look on the girls face was priceless. She was so moved by this act of love.

Sunday afternoon we once again were involved in another opportunity. Rob put an ad in the paper for people to come and experience an “American style of church”. Out of curiosity people came to the event to see what “church” looks like in America. If they only knew that church services in America are done about a thousand different ways right? But we took this opportunity to share about our love of Jesus. Rob’s poetry was read, Lisa sang her songs, and I spoke about Jesus’ offer of abundant life. At the end of this service I told them that “abundant life” doesn’t mean a life of no pain and heartache. I once again shared about my aching heart and struggles with Penny’s death. After the concert Rob (who speaks German fluently) told me about his conversation with one of the couples present and how she told him of her cancer. I remembered that this couple just left so I went running out of the building and found this couple outside. Through my broken German and their broken English and many hand gestures I communicated to this couple that I would be praying for them. This dear German woman gave me a hug and I gave her husband a firm handshake. “God, would you please heal this dear woman? Would you show them this amazing full life in the midst of unbelievable struggle and heartache?”

On Monday we went to our friend Ilona’s house for lunch. Eric and I met Illona during our last visit to Germany and we immediately fell in love with her (and her marvelous cooking). This “lunch” date turned into an all day affair and we stayed with Illona, her nephew Thorsten, son Marcel, and Sebastian until 9:00 in the evening. Sebastian is an intern at Rob’s church and is staying at Ilona’s house. The day was wonderful! The food was amazing and we had so many God-ordained conversations. For the sake of privacy I won’t mention names but one of those we spent time with was really searching spiritually. This person shared with us how his grandfather had passed away as a result of cancer and he couldn’t see how there could be a God if God would let suffering like that happen. So once again I shared about Penny and how that situation was incredibly difficult. I shared with how I, and especially Penny, saw God work in the midst of this difficult time and through this experience I believe now more than ever that God is alive, active, and loving people. At the end of the day I gave him a copy of Fully Alive and asked him to read it and consider the truth found in the book. “God, would you continue to reveal Yourself to this seeking new friend of mine? Jesus, I pray he drinks of the water you offer him so he will never thirst again!”

On Tuesday, Dan, the Millers, and Beavers drove to Cologne. After a hike up to the top of the cathedral we decided to see if we could get into some conversations with people about Jesus. In front of the cathedral Dan took out his basketball and began to do some of his ball handling tricks. After a few minutes a crowd started to gather. One of those watching, a girl named Selen (sp.?), asked if she could participate. So Dan began showing her some of the tricks and she tried her best to perform them. When her friends saw her doing this they came over to watch as well. After a few more minutes Dan was playing a passing game with 9-10 girls from Turkey. They asked why Dan was doing his tricks in front of the cathedral and God took over. Over the course of about 30 minutes Dan, Gretchen & I, and Eric & Lisa talked with people about our faith in Jesus. Eric & Lisa talked with a man from Turkey and even exchanged contact information. Dan shared his faith with about 6 of the Turkish girls while Gretchen and I talked with Selen and her friend. I found out they were of the Islamic faith so we began to talk about the similarities and differences of our faith. I told Selen and her friend that the Koran considers the Bible a “holy book” and that they should consider reading it. At the end of our conversation Selen’s friend told me she wanted to get a copy of the Bible to read. Everyone we spoke with was given a copy of Fully Alive. “God, would you use your truths communicated through our words and the words of Fully Alive to reach these people. I am bursting with excitement to imagine the many people who may enter your Kingdom if these beautiful people accept your gift of salvation!”

Tuesday evening we headed back to Dorsten and we had dinner with Rob, Ula (my translator from Sunday’s service), her husband Thomas and sons, and a friend of Rob’s wanting to practice English. Once again, not all at the table that night knew Jesus as Lord & Savior. We stayed there until 2:00 am laughing, eating, and sharing stories.

I really love Dorsten! Eric and I call it our German home. The hospitality shown to us was unbelievable and I pray many in that town enter into eternal life found in knowing God & Jesus in a relational way. It was hard to leave Dorsten on Wednesday morning. I hope God allows many more trips there. It is such an honor to come alongside of the saints of God there impacting this wonderful town with the love of Jesus. I am a better follower of Jesus because of their example of service, hospitality, and joy. Here are some pictures:

Our hostel in Dorsten

26499_10150135099805024_612765023_11453848_258337_n 26499_10150135099760024_612765023_11453846_2295450_n
Some of the youth of Rob’s church at “Jesus Jam”

Gretchen & Illona

Thorsten reading Fully Alive

Pictures from Cologne:
24412_10150162642180788_880760787_11754898_8023588_n 24412_10150162642195788_880760787_11754900_5423390_n 26499_10150135101140024_612765023_11453897_199837_n 26499_10150135101555024_612765023_11453909_7666953_n 26499_10150135102880024_612765023_11453947_3072570_n 26499_10150135102960024_612765023_11453950_3584505_n 26499_10150135103120024_612765023_11453955_5439460_n 26499_10150135103215024_612765023_11453958_5121490_n

Our final night in Dorsten:
26499_10150135104030024_612765023_11454010_1466739_n 26499_10150135104105024_612765023_11454012_6793555_n 26499_10150135104310024_612765023_11454020_3969510_n