I am going to Germany!!! Some of you already know this, but for the rest, here it is: I am temporarily leaving my sweet home, family and church family to live in Germany for three whole months.
Going to Germany has been a dream of mine for a while now. Ever since I started learning German in High School, I’ve wanted to learn more about the language and culture. Then, when I had the privilege of meeting some German guys– Alex Risto, Igor Iks, and Rudi Echler— in the summer of 2014, and in that same year, after going to Italy and Germany, I knew that I had to go again. I took German language classes at Clark College and things seemed to be going better and better. My language was slowly but surely improving, and proportionally to that my longing to go back grew. More than that, my dad was for it (the wanderlust that he is), friends in Germany were open to hosting me, and close friends were saying “I can see you doing this, Tim.” At a certain point I was even looking into learning German well-enough so that I could move there and get a Bachelors in the liberals arts– for free! (aside from living expenses, of course). But that idea has been put on hold for now as I consider seriously what it would mean to do that. I wouldn’t want to make this decision on a whim, and there are commitments, people and a church that I cannot leave so easily.
Of course, all those reasons were more from the realist perspective. They are the reasons that made me think this is something I can actually do. However, undergirding all those “practical” reasons were the emotional or subjective reasons that have to do with my German heritage, youthful angst, and the wanderlust I inherited from my father.
There’s also a sense in which this will be a character-forming experience. I will be confronted with my self (for everyone knows you can’t outrun your own self, with all its flaws, sins and jagged edges). This confrontation is never a pleasant experience, yet Christ has a way of shining so brightly in those moments that you can’t help but cling to and cherish him more.
Then there’s the part of me that wants to write and learn as I’m there. Not that somehow, ”magically,” I’ll become a better writer, or that being in another place makes it easier to learn; but I have a deep desire to make the most of this trip in regard to training my mind. Whether it’s going to be when I’m learning German, reading books or talking with people, I want this trip to stimulate my mind and form it in ways that can make me more effective in future schooling, ministry and relationships.
Above all, I know that if Christ is with me, this experience will be used for my sanctification and the furthering of His kingdom. I want to share the gospel there and always be “ready to give an account for the hope that is in [me]” (I Peter 3:15). There are also brothers and sisters in Christ along with their church families who I’m excited to visit and grow with in friendship and service. I’ve been praying over the course of this year that God would give me opportunities to serve when I am there. I’ve also prayed for a humble heart that will be okay with doing menial tasks that perhaps no one will see or notice. Of course, I would love to do bigger things for God, but it is up him to open those doors and it is up to me to be faithful in little.
So what follows is a basic outline of the particulars of this trip. It’s not terribly detailed, but I hope it gives you a better idea of what to pray for. Yes, I need your prayers more than you or I could know. In spite of all planning and all the great things that will be taking place, I am human, and my sinful tendencies will want to show when there. I also ask that you pray for protection. As you know, Europe is not the safest place after ISIS came into existence. Most of all, pray that God uses me in this trip to edify believers, share the gospel, and be a conduit of his powerful grace.
- September 11th: Depart from PDX (I arrive in Frankfurt then drive to Neustadt on Monday the 12th)
Sep. 12th- Oct. 3rd: Get situated, visit friends, travel, prepare for language class, visit Alex Risto, Rudi Echler, Vasili Schabalin and others.
- Note on Vasili: I met this dear brother at this year’s Shepherd’s Conference at WGBC. I had the privilege of spending a day with him at the beach and during that time together my soul was greatly united to his. I am looking forward to learn more about his church and ministry and I plan to write about him on my blog.
Oct. 4th-28th: Goethe Institute— learning German. I plan to enroll in an intensive language program: Deutsche Sprache und Kultur (German language and culture). This month will be fully devoted to this program. I’ll have classes Monday through Friday from morning till the afternoon. They will be held at Mannheim Universität, which is about 30 minutes away from Neustadt either by car or train. This will be the most intense and formative part of my trip, and something I am looking forward to, perhaps the most out of all.
- Oct 27th: I’ll get to celebrate my birthday there! 🙂
- November- December 7th: This is where plan gets a little hazy. But having talked with one of our pastors, I am planning go to Berlin for a few weeks to visit the European Bible Training Center or EBTC. It is a TMAI (The Master’s Academy International) affiliated school that trains pastors from all over Germany and other parts of Europe. They have recently obtained a new office space that they have been remodeling to suite their needs as a training center. You can learn more about them here: http://ebtc-online.org/en/. It will be an honor to spend time with them, if God wills, and to perhaps serve or simply learn more about what God is doing in Germany.
- December 9th: Goodbye Germany! I will be flying back home bearing gifts and with outstretched arms to embrace the friends and family I will miss so much while gone.
Stay tuned for entries about my experience there. Feel free to message, email, call me while I’m there. I will be very grateful for your contact and support. Also, I don’t want to miss out too much on what going on in Word of Grace. God be with you all!