It’s a common joke at Wheaton that as a member of the community, you can make a connection to anyone who ever lived. With the long list of international students and missionaries, there’s a pretty good chance of finding a link. I was reminded of this on Thursday when I met another GEM contact who went to Wheaton. It turns out he taught in the Atlanta area and is good friends with one of my teachers from high school! I suppose it is a small world after all.
Now that we are starting to get into the rhythm of things here, one of our main focuses has been making connections of our own. Some of this is with the missionary community here in Cologne, and I have loved the opportunity to see how they live out their calling. There’s been a lot of talk about “business as missions” (or BAM as I call it), a concept that I only really knew about in theory. Essentially, it’s a form of missionary work that includes working where you feel called as a way to reach people. As I consider my own calling, I find myself attracted to this type of intentional living.
On Friday, we spent most of the day at Fran’s apartment with her “inner circle” group. She takes time to mentor two students she met through her church, one of which is getting ready to come to the states for an internship! We sat in the kitchen for hours, praying, worshipping, and just talking about life. It was nice to meet some people who are closer to our own age and hear about how they live out their faith here. On Sunday, we visited the church of one of these students. Her church is the fastest growing congregation in all of Germany, with about 600 attendees a weekend. It is held in a large movie theater and is comparable to a contemporary nondenominational church in the States. Worship was a blend of German and English, something that we all enjoyed. It’s much easier to sing in German than speak it!
Closer to home, we have enjoyed getting to know the Syrian family who we share our apartment with. I can’t go into much detail, but it has been an interesting time as they openly share with us about their own experiences as refugees. We have even had a few opportunities to talk about our faith, which is foreign to them. Please pray as we continue to speak into their lives and continue living together.
On a separate note, we had a nice little day trip to Brussels on Saturday. The waffles and chocolate were excellent as expected, but the real surprise was the mayonnaise with fries! We were all repulsed by the idea, but it isn’t bad! I got to practice my French and even found a little bookstore where I was able to purchase some titles in French.
In closing, I would like to continue to ask for prayer in a couple of ways. Firstly, please pray that as we get into more of a regular schedule, that we would be aware of the Spirit as we make plans for what we want to do here. We all desire for the Spirit to lead as we form relationships and make connections during the short time we are here. I also ask for continued prayer for the relationships amongst our team. We are all being uniquely challenged in this time.