Posted by jones on September 5th, 2015 | 5 comments
Dear Friends and Family,
The summer months have ended and the kids have been back in school for a whole week now. It has been such a great summer of ministry for us this year!
We updated you a few weeks ago about our Wild West Camp, and all of the really exciting things God did during that time. One of the greatest joys is the contact that we have been able to have with the parents of some of the students. Please continue praying that God will give us great conversations with these new friends and that these conversations will be used by the Spirit to draw them closer to Himself.
The very last week of our kids’ summer break we spent on the Baltic Sea in Poland helping with the Family and Friends Camp that was started 4 years ago. The vision for this camp was birthed when our German friends visited us in PA in 2010. They had the opportunity to attend Summit Grove Family camp with us that year. When we returned to Berlin in 2011 we partnered with a group of Germans to make this camp a reality. Over the last four years the camp has grown from about 50 to 80 people!
Many of you have been praying for Don’s close friend H. Four years ago he and his wife and kids decided to attend camp, H. was a professing atheist. His first year at our family camp we began to see him open up and start asking questions about spiritual matters. We have had the privilege of walking with H. and his wife B. on their spiritual journey and we’ve noticed that the family camp each year has consistently had an intense impact on the steps they were willing to take toward a relationship with Jesus.
This year at camp this was again very apparent. H. had been part of the Emmaus course (spiritual foundations course) that we offered in the spring. At the end of that time we knew that he had made big strides in his openness to the gospel. He had stopped just short of saying that he was a believer. There were some things he just needed to figure out. As he and Don continued conversations over the summer it had become clear to Don, that Christianity was making more and more sense to him.
At camp this year many of the staff remarked about what a difference they saw in H.’s life, and how it was quite obvious that his spiritual journey had lead him to God. Though he hadn’t told Don that he had taken that final step, Don was pretty sure that he had and was looking for the right time to talk with him about it. At camp, Don worked with the kids’ group and didn’t have a lot of time to interact with the adults, so he wasn’t able to find the time to talk with him then. He knew however that the illustration at camp that had been used was the picture of either “being in the boat with Jesus” or “swimming alongside the boat on our own”.
This past Thursday night Don met up with H. and as he had sensed, H. is now not just Don’s friend but also his brother in Christ. He said “yeah, I’m in the boat”! He says that he still has a lot to learn about being a Christian, and he admits that he still has some doubts, but he described himself as “belonging to God”. Don encouraged him that we all have questions and doubts at time, no matter how long we’ve been on this journey with God. He encouraged him to press on, keep asking questions and to keep spending time with God. They also started talking about baptism.
Pray for H. as he grows in his faith and considers being baptized in the future, a step that he knows is next for him. He is also taking part in the second part of the Emmaus course this fall! Please also pray also for H.’s wife B. who is at the brink of making the decision to put her faith in God. Sarah is really involved with her, and we have invited them to join our small group on Monday nights, an invitation that a year ago would have been quickly turned down, but now is something that they are interested in! Sarah had a very encouraging conversation with B. at family camp. B. describes herself as still “swimming alongside the boat” but truly wanting to be in the boat. She is held back by fears related to her family relationships. B. knows that the next step for her is simply saying yes to Jesus. Pray that God helps her to overcome her fears and that she makes this decision very soon!
We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for this Fall. Here are some highlights that will be happening in the next month:
~ Youth Group starts up again September 9th
~ Opening of an art exhibit at Gallery2 in Berliner Freiraum on September 12th (the theme revolves around the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Germany)
~ Baptism service on September 13th
~ 2nd part of the Emmaus Course starting on September 24th
~ Feinkost cooking evening on September 25th
~ We have also been blessed to have great interactions with our neighbors as well as a refugee family who is living nearby. Please also pray for these relationships as we continue to invest in them. We want our involvement with them to cause them to seek God.
God is doing exciting things. Many of you have prayed by name for H. since 2010/11! We have been friends with this family, sharing God’s love with them since 2007. This week we were so encouraged to hear the confirmation of H’s decision. This is why we continue to serve here … we know there are many like H. and B. who still need to open their hearts to the good news of Jesus. Thank you so much for your support and your perseverance in prayer. Stories like this remind us that the investment is great, but the result is eternal.
In His Grip,
Don, Sarah, Dane and Jenna