In a few hours, Lynne and I head back to our home in Seattle. Our hearts are heavy because we do not know when we will see dear Berlin friends again—people with whom we have prayed, agonized, collaborated, rejoiced, and laughed over the past 2 ½ years. The church in Berlin is in a good place and with Terry & Sue Folkers leading with a lovely leadership team, in good hands. We will miss this special mission and the people who embody it, but know their love and courage expand our own souls and will undoubtedly contribute to a vibrant Seattle church story—a story we are ready to resume living with all of you. There’s no place like Seattle, and there’s no place like home.
Here’s a video of this morning’s worship, including a part of “Prepare the Way for the Lord” which we know in Seattle and learned from the Berlin church. Dirk Dunkel leads the Lord’s Supper and you’ll see Hannah Brandt baptized into Christ. Hallelujah.
We spent our last two nights with Normen and Katia Rohde and Basti and Miriam Maas, two couples who love the church, think deeply about its needs and future, and, most importantly, make us laugh out loud. Normen “recruited” us to serve as coaches in 2009 and has a special emotional pulse of the church. Basti and Miri joined us on our last night and helped us review the Berlin developments over the past two years. If laughter is good for the soul, then the Maas’ are a soul massage. We dreamed of a rendez-vous somehow, someway, someday in beautiful downtown Mecklenburg (ask Basti). Here’s some pics of them:
Tschuss, and see you soon,
Scott & Lynne
Some highlights of the last two Berlin days (pictures below):
- A wonderful breakfast with Mirko and Christina Russo (see picture), who have led churches in Europe over many years, including Berlin. While they are out of the full-time ministry now, they both serve Berlin in innumerable ways. Mirko is a scholar and accomplished teacher who has co-directed the European Bible School at which we recently spoke. More importantly, we are friends J
- Lunch with Andreas Weber—some of you know Andreas and Tamara, who have visited Seattle a few times
- Dinner with Helge and Domi Herbst. Helge leads the worship ministry here and looks like Mikhail Baryshnikov, just in case you are interested. They are amazing young parents and servants.
- A meeting with the Leadership Team last night (see pictures)
- Breakfast today with the Fischers, and their young baby Julian!
- Devotional tonight for teen parents.
More to come on Saturday and Sunday, but see these pictures of your “sister” church Berliners…
Love from Scott & Lynne
We arrived late Monday night in Berlin—we were picked up by Andreas Weber, who has been to Seattle several times with his wife Tamara. The past two days have been filled with appointments rather than meetings, and it has been wonderful to catch up with Mathis Wosegien, Jorg and Dagmar Kallmeyer, Klaus & Doerthe Brandt (and their wonderful two teens), the Muellers, who serve full time here now in campus and singles ministry, and Wolfgang and Gitte Schwab, who invited us over tonight for dinner. Here’s a picture of the Muellers, who trained in Zurich and Boston for a time:
These appointments serve as a kind of assessment piece for the Folkers, who lead the congregation with the Gemeinderat (“church council” of leaders). We are serving this week as coaches, and we have another 30 hours of appointments and meetings ahead of us before Sunday is done and we are packing for home.
This short video shows the amazing hospitality of the Schwabs, who are working hard on the counseling ministry in the Berlin church. We badly needed a “restful” night like this and the Schwabs took care of us immaculately.
Tomorrow there will be many more good connections!
June 18: We’re in the Swiss Alps. Probably enough said.
We flew on Tuesdays last week from Hong Kong to Berlin for an overnight before flying the next day with the Folkers (now leading the Berlin church) to the European Bible School (EBS) in a town an hour or so away from Geneva, Switzerland. As you might imagine, these settings are ridiculously gorgeous and it’s hard to imagine choosing any topic other than “heaven” when coming to these events. Here’s a picture of the area, near Montreux, but it fails to capture the absurd awesomeness God has created:
Lynne and I were asked to teach on “Discipling and Training.” I did four sessions over two days and Lynne taught all the European women leaders on Saturday afternoon, on topics like, “A Developmental View of Discipling,” “Emotionally Aware Communication,” and “Group-Faith Work.”Of course, the real treat was relational. We loved seeing people we’ve gotten to know over many years—valiant church leaders, many of whom are not full time in the ministry in their cities. It’s hard to describe the gratitude we feel towards the hard work of Thierry Fender (Geneva), Christian Herbst (Zurich) and Mirko Russo (Berlin), and many others in producing these events. Here are some pictures of them from EBS:
Lynne with Domi & Miri (Berlin leaders)
Sunday, the entire Geneva church joined the EBS for church service. Here are some highlights—I think some of you will recognize Zora and Marlon from last summer (Marlon pans the San Antonio “mountain” on their brochure which is actually Switzerland’s own Matterhorn):
Tomorrow we fly back to Berlin for one week (a “last” coaching stint?), and then back to glorious Seattle—can’t wait.
Friday morning Lynne and I taught the incredible HKCC ministry staff. I spoke to them about Emotionally Aware Conversations between leaders (to bring unity) and then did a demonstration of a Faith-Building d-group, something I hope we can do more of in Seattle this summer and fall. Friday night, we taught a marrieds devo using the Family Connections material from Seattle. We got tremendous feedback on this, and lots of curiosity about the Seattle church (!)
Saturday we met with various leaders and caught up with Turner and Elizabeth and also KC and Margaret Chan, who of course served in Seattle for a short time waayyy back. That afternoon we taught parenting classes: two hours for young kids, and two hours for families with teens.
Sunday morning was a rare treat, preaching for a region of the church that had many leaders converted at Chinese University—including the lead couple, Aaron and Teresa (who lived with us in Seattle for a year, some of you remember). We were surprised by photos the leaders had of us in our younger years when we started the HK church at the same university 25 years ago. They gave us a memento—a Frisbee signed by current students. Priceless. Teaching Chinese students ultimate Frisbee was our way to start the first BT there, in Bethlehem Hall dormitory. Here’s a video of Lynne and I speaking on Sunday–some of you will recognize Theresa who used to work for and with us in Seattle for two years. You’ll hear I Need Your Love in Chinese, and (in awesome video blur!) my blurry Cantonese in which I noted I had gained a lot of weight, and knew how to speak “clumsy Cantonese fluently”:
Monday we spent the afternoon with the Chins—what a wonderful catch up time. We have known them now since 1982. That evening, we had a memory filled and touching time with Godwin and Crystal Chan, who will take up the mantle of “Acting Church Leaders” (spelling the Chins for a year) in September. Here’s an updated pic of Steve and Jane: