Monday, July 14, 2014

Last 60 Hours

Es gibt die letzten 60 stunden in Duetschland  und was für ein klasse abschied! Vielen Vielen dank euch! Ganz ehrlich, es gibt über haupt nicht ein besser abschluß. Da war ein Ganz tolles Jahr mit klasse Menschen. Hofflich komm ich wieder früher denn später.  Auf jeden Fall komm ich aber wieder.

Today we had the good bye party to all the Americans and it was a great party and a great time with everyone! Sunday was my Good bye Sunday and I was so overwhelmed with love and support. I can't wait to see where the Lord is leading next and that is really the one thing that keeps me looking forward and not back is that with every great close comes something next that is great!

To close this blog I won't be long and later I will post many more pictures, but this has been solely dedicated to relay God's work here in Germany that I am involved in. Today's good party I talked about how this week was a great week of Camp regardless of the rain and that through and through, baseball camp reaches people from all areas. German, American, Christian, Not, and it brings them into community all under the same church, Christusgemeinde Siegburg. God is using this church and I believe that FBC Bryan is on the brink of a new level of partnership between the 2 churches. What an amazing greeting from the new Pastor and I can't wait to follow under his vision and direction!

Thank you all for your support and love! Thank you for your prayers! Thank you for your sacrifices!

(Now off to spend the last few hours with great friends and people!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Time is Flying

Time is flying by. My last post, the time has flown by and there has been so many things happen. Just in this past week we have had a week long event in the church with the youth where we are living together, going about daily life as normal, building comradery and sharing life together. We have also been major participants in a City Festival celebrating the 90th anniversary. The city of Siegburg as a whole is celebrating its 950th birthday this year. There was also a youth camp with a   "3,000-4,000" youth here in town. The weekend before we were by the Christian Elementary school, at their Summer Kids Fest, with the batting cage. This was the same school that I worked at during the year in the middle school part.

I was also invited by some friends from last years baseball camp to go with them to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. That was really exciting and we got to do a lot of things, see a lot of things and war vehicles. It was very humbling to be standing in the same places as famous war heroes of our country!

This past month and a half has been crazy busy preparing everything for baseball camp making sure that everyone has everything that they need. At the same time preparing everything that I need. There has been a lot of great ideas come together by some great minds of great volunteers! I can't wait to see it all come together in a couple weeks. In one week the first group of Americans will be here in Germany. Be praying for us as we enter the schools to share our camp with the surrounding schools and hopefully a few opportunities to share Christ with those students as well.

Be praying for Basix as well. Ralf and I will be the speakers and preparation is full under way for those sermons. We have a great story to share about what God did in the life of a great Christian baseball player as well as the story and love of Jesus Christ! Pray for the hearts to be open to hear the word of God and His love! Be praying for me as I continue to prepare that message, as well be praying for Jonathan Kedaj as he will be translating the message to German. I wish so bad that I could preach it in German, but even now for Ralf who has spoken English for years it is very difficult to preach what God has on your heart in a foreign language.

This Wednesday I will be heading to another town in Germany that is starting a brand new baseball camp this year. I will be helping them enter their schools sharing baseball camp with them, getting the word out in their community about how great it is to be at baseball camp and again we pray that there will be some side opportunities to share Christ's love in those schools.

I can't believe it but this Saturday is my last "normal" Saturday in Germany. I can't even believe it as I type it now. As of tomorrow I will have been in Germany for one year and in less than one month will be back in the States preparing to get married. God has done so many great things and I appreciate the support of every single person, your prayers, your thoughts, encouragement has all helped me through this year to accomplish what God has done through and in me. I will be very sad to leave. I hope that one day soon God will provide a way for me to return.

Keep an eye out for a few more updates as the week progress and many things are happening!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

In April, er macht was er will

In April the weather does what it wants.

The weather here has been unseasonably warm, in fact all winter it has been so. Not once has it snowed here in Siegburg, which is good for me since I am not so fond of the cold and my main mode of transportation is a bicycle. However the last week or so has been exceptionally strange. On Monday I woke up to t raining and then as I went out for the day it was sunny, then it started to hail, and so the cycle went around and around.  For the most part it has been really good weather! The blooms came out early and have already fallen, and in this area greenery has come early!
Last month ended with the Palow wedding between Matthes and Tine (Rempel). I was invited by the family to take pictures for the Standesamt Hochzeit. This for most Christian families is very small with only a few people invited, but is the state official wedding. Here they sign the marriage license along with the official witnesses and is done at City Hall (Rathaus). The following weekend was the Church wedding and it was beautiful. Christine’s Dad, Brother, Uncle and Cousin sung a quartet of a song called “Gott Segne Dich” (God Bless You). No it’s not about a sneeze. Check it out on youtube by the link below! Awesome song!

The following weekend I was with the dad of my Host family helping remove a kitchen to send to a missionary family in Southeastern Europe. It turned out to be a much dirtier job than expected. The best part is that when we took the box that held the oven to the trailer and had it tilted up to stack on top of another cabinet a dead rat fell out!! Karsten, my Host dad, said that kitchen is at least 30 years old and I bet that rat is 20 years dead, haha! Ugh craziness!

The next weekend I was with a lady from the church in Lüdenscheid for a gospel choir workshop. It was interesting to work on singing correctly …. in German. There was a lot of good conversation with the people from the church there. Of course anywhere I go new, there are a set of questions everyone is very curious about: Where are you from? How long and since when have you been here? Why are you here for so long? What do you do all day?

At the same time things are developing in the world of Baseball Camp and its ministry. We have had a great response for translators this year and our team in the states is slowly coming together. There are still a lot of roles to fill, so if you are reading this thinking, I would like to be a part of this missions trip this summer let me know and I will get you connected with the right people!  In addition we have been given the opportunity to have a time slot in a local gym near the Kaufland in Siegburg to play baseball and any other sport that we would like. My hope is that this will be the key that carriers on our efforts to have consistent contact with people from baseball camp! If you haven’t heard my spiel, baseball camp is an incredibly affective ministry that connects un-churched people with the people of the church. However this is only one week of the year. My goal is to create an opportunity to carry that momentum and interest from the week of Baseball Camp to become a year ‘round connection and ministry.  Be in prayer that there will be someone to lead and carry on the ministry as my time here comes to an end.

Following His Call

Picture below taken by Allison Whitton in Bonn 
(Pretty sure I am going to have this framed and hung in my house!)


Youtube – Gott Segne Dich – Martin Pepper:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March has Flown By

So This month has flown by and many things have happened. The month was kicked off with an event called Karneval.  There is something for everyone during Karneval and everyone participates from the tiniest of villages to the center of all the activities in Cologne. School is out from Thursday through Tuesday and many people have off work for part of that time. There are lots of fun and parties, but my favorite was the grandcentral in Cologne on Monday. There was a massive parade that lasted all day. There were floats from soccer teams, dance squads, people making political statements ended with the Prince of Karneval. I took many pictures and it was a great weekend.

BIJ is the Friday night youth service at the church. Here one night we took the opportunity to play wiffleball with the students inviting people to come into the church and enjoy a taste of baseball camp and learn a little bit about our youth service. We hope to continue this throughout the spring and inviting more and more students providing opportunities to contact and build relationships with those from outside the church.

Ralf and I also met with some of the other pastors within the local pastors network and offered the opportunity for any of the churches that would like to have a baseball event. We would bring all the equipment and teach the students quickly how to play and share about Christ with them in the mean time. My hope is that other churches will have interest in something like this so that in the future churches in this area could work together using baseball to reach this area for Christ.

Last Friday I spoke at BIJ about prayer. We talked about it and then we took time to pray over several issues. It was a good time together and I hope it challenged the students to make prayer more a part of their daily lives. I began giving the message in German and we switched back to using a translator after the vocabulary went a little beyond my knowledge. It has been great to see how different it is understanding and being able to speak in German.

Be praying for me in the next few months. Its crazy but I only have 3 months before baseball camp and after camp we head back to the states. In those 3 months I hope that things like this wiffleball/baseball events will catch on as something that is depended on. My wish is that as I am gone there will be a person to pick up the torch to carry on the ministry. More than that I pray that there is a ministry and desire that the Lord has created through my time here. I believe in the effectiveness of this ministry and I hope that you do too. Pray that both of those things the Lord will provide and that whoever might step up I could deliver the vision and ideas to be carried on.

Follow His Call

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where's the snow?

Its mid-February and the Southeastern US is getting pounded with snow and with the exception of a Synergy conference 3 hrs North of here on the 1st of February, I have yet to see any snow. However, with my bike as my main mode of transportation I am very thankful for the warmer winter. What is that going to mean for our summer in Germany? Last summer was the hottest summer I have experienced in the last 3 years and as far as I know for others that have been coming to Germany for the past 7 or 8 years. So we will just have to wait to see what is in store for us Baseball Camp 2014!

As I mentioned we were in Lübbecke for the 2014 Synergy Germany conference. Here we talked a lot about the happenings of each camp and location this past year, including showing a couple of our videos. This was a great time of sharing. We also talked about how the German side of Synergy can be most effective and are continuing to move in a positive direction. Earlier that week I took part of a camp in Bonn that takes place between an American organization called UPI and a local baseball team/organization Kottenforst Saints. UPI is a christian organization which seeks to invest in and disciple pro baseball players. These camps are a dual purpose tool to reach out to Germans as well as a discipleship tool to teach pro players about services and ministry. It was a great couple of days that I got to spend with those guys!

Later that week before the Synergy conference we had a meeting all together at the SRS headquarters, between all 3 organizations to talk about how we could lean on each other and become co-supportive and co-beneficial. SRS is a christian organization that connects ministries and churches to one another as well as provides outreach locations and camps year 'round. They would be the networkers connecting all the potentials to new seekers or fitting ministries. UPI has the ability and know-how to train our German churches to be more confident in baseball with the aim of carrying on the ministry the other 51 weeks of the year. As we all continue to pray about these possibilities we will see where God leads us.

Finally today we met with one of our big supporting funds of Baseball Camp and got approved. The final value is TBD. Earlier this week Ralf and others met with the Bruckberg Kasserne (Siegburg Military base aka: Home of Baseball Camp Siegburg). Formalities were exchanged and everything seems to be moving right along to prepare for Baseball Camp 2014!!

This past Saturday we met at the church to play wiffleball. It was our first time this year to do anything baseball. We had a good number and a lot of fun! With wiffleball it makes it possible that we do not have to wait on good weather to come before we have any activities. The sanctuary is big enough that when we clear out all the chairs there is enough room to play!

Be praying we can create a consistent expectation of involvement between the campers and the church as we start playing baseball/ wiffleball more often. I believe this to be a great tool to connect with the campers and their families! Last weekend we got a couple a good complements about the church building from camper parents saying, "I have never been in here..." Now they have and hopefully they will continue to return as they grow to know us a little deeper!

Following His Call


SRS, UPI, Synergy Meeting @ SRS Headquarters in Altenkirchen

Simon Goehring of SRS (Right), Kory Dehaan (Hitting instructor in Pirates Farm system)

Tom Roy of UPI

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014 Here we GO!

I am back to Germany and have hit the ground running. I had a great time with many friends and family during the holidays. I was able to see my best friend and his family in SC, spend Christmas with my family in GA, and then New Years Maribeth and I went to see her family in Dallas. Then we ended it with a bang as we watched the Noles win the National Championship! It was a great time and a lot of fun with all!

Now I am back and the tires squealed as planning baseball camp had been ready to roll and raced off upon my returned. We are hoping to expand camp this year by another 30 campers or so; and with that will come several adjustments and require more staffing than we have ever had before. Yesterday I finished the first draft of the schedule for this year and have also been calling around about some cool new jerseys that would match this years theme. I have also gotten word that recruiting for next years trip is well under way and they are reaching out to other local associations and churches that might be interested in joining us this year. Their first interest meeting will be held soon and then training of our american team will begin.

In the business of it all, I have returned to both schools, the Christian school in the mornings teaching PE and then the city school in the afternoon learning German. We are finishing up the 3rd of 6 German courses I am taking and I should be finished just in time for summer! We also received information on a possible lead for a Gym that we could use on a regular basis for meeting and playing baseball. This would be a huge praise, even if it were only a one time opportunity. As I have mentioned before getting gym time in Germany is like gold. This has been one of our major goals in continuing the connection with campers year 'round. Please be praying for one of those opportunities to become available that it may establish itself in this city as this ministry continues to grow in both size and effectiveness!

I am excited to see where God is leading us this semester. It is going to be a very busy one. It starts with one of our youth leaders here heading to the states in a couple weeks to intern with one of my dearest friends and mentor, George Lockhart. He will then be heading to FBC Montgomery, AL, where we were in October to work along side their youth ministry. He will remain there until we meet up with our entire youth group  there in Montgomery.

Exciting times are ahead as the Lord is working in all our efforts and partnerships!

Following His Call


Friday, December 6, 2013

Sankt Nikolaustag

So there are many versions of Santa Claus around the world, however Sankt Nikolaus of German tradition holds about as close as any other tradition does to the actual Saint Nicholas of Greece. St Nicholas was a 1st century greek bishop known for his kindness and generosity to the people. I guess so, since he was a bishop and a Saint. There are several legends that have evolved from alleged events of this man's life to become what the world now knows of as Santa Claus/Kris Kringle/St Nick and other variations there of. In Germany on the even of December 5th children place their boots/shoes outside front door to wake up to small gifts and candy left by Sankt Nikolaus. In fact, Sankt Nikolaus came to visit me too on this evening! (See pictures below)

Yesterday I visited Bonn to walk around the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). It was pretty awesome! At first I only saw a huge Christmas tree reminiscent of the "Riches Great Tree" (originally named) of Atlanta. These happen to be all over the place here at intersection corners, by churches, just about anywhere they can put one. Anyway as I was walking through the old town of Bonn I turned a corner in the back of the city where the Beethoven Statue is and there it was, huge and spread throughout not only the market place but down the side streets connecting to. I took many pictures and walked around enjoying the Christmas spirit of Germany!

In other news, Thanksgiving in Germany is the 1st week of October. I may have mentioned it before in an earlier post. This also means that, what I would consider the 2nd biggest holiday in the states, just happens to be another day in the German life. Although there was a kind of celebration in the air as this was the end of my 2nd course in German. I also meet with some friends to talk exclusively in German. In a combined culmination last week felt to be one the strongest weeks in my German yet! I had a few full on conversations, even if I did dominate most of the conversation limiting the vocabulary used. I am hoping that by Baseball Camp next year I will nearly be fluent at least enough to carry my own.

Other exciting information that has come together in the last few weeks:
Baseball Camp plans have been moving right along. As it looks now we are planning to have 130 kids at baseball camp with 10 teams. We also have ordered the equipment that we need for camp next year. Akadema and Reynolds and Reynolds are working hard to get things shipped out to us as soon as possible. Planning meetings have begun, posters and sign up sheets are being created and passed out! We can't wait to see it all come together! For next spring we are looking at new ways to connect with baseball campers in the winter and springs months leading up to camp! My prayer is that when my time here is complete that there will be a steady improvement and impact as a result of the Lord's work as He has placed me in this community!

Following His Call