Melody: Dancing in BerlinPosted on Friday, September 30th, 2022
Hello... Meet Melody!
When Melody first moved to Berlin, she knew exactly two words of German and hadn’t traveled internationally since she was eight years old. During her time in Berlin, Melody worked with a brand-new arts ministry where she led artistic Bible studies, danced in street festivals and church services, taught an after-school dance class for kids, and used those connections and opportunities to share the love and hope of Christ! Melody went to Berlin as a Goer in 2016, and now works with GoCorps as a Coach!
Here's our Map Years interview with Melody...
>> Tell us about yourself and how you chose your placement
Melody: I grew up dancing and have always loved being able to combine my creativity with my faith. As I approached graduation, I knew I wanted to continue to combine these two passions, but wasn’t exactly sure what that would look like. Thankfully, I stumbled across GoCorps while randomly googling for possibilities and fell in love with the idea of using my dance and creativity in Berlin in order to build relationships and share the Gospel!
>> Why are you glad that you went overseas in your 20's?
Melody: I gained so much confidence in myself and the Lord by learning how to adult in a different country. Whenever I face something new or difficult now, I tell myself “at least it’s in English!”
I’m also glad I went right after college because that’s something I couldn’t do right now with a husband, a house payment, and a dog. It’s definitely true that the years right after college are the most mobile you’ll ever have.
>> What was your biggest barrier to getting overseas?
Melody: The idea of support raising. My only fundraising experience was a few hundred dollars for a short-term ministry trip in the States and I had no idea what this more extensive support raising would look like. I’m also an introvert with some major phone anxiety, so when I realized I’d have to call people and talk to strangers, I almost changed my mind! Thankfully, the Lord taught me so much about his faithfulness through the fundraising process and came through in a major way when I was still $600 a month short a week before my deadline.
>> When you think about your experience in Berlin, what are you most proud of?
Melody: My ministry and I put together an entire 45-minute contemporary story ballet based on Revelation 12 that we performed as part of a big arts festival. It took months and was really challenging at times, but I’m really proud of the way that so many people pulled together and made it happen so that we could share a Gospel message in a really exciting and engaging way.
I’m also really proud of myself for the role I played. We had a dancer get a last minute injury and had to integrate a new dancer in the last two weeks. Plus, the first week of that time, our lead choreographer was out of town, so it was up to me to teach all the choreography. I was really nervous to step up on my own, but thanks to my friends praying with me, the Lord really renewed my confidence and everything worked out!
>> How did your experience living overseas positively impact your faith?
Melody: The thing about living overseas is that everything you’re used to is suddenly stripped away. Your church, your small group, your weekly rhythm. At first, I floundered in all that newness and all that I’d lost, but then I learned that it was enough just to be with the Lord. I didn’t need all that “stuff” I used to rely on to feel like a good Christian, all I needed was to give my whole life to Christ and to make the choice to pursue the Lord every day.
I also learned that I don’t need to have all the right words or a certain kind of education to share my faith. The first time a friend started asking me questions about why I believed in Jesus, I was worried that I’d say the wrong thing. Over the course of that conversation, I discovered that I could trust the Lord to give me the words when I needed them. Plus, in the end, it really wasn’t up to me, I could trust that the Holy Spirit would speak through me.
>> What is one thing about the culture or work in Berlin that you really enjoyed or appreciated?
Melody: I loved the multicultural environment of Berlin and how easy it was to get around! In one day I could experience Thai food, a Turkish market, and a German worship service. There were also tons of festivals and events happening all the time. I was never bored!
>> How did your experience in Berlin directly or indirectly impact your career or job opportunities after you returned?
Melody: As a dancer, something I was worried about when I left for Berlin is that I wouldn’t be able to keep up my dance training. Thankfully, I quickly discovered that was not true! I was able to attend many different kinds of dance classes with incredible teachers and feel that I grew a lot in my technique and artistry. I also got to explore my choreographer side through working with my ministry leader and choreographer and creating my own solos for different events. Thanks to this continued dance training, I was able to join a part-time dance company when I returned to the States!
>> Tell us about one of your craziest experiences.
Melody: In order to get to know the arts community of Berlin, I joined several Facebook groups that posted about theater and dance performing opportunities. Thanks to this, I found myself as an extra for a small, indie film where they put some crazy facepaint on me and had me dance in a faux music video! Going home on the U-bahn that evening, glitter and feathers still plastered on my face, I certainly got some weird looks!
>> Share one or two great things that have happened as a direct result of your doing Map Years overseas after college:
Melody: My time in Berlin definitely shaped the direction my life took after I moved back to the States. Thanks to my Map Years, I discerned a call to long-term ministry that I am still pursuing now as a Coach with GoCorps and by attending seminary. Before I graduated, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but by the end of my two years, God had given me a much clearer vision of God’s purposes for my life.
Also, because of Berlin, I reconnected with an old friend who is now my husband! I’m not sure that’s exactly a direct result, but I still think Berlin had a lot to do with it!
>> What would you say to someone who was considering Map Years as their next step?
Melody: Do it! There will never be a better time in your life to dedicate two years to adventuring with the Lord. I promise you the Lord will teach you so much and that not only will your life change, but the lives of so many who need to hear about the love and hope of the Lord will change because of you. I know it can seem scary at times and you’ll definitely experience tough moments, but it is so entirely worth it!
Plus, GoCorps has been helping young adults go overseas for more than a decade, so I promise we can help you get from here to there, no matter what barriers you might face along the way. If you’re interested, I’d love to talk with you!