1. What will you be doing in Berlin?
While I’m in Berlin, my hope is that I will be able to use dance and others arts as my primary ministry tool. There may be opportunities to teach, perform, and choreograph in various contexts within the city. I will also likely get involved with the local dance culture of Berlin and take classes with dancers in the area. However, because this is ministry work, nothing can be set in stone right now. My mission organization (ReachGlobal) wants us to get used to the city, adapt to the culture, and learn the language while they get to know us. This allows them to place us into a specific ministry framework according to our gifts and skills. I am the first dancer to join the Berlin team, so I may not be able to use dance as a primary tool for some time, though it will absolutely still be a part of my life.
2. How long will you be there/will you ever come home?
I will be in Berlin for 24 months — a full two years. I most likely will not go home to the states at all during that time. If I do come home during that time, it would only be for a very big event like a wedding or family emergency.
3. Why are you going?
I’m going because that’s where the Lord is leading me and I want to be open to his purposes. I never expected to do something like this, and I wasn’t looking to go overseas as a missionary when I stumbled across GoCorps. I’ve always known I had a heart for ministry, but my plan was to get more involved in ministry when I was older and had already had a professional career. That was when God stepped in and changed my plan! Art can be a very powerful ministry tool because it speaks directly to someone’s heart. Berlin is a very post-modern environment, and has intellectualized themselves out of needing faith. Art is one of the best ways to connect with someone in an environment like this, where a theological conversation might not have the same results. Our God is a creative God, and using our creativity is a reflection of His nature. I have seen so many instances of dance and art healing, encouraging, and changing lives, and believe passionately that I am called to use my art as a testimony to the Lord. I am going because I strive to be the hands and feet of Christ.
4. Do you speak German?
Not yet! Right now I know about 15 words and can say such useful things as speck (bacon), brot (bread), and die mauer (the wall). I can also ask people not to speak so quickly because I’m from America. When I get to Berlin I will be attending language school full time and working towards passing a proficiency exam to prove that I am conversational in Germany. In the meantime, most Germans speak English well enough that we’ll all be able to understand each other.
5. Where will you be living?
Housing is one of the biggest challenges in Berlin. Because the city is growing so rapidly, it can be very difficult to find somewhere to live. We’re each responsible for finding our own housing (with assistance, of course, while we figure out the language) and I know I will be living somewhere in Berlin with at least one roommate. Beyond that, I don’t know yet. As much as I wish I could give you an address, this is one of the adventures of big city living. I’m trusting and praying that the Lord would provide housing when I get to Berlin.
6. How are you paying for this?
As a full time mission worker, I am required to raise all of my own support. I have been working all summer to meet with contacts, share my ministry vision, and invite them to financially support me. My budget is separated in monthly needs and one-time costs, and people either sponsor me for a certain amount each month or give a flat, one-time donation (or both!). I am not going to have a “normal” job in Berlin, because ministry is a full time job. I started support raising in June and need to be 95% funded by September 1st in order to get to Berlin by the last week of September. With those monetary commitments, the idea is that I will have all the finances I need for both personal living expenses (like rent and food) and ministry expenses for the two years.
7. What if you don't raise enough money or something major happens before September?
My focus and prayer is to get to Berlin by the end of September, but I recognize that life is unpredictable. My funding support could drop, I could get sick or injured, or a family emergency could come up. None of these are likely of course, but if anything did happen, I would just join the rest of my team in January when the next group goes and all my existing funds would stay in my account until I was able to go.
8. Won't your family/friends miss you?
Nah, they’ve been dying to get rid of me and are planning to party the night away when I finally leave.
I’ll miss them, so I hope they’ll miss me too! However, my family and friends have been in this process with me since last September and they’ve all been wonderfully supportive of this calling on my life. Distance is hard, but thanks to technology it’s easy to stay in contact. And anyone who wants to is welcome to come visit me in Berlin!
9. What is EFCA and what do they believe?
EFCA stands for “Evangelical Free Church of America” and ReachGlobal is the mission branch of the church. Right now there are over 1300 EFCA churches and almost 200 church plants in the US. They also have missionaries serving in 59 countries and partner with many local churches and Christian organizations in the cities that they serve in. I did not grow up in or have ever attended an EFCA church, but have studied their statement of faith and learned about their beliefs. If you want more information on EFCA this is their website link: https://www.efca.org/explore
10. What are your hopes, dreams, and goals for your time in Berlin?
Simply put, I hope God uses me to changes people’s lives. I hope God allows me to be the vessel through which he does his work. I hope he uses me to bring people closer to him and allows me to be a magnifying glass focused on him so that I am diminished and He is increased. I hope God allows me to establish how dance can be used in the existing ministry context of the Berlin team and that a partnership will be built that will last after I am gone. I hope that God uses me to encourage and support my fellow team members. I hope that God allows me to build close relationships with the people in Berlin and that I would be able to be a light shining for the Lord, as well as an encouragement and support. I hope God uses me to inspire other college students my age to engage in active ministry, both overseas and in this country. I pray God allows me to be a light.