Ever since the day I hit Berlin soil on September 12, 2013, my mind and soul have been whirring...in a crazy, Spirit-anointed kinda way.
I am constantly learning in a way that was not possible for me before in America. In every moment there is something new to process, to take in, to experience, to pray about, to understand, whether it be learning the German language, understanding the one of many cultures in Berlin, discovering our team dynamics, or understanding each individual person and how they see the world.
I have learned how deeply diverse our God is. I have learned how creative He is in His ways---I have seen Him reflected in the creative people of Berlin. I have learned how rich His word is---I have seen His promises hold true and remain secure through the trials in my life and in the context of our team. And I receive sweet new revelation from the Spirit as God´s word comes alive in my daily life.
I have learned who I am in Christ Jesus. There is no such thing as a model Christian. If we think that, then we are likely not as deeply in communion with the Father as we think. What I mean by this is that we each have our own destiny, our own specific God-given purpose that God is calling us to fulfill and that only each individual can fulfill. God´s creativity does not fit in a mold. As Christians, we are to share the Gospel and make disciples, but how the Great Commision looks in practices is so wildly unique. Its shape is dependent on how God has wired you, dependent on your context, dependent on your awareness of His shaping, and dependent on your obedience to His shaping. I realized that my constant fascination with what other Christians were doing was unhealthy. I would feel inadequate, and I was constantly wavering, distracted, and jumping from one ministry to the next, depending on what I had read, seen or heard, rather than deeply rooting in my calling, as God wants me to. Satan is the distractor. God is the guide.
I have learned how to better equip myself and others in spiritual warfare, as I have experienced it more intensely here. At the Cafe Drop-in Center where I serve, many women are possessed by spirits of bitterness, illness, doubt, addiction, self-hate, revenge, and hopelessness. In my own life, I have personally stood on the brink, starring at the face of alluring sins I had never before experienced temptation for. I feel the fiery darts of Satan attack my thought-life daily, seeking to allure me to his paths of destruction and paralyze me from moving forward in God´s work. I have unknowingly allowed Satan to build certain strongholds in my life and have been humbled by the grace of God. I have experienced the triumph of the power and grace of the Holy Spirit who has completely demolished such strongholds and have experienced in a more tangible way than ever before the victory we have in Christ Jesus. Yeah!!! I have learned how we must be intentional in what we feed our minds, our hearts, and our souls. We have to remain healthy and rooted in Christ Jesus. Ministry is futile any other way.
In these past 2 years, Jesus has become more real to me. He is my savior. My dragon slayer. My Lord. My protector. My refuge. My shoulder. My example. My anchor. My rock. My teacher. My best friend. These "cliches" go beyond words. Behind each of these titles is a story of Jesus´presence and working in my life these past 2 years in Berlin.
I have learned that I have a lot more common with the women on the streets than I ever would have realized had I not been here in regular contact with them. We both long for intimacy. We both long to be understood, to be known. We both seek to find our identity. We both are very prone to make bad decisions when our needs are not being met. We both need God. So, so desperately need God. We both need to daily surrender the Holy Spirit, so that He may do His work and transform our lives in righteousness. We both need to hear the Gospel and to know that we are loved by God with an undying love---a resurrected love.
I have learned a lot during these past 2 years in Berlin, and I am excited to stay that God is calling me to stay with my team (at least) one more year. Thank you, GoCorps, for making these past 2 years possible.
Up next: Berlin, Germany, Year 3. I wouldn´t have it any other way.
***The photo featured above is from August 10, 2015 where we, the Cafe, hosted two artists who offered their services to the women and transvestites who wanted a portrait of themselves done. Those featured in the photo are the 2 artists and Cafe volunteers, including myself.