Mittwoch, April 11, 2018

Dear Friends,
Are you still basking in the joy of the Resurrection?  We had wonderful time of celebrating with our church family as we remembered, worshiped and feasted together, starting on Thursday evening and ending Sunday afternoon.  It’s interesting to note that the celebration, the sense of euphoria, seemed to be lacking among the disciples after the Resurrection …

“Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberius.  It happened this way:  Simon Peter, Thomas …, Nathanael, from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.  “I’m going out to fish,“ Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.”  So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.”  John 21:1-3  

Although they had witnessed the empty grave and Jesus had physically joined them at least once before this account (and some of them possibly two or three times), they seem confused, down, and filled with uncertainty.  So much so, that Peter decides to go fishing.  Whether he was actually thinking of returning to his former life and work or that he just needed to busy himself as a distraction, as a way of coping – we don’t know.   Either way, the experience of the Resurrection had not yet translated into the transformation power of the Resurrection for the motley crew of disciples and followers of Jesus.  But the euphoria is yet to come – on Pentecost - with the amazing, life-giving, transformation power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Did you know that Easter is culturally celebrated for 7 weeks in Germany?!  How awesome is that!  Each Sunday has a celebratory name and theme, starting with Easter and ending with Pentecost.  So, we are still celebrating ; ).  

This is a reminder to us that we are on a journey, both in our personal lives and our public and ministry lives.  And here we are in April 2018.  Our last letter to you was in December 2017 Sorry about the long pause.  As you all know, we were on the road for 7 weeks in September/October and then in November/December in the USA and Canada, visiting churches and supporters.  This was an intense time of travel and meetings.  We are thankful to report that our monthly support deficit has been reduced from $2700 to $400 a month.  Many of you also gave special gifts that transported us into the black.  Thank you so much.  It also was an intense and amazing time of conversation with many of you about our ministry.  We definitely felt God’s leading in these conversations.  We arrived home in early December and plunged into all the preparations for Christmas that had been left unattended while we were gone.  As we stopped to catch our breath, we both came to the realization that we were exhausted – and also the realization that we are catching up to our age – not quite able to produce the energy that was available to us 26 years ago when we arrived in Germany.



But, we continue to be very busy.  Sue has had a full teaching schedule at the State School for Public Administration and also was asked to lead a workshop in intercultural competence at our annual GEM Germany gathering.  Jason has juggled his roles as pastor, Cologne city leader, GEM Germany leadership team, and leadership on the newly resurrected (!) Consultation for Church Planting in Germany. 

And we are experiencing some setbacks that make us long for Pentecost moments.  E. has continued to deal with difficult family issues that are testing his faith.  The location that we were so hoping to rent as a stable church facility has fallen through.  PLEASE PRAY for these two requests.  Also PRAY for Sue’s ongoing teaching, presentation, and training assignments.  PRAY for the nation-wide Consultation for Church Planting event on June 18-19.  Yes, and also PRAY for physical health and wellbeing.  We are more convinced than ever of our calling and the current responsibilities that HE has given us for ministry.  Thank you for partnering and standing with us.

Thankfully,

Jason and Sue

Montag, Dezember 18, 2017

December update



This is the nativity scene that I have in my show window at eye level for all the little ones who walk by with their parents. The simple message of Christmas. A child is born, bringing light to the whole world. The prophet Isaiah wrote: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

This message resonates with us this year more than ever as we have played a part in bringing light and hope to so many refugees who have fled the darkness of war and terror and have come to Germany in search of a measure of peace. Little did they know, that they would meet those of us who would introduce them to the Prince of Peace.

It has been humbling for us, but very fulfilling to be used of God in this unexpected way these last 2 years. We are blessed and grateful for all of you who have stood with us in prayer and financially.

May the God of Peace bless you this Christmas season.

Jason and Sue

PS:
  • We need just 8 additional partners who will commit to $100 per month. Or 16 partners at $50 per month. Or four new partners at $200 per month.  Or two new partners at $400 per month!
  • $1,000/mo. of the support needed is designated to the ongoing monthly expense of renting and maintaining the Studio, which is the hub of much of our ministry activity.
  • Those who have been praying for us in this regard - perhaps God is nudging you to be a part of the answer to your prayers!
  • If all of our 83 individual supporters were to increase their regular giving by just 10% - we would meet our goal! Costs go up every year. What about our giving?
  • Those who have given at the end of the year in the past but have never pledged to do so, would you please consider making this year’s gift the first installment of ongoing support for us by letting us know your intentions.

Mittwoch, November 29, 2017

November update

Dear Friends,
We are lingering in a Thanksgiving mode as we thank the Lord for His provision for us - through 26 years in Germany and through this current 4 week, 3000 mile road trip. Many of you have prayed for us and have encouraged us along the way. We have seen much (but not yet all!) of our needed financial support come in (see below) as people have committed to partnering with us.

One of the stories that we have been sharing is that of the L family from Afghanistan. R and H are brothers who,along with their aging mother and combined 6 children, fled the Taliban to Iran, where they found a measure of safety, but were still despised because of their ethnicity.  They decided to flee to Europe but were imprinsoned for a month in Turkey - women and children separated from the men, not knowing what was going on. Then they were deported back to Afghanistan. Facing the daily threat of kidnapping and/or murder, they tried again and made it through Turkey to Greece, on through the Balkans and eventually to Germany, to our neighborhood and into our hearts.

They enrolled in the German classes we hold in my Studio and we began to become friends. Earlier this year, they were enthralled for two hours as we showed the Jesus film in their language, Dari. We have helped them with their paperwork and gathered used furniture when R was able to move into a drafty, rundown apartment with his wife and two children.  One of our GEM colleagues and E helped them install their kitchen. Eventually, they invited us all over for a meal to thank us for the help. R and H have also attended one of our worship services.

We have invited R and his wife, Z, and their two children to our house for our Christmas Eve meal next month, along with our colleagues who speak Dari. Please pray that as we share the greatest gift of all, Emanuel, God with us, for the Spirit to open their hearts and minds to receive Christ’s love and forgiveness.

We have one week to go on our road trip. Please pray with us that the remaining needed support will come in by Wednesday Dec. 6 when we fly back to Germany.

  • We need just 13 additional partners who will commit to $100 per month. Or 26 partners at $50 per month. Or four new partners at $325 per month.  Or two new partners at $650 per month!
  • $1,000/mo. of the support needed is designated to the ongoing monthly expense of renting and maintaining the Studio, which is the hub of much of our ministry activity.
  • Those who have been praying for us in this regard - perhaps God is nudging you to be a part of the answer to your prayers!
  • If all of our 83 individual supporters were to increase their regular giving by just 15% - we would meet our goal! Our costs go up every year. What about our giving?
  • Those who have given at the end of the year in the past but have never pledged to do so, would you please consider making this year’s gift the first installment of ongoing support for us by letting us know your intentions.

With grateful hearts,
Jason and Sue

Mittwoch, November 01, 2017

Dear Friends,

Last Thursday our weekly small group gathering was quite unusual.  First, it was one of the largest with regard to attendance and second, the Americans and Germans were in the minority.  In previous letters, we have told the story of E., Turkish-Moslem background, who became a follower of Christ last year and was baptized.  In his exuberance, E. talks to everyone about his new faith and is constantly inviting his friends, acquaintances and family to church and small group.  Most of them share his background and so they are hesitant or reject his invitation.  However, last week 4 of his friends had the courage to attend our small group.  So, there we sat around the long table at the PastorenAtelier reading Scripture, discussing what we read, and what the Spirit was saying to us personally.  It made for a lively and challenging discussion.  Are they searching or just curious?  We don’t know.  Would you please pray for these men, that the Spirit would cause them to long for more.  Pray for us as we lead and manage these discussions.  And pray for E. who has also started a Turkish-speaking group in his home, that he would be filled with wisdom and led by the Spirit.



On another front, we have also mentioned in the past that we continue to look for a more suitable place for our church services, especially with regard to location.  The church body is in agreement that it would be better to meet somewhere in close proximity to the PastorenAtelier.  It appears that a possibility may be available right across the street from the PastorenAtelier – consisting of 4 rental garages with a large room behind and a large room in the basement.  Would you please pray about this possibility with us.  Pray that the landlord would desire to rent the space to us.  Pray for a simple solution in meeting fire code standards.  And pray for the finances for both the monthly rent/expenses and the up-front renovating costs.

Lastly, we are once again preparing for a fund-raising trip to North America.  In November and December, we will be visiting churches and supporters in New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin Michigan and Ontario.  Please pray for God to lead us in every encounter; pray for stamina and joy as we share about the ministry; pray for safety as we travel many, many miles: and pray that our financial needs would be met; lastly, pray, for church body and the ministry while we are away.  We say THANKS to so many of you who greatly encouraged us during our time of sharing in Colorado. 




Please continue praying for our financial needs. We need 22 people to support us for $100 per month.

Donate online - USA
Donate online - Canada
Download response card to mail in with check: USA
Download response card to mail in with check: Canada

Your missionaries to Germany and the nations,
Jason and Sue

Mittwoch, Oktober 04, 2017

Dear Friends,
We have been in Colorado for 2 weeks now and are so very thankful for the time we have had with family and encouraging  meetings with supporters and future supporters.

Please check out our current update at http://mailchi.mp/cfbbc44278ff/4z9cwme5mw-1812217 for a snapshot of what we are still trusting the Lord for in order to continue our ministry in Germany.

If you haven’t seen our new video you can view or download it here. For the privacy and security of those we minister to, we ask that you not post it on the internet. Thanks.

Please continue praying for our financial needs.

Donate online - USA
Donate online - Canada
Download response card to mail in with check: USA
Download response card to mail in with check: Canada

Your missionaries to Germany and the nations,
Jason and Sue

Donnerstag, September 14, 2017

CRITICAL NEED update September 2017

Dear Friends,

As Sue and I prepare to travel to Colorado next week to visit supporters we need to share with you a critical need that we have. With the strengthening of the Euro and weakening of the US and Canadian dollar, the small surplus that we have had in our GEM account has disappeared and we now have a deficit of $11,000. A further contributing factor has been the attrition we have experienced in our support base due to death, retirement, etc. which has led to our present critical need of $2700 in additional monthly support.

With the recent arrival of hundreds of needy refugees right in our neighborhood - we face new opportunities and challenges in our ministry of church planting, evangelism and discipleship. The names of some of the people we work with are Ali, Fahiyo, Zainab, Christopher, Levon, Reza, Reinhard, Ute, Mahsun, Nathnael, Matin, Jan, Sara, Christine, Jalal and Maiden.

Thanks to the faithful support of so many individuals and churches, we have been able to help dozens of people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries in practical ways and introduce them to the love of Christ. We have been able to challenge and encourage Germans and internationals to reach out with us and disciple the nations who are literally on our doorstep.

Please continue to pray with us for the salvation of all people groups and for intercultural reconciliation between nationals, immigrants and refugees through the power of the Gospel.  At this critical point in current events, we ask you to pray that we would not be prevented in any way from ministering to the many Germans and Refugees that God has placed within the context of our daily lives.

Please pray for our financial needs to be met so that we can continue to serve Christ’s purposes for the nations of his creation.  Please consider how you might contribute for our financial need, whether it might be a first time financial commitment, an increase, a special gift or encouraging a friend to become involved with this ministry.

Click on one of the links below if you would like to make a donation to the our ministry through GEM's secure website. Be sure to include our account number 22810 in the comments field.

Donate online - USA
Donate online - Canada
Download response card to mail in with check: USA
Download response card to mail in with check: Canada

Your missionaries to Germany and the nations,
Jason and Sue

Dienstag, August 01, 2017

Update August 2017

Dear Friends,

A couple of weeks ago E. asked us if he could bring a friend to our Thursday night small group.  He’s Turkish and has spent most of his life in Germany, like me, E. said.  Jason said of course you may bring him to our group.  So B. came along with E. the next Thursday night.  His participation was limited but he listened intently as we read Scripture, shared how the Spirit was speaking to us and prayed together.  The following Sunday B. also attended our church service.  He appears to be very shy and also have multiple personal problems, including health issues.  But isn’t that why Christ came – to heal the sick and broken-hearted.  So, last week E. said can I bring another friend?  He’s Turkish and we grew up together in the same neighborhood here in Cologne.  Last Thursday O. joined our group.  He is an outgoing, successful businessman, with a lot of questions, and so he readily entered into the conversation.  E. has repeatedly told us that he feels God has called him to the Turkish/Muslim community and he is taking that seriously.  

Please pray for E. – that he would continue to grow in his young faith; that God would guide him through the messy issues in his life; and for his eagerness to witness.  Also pray that God would protect him.    Pray for B. and O. – that God would open their hearts and minds and that they would hear his voice calling with forgiveness, healing and abundant life.  

Praise God with us for the safe and good arrival of D. and E., associates who will be helping specifically with refugee work and our church plant.  God has graciously enabled them to make big strides in the settling-in process.  Pray that visa application, which they are just starting, will go smoothly and successfully; for the hard work of language-learning that will soon begin; and for their children as they enter the German school system in September.  

On July 1-2 we had our church retreat with the theme Power for Living: connecting your spiritual life with everyday life. The turnout was rather small because of people's travel plans - but we had a blessed, encouraging time. It was fun for me (Jason) to celebrate my "last birthday with a 5" with the church family. God is good.


Pray that our church family will be refreshed during the summer months and for safety as many are traveling.  We look forward to seeing many of you as we travel to Colorado in September/October for a short home ministry assignment.  We are excited to be able to thank you personally and up close for your faithful support and encouragement.

Your missionaries to Germany and the nations,
Jason and Sue