Germany holds a special place in our hearts for many reasons. It was the first European country we went to together. Our mission organization was started in Germany and that’s where the headquarters are. We make a trip there once a year for our mission conference, and that is where we met and continue to reunite with many of our missionary friends.
The last week in March was the time for our annual trip to Germany. On Palm Sunday, all the missionaries from Kontaktmission, along with many of their German supporters, get together in Wüstenrot, Germany for a time of worship, prayer, updates, lunch, and fellowship. The whole thing is done in German, but for those of us who don’t speak German, someone translates for us while we wear headphones.
After this is over, all the KM missionaries go to Frioltzheim, Germany for a 3-day team retreat. This is called “Mitarbeitertagung,” which basically means co-worker meetings. During these three days, we have times of worship in German, English, and Spanish. Then we usually have guest speakers who talk to us about different topics concerning missions, church planting ,etc. This year we had a man speak during all the sessions about multiplying our churches using cell groups. As you can see in the picture below, we are working with our teammates on a diagram to show how we are currently working towards multiplication in the church and how we plan to in the future.
In the evenings, we sing some more songs, we often hear some more updates from missionaries, and someone leads us in a special prayer time. We eat all of our meals there during those 3 days, and we try to sit with different people each time so that we can meet new people and catch up with old friends as well. Our breaks and late nights always consist of spending time with our missionary friends. One of our favourite parts is hearing how they are doing with their families and ministries, sharing stories, and just talking and laughing together. Although we only see each other once a year, we have formed such great friendships with many of these missionaries and always look forward to seeing them again. There is a group of us from the US who have a constant Facebook message chat where we keep in touch regularly. This past year we also tried to all get together once a month for a video conference chat where we can quickly update each other and pray for one another. It’s so wonderful to have these friends who have often been through what we are going through and can be a great source of encouragement.
We are finding that each time we go to Germany, it is a little more special because our relationships with our fellow missionaries has grown more. Many of you remember Michael and Kayla Badger, who interned with us for 7 months last year. We were thrilled to get to see them and spend time together at the conference! We had a wonderful time in Germany and left encouraged and with some new ideas to try out at church. As always though, it is great to be back home in Ireland and with our two sweet puppies!