In the beginning of June we had a group of university students from Appalachian State University come for a week on a short term missions trip. It was our first time hosting a real group like that so we were a bit nervous, but it all went really well!
They did a lot of work in a local refugee camp helping with the kids and also doing some music lessons. They also did some jobs to help out at our church, like go all around the neighborhood putting flyers in mailboxes to help promote an event that the church was hosting. They got to meet with two older men from the church who lived in Dresden during the GDR times and ask them all sorts of questions. This was (maybe selfishly) actually my most favorite part of the week because we got to hear the personal accounts of these two men who we see every week at church but never knew any of the crazy the stories that they've lived. Ryan and I have a major fascination with what life was like in Eastern Germany during the GDR period, so this was a really cool meeting that Ryan set up! The students seemed to really appreciate it as well.
Of course, working in the refugee camp was the main work that the students were involved in, and hopefully very eye opening. We did mini tours of the Dresden's history Old City, ate some sausage and pretzels, got caught in a few good rain storms, and talked a lot about history, culture, atheism, and eastern Germany's desperate need for more Christians. We hope that God opened their eyes and hearts to what the spiritual situation is here, and maybe some of them will come back to do long term ministry! :-) We can hope, anyway.
They were here for a Sunday morning service and a few of them played with Ryan on the worship team! One of the young men gave a testimony about their time in Dresden and some things that they have learned. The minister introduced all of them to the congregation, and you could tell that everyone loved having them there!
All in all it was a very busy, exciting, and packed to the brim week! It was definitely a learning process for us but we definitely feel more prepared to host a group again if the event arises. We hope and pray that the group goes back to their university campus full of excitement about what God is doing here in Germany and in Europe. We hope that their experiences with the refugees helps them to be armed with hearts full of love instead of fear and hate, and that they can promote that love to the people around them. We also hope and pray that some of them come mack to Germany someday to help with ministry here. Thank you to those of you who were praying for us leading up to and during their time here!
In Him, The Dillons