What's New with the Dillons
We truly cannot even believe it, but we have been in Dresden for almost three whole years! The time has flown by, and it just seems to keep going faster and faster. Our little Felix is now almost six months old! We try to keep everyone updated in smaller bits and pieces through Facebook or other contacts, but since we haven't sent out an email in awhile, we wanted to give an overview update of 2016 so far. It's safe to say there's been a lot of changes, and a lot about this year that hasn't gone quite like we'd imagined, but it's still been a wonderful year, and we are getting more and more excited about what is still coming too!
As we entered into 2016, the refugee crisis was in full swing. Germany and much of Europe was truly overwhelmed by the flooding in of people who were forced from their homes in the Middle East and Africa. We saw the needs of the people and the opportunity we had just by being here and being available, and we wanted to jump on it. Elyse helped set up a women's center and get funding for the medical needs of moms and families. Ryan taught music lessons for kids and adults, and was looking into helping them learn German. A new refugee home was opening close to the church. And, you guys, our team back in the States jumped in and sent money and donations like clothing to us, and we were able to distribute it so you could help people with what they needed most! And then, it all kind of slowed *way* down. It's not that there's no one coming anymore, or that the people need less help, or even that the situations in these countries have gotten that much better. But, many European countries tightened their borders, which made it harder for people to make it to Germany, and once those already here started getting processed and placed, the camps got emptier and emptier. The one where they built the women's center is basically shut down. The camp by our church did open, but it may not be around much longer. The camp where Ryan helps and does music lessons went from having over 1000 people to just about 300-400. Now, there's still much to do, and we are getting involved where we can - like still doing music lesson - but, it's looking like for the rest of 2016 and into 2017, this is not going to be as big of a focus of our ministry as it had been. Thank you for all your prayers and all your donations - we even still have some money that we need to find the best use for! - and please keep praying for these people, for their countries and governments, and when you see all the sadness on the news, remember that you were a part of making things better for a few of these people, and that you can continue to do that in many ways even from home in the States!
The second major focus for 2016 that we mentioned in our last big report, was that we would be getting more involved in a Café project in the restaurant and club district of town. This Café is owned by a Christian man and rented by several different churches who work together and provide various events for the people of Dresden, like open mic nights, or weekend brunches, or discussion evenings. This type of project was something that we have dreamed of for a long time, and we were so excited to get more involved. And then (yep, another "and then") throughout the year a few things happened. One, was that the building was going to be rented out to a different group, so that the existing renters would not be able to continue holding their events. This has actually been postponed, but there's also another thing...one of the groups that works there has been having a lot of contact with refugees. Some Christians looking for a community, some Muslims looking for something new, and out of these small events at the beginning, a new church has formed at the Café! And, what's also really amazing, they are turning the space - which was sort of a Cafe but sort of more just an event space - into a full blown Iranian restaurant, when some of the refugees will be working and doing the cooking!! It's amazing to see how much has happened in a short time, and we are so excited for this church and their restaurant! But, since the project has taken a bit of a turn from the vision that we feel God has given us, for reaching out to German people and not just specifically for refugees...we are in the beginning stages of finding our own space to rent and starting up something brand new! It's crazy! It's a lot of work! And we're so excited to finally get on the path to seeing our own vision come to life. We'll need a lot of prayer, a lot of strength, and a lot of good ideas - and hopefully some new team members for the church here or from Kontaktmission - but we would like to find a space and get it up and running by some time early next year. We think it will be a great way to meet people, to create a safe, neutral space where people can discuss spiritual things, not matter they believe or don't believe, and that it will be a great place for us to let our own talents and interests flow into the community as well. So, like I said, even though 2016 is shaping up to be a little different than what we had planned, it's still been amazing, and we can't wait to see what happens the rest of the year! Thank you all, as always, for all your prayers and support, for thinking of us and sending care packages, and emails, and Facebook messages. We appreciate you so much, and we can't wait to share more about how this new project is shaping up!