Well time has slipped away from me as usual, and I have lots to blog about. First I want to sincerely thank all of you who are supporting me! I thank the Lord for you all and I have sensed your prayers repeatedly! God has protected me and given me many opportunities to serve and speak of Him. I have hardly been homesick or fearful, but I do miss my SEFC family!

I am no longer living in the Dye’s apartment due to a water heater problem, so in the meantime, my friend Kristi invited me to stay with her and since we get along so well, she is letting me stay the rest of my time in Berlin! It is great to have a fun friend to come home to! In fact, we booked a two day trip to Geneva Switzerland next month. I am hoping to visit CERN. (only nerds know what this is) If you would like to see photos from my stay so far visit http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.617818396436.2096328.161501409&type=1&l=47215d4e80

My work at Connections usually involves designing and printing signage and invitations for events, preparing the monthly weblasts, updating social media and website graphics (in progress), housekeeping, cataloging books, talking to visitors, and helping with special events. On my day off (Mondays) I have been trying to do some sightseeing, because it is pitch dark when I am done at Connections every night. Last week’s trip was to Potsdamm and the grounds of Sansoussi – a palace after the Versailles style built by Kaiser Frederick in the seventeen hundreds. This past Monday was a trip to Wittenburg for Reformation Day. We had quite an adventure getting there because Monday was a holiday in the Brandenburg State where Wittenburg is located, so the trains were on a holiday schedule and there was also construction – amounting to a 3 hour journey. It was worth it though, Wittenburg is very charming and old. The two churches there were built in the fourteen hundreds! That is almost 3 times as old as the United States! Most of the festivities revolved around medieval crafts and entertainment. (see photos) It was nice going with some of Kristi’s friends who are visiting from the states. Dan and Janell and 2 year old Javen have been staying at Kristi’s apartment also. Dan is worship leader and youth group pastor at his church in PA. Kristi’s other friends, Ben and Liz Rudolf have been visiting a few weeks and are church planters from NC. They have three delightful kids, Jaden, Sage and Hally. The visitors have helped out the last few weeks with preaching and leading worship at Crossway. Please pray for a safe return to NC for the Rudolfs this this Thursday and a safe journey on to Turkey for Dan and Janell as they lead worship at a missions conference.

I became aware of a ministry supported by Crossway church, called Alabaster Jar. It is a ministry to mainly trafficked prostitutes that provides snacks coffee and gospel literature to the women. I had the opportunity to go out with a group last Wednesday night and it was quite an eyeopening experience! I did some research on trafficking and prostitution in Berlin. Prostitution has been legal here since 2002 and brings in billions of euros in income tax to the government. There are more than just registered prostitutes however. Seventy-five percent of prostitutes are foreigners from the Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and other eastern European nations. Of those, most are trafficked – brought here with the promise of a better life and good job and then find themselves in the sex market and kept here under fear of beatings or death of their families. Alabaster Jar rents a tiny cafe on Wednesday nights in the sex district, and opens the door for a few hours for women to come off the streets, get warmed up and get a bite to eat. There are volunteers that speak multiple languages to talk to them and share the gospel. Meanwhile other groups of volunteers take hot drinks to the women on the streets. These encounters are most likely the only kindness these women are shown without any expectation of return. It broke my heart to see these women of all age groups along the street trying to be more appealing than the next and going with any car that pulled up and proved their funds. I even sympathized with their plight of being objectified – a few times Liz and I got followed and cat-called by men in cars and I felt so helpless. However, I sensed God’s presence protecting the two of us as we followed the other volunteers to keep an eye on them and pray for them while they handed out coffee. While I was there a Bulgarian woman named Nancy came in to the cafe, crying and very upset. It turned out her pimp had been beating her, stolen her passport and had not let her speak to her family in 2 years.   Long story short, she spent the night at a volunteers’ house but wound up back on the street a few days later because she needed money to get home.

Prayer Requests: Please pray for Nancy and the other women!  It was such a dark, oppressive environment!  These women need to know what hope and real love is. Please pray for the volunteers! they need God’s protection and perseverance to keep ministering in such a hopeless overwhelming environment.  Please pray for my safety because I want to continue to be involved in this ministry, but maybe in a different way.  Please pray for Alabastar Jar because it is in danger of shutting down after 5 years for lack of support from local churches.  Also please pray for Larry Lewis, the director of Connections.  He is recovering from surgery after tearing a tendon in his leg last week.  It will be a long recovery process with lots of therapy.  Also, the Lewis family is still in need of a ground floor apartment.  A praise: the whole Lewis family now have visas!  While we are on the topic of prayer requests and praises a young German college student named (ironically) Christian has started coming into the library weekly to talk about christianity vs. karma,  philosophy and what is truth.  His worldview a mixture of hinduism and buddhism but has been very devoted to coming in to talk about Christianity.

Thank you all for your prayers! I pray for God’s return blessing on you for your partnership with me in all these (unplanned) opportunities. Love you and miss you!