In search of our Germans...

The Willsonball Pit Josh built for his youth group in Berlin

Hannah S. getting hitched!
I recently returned from a trip to Germany. As you might expect, it was amazing. I love history, architecture, coffee, and bread and there was a lot of all of those things. Jogee was a pretty happy bear! The reason for this trip was Hannah S' wedding. Hannah was part of our Generation One German volunteers from our partner organization in Germany. It was a great reason to finally make the trip across the pond to celebrate with Hannah and see the place that a good chunk of our staff come from.

Our German Volunteers have become a integral part of our staff team. In so many ways - I can't imagine what it would be like to not have Germans on our team. Back in 2012, when Christoph, Jessica, and Hannah first arrived - we didn't know what it was going to be like. Even though we had had international staff in years past - this was going to be consistent. We knew that it would change our staff team forever.

And it did.

Josh in Berlin
I saw a positive change in our Canadian staff. It could have been something as simple as working with others from another continent in sharing the Gospel to being sensitive to another person's cultural upbringing and work ethic - it created a really beautiful change in our staff culture.

We have had 26 volunteers return home to Germany from Canada and Camp Evergreen since 2012. If you count the five that are here right now, that's 31...we have another coming in January and another one in March which will put us up to 33 - this does not count the group that will begin to be interviewed in March.

Mirjana and Daniel

On my trip - I got to see 18 of our 26 volunteers. I traveled to more than ten cities/towns in Germany, two countries (Germany and the Netherlands), and made more than 3282km to find them all. Whoa.

L-R: Sebastian, Hanna G, Manuel, Marina, Felix, Franca, and Sebastian's sister
Marcel, Tobias, Sophie, Julian, and Franca
Anna, Michael (coming Jan. 2018), Felix, and Mirjana

Jewdy and Tamara

Ina and Wolfgang Pfau at WEC
I had the opportunity to stay with some of the families of our volunteers which was really special. I have the opportunity to meet a lot of our Canadian staff families so to meet some of our international staff's families is really cool. I finished the trip off with a stop in Eppstein where the WEC Headquarters are located for Germany. I was able to meet Wolfgang and Ina Pfau, who have been my contacts for the volunteers for the last five years. Wolfgang and I email several times a month...and sometimes several times a week depending on the season. It was so good to finally meet both Wolfgang and Ina, and be able to share with the staff at WEC about Evergreen and the impact of their volunteers. I was able to give them a picture of what we do here at Evergreen and then they prayed for us. It was a very special day for me personally to feel the world become a little smaller as I meet with people who have done missions in countries where the Gospel is not allowed to be preached freely to stand with me in prayer for Evergreen and the work that God is doing and will do here. It still gives me goosebumps!

Most of our past volunteers are working (very) hard on their studies in Germany. Some of the volunteers are doing studies outside of Germany: Tamara is studying in the Netherlands, Christoph and Maren are in California at Bible College (Bethel). Felix, Hannah S., and Sebastian have finished their programs are working.

Jessica (Fritzi)
I have loved working directly with WEC and our volunteers. It's such a privilege to walk with them as they experience the year serving at Evergreen. Each of them are coming on a personal missions trip, dedicating this year of their life to God. I've been impacted by each one of the volunteers as I've witnessed their intent and pursuit to grow in their relationship with God. I've been humbled by their willingness to allow God to change them and shape them during their time at Evergreen. I've prayed that each of us that work here at camp, whether we're seasonal, permanent, Canadian, German, or from another country (like New Zealand, for example) would be as open to God transforming us as these young people have been.

My goodness - how do you wrap a post like this up? I guess I'll just say what I told the staff at WEC when I was describing how many campers made significant decisions or experienced growth this summer. The world seems a little brighter and a little more hopeful when you think of all of these young people coming from Germany to Canada working together with us at Evergreen to see lives transformed by the power of Jesus.

And that folks, is pretty awesome.

.: jogee :.


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