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Sunday, 19 January 2014

2013/2014 TMI Australia/NZ Mission to Germany



Well it's Sunday and the team that came to work with us from Australia and New Zealand just left yesterday morning.  7 teens, 3 leaders (2 from Australia and 1 from New Zealand) plus an extra leader from TMI Florida who had been serving in Malawi for the past year and wanted a stop over in Germany on his way back home for a few weeks.  It was a terrific 3 weeks with the team and a ton was accomplished. Each week the team worked 4 days on an attic space we are hoping to convert into apartments for short and medium term missionaries that want to work alongside us.  In addition they did spiritual background surveys at the University, enjoyed some sightseeing and went to church services both in Meckesheim at the CVJM and in Heidelberg at Calvary Chapel.  I think they enjoyed the variety in their schedule.  Alan worked with them on all their work days and I helped doing behind the scenes organization of everything from evangelism and sightseeing to meals with church members, presentations at church services and schools and running leaders on errands, primarily to the grocery stores. 

I want to use the next few posts to talk about each of the team members individually and show the work the team accomplished.  Alan and I couldn't be prouder of this group of on fire for God, hard-working teens.  In addition to nearly 8 hours work each day they also manned a prayer closet for each of those hours, held private and group devotionals, bible marking class and library reading time. In addition each team member is required to learn one new bible verse a day and review those verses in quiz-off's each week in preparation for a competition with others teams at debrief when they return to Australia. Teen Missions is such a good program because it is so varied in how it prepares and equips each young person who goes on a team for a future walk with Christ.  I still remember verses I memorized on my TMI team back in 1985!

Well, now back to the team members.  The first person I'll talk about it Travis.  Travis is not from Australia but instead from Minnesota in the states.  He had been on my TMI team to Wales and Iceland back in 2008 when I was on staff.  He was one of my "favorites" on the team because his personality was so crazy contagious.  He just had a way of making everyone feel good and he really shined Jesus.  He was 16 then.  He's 21 now.  We kept in touch over the years and I encouraged him more than once to come over to Germany to see us or work with us.  God worked it out so he could come this year and while we didn't know what exactly to expect nor if and how he'd mesh with the Australian team it was clear after about 20 minutes that he was going to fit in just fine and be such an asset to us all.

I cried when he left partly because of how much we'd miss him but also partly because of how proud I was of him.  Everywhere we went in Germany Travis was the most outgoing of us all, introducing himself in his broken German and trying to share the love of Jesus.  He loves to preach and never shies away from any opportunity to do so.  He shared his testimony at our church and I could have listened to him for hours.  He's just filled up with Jesus so he overflows onto people naturally.  Alan and I joked that we could see him running Teen Missions one day or pastoring a big church somewhere.  He could also stay a missionary running an orphanage because children just navigate to him.  I know our pastors wife at the CVJM is already trying to recruit him back to Germany as am I but no matter what God decides for him we'll keep in touch and continue to support his work for Jesus.  Please pray for him as he takes the next few months to pray and seek Gods direction for this next phase of his life. 


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