In preparation for our next move to Stralsund, Germany, I went on a scouting trip to find an apartment last week. This gave me the opportunity to see parts of the city I hadn’t seen before and get a better feel of each district. While taking a walk with my friend, Antje, I had a sobering thought: “Wow. So, this is my city. God is making me partly responsible for this place.” There were still so many construction sites – replacing wooden water pipes built over 500 years ago, restoring the grand Theatre, building roundabouts to replace intersections.
It seems that God is up to something! Since Germany’s chancler has given special attention to her home town (Stralsund!), it has received more funding for its restoration since communism, thus turning up the interest of tourists and creating the capacity to receive them. I’d never seen the streets so full of people! We had a record of 200 American first-time visitors this summer, where as before, the highest number was around 20. Stralsund is open now for new things as never before. It’s perfect timing for the NEW things GOD wants to do.
About 97% of all Stralsunders live in communist built block apts. Walking through that area, I realized what kind of people my city is made of. Most of them live hand-to-mouth, on government assistance, without jobs, nothing to do, and little to no ambition. But they are the easiest people to talk to. And recently, we’ve found “the key” – it’s their CURIOSITY. In a mid-sized city with a small town mentality, it’s incredibly easy to get noticed. They just have to know what’s going on and love to spread the news of anything out of the ordinary – like 2 Americans walking around with a video camera asking them questions – it’s a blast! Little do many know how they will have a part in getting the Gospel to their own city!
I’m excited about lies ahead, knowing at the same time its requirements of me and Brandon and the challenges that will face us. Inside I know that I know that the people there are ready for the love we have for them and Jesus has for them. They’re just waiting to hear it. Wow. My city. A new baby has been born, and it is my (our) responsibility to take care of it. What an honor that God would believe in me enough to give me this challenge. I must be capable of more than I thought :-).
Stralsund, WE LOVE YOU!