Germany + Switzerland RP Mission Team

15 Jul

A few weeks ago I returned from my first RP Mission team, and I’m just getting round to writing about it now that I’ve finally got some free time! As the title of this post suggests, the team was held in Germany and Switzerland, although if this report was in the messenger, no doubt there would be an accompanying map with an arrow helpfully pointed at Turkey or somewhere!

Keeping it real..

If you know your RP churches worldwide, you’ll probably be aware that there are no RP churches in either Germany or Switzerland. The team was working with Trinity Reformed Church in Landstuhl, Germany – not to be confused with Trinity RPC in Mossley. The next question you may be asking is how can 4 non German speakers be of any real use to a Church in Germany? And this would be a valid question, except that everyone in the Church speaks English, or at least they try to – they’re Americans. The US military has an enormous base in south west Germany, and so they are many Americans living in the area.

The Church has been there since 1988, and is a mission work of the South east Alabama Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America. It is one of a number of English speaking churches in the area.  An average congregation might number over 150 at morning worship, which is then followed by Sabbath school for both children and adults.  Almost everyone at the Church is in Germany because they are in some way affiliated with the military,and so the membership of the Church is constantly changing as people and families are redeployed to different parts of the world.

Landstuhl, military base somewhere in the background

The team consisted of Jill, Marissa, Sam and myself. The two girls had come over from Americaland for the team, while Sam and I had been interrailing through Europe for 12 days or so beforehand, and had ended up in this small corner of Germany. The primary task of the team was to run a VBS (vacation bible school, better known to us Irish folk as a Holiday Bible Club!) at the Church’s retreat in Switzerland from Monday – Friday. The retreat was held in a tiny little town called Beatenberg, 1200m above sea level right in the middle of the Swiss Alps. Interlaken was the nearest significant dwelling, about 7 miles away, and mostly downhill! I still can’t really believe how incredible the scenery around where we were staying was. Our accommodation was a Christian conference centre which was also a seminary. So if the RPC ever decides to build such a place, they will have trouble beating this for location!

Beatenburg..amazing!

Wow

At the VBS we covered a variety of activities, Bible stories, Psalm singing, missionary stories, craft, memory verse, games, prayer and probably more. We had quite an age range to deal with, going from about 12 months old to 12 years old. One team member covered the nursery and the rest took the other kids. Our theme for the week was ‘God’s Mighty Acts’, covering stories such as Solomon asking for wisdom and Jesus feeding 5000. Our team devotions were on the book of Philippians, and we followed this by spending time in prayer.

Me taking the missionary story, covering the incredible life of Hudson Taylor

When we didn’t have the kids a lot of time was spent in planning the activities and schedule for the next day, as there is only so much planning you can do across the Atlantic via email! On some days we joined with the rest of the people at the retreat in some of the activities, the most memorable of which was the “Death March”. We hiked up a mountain in the middle of the Alps, ending up a little village that is only accessible by cable car or walking, and then managed to catch the closing minutes of the USA’s last group game. Suffice to say the Americans were pleased when they scored to top the group.

Marissa, James, Me, Jill

I really enjoyed getting to know some of the people in the Church, and they were some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. The sense of unity in the Church was immediately noticeable and very refreshing. The fact that they were all in a similar situation, living in a foreign country, different language, culture etc, probably contributed a lot to this, as the people depended on each much more than we ever do, and as a result were much more united for it.

So to finish, a few things you can pray for regarding the Church:

  • The pastor of the Church, Brent Saddler, as he ministers to the varied needs of his congregation
  • The families of men who are currently deployed
  • That the children at the VBS will have learnt from what we taught them, and that they will grow up to walk with the Lord
  • That the Holy Spirit will continue to unite the believers in the Church in love for one another
  • For people to sign up to do this mission team in future years, and that God will bless the work as he did ours
  • For families who have to move to a different part of the world at relatively short notice

Photos..

Emily, Marissa, Arthur, Lousia, Simon

Jungfrou

Sam with Joseph and Kevin

The guy in the green shirt was from Newcastle!

Paragliding is pretty big deal around here..

:)

Marissa taking the story

Kevin and Simon

Renwick shirt on tour

We got up to see the sun rise one morning!

I hope I get the opportunity to go back to this Church at some point in the future, it was a blessing to be part of this team. Hope you enjoyed reading this!

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;

his greatness no one can fathom

Psalm 145:3 – our memory verse for the week

We got up to see the sun rise one morning!

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4 Responses to “Germany + Switzerland RP Mission Team”

  1. Ali G July 16, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Clearly not paragliding. What’s happened there is his sleeping bag’s got tangled up in his tent guideropes in a storm overnight.
    Good article Andy!

  2. Erin July 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    Beautiful Pictures!

  3. James July 16, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Great report Andy and just in case anyone needs clarification

  4. Catherine July 17, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    There are some class pictures there.

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