Germany has become a ministry hotspot for Charis Bible College students from Colorado. While every CBC mission trip offers its participants ample opportunity to pour out the love of God in the surroundings of a foreign land, the teams that have visited Berlin over the past few years seem to have had decidedly different experiences than that of the other teams. Perhaps it is because street ministry in Germany more closely resembles ministry in a metropolitan American setting than that of a third-world nation; the people, with whom the ministry is shared, are just as needy in spirit, but they are not trapped by economic shortage. Whatever the case, to see those whose bondage stems more from having society's advantages, than from poverty and lack, receive Christ, provides a different sense of joy.
In mid-April, 23 students and three leaders from Colorado Springs, including, CBC Mission Coordinator, Michelle Patterson, visited Cologne and Berlin. For nearly two weeks, the Colorado team was hosted by Jeff and Barb Serio and their Berlin-based ministry, European Initiative, and they spent most of their time ministering on the streets and in the open spaces of both cities.
Some aspects of the street ministry were a stretch for one CBC student, Justin McCormick. "I was way outside of my element," Justin said, "Dancing and skits just aren't my thing. However, I was committed to doing the Lord's work."
Although Justin soon realized that the trip was not about what he was comfortable with, but about blessing the people of Germany, he found that he was having limited success ministering to the people after each performance. Justin asked God to show him what the problem was, and God quickly responded. Justin said, "I asked God, 'What's the deal?' He said, 'Quit leaning unto your own understanding. Trust me, and I will fill your mouth.'"
Instantly, Justin thought of Proverbs 3:5-6 and Revelation 12:11, and with newfound boldness, he approached two girls from the crowd and began to tell them about the skit they had just watched. As he spoke, he asked if they had ever heard of Jesus, to which they both replied, "No." As he shared Christ, he stopped mid-sentence and looked at the girl to his left and said, "You have heard of Jesus. In fact, you have heard a lot about Him, and have been considering asking Him into your heart." The girl began to cry, and the Holy Spirit prompted Justin to share more with her. Moments later, she accepted Jesus as her Savior.
"On this trip I learned to trust God and let Him do the work. I stepped out in faith, and He did the rest," said Justin.
CBC student, Marcus Gresham, also found that as he spoke to the people of Germany, the Lord filled his mouth with His words. Marcus said, "Sometimes I spoke to groups as large as ten people. No matter the size, the Holy Spirit downloaded everything to me that I was to say to them. It was just like the instructors of CBC have taught—God will give you the right words to speak in that moment of time. The results were astounding! I personally was able to see 33 people make the decision to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior."
Another CBC student, Tim Spadino, came across a group of Muslim students visiting from nearby Belgium. Tim found that one student was suffering with pain from a broken knee, and he offered to pray for him. "I offered to pray and he accepted, so Jeff [Serio] and I put our hands on his knee and commanded the pain to leave. Then I asked him to move it around, and he got super excited and started running around and saying, 'It's a miracle!' His teachers came over and asked what was going on. With a big smile, I told them to ask the boy about his knee. Then I got to tell them that Jesus was the One that healed him. They had to leave before anybody could accept Jesus, but I'm confident that this will change their view about Jesus—a little bit."
With each mission trip to Germany, more and more seeds are planted in the hearts of the German people, and the harvest for each team continues to grow. “This is my third time to lead a team to Germany, and I can see God moving, opening doors and transforming lives. The first team we took in 2011, only saw two people receive Christ. In 2012, we saw 44 salvations, and now this year, we had 121 people to accept Christ during our street ministry...The people are hungry, searching and opening up to receive," said Michelle.