Heart of Berlin

Inspirations from Kerstin Hack

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Moments of Grace

2015-04-11 19.02.44Today as I was on my way home from working on the ship I came by Tempelhof Airport. I looked out on the field, the tents, the hangars where thousands of refugees live. I just felt so sad that they have to live in these conditions with no private space, strange food, insecurity and many other things that cause stress. My heart was moved with compassion and for minutes I just kept praying: „Lord, bless your children, bless your children!“ Hoping that Creator-and-Father-God would find a way to bring hope and change.

Then I looked up in the sky…and on a dark and rainy day the sun broke through the skies… and as it kept on raining I started looking for the rainbow and saw it. Bright and strong across the dark sky. It brought so much comfort to my heart as it reminded me of the promise that God gave thousands of years ago to one man – Lot.

„As long a the earth will exist the rainbow in the sky will remind you of my mercy – there will always be summer and winter, sowing and harvest.“

There is rain. There is sadness and tragedy in the world. Not only in Tempelhof, but even worse in other areas… but there is hope….

Right now one of my best friends is visiting… when she was eight years old she became a refugee, fleeing the war in Lebanon… it was hard… but now she does have a deep and rich life… and she is my friend… rain and sunshine and many colors in the sky.

Discover God as you help others

2014-01-19 13.59.40A day ago  a friend sent me a quote that made me think – and feel – a lot.

The shortest way I can summarize it:

When we express anything good to an other human being – tenderness, love, care, help, honesty… we are expressing something of God´s character. His nature is flowing through us. And as it flows through us it also touches us. And the encounter with the other human being can also be an encounter with God´s nature. 

Here is the full quote

„A hug or supportive physical touch at the right moment, changes everything. Just as a word can bloom when given and received from the heart. Find the good soil in one another and plant there. It’s wisdom to bless others well, not just how you yourself get blessed, but how God is blessing them.
Make your helping others a way of getting to know God. Encountering and reflecting His orientation towards other is the key to lasting ministry into others.

It’s important not just to have His information for the other person or situation, but His  (Gods) Tone and Orientation of Love towards them. God gives particularly. (If we ask for a bird, will He give us a snake?) So should we.

God is not just loving people, He is loving people in specific ways. Partnering with Him in ministering His Life to others, is another way of getting to know just how awesome and specific His loving really is.

Ministry, then, is just a way to get to know and love and appreciate more of God. It’s another medium through which we meet Him.

Without the specific nuances of His Love, we can become nothing more than resounding gongs, useful only to ourselves–sort of narcissistic ministry (ministry to meet our own needs, even the one to feel useful to others), instead of ministry as a way of spirituality-of knowing and therefore overflowing and revealing God to others.“

My Syrian Easter….or what is good about Good Friday

kreuzweg1Each year at Easter there seems to be an other aspect of the Easter story that becomes meaningful. The basic story is clear. As a Christian I believe that Jesus was not just an ordinary man or preacher – he was much more than that.

In the Bible (and if I am right in the Quran as well he is called „the word of God“ and it is said that by His Word God created everything. And this word – in some ways the very essence of God if one can call it this way – took the form of a human being – Jesus the Messiah.

The one side of the story is that people could not handle the beauty, but also challenge of their wrong ways that the living word of God brought to surface as they interacted with Him. And they chose to imprison, torture and kill him.

On the other side Jesus the Messiah knew that everybody on this planet was far from God because of the wrong they thought and did. And everyone deserves to be punished…and being holy and blameless and perfect – he chose to be punished in our place – so that we could receive God´ pardon. Like two people I read about who threw themselves on a friend they wanted to protect from extremists. They got beaten to death. He survived.

Someone taking my place in punishment – that is what I believe Jesus, the word of God alive, did. That is why we call this horrible day where Jesus was tortured and killed „Good Friday“..because he did it in our place….

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,  each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Prophet Isaiah about the Messiah (Isaiah 53)

And because the Word of God is powerful, indestructible and mighty – death could not hold him and he came back to life after three days. That´s what we celebrate on Easter.

This story is unbelievable …. and I do not blame anyone who says he finds this hard to believe… I sometimes think that this is almost crazy… a God who so loves us that he sacrifices himself…. crazy with love.

My past Easters – sunrise and miracles

One of the most memorable Easter I can remember was when I decided to attend a Sunrise service at the other end of the city. (Easter can mean „red sunrise“). I cycled through the night for more than an hour. No cars and people on the street. We started singing in a dark church with only one candle that gave a little light. No faces and forms were visible. Then more and more the light came in „Day is when you can distinguish the face of a brother from a stranger!“ It touched me and reminded me of the fact that God wants to bring light in the areas of my heart that are dark, fearful and alone.

And then last year Easter was a time of grieving. One of my best friends had suffered a stroke and his main brain stopped working completely (only one little part still was a little bit alive). He was dying. The doctors had zero hope. I spend the week grieving about the los of a friend and still hoping and praying for a miracle. On Easter Monday the doctor spoke with the wife of my friend about turning off the breathing and feeding machines and removing his organs – so they could serve another person.

Then he moved. The doctors checked on him. He could hear them, could react. The doctor left the room screaming in shock. This does not happen with that kind of injury. Since that day my friend Matthias has recovered dramatically. There still are problems – but he can walk, talk, act… So this Easter for me was an Easter where I saw the power of God who can restore people who are (almost) dead. An Easter of Miracles.

This Easter- feeling with my Syrian friends 

This Easter most of my thoughts go to my friends from Syria, Gaza and other parts of the World where there is suffering. I have become friends with a number of newcomers in my city and country. And they allow me to see their world – through their stories shared while drinking coffee or on Facebook. Like everyone my Syrian friends post pictures of family, friends, good food and fun activities.

But they also post the memories of the day when their university was bombed by Assad. They share the picture of their cousin who was killed on that very day. They talk about destruction. They grieve the loss of a friend who died while trying to cross the sea. They post pictures of torture wounds IS inflicted on them.

They pictures they show look like the paintings of the artists that painted the suffering of Jesus. In some ways the suffering of Jesus for me had always been far away. In my world there there was no way I could really understand it. In my world there was the normal amount of suffering: sickness and death as it happens anywhere. How can you understand suffering if the worst thing you ever experienced is your Granddad dying at age 70.

How can you really understand when  in your live there were no bombs, no loss of home, no torture.  War existed only in the stories of my Grandparents. No prison, violence, unfair trials, sadism …

Suddenly – trough the lives of my friends – the story of Jesus becomes so much closer and more real … his suffering is no longer far away… but much more real.

  • Passion Station 9-14He became a refugee – like so many of my friends
  • He got betrayed and left alone – like many of my friends
  • He got accused and had an unfair trial – like many of my friends
  • He got into prison – like some of my friends.
  • He got tortured – like some of my friends.
  • He died – like many of their friends.

There is so much I do not understand. But there is one reality that has become more and more alive this Easter. There is so much unbelievabla suffering in the World. And Jesus the Messiah suffered in the same way. And encourages his followers to receive his Spirit to bring some of Gods love into this suffering world.

Bach, one of our composers turned the cry of the people „Lord have mercy on us“ / Herr erbarme dich into a beautiful song. I pray and cry out for the ones who are suffering as I listen to it – in Arabic.

Taking the LEA online course – and helping a family in need

Matthias Beyer and familyMy friend Matthias Beyer who is a brilliant coach, who suffered a huge aneurism in his brain in lte march. He loved to coach people and strengthen them in life. As I thought how I could honor him and help the family I came up with the following idea.
FREE OF CHARGE online coaching course to support Matthias and Kim Beyer .
I developped an online Coaching course called LEA – traininig people in LIFE, ENERGY AND ACTION. The course teaches the skills ot live well, develop more physical and emotional energy i.e. by reducing weight and getting rid of emotional burdens and take action in some areas of life – i.e. learning to set boundaries. And it asks a lot of questions – like the kind of questions Matthias would have asked when coaching you.
http://lea-training.com/

For all who want to honor Matthias by being learners offer the next course – starting April 10 – for FREE OF CHARGE.
Simply register here and we will put you on the course. It starts April 10 and runs for 3 months (2 coaching mails per week).

However I ask participants to donate to the Matthias Beyer Family fund to support his family, who not only struggle with the tragedy, but also with huge hospital costs.
http://lea-training.com/sign-up

If you can – please donate the regular course fee: 99 Dollar. If that is not possible – give whatever you can. And if you can´t give – enjoy the course nevertheless.
https://www.tilt.com/campaigns/matthias-beyer-family-fund

PLEASE share this with all of your friends…it would be great to stengthen people in the way Matthias would have done AND help the family.

2015 – still moving

2015-02-14 13.08.50Yes, still there. And still building the ship.
Finances remain a challenge. I got two big and some smaller gifts – that helped to pay the huge bill for annual rent + electricity + service.
However I have another 10.000 Euro challenge ahead of me…the heating system of the ship: Ovens, hot water tanks and so on.
In the midst of the challenges I am amazed at God´s faithfullness. I guess that now about 80% of the ship is paid for.
I had to take loans for about 20% of this. So 60% of all costs were provided for through my own income and lots of gifts. God was and is faithful.
If you want to help you can use paypal: info@down-to-earth.de or ask me for my bank details. And you can come to Berlin and join the process!
2015-02-07 12.26.00Slowness of progress: For a visionary like me slow progress is almost killing… Things move on the ship. We built the bathroom, put in floor heating system, continue to renovate the decks and put in insulation, put in more walls…
But it takes a LOT of time. I certainly do not like this…. and I do trust but also cry out to God at the same time to send helpers and finances to speed up the process…
Picture: One of the great days when lots of helpers were on board.

2014 – What a year – looking back…

2014-07-12 17.22.38Enjoying some quiet moments while my elderly parents whom I visit for Christmas watch TV or rest – I take some time to look back on this year – rich in challenges and blessings.

Some „statistics“
2014-08-23 14.21.48
2014 meant

  • 4000 hrs of work from volunteers and professionals to remove rust, paint, put up insulation, drill holes…and lots of other stuff. Thankful for each one and all of them… the picture shows Isaac – painting the inside of a water tank!
  • 6 new titles written by me – sorry all in German, but we are working on translations: Coco Chanel, Johannes Gutenberg, Non-violent Communication, Sensitivity, Questions of sucess, removing Blockages (co-authored with my Collegue Christoph Schalk). All of them in German so far…but we are working on English translations…
  • 14 new publications in total for Down to Earth
  • 20 Events as Speaker or holding a seminar.
  • 1 big Fundraising – Project „Fighting Rust – the epic battle“
  • 100 hours of business or personal Coaching
  • 2 new part-time staff in Publishing – for orders and organization

Lowlights – the difficult times 

  • Discovering that we had painted a huge part of the ship with a color that would not dry – we had forgotten to add the hardener. Yikes. Improvisation is king.
  • Being falsely accused and sued to have violated the rights of a fotographer – I won the court case, but lost Hundreds of Euro for Research and more that 40 hours of work – for nothing … that was / is frustrating. I learned a lot, but it cost me a lot, too.
  • Slipping on the ship and falling on a sharp metal edge – damaging muscles on my leg – I had to watch the world cup finals in bed with my leg on ice.. and the muscles have not recovered completely.

Highlights

  • Spending time with a lot of different people on board of my ship – working together, sharing, laughing, crying… and seeing the ship being transformed from an empty metal shell to a homely place: We removed rust and added insulation, paint, Floors, walls, a toilet, Watertanks… and we now even have a dishwasher… and it works…
  • Miracle after Miracle in terms of helpers and finance
  • Seeing Germany beat Brasil 7:1 – the most unbelievable Soccer game of my life. Ok and becoming World Champion was not too bad either – although I had to watch the game in bed – with my injured leg wrapped in ice.
  • Celebrating the birthday of a dear friend in Sweden.
  • Launching my online-course LEA: Life, Energy, Action in English for the first time – I hope it will provide inspiration for many people.
  • Coaching many different people – in business issues or personal questions – and seeing them find solutions. Being part of this is simply wonderful.
  • Being part oft he „wall of lights“ fort he 25th anniversary oft he fall oft he Berlin wall. A day to remember.
  • I especially enjoyed learning more about Wingwave. That is a short-term coaching approach that helps remove blockages very quickly and effectivly. One woman who had suffered from fear of dark hallways after having been a victim of a bank robbery lost her fear after only one hour of coaching. Seeing things like that happen right in front of my eyes just makes me cry for joy.
  • Down to Earth, my publishing house over the years has grown from a one – woman business to a team of 10 part-time staff. It is important to lay new structures. And I have found a great coach who is helping me to master this time of transition.

10488118_10152194811730163_4104701525860301131_n2014 was quite a challenging year for me – it challenged me to grow in trust, leadership, coping… just sticking with the challenges, week after week. I am thankful that all in all it was a good year. And I am thankful for all the wonderful people who encouraged me, prayed for me, supported me and the ship project – a huge thank you to everyone who stood with me in this past year…

 

Hafiz: Poems and Prayers

I love the poems by the Persian poet Hafiz… wonderful words….and deep prayers:

„This is the kind of friend you are…

Without making me realize my soul´s anguished history,you slip into my house at night.

And while I am sleeping, you silent carry off all my suffering and sordid past in your beautiful hands…“ 

LEA – a wonderful course – now for the first time in English!

LEA - Lebensfreude-Mit FotografThis course is amazing. In 2011 I met a woman who was seriously overweight and unhappy with some aspects of her life. Some days later I sat on a beach and thought how  I could help her and others who wanted to be stronger in life and more happy.

As I am a professional life coach and passionate about passing on skills I decided to develop an online training course to strengthen people in 3 areas:

  • LIFE: How to live live more strongly. And to remove what hindres you.
  • ENERGY: How to gain more emotional and physical energy. And get rid of unneccessary physical and emotional burdens.
  • ACTION: How to find the strength to act on what you know. And how instead of hoping your life would change you would actually live the change you want to see.

Because change takes time the course runs for 3 months – with two mails per week and a Facebook page to share experiences. And it is a mixture of inspiration, teaching about life skills questions to think about and suggestions for immediate action.

Since I implemented the course in German it has helped houndreds of people to

  • achieve their goals
  • loose weight
  • set healthy boundaries
  • learn to say no
  • become more attractive
  • make decissions more easily
  • find the courage to change
  • become stronger and happier
  • and much much more (see Feedback)

In October the first LEA course starts in English

It almost makes me cry that now – after several years !!! of translation work, dozens of checks, setting up the hompeage etc. the course is now available in English for the first time. It is my hope and my dream that it will inspire and assist numerous people around the world to live their lives stronger and more happily. I guess the LEA course is one of the biggest gifts that I can give to the world.

For more info have a look at Lea-Training.com 20090918_0025-755480_1000

What you can do I would like to see as many people as possible to benefit from LEA.

  • You can sign up now. The next course is called LEA 4 – 2014 (because we start in the 4th quarter of the year). The course fee is 99 $ for 3 months. A dollar a day.  You´re worth it.
  • You can ask a friend to do the course with you. Doing it together is more fun and both of you only pay 90 $
  • Send an Email about LEA to friends who you think might benefit from it.
  • Share about LEA in your social media: facebook, twitter, XING, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram….
  • Inform the media: if you have contacts to the press – tell them about it.

I am looking forward to share this wonderful experience with you and your friends – longing to assist you to make your lives stronger and more joyful.

Learning new things

© T.Hitzfeld - 20140328 OFP-0030-1502At the moment I am sometimes renting out my bedroom to Berlin visitors. This helps to raise money for a ship. And it also gives you great experiences. At the moment a historian is living there. Last night I told him that I had just been to a talk by David Solomon, a jewish guy who does the whole of jewish history in one hour. He said: „That´s no big thing – I can tell the whole jewish history while I am standing on one foot“ Said so – pulled up his leg and exclaimed: „They wanted to kill us. We survived. Let´s go and enjoy some food!“

The ship – update

026It´s been over 2 years  now since my friends and I started working on the ship in May 2012 – you can see the progress in the pictures

I told about the vision and the beginning of it in a blog entry called The ressurection of a dream. It´s been quite a journey. Challenging and rough at times – joyful and amazing at others.

What we have done so far:

  • Restored the core of the ship (underwatership) – renewing the steel.
  • Removed all rust inside the ship, painted the inside, insulated it (it is 25 m long, 5 meters high – every square meter takes up to 5 hrs of work!).
  • Put in 21 new windowsPut in floors
  • Put in a woodstove2014-01-19 13.59.40
  • Installed running water
  • Installed a toilet
  • Began to renew electricity
  • Renovated the roof and part of the decks.

More than 100 People from half a dozen of different nations have come here to help and be inspired. For many of them it is encouraging to see: It is hard work to make a dream come true. But it is possible. And it is a joy to see the financial and practical miracles happen.

My vision for the ship is to provide a place for inspiration and restoration. So it has been a special joy to welcome one man whose life hat just fallen to pieces. He came here for 10 days of reflection, restoration and coaching and told me: „It was so good to talk to someone like you who does not offer recepies. No one in my life ever took so much time for me as you did!“ 2014-07-16 19.42.41

It makes me cry to think about that…great man, but no one ever really took the time to listen, to encourage … and it makes me feel that providing that space for people to be, to be encouraged and to receive coaching is the right thing to do.

What´s next – autum projects

  • Putting in 4 more portholes
  • Putting in new doors – the old ones are cardboard…not secure at all!
  • Putting up walls and doors in the rooms inside
  • Putting in a kitchen
  • Removing the rust on the decks.

For the „removing of the rust on the decks“ I have started a fundraising campaign as this is quite an expensive part. It will take us about 100 hours to remove the rust and paint, but the paint is a pain in the neck….Good ship paint hat lasts for a decade costs about 10 Euro / Dollar / Pounds per Liter. And we need about 200 !!! liters + electricity + some stuff to fill holes with.

So a friend made a cool movie: Fighting the rust – the epic battle

2014-07-12 17.22.38Please

  • Consider coming here and helping for a few days – and yes, bring your friends. It is soo cool!
  • Encourage me and pray for me!
  • Have a look at the video, laugh and leave a comment.
  • Give something – no matter how much or little – to help us win the battle (use the paypal button on this blog at the right).
  • Share the video with your friends, tell them about the ship and ask them to come and help and / or give  – even if it is only a little. The easiest way to give is paypal: info@down-to-earth.de

 Togehter we will make it!

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