Inspirations from Kerstin Hack

Category: General

How she lives on – in memory of Debbie Jones

DebbiimGarten_Hochzeit_Prag06.02Grief comes in waves. Moments of sadness and pain interwoven with moments of sweetness and even joy and laughter as precious memories surface. One person once said: “Grief is sorting – the things that are gone forever and the things that remain!”

In the last days since I heard of the sudden death of Debbie she and her family were in my mind constantly. I was not super close to her, but we saw one another about every other year, spent time with one another, in spite of the infrequency I felt close to all of them.

Many friends posted on Facebook what she meant to them and what was lost and what a person she was. I felt almost unable to write. How can you “summarize” a life like hers – that is like a huge tapestry of many, many colors.

So I spent time thinking about what remains of her – in her kids.

Sam, Elizabeth, Abigail, Hannah, Tamara:

I have seen you grow up from little children to the Teens and adults you now are. And while each one of you is unique I see some strands of how your mum lives on in you. And would like to share.


When I first met you, you were in your early teens and fairly withdrawn. I do not remember you speaking a word with me for the first SamuelBestMan2_Hochzeit-_Prag06.02three years or so of knowing you. And I almost never managed to get you on a picture!

But then – one time while visiting in Berlin – you gave me your own copy of the Lord of the Rings  as a gift. I knew it was really, really special. I did feel like a queen.

Although I was quite different in lifestyle from you and your family I felt deeply accepted. And that is probably one of the biggest gift we can give to each other. And you carry that, too.

For me Debbie also was a very hands on person. She found practical solutions for problems when she saw them and she was just doing it, leading the way. And you carry that, too!



GoCartRacetheGermanteam_Prag06.02One of your mums gifts was to make people feel special –  using little things to express that.

One time when I visited and the house in Prague was crammed full with artists, she made my own “room” on the balcony… with a czech salt candle.

And you did join the “German team” in the GoKart race… and of course we managed to push your dad into the tyres…

I feel that in your heart for baking and making really special food you inherited some of that gift from her – in a very tender and precious way that is just right for you.  You are wonderful and will bless many people with this gift. Your mum cared about you a lot. I remember that  once when you were in your late teenage years she once invited me for a walk to have a long time to talk – one hour of uninterrupted talking was a lot for her. She was concerned for you – longing for ways how she could best support and strengthen you. She loved you a lot.


Abigail AbigailJoes_Prag06-02

On the window sill of my ship there are three pieces of pottery. One sturdy feminine figure with long curly hair that you once made for me. And two pieces of pottery from your mum.

It was one of her first pieces – a little mug with a painting of grapes. And one really fine mug. I think it is one of twelve pieces. The other ones she gave to other members of the tribe like  Derek and Amy – building community with her art.

I believe you are more of an artist than you think right now. There is “stuff” in you that is waiting to come out and to be expressed. And I guess what you will create – may it be material pieces of art or spaces to meet – will bring people together and connect them. To me you also are a person that provides  strength to  others and is a safe haven – like your mum.


One of the thHannanachdenklich_Hochzeit_Prag06.02ings that I loved about your mum was here unique style. And I loved how she encouraged you to develop your own way of dressing and expressing who you are. I think you do that well – expressing to the outside who you are in the inside – with all the diverse parts of your personality.

I really like that about you.

Hoffnung-von Hanna Jones - 8 J.The biggest gift you once gave to me was a painting. When I was full of pain in a hard time in my life you wanted to paint something for me. I then asked you to paint a picture of hope. You asked me “How do I paint hope?” I encouraged you to think of something yourself.

Then you painted a flower in all four seasons: budding, blooming with the sun shining on it in full force, then withering and gone.

In the winter part of your painting there was only white – with two musical notes. And You explained to me “In winter you have to sing!”  And that is my hope for you right now.



I do not know you so well, but I remember that your mum told me that when she was pregnant with you and felt God told her that she should call you Tamara, she was surprised, as Tamar had gone through a lot of pain and she did not want you to be named after a woman who suffered so much.

But then she realized that in spite of all the pain – and to some extend even because – she was a woman who wrote history. And that was her hope for you.  And it is my hope as well – as you experience loss so early…that in spite of it or maybe even because – you will shape your destiny.CIMG2052

And you are sturdy. One of the first memories of you is of your brother and sisters putting a hat on your face – while you were only two or three months old. You looked cool – and took it with a smile.

I guess you also carry your mums heart to let people feel they are loved. One of my sweetest memories was when you were staying with Maggie in Berlin.

We were playing run and catch and had a lot of fun. When I wanted to leave i could not find my shoes. You had hidden them – because you wanted me to stay. Your 4 year old way to say “I love you!”



CIMG1991No clue how to express how much Debbie shaped your life – every since you put your eyes on this red haired amazing woman who could beat you in the 1980s version of computer games… She seemed like the haven from which you could launch out in the world and at the same time being the closed travel companion.

It will be hard, more than hard to develop and find a way on your own. But there is so much of her in you, so much that shaped both of you together that this will provide some of the strength that you need to find your own way into the future – carrying the many precious seeds that she put in your life and sowing them into the world – together with your own unique tall skinny Kiwi seeds.




CIMG2045Well of course – meeting Debbie shaped me. Stretching my horizon. Introducing me to people i never met before. And helping me to expand acceptance. One time when you were all visiting me I told your parents to have a day off without kids and took you to the children Museum. What I had not expected was that TJ was in the mood of wearing her ladybug outfit and your mum said “ok!”

Well…it was me walking around with her all day through the city of Berlin – her wearing a ladybug costume. Now I laugh about it -but at that time it was quite a big stretch for me. Not caring about what people think.

JonesgirlsBerlinjuly02Or at least not enough about others peoples opinion to forbid a child to express her heart. It taught me a lot. I guess that I would not have been able to create a space like the ship without having met and been shaped by Debbie and all of you. God using you to expand and open my heart and make it a bit more relaxed…

CIMG1986Later that day after a lot of big adventures TJ fell asleep in my arms. And slept for three solid hours in my arms as we took the underground, walked to Potsdamer Platz, had a huge ice-cream (sorry, TJ, you missed something) and sat and talked with Andrew and Debbie as they joined us.

Juli 2011 Prag und Dresden 159It touched me that Debbies last Facebook entry was about sleeping. And your family ability to sleep just anywhere. I wish you that in this rough time of saying good bye and do all of the sorting of the things that remain and the things that you have to let you – there will be moments of rest, refreshment.

If you want you are always welcome on my boat – for a time of rest, joy and fellowship and to enjoy the pieces of art your mum made – both in clay and within my life.

What a Year!

2014-04-18 15.25.55My birthday is a good opportunity to look back on this year. What a rollercoaster this last year was!

April: Information that the dry dock costs would be 3 times higher !!! than expected. Lots of friends helped with loans and donations – and miraculously the dramatic bill was able to be paid!

June/July: Mediation to solve conflicts with the ship builder I worked with and then – as differences and different expectations could not be resolved – the sad ending of our working relationship. Still sad – without him I would probably never have dared to start the project.

August: Moving the ship from Hamburg to Berlin – what a journey! The new birth of Bernd number 2 who entrusted his life to Jesus. Continuing renovation on the ship with a steady stream of friends helping me to move things forward and assisting the professionals. Challenging interpersonal relationship with the Berlin dry dock owner. Phew.

August/December: Professional training in a well-founded technique to reach goals and an extremely good trauma-relief therapy method. I’m very happy that I could increase my skills and am more equipped to handle tough stuff.

November: Bernd number 1 – a friend who helped me a lot with the ship and gave me lots of good advice – suffered a severe stroke and is still recovering. Last minute new windows for the ship – what a miracle that I could find the right professionals!
December: Discovering rust in places that should have been renovated. What a frustration! 
January: Winter renovations – tough work with tough guys – my cousin and a great team from Portugal. Starting to coach a businessman in the Stuttgart area.
Dec – March: Writing 5 new titles in 5 months – quite a lot.
March: Starting to coach a man who wants to lose 40 kilograms of weight.

April: A stupid law suit – someone suing me for something I did not even do – forgetting to mention a photographer on a picture we published. We had mentioned her, she had just not looked properly. A little break at the baltic sea for gaining new strength.

Hopes for the next year of my life:

– Finishing the ship – praying for more helpers and finances to complete the project. Thankful for everyone who is helping – may it be small or big!

– Staying in peace – letting my soul be stilled by God.

Finishing the Ship: 10 More Weeks?!

2014-02-08 14.07.23There are only 10 or 11 weeks until the planned deadline at the end of April. It is ambitious but not impossible. Whether it’s possible I can’t yet say; it’s hard to tell exactly with construction projects. One thing is clear: we’ve made a lot of progress over the last weeks and months, despite some adversity. The whole ship is finally derusted and painted and the seminar room is almost finished. We’ve started with the substructure for the walls and the window frames under the deck. We’re making headway.

Since August, over 1000 hours of work have been put into the ship!!! About 90% was from people who gave a couple hours, days, or even weeks to help. The many motivated helpers have been a huge blessing and a large portion of the work doesn’t require technical knowledge or it can be learned quickly when someone explains things well. For the next phase (until finishing at the end of April), I will continue to need people who simply want to tackle it with me, although I will also need specialists for different things (ventilation, heating, electric, sanitation, etc.).

Including specialists, I still have about 800-1000 hours of work until the ship is finished. I myself work, when I am not travelling, about 30 hours per week on the ship: 5-10 hours of planning and the rest on-board. A carpenter friend who currently has free time and knows how to do everything (wood, welding, etc.) offered to work for me whenever he can for the next while. Of course, he still needs money to live on – 10 Euros per hour with legal receipts. I would love to hire him for 100 hours per month through the end of April.

I am searching for people who will help finance one or more of his work hours so that the progress on the ship continues. If you would like to contribute, you can donate via Betterplace, Paypal, or bank transfer. This would really help with my burden – and increase the chances of finishing soon.

Of course, just like before, helpers are warmly welcome and will be utilized.

– See more at:

Latest on the Ship

Latest on the ship





Latest on the Ship 2


For all those who are interested in news about the ship: I have received 16,284 euros in donations from friends to cover the unexpected dockyard invoice. What a gift!!! I never expected that!

6223 euros is still missing…at the moment this is being covered by loans, that I will need to pay back by the end of July. Whoever would like to contribute, whether big or small, so the rest of the loan can be paid off and the ship can start to flourish, you are most welcome to do so!


The Resurrection of a Dream

Each year in preparation for Easter I ask the Lord if there is anything I should abstain from for Lent. This year the answer that I heard in my heart after prayer came to me as a surprise: “Abstain from doubting.”
Not doubting Him. Not doubting his goodness towards me – in spite of obvious challenges I was facing. And in spite of disappointments, broken dreams – the challenge was: “Do not allow yourself the 'luxury' of doubt.” Doubt is an easy way out. When you doubt you do not need to dare. Dare to trust. Dare to try new things.

And boy – do I need courage. For 12 years I dreamt about having a space where I could host people. (Young) people who would want to learn with me and from me. Who would like to stay for a few days or weeks to learn, be mentored, and share life. Twice it looked as though the dream would come true. And twice it crashed again. Painfully. Violently. I cried. I couldn't understand God. After all – wasn't it his dream, too?!

In the last month the dream surfaced again. But not in the form of a flat that was big enough for living as well as hosting as well as holding seminars, but a SHIP. It is simply cheaper to buy and renovate a ship than to buy a flat. And so much more fun. So I found a great ship on Ebay (!!!). I had a look at it with professionals who understand more about ships than me. And now I am going to buy it in the next twelve months.

I will renovate it. And make it a

place for sharing life. And most likely I will name it “Heart of Berlin”.

Do you want to share the dream?

You can. You can make it possible in three ways: Prayer, p, and practical help.

– Prayer:
I know how much can go wrong in any project. I've had my share of painful lessons. Things going wrong that cannot possibly go wrong. But I also know that the opposite can happen. Things going incredibly smoothly. God's favour on all sides. Deadlines met. So I really do appreciate prayer for wisdom, God's favour and blessing…and I don't mind a word of encouragement now and then.

– Gifts and loans:
In spite of the ship being relatively cheap I still need more than 40,000 Euros by the end of April 2012 for buying the ship, transport and building materials. From May onwards I have regular payments in installments for the work that needs to be done. So any one time gift – no matter how big or small, regular gifts and loans will help. For gifts you can use paypal: Kerstin (AT)

Practical help: Do you need some good exercise and want to grow some strong muscles? I do need a lot of practical help – both from people who know what they are doing (plumbers, electricians) and those who don´t (everybody can scratch off rust and paint a ship). So if you're up for a working holiday on the outskirts of Berlin or know of people who are – let me know. And sooner or later I will need flower pots, cushions, curtain materials and lots of other practical things.

I am really excited about this project. Looking forward to creating a space for disciples, learners, nomads, and people who want to grow.

I will keep you updated.


Autumn recipe

Here the leaves are falling, but we still have beautiful autumn sun. But it can only be a matter of day until the cold days are coming. So I would like to share a recepie from my friend Teresa Kwon that will definetly keep you warm.

Rustic Potato, Leek & Chicken Soup
Ttakes about 40-50 minutes including prep time-
Servers 6-8 large servings.
5 medium sized potatoes
2 carrots
1 onion
2-3 leeks
4 cloves (or more) of garlic
2 quart of chicken broth
1 rotisserie chicken (cooked)
1 can of coconut milk (or some heavy cream)
2 table spoons of cooking oil
1/2 cup of wild rice
garlic salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, lemon juice (all to taste)
(do step 1 and 2 simultaneously)
How to do it

bring a half full stock pot of water to boil
peel and cube the potatoes, carrots
boil the potatoes and carrots till tender
chop the leeks including the gre

ensin a large pan,

heat to med-high heat and add 2 table spoons or more of cooking oil
start stir frying the leeks
after a few minutes, add garlic (minced)
add onions
stir fry all until tender and somewhat golden
add garlic salt, pepper taste
when potatoes/carrots are tender, drain in a collander
add the potatoes/carrots back into the stock pot
pour in 1-2 quarts of chicken broth
add in the leek/onion/garlic mixture straight from the pan with the juices (when it is done)
boil for about 5 minutes together while adding rosemary and thyme
*optional, you can add half a cup of wild rice at this point
tear-up the rotisserie chicken into chunks and add it into the pot (with the bones)
boil for 10 minutes on med-high until the chicken begins to fall off the bone
add in a can of coconut milk (some people prefer not to add this)
add the juice of half a lemon (or equiv) to the pot
stir and simmer for about 10 until ready to serve


Thanks, Teresa for sharing.


More about me

Sorry, haven´t really written much these past weeks. Mostly because I am dealing with the unreachedpaper groups on my desk. Once they are reached I will write more about the wonderful place I live in.

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