Inspirations from Kerstin Hack

Category: House Boat Heart of Berlin (Page 1 of 5)

Guests – meeting one another in the imperfect

14034749_10157383930850249_8109515405828354133_nWe are still building, building and building.

And there are times when it never seems to end. After 4 and a half years of building the ship is still not finished. That is what happens, when you are dependent on gifts, volunteers and miracles. They do come – all three of them – but not always at the time and speed that I would prefer.

But nevertheless – many parts of the ship are already beautiful and functional.

And one of the big lessons I learned during building is that things do not need to be finished or perfect to be useful.

Many people – especially those who grew up in a place like Germany – think that everything needs to be perfect before you can even start. Perfect finances, perfect plan, perfect setting.

In the ship I experience:

God lives in the imperfect, in the unfinished, the not yet ready…and uses all of this to meet people.

Like Evi, a wonderful, inspiring, passionate woman who came to the ship last weekend for a time out and a time of meeting one another and fellowship. I love what Evi wrote in her blog about her time here on her blog and took some great pictures.

Thanks, Evi, for your warm words.

Visited an inspirational lady: Kerstin Hack

Ship, summer, sunshine and rain

2016-06-10 18.51.54It has been over a month since I moved onto my ship. And it has  been wonderful. Although the summer in Germany was pretty lousy for long stretches of time I enjoy every day on the ship: The water, the wild gheese, swans, sea-gulls, ducks and lots of other birds whose name I do not know in English.

It was also good to have a much needed break from building – after 4 years and 3 months of work. No sawdust and noise for a while was a big blessing. And time to read books on health, personal grow, spiritual strenght and lots of other topic. And of course – simply enjoy the ship and visitors.
And I have had coaching-guests who received help and direction.One Lady who had suffered massive abuse in her childhood left the ship with some deep stuff being healed. One man received some help in sorting things out and an other one found help in finding direction for his future. That is in addition to those people who received help during paid coaching. And I had several international teams visit my ship to help or to receive inspiration. Or both. It was great meeeting them all.
We will resume building this week. Still much to be done. The seminar room, the entrance space and my office still need Hundreds of hours of work. And yes, some safe stairs downwards would also be useful as well as a stove in my kitchen.
While the ship is great publishing is challenging. In the last months the costs exploded (mostly for completely renewing our webpage: ). Sales did not. So at the moment I am not able to pay my huge bills in time.  Or buy furniture or new building materials for the ship. While as a pioneer I am used to financial challenges, it a pain in the neck right now and I need godly wisdom and grace to deal with it.
 2016-06-19 20.06.21
I would like to start paying back the loans I received for building the ship. My dream would be to pay back 500 Euro each month – then it would still take several years to pay all of it back. If you want to help relief that burden (with a one time gift that make the burden smaller or a regular gift (i.e. 20 Dollar per month – that would cover one day of paying back loans) please let me know.

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: 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.

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:

 Togehter we will make it!

The Resurrection of a Dream – In Progress!

Latest on the shipTwo years – in April 2014 – ago I posted this:

“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 and 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. Wasn’t it His dream after all?!

In the last month the dream surfaced again, but not in the form of a flat that was big enough for living, hosting, and holding seminars, but in the form of a SHIP. It is simply cheaper to buy and renovate a ship than to buy a flat and so much more fun. I found a great ship on Ebay (!!!) – an old GDR army ship/torpedo boat that was later turned into a holiday ship. I bought it, I will renovate it and make it a place for sharing life, and most likely I will name it “Heart of Berlin.”

I am really excited about this project. It will have a seminar/coaching room, guest rooms for hosting up to four people, and a place for me to work and live. Looking forward to creating a space for disciples, learners, nomads, and people who want to grow.

Update April 2014Whilst renovating.

The last two years were years of tears, toil, and miracles. The outer skin of the ship is renovated. All the rust inside and outside is removed. The ship is insulated and has floors in some rooms and many new windows.

I experienced times of frustration when things were not moving as fast as I had hoped. I have seen miracles of provision, miracles of help through people and finances coming at the right time. I cried a lot, both with frustration and joy! One of the greatest moments was when one of the professional helpers decided to start following Jesus as a result of spending a few days on the ship with us.

Now it looks as if we are moving towards the finishing line and that there are only a few months of work ahead:

  • Putting in floors and walls
  • Putting in electricity
  • Putting in bathrooms
  • Putting in new doors and windows
  • Finishing painting outside

Do you want to share the dream?

The vision is to create a space where those who need orientation can find a place to rest, reflect, be restored, and receive professional help in Berlin, the capital of Germany where lots of young people are searching for answers. You can be part of the dream. You can make it possible in three ways: prayer, giving, and practical help.

– Prayer
I know how much can go wrong in any project, but I also know that the opposite can happen: things going incredibly smoothly, God’s favor on all sides, deadlines met. So I really do appreciate prayer for wisdom and God’s favor and blessing… and yes, I don’t mind a word of encouragement now and then. I write updates about once per month; let me know if you would like to receive them.

– Gifts and loans
My friends and I work as much as we can on the ship, but to pay for the rest of the materials and the professional work, I still need about 50,000 Euros ($60,000). This is far more than I can earn as an author or publisher in a few months, and I also have to pay back loans that people have given me. I am incredibly thankful for every small or big gift or loan. The easiest way to donate is by using my paypal: Info     @ (leave out those blanks – I just put them there to avoid spam).

– Practical help

To finish the work on the ship, I do need a lot of practical help – both from people who know what they are doing like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, ship builders, and from anybody with two hands – 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.  This is also great for teams of volunteers: I have had several teams come and work on the ship for a few days, and they moved the project forward a lot!

Just contact me if you want to know more!Kerstin Hack




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.

Growing in Trust: Even When it Takes a While

2014-03-15 13.39.22Today, a team from the Lukas Church in Berlin was on board. They glued insulation, derusted the anchor locker and rudder locker, sawed wood, painted… in short, they accomplished a ton. Yesterday, Anne and Friedrich helped and with their united strength, the water tank for drinkwater was balanced in its place. Last week, a team of men from Treptow insulated the bilge in the seminar room – and  brought the tank off board to the boat manufacturer to shorten and weld it.

In addition, we derusted and sanded the roof, laid the floor in the seminar room, painted the tank lid for the dirty water tank, and did 1000 other small things.

I am unimaginably thankful for the help from one-time helpers but also for the loyal souls and strong supporters who regularly help for a few or many hours. I am also thankful that we can give some tasks to the boat manufacturer, like welding high-grade steel, when we don”t have the expertise and tools for them.

Despite all of the support, it is still going to be a little while before the ship is fit for action. I had hoped and prayed that we”d be finished by my birthday on April 24th. This is not likely to happen safely. One reason is because of the many delays caused by a previous boatbuilder not doing things or doing them poorly. In many places, a layer of lacquer was simply sprayed on top of rust, which then came back up, and we had to redo all of the work. This was pretty frustrating and cost a lot of time – at least four, probably closer to six, weeks.

On the other hand, because it”s just the way things are, many tasks are built on one another and are interconnected. So, the compost toilet had to first be ordered so that we knew the exact measurements for the foundation so that we could begin to weld. Then the corresponding water tank needed to be shortened and welded and it had to go in before the toilet, which sits over the tank, could be put in. The water tank had to be taken off board, which required 6 strong carriers. Then it had to be put back in (5 were enough). Then the steel foundation for the toilet had to be welded, then painted… now the big compost toilet cabinet can come onto the ship – when we have 6 people again who can carry it together… When the requirements are not being met – having 6 people who are there at the same time – things go more slowly.

I am very thankful… and a little bit impatient… I would have liked to be further… and sometimes I worry… a woman and a team of helpers signed up for April – but not until the end of April – and I still need one or more carpenters and sanitary engineers, electricians, ventilation engineers… and many who want to lend a hand with derusting and painting the exterior…

I will continue to trust. Day by day.

– See more at:

Mandarin Oil for Cleaning

Today, I was on the ship and painted (among other things). The paint ended up where it was supposed to go, but some also ended up on my hands. I tried to get it off with turpentine and paint thinner and wet towels, but nothing worked. So I rode home with dirty hands. On the way, I realized that I’d once heard that orange oil can remove paint. I had a mandarin in my purse, peeled it, and squirted the oil from the peel onto my fingers and rubbed it with a tissue – and the paint came off. I sat in the tram and ate my mandarin and marveled: my God makes the best things!

– See more at:

March 2014 – A Splendid Month


This month has already begun splendidly with a day in Potsdam to reflect and pray – with many wonderful small encounters in between.

I am excited for everything that this month will bring. Of course, we never know what will happen and whether we’ll sprain our ankle or if something bad will occur. But, if everything goes according to plan, this will be a good, full month.

– Fitness program: In our world in general and when rebuilding a ship from the 50’s specifically, our livers often have to work very hard. For this reason, I am going to do a liver-cleanse (first a classic one with Glauber salt + grapefruit and oil, then later with milk thistle) and do a whole-body detox of a garlic-lemon tincture (sounds terrible, but it’s not so bad – and it’s antiviral and energizing).

– Learning new things: I wanted to participate in a class at the Kingly Garden Academy about how to create pots for plant seeding. I will need this in the future because I would like to grow as much food as possible myself on the ship. I misunderstood it – it was more like a vending event. But I still learned some things.

– Receiving inspiration: Transforum is taking place in Berlin on the 6-8 of March. This is a conference that occurs every two years and deals with the question of how we as Christians can positively shape our society. I am still thinking about many of the inspirations from the last Transforum. I am thankful for this inspiring conference – participation is free, by the way, in order for people who can’t afford it to participate. And people can decide to come last minute as well.

– Giving inspiration: After the women’s pamper days were so nice for both participants and speakers, we planned two sequels. On March 14 and May 9, the theme is “Spring into Abundant Life” at 8pm in the Gemeindehaus des SV.  I am already excited to see the wonderful ladies again. In the afternoon, we are offering the option to book a coaching session with me – a special service for those for whom Berlin is too far away and telephone coaching is not a good option. At the end of March, there is another women’s cafe in Britz with me and the theme is SWING.

– Writing. There are several things laying on my desk. In addition to all of the organizational tasks that come with running the publishing company and building the ship, I’m writing two more inspirational booklets: Friendship and Grief. I would also like to begin work on the new online course, IDA – In deinen Armen.

– Ship: Of course: continue building with all my strength and as much wisdom as possible!

– Men-Teams on board: On March 14 (Treptow Church) and on March 22 (Lukas Church) a whole bunch of men are going to energetically help with the ship. I am looking forward to showing the ship to the “guys” and making an impact with them! In addition, a “mixed” team (1 man/1 woman) is coming for two days – also wonderful!

– Women in Paris. This is probably the biggest surprise. For months, I’ve been occupying myself with the life of Coco Chanel, probably the first modern woman who out of her own strength – she came from bitterly-poor circumstances – built a worldwide undertaking. The wish awoke in me to visit the places of her work, but it was more of an idea than a plan. With the ship, I have more than enough to do and to pay for. It was just a silly idea until I began to research pictures for the inspirational booklet. The pictures cost 180 Euros each! This is way over the budget. But we still need 3-4 expressive pictures. A plane ticket to Paris only costs 120 Euros – much cheaper. In addition, I haven’t taken a real vacation in over a year – if you don’t count the moving of the ship (4 days) and Antwerp (3 days during which I was ill!).

So, I asked a friend if she was interested in coming to Paris with me (she’d pay for herself). She wrote back, “For the past few weeks, I have been working on cleaning, organizing, and clearing out the house of my recently deceased great-aunt. I really need a change! And I have friends who have an apartment in Paris. They live in the middle of the city – only a 15 minute walk from the Chanel head office!”

Accordingly, I am looking forward to this exciting month!

– See more at:

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