“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.
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.
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 @ down-to-earth.de (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!