“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!
The ship’s welding is done and dusted, everything’s waterproof and we now just have to paint the base coat, then the dock work is done. Unfortunately there’s no sense in doing any painting with the cold, wet weather we’re having, so for now we’re taking a break. A good opportunity to give a bit of background information.
The ship is made of steel. When water comes in contact with iron it forms a galvanic cell (just like a battery), whereby acid comes in contact with the iron and corrodes it and then the steel gets corroded and rusts. All that from water touching steel. Steel and water simply don’t get on; and then sooner or later, the steel is worn out.
To prevent that from happening, we’re attaching so-called “sacrificial anodes” to the ship. In plain English, they’re simply lumps of low quality metal. As the name would suggest, they sacrifice themselves. They get eaten away first and that means that the ship’s steel is protected.
Usually sacrificial anodes for sea-faring ships are made of zinc and for fresh-water ships of magnesium. Magnesium anodes can also be used in briny (salty) water. They offer full protection but are corroded faster than zinc anodes.
The sacrificial anodes (the grey lumps on the picture above) are going to be attached to the outside of the ship every few metres along. What’s more, we’ll be giving the ship a coat of a conductive underwater paint containing metal, so that the sacrificial anodes take the strain.
A few things have gone wrong with my ship. I suspect that the last time there were lots of people on the docks, a few new anodes were attached. It’s just that some heroes have covered the ship in a mixture of zinc and magnesium anodes. They counteract each other. What’s more, the ship wasn´t given that special coat of paint. The result: the corrosive process was in full swing.
The stern (rear part) of the ship usually suffers the most, and here the steel was fairly r
uined. Just a millimetre thick in some parts or completely rusted through – the simple act of hosing the ship down on the docks punched new holes in the steel. The stern was the area that was out of bounds when I went to visit the ship before purchase. Since the quality of the steel ranged from good to excellent in other areas, we hadn’t expected the extent of the damage and got a fairly nasty surprise.
Now everything’s been welded. Next on the agenda is a second coating of underwater paint. The paint has three layers. A conductive primer (first layer), then the paint itself and then marine anti-fouling paint, which stops mussels and algae from clinging to the boat. Then we’ll be attaching new, good quality sacrificial anodes to the ship – and then it’s Easter…
But in a symbolic sense too, for me, renovating the ship has become an interesting parable for life. All of us are sailing our ship of life and sometimes the waves we hit are rough, sometimes stormy. Now and then we spring a leak when we hit an ice-berg or ram against a cliff. But disasters of that scale are thankfully rare.
Far more often, our steel skin is attacked by inner strain. We’re hard-wired with stress, and if we can´t channel it off; it eats away at us. Sooner or later.
But then someone comes along who offers himself up as the sacrificial anode. I’m there. I’ll channel all your stress and pain, anger and frustration away from you. But we throw the sacrificial anode over board. We think we can handle things on our own… until our steel is attacked or corroded or, worst case scenario, our leaky tub sinks.
Redemption means…. that someone offers to repair the damage caused by rejecting the sacrificial anode. That can be painful. You have to cut, grind, hammer and weld, until the ship is ready to sail again.
Easter means: I’m given a new start. The option to be lovingly and protectively enfolded by the Holy Spirit (a new coat of paint)… the opportunity to have pain and strain conducted away by the redeemer (sacrificial anode)…and finally, with a good captain at the helm and a new ship-owner, to set sail once more.
This morning I read the book of Haggai in THE MESSAGE. The introduction spoke to me:
We are not angels. We inhabit space. Material – bricks and mortar, boards and nails – keeps us grounded and connected with the ordinary world in which we necessary live out our extraordinary beliefs.”
The book of Haggai then describes how the people were building a place for meeting up with God. And how God told them “I am with you” and “I own all the silver and the gold.
It encouraged me for my boat project. God does not need a space. Yet – we need spaces that help us meet up with him. That is my dream for this boat that it would become a space where people
– could meet God – the God who is with you
– could find healing
– could find new hope
– could find friends.
We will start building NOW! The shi
p is still in Hamburg and we will start renovating there because there we are allowed to make a lot of noise.
How you can help?
– Come over and help practically: We can use a lot of strong guys and girls who will help scratch of rust, lay floors, scrubb floors etc. in the next months. You can stay on board while renovating.
– Art: If you have special skills to make things party digital entertainment, however with Mattrick focusing elsewhere and promising to “properly densify talent,” how lengthy will Ginzburg Olsha last?AUSTRALIA To Research Social Networking ROLE IN SOCIAL GAMING AND GAMBLINGOn the other hand from the Gulf Of Mexico from Zynga’s Bay Area headquarters, scientists at Australia’s Southern Mix College have released new research “investigating the promotion of and use of gambling and social game possibilities through social networking and mobile platforms. beautiful and express God´s glory and would like to contribute – let me know.
– Pray: Stuff works better when God blesses. I appreciate prayer that things will go smoothly,for provison, enough help – simply for a lot of blessing on the project.
– Send some silver or gold: To pay the professionals who work on the boat every work-day costs about 80 Euro. If you would like to sponsor the project you can sponsor one (half) hour, one day or one week of work….(0r two, or three).
If – like me – you're strapped for cash – you might consider selling something at ebay, amazon or etsy and donating the gains for the project.
The easiest way is to use my paypal account: Kerstin Hack (make sure you get my name right): info(aaaaat)down-to-earth.de