Missionary Update – The Harpers – June 2021

What does longevity look like?

Lately I have been asking myself what it looks like to be working in Campus Ministry long-term. It feels like students are in and out the door so quickly that it's often difficult to see fruit, to know if God has used Unterwegs for good in their lives. Each semester seems to fly by quicker than the last. And our team has yet to look the same from one year to the next!
Speaking of team changes...Nora arrived at the beginning of April and it's been a blast to have her here. During her first week the two of us went on a walk through the Altstadt ("old city") while drinking the best latte in Freiburg. As we walked I told her stories of the past and what we've learned from those things...but if I'm being honest...it felt a bit like a string of cautionary tales rather than speaking to the beauty of having been here for four years.
And then, in the distance, I saw John and Sally - a couple who I have gotten to know during our time here. We met because John housed one of our exchange students back in 2017. I wouldn’t say we were friends…but friendly acquaintances? Definitely. The three of us generally stop to chat whenever we meet by random.

As the four of us started talking about how thankful we were for sunshine and blurry images of life before COVID-19, John stopped the conversation and looked me dead in the eye to say:

I meant to tell you the other day when you brought us some Scotch Eggs, but I forgot after we started talking about my strawberries. So, I just have to tell you now while it’s on my mind. I was worried when we first met that you all would be like other Christians who come in by forcing your way of life on others, spreading judgement with your words. But you guys have really lived out your faith and shown people your faith through your actions like Jesus did. I’m obviously not a Christian and you have never made me feel “less than” for it. So, I just want to take this moment to say “thank you”.

This is longevity to me. This is where we get to see the fruit of our labors. All those small conversations with John. Every smile from across the street. Each time Sally and I exchanged a joke over Facebook Messenger. Every agenda-less interaction helped give them a fuller picture of our God and helped their hearts open towards to Jesus.

Yes, our goal is to help connect university students to Jesus. Yes, we spend most of our time and energy helping German university students putting their God puzzle together, and Unterwegs has a larger impact on the larger community around us as well. After all, Jesus didn’t call us to love one kind of person unconditionally or to share his Better Story with a specific type of person.

This interaction with John is how God confirmed to me that Unterwegs Freiburg is having an impact for His Kingdom and that that impact isn’t limited to students at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. I hope you find encouragement from this story and know that your support of Unterwegs Freiburg, whether that be financial or prayerful or what have you, is what makes these types of stories possible. So, THANK YOU.
The pictures above are from our event called "Untey Eats". Students order a complete meal - lunch, dessert, and Lavender Lemonade - each week for take out. We have gotten to connect with students in person and have had gotten to new students for the first time since the pandemic started!
In February, our Pastor retired and our church here has been on the search for a new one since. Each week they have invited guest speakers to give sermons and the Leaders asked Erin to preach. (May 30, 2021)

While writing this update, KATIE ROSHELLI made it to the field! The top picture shows the team with students during a shopping trip for Katie at IKEA. The bottom picture shows us picking Katie up at the airport on the day we became a team of four! Hallelujah!
Upcoming Furlough
Another sign of longevity for those of us in Globalscope is that we start planning a furlough! Every four years, we are encouraged to take furloughs in order to fill ourselves up, to stretch our minds through further education, and to focus on our relationship with God. As we have been on the field for a little over four years now, we have scheduled a furlough for September 2021 through March 2022.
What does this mean? We will be spending a portion of this time at home in Germany and will be spending a portion of this time in the states! We will have more exact plans for you in our next update as we are still in the process of finding the right balance for this precious time coming up. Be praying for us as we plan!

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