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They Said ‘Yes’

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Over the past five years, we have seen a massive influx of Spanish speakers in Berlin, Germany. There is a great need for bilingual churches, speaking Spanish and German.

Last October, Carl*, who was born in Colombia, arrived in Berlin. Disillusioned and disenchanted with religion, he became a self-proclaimed atheist. He had no need for God—until he arrived in Berlin.

Carl’s wife and two children still lived in Colombia. He was lonely. He couldn’t speak German. He was in culture shock.

Carl met José at a cooking night for Spanish-speaking dads. After hearing Carl’s story, José invited him to our apartment for a meal. Carl had real struggles; after living well in Colombia, he now found himself sleeping on someone’s couch, trying to find a job, and searching for an apartment.

On Christmas Eve, Carl’s family joined him in Berlin, and on New Year’s Eve, we rang in 2017 together. Carl and Jana; their son, Ryan; and baby girl, Marina, were fresh off the plane in the middle of a Berlin winter and wondering if they had made the right decision.

We asked if we could pray with them, and we helped them in practical ways. We knew God had great things in store for them in Berlin. People on the move are often more open to hearing the gospel, and our Father goes to great lengths to bring those who will inherit salvation into the Kingdom.

In January, we started a Spanish-German church plant. Carl and his family attended. As we began studying the book of John, we soon came to the story of Nicodemus. It was a natural bridge into asking Carl and Jana if they wanted to be born again. They said “yes.”

The following week, talking about the centurion and how his whole family believed, we asked Ryan, their 11-year-old son, if he also wanted to say “yes” to Jesus. He did.

On June 18, the whole family was baptized.

God is raising up Carl to become one of the first leaders in the church. Through Project Cherry Tree, an Alliance initiative in Berlin, we are developing an Alliance Bible Institute with the C&MA in Germany to train leaders, elders, and pastors for our Chinese-, Arabic-, Spanish-, and German-speaking churches.

Why cherry trees? Cherry trees symbolize reconciliation and unity in Berlin. Motivated by the end of a divided Germany (the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989) and as an expression of friendship between Japan and Germany, a group of Japanese raised around 1 million euros to plant approximately 9,000 Japanese cherry trees in Berlin-Brandenburg from 1990 to 2010.

As we understand more of German culture and reflect on the spiritual atmosphere in the capital city, we believe God calls us to plant seeds of reconciliation and unity between Him and those in Berlin who have not heard the gospel. We invite you to partner with us in Project Cherry Tree. Pray that the God of the harvest will send more workers and provide necessary resources and that more of the lost will be found.

*Names changed

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