September 6, 2017

News From the Warkentins in Germany


Dear Friends and Family

We hope those of you in BC are enjoying your warm long weekend! The month of August has flown by and as of this week the kids here in Germany are back in school. We started and ended the month with two bigger events and had a bit of time to rest and reflect in the middle. 

August started with a weekend international youth conference called Jesus For All Nations (JFAN). The target audience was immigrant and refugee youth from across Europe but there were also native German participants as well as some families with younger children. Adrian was responsible for organizing sports and translating everything into English. Here are three impressions we took from this weekend:

1. Recognizing the gift of fellowship
Time and time again we heard people say what a gift this weekend was for them. Reading God's Word together, worshiping Him together and praying together are all things we take for granted. However, most participants don't get to do this in their daily life. Often the parts of Germany or Europe that they come from don't even have a church. They are also often the only Christians in their family. This weekend was a breath of fresh air for them, something they may only get once a year. It was a reminder for us to not take our Christian fellowship for granted and to thank God for it!

2. A hunger for God's Word
I've been to several Christian retreats or conferences in my lifetime. This is the first time I have ever experienced what is shown in the first picture below. A large group of youth studying and sharing their insights into God's Word...during "Free Time." I was used to set devotional or workshop times where God's Word would be studied. That happened here too. But the youth here are so excited about having the chance to read and study God's Word together with other Christians, that they also would do it during their free time! This challenged us and our prayer is that God would fill us with this same hunger for His Word.

3. Counting the cost
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26

This text kept resurfacing during sermons at the retreat. We also had the chance to hear several powerful testimonies over the weekend. For many of the youth, to follow Christ means to be rejected and disowned by your family and community. If you were put in a position between family and Jesus, who would you choose? 
We were reminded to be thankful for the believing families we grew up in and also that there is a cost to following Christ. Christ is worth more than our families, worth more than anything here on earth. Are we willing to put Him above everything else?

(Studying God's Word during "Free time")

McDu Update

This past Tuesday was the last day of summer break so we ended off the holidays with a "McDu Reunion." Once again we had workshops, food, a skit and a short sermon. God blessed us with warm weather (a rarity this summer) and we were even able to have a water fight! 

Family Update

During the middle of the month we had a week of free time and spontaneously decided to take a road trip down south. We visited friends and family in south Germany and Switzerland and spent a few days on our own in Italy. It was good for us to get a chance to rest, relax, be free of responsibilities and to finally get some summer sun.

Looking Forward

As summer winds down we will begin transitioning into more of a regular and less of an "event-based" schedule. There will probably be some new roles that we will be taking on, as well as continuing in the things we did before. We also are looking forward to the arrival of our second child at the end of October. We thank God that the pregnancy has gone well so far and would appreciate prayers for the rest of the process in a place where we are less familiar with the medical system. 

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Adrian & Jolene, Sofia & Baby #2 Warkentin

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