Work & Witness Bakersfield 2014

18.06.14 Mahlow

Team BakersfieldAbout one year ago a friend and I started to dream about what it would look like if we had an exchange mission trip.  This would mean that a team from the States would come to Germany and a team from Germany would come to the States to not only serve in each of our campuses and communities but even more importantly to build relationships with one another.  We are excited for the Germany team will come to our church in September 2014. 

It is my pleasure to introduce to you members of our team.  The first is John; he is 68 years old but has a spirit and joy of an 18 year old.  Next we have Linda and her daughter Alex.  They both knew God was calling them to serve and experience a different culture together.  Next is Mike, what makes this experience so incredible for Mike is that he comes from a history of drug and alcohol addiction, he relates to the people of Ichthys in ways the rest of the team is not able.  I am Donabel, one of the pastors at Bakersfield First Church of the Nazarene and privileged to lead this team.

We arrived at Ichthys on a Wednesday morning, the sun was bright, there was a slight breeze in the air, you can hear the birds singing and people chatting while taking a coffee and smoke break.  I looked around the campus and immediately felt relaxed and at home.  I could see from the looks of the rest of the team that they felt the same way too.  We were introduced to everyone trying to say ‘Halo’ and our new German friends trying to say, ‘Hello!’

After the greetings we went straight to work.  During the first couple of days John, Linda and Mike painted and lacquered an outdoor pavilion, when it was finished I can tell they took real pride in what they did.  While the three were working on the pavilion Alex and I went to cleaning the garage doors and covering up the rusty parts with a fresh coat of paint.  Another project we worked on was putting on a fresh coat of paint and laying down new carpet in one of the residential rooms upstairs.  We have enjoyed the work here at Ichthys. 

In the following days the task at hand was getting ready for the Sommer Fest, I knew this would keep us busy, but in the back of my mind all I could think about is how to do we engage in conversation with both the people who work here and with those who live and get help here.  I really want our team to make friendships here at Ichthys.  By this time we had learned some names and who was more social and fluent in English, I could also tell we were more relaxed, both the Americans and the Germans.  From this point on I would looked around I can see different conversations taking place between members of our American team and the people who live and work here at Ichthys. 

On the day of the Sommer Fest we got to Ichthys at about 9;30, there was so much excitement in the air as everyone pulled together to get everything ready for the festival.  Tents, picnic tables and benches were being put up.  The desserts and drinks we placed in a room that was festively decorated for the event.  Music started to play and you can smell the BBQ from the other side of the campus.  At the party we had an incredible time and for us from Bakersfield, the rain was an extra blessing. 

The next few days here at Ichthys, was a little bit more work but most of it was just an opportunity to hangout with the wonderful people we now call friends. A highlight for me was the privilege of cooking dinner for this community.  I enjoy cooking for our Celebrate Recovery at home and I just had such a good time cooking with Alex and Inas.  And to end the party we got to watch the Germany vs. Portugal match where Germany won 4-0!

Thank you to everyone who work and live here, you have been such a blessing to our entire team; we hope that someday God will bring us together again.  We will continue to pray for Ichthys! 

                                                                                  Much love,

                                                                                     Pastor Donabel

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