Donnerstag, September 17, 2015

September 2015 update

A relentless flow of refugees is inundating Germany, which has proven to be the most generous European country, taking in hundreds of thousands. Our hearts go out to these people, all who have an individual story to tell. Very few of them speak German, so we have decided to offer beginner German classes in my atelier. In July I advertised that I was looking for local volunteers to teach German, inviting those interested to come to an informational meeting on July 28. I set up 6 chairs around the table, thinking that would be a great start. I was overwhelmed when in the end 15 people attended! There was so much good will in the room that night. Now we are offering 2 classes a week teaching a total of 20 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia. Relationships are being built with both the volunteers and the refugees. As trust grows, spiritual conversations have occurred and it is just a matter of time until we can begin inviting people to church. Please pray for strength and stamina and opportunities to share the gospel.
The neighborhood is watching as we connect with so many refugees, treating them with respect and love. Most people are very positive and appreciative that we are doing this. But not everyone. The neighbor directly above my atelier has complained all along - mostly about noise from my concerts. Recently after some of the refugee kids had visited me and started doing some hip-hop and break dancing for maybe 15-20 minutes - he wrote another one of his poisonous emails and took things up a notch - threatening to do everything in his power to get me evicted. It's very frustrating as he refuses to talk with me face to face. He just sends emails. Well, I have since blocked his address so I will no longer be seeing those. There really isn’t anything he can do. He’s never even called the police as he knows I am well within my rights.

Last week another reclusive neighbor who basically keeps to himself walked out of the house as the refugees were out in front taking a break from German class. There was also a volunteer there who heard him let out a string of racial slurs as he went by. Please pray for these men. Also pray for peace in my heart and inner strength to persevere.

In early August, we facilitated an art outreach with former colleague, Leah Heinemann, which went very well resulting in making friends with several neighbors I hadn’t met yet. Accompanying Leah were her daughter Elly and husband Dan Maclean.  Elly and Dan met while doing mission work in Afghanistan, working there for 7 years. They moved back to the US a couple of years ago but feel God calling them to Germany to work with refugees. We felt God drawing us together while they were here.  They recently informed us that they have decided to come to Cologne to work with refugees and our small church plant. We are very excited about this development. Pray that God would enable them to come soon - maybe as early as next spring.
Our search for a new location for our church services continues. We had high hopes about renting the fellowship hall of a catholic church not too far from our present location but the church council voted against the proposition.  This is very disappointing for us since our meeting with the priest was so positive and he seemed to think that we would be approved. Please pray that God would provide us with a suitable meeting place soon where we can also offer children’s church.
Please pray in general for our church plant. We have seen little growth. In fact we recently said goodbye to one of our core couples who has moved out of town and will be looking for a new church home in their area. Please pray that God would draw people to himself and to our church. We long to see men, women, boys and girls come to faith, be baptized and lead others to faith.

In Christ,
Jason and Sue

Mittwoch, Mai 20, 2015

May Update 2015

Dear Friends,
On April 28-29 I met with James, Juergen, Erhard and Reinhold in Kassel. Together we are the leadership team of the Consultation for Church Planting in Germany. We spent 24 hours together sharing, praying, and planning. The consultation has now been in existence for 7 years. We were encouraged as we looked back at all God has done. He has used the consultation to move church planting from a side issue to a main theme on the evangelical landscape. More denominations are planting more churches. The City Mentoring Program is recruiting and training young church planters who then go out and plant churches with their denomination. We have created a national structure where church planting can be discussed across denominational lines. More and more multicultural churches are being planted. And now we are even seeing multi-denominational churches being started. We are grateful for what God has done and the role he has given us on a national level.

As we discussed our next steps and strategy for the future, the need to change the name became apparent. There is a new surge of 20 and 30 year-olds who are starting culturally relevant new churches but are reluctant to use the term “church planting.” For others, the term is either unfamiliar or negatively loaded and seen as a threat to existing churches (sheep-stealing). Our new name is “Consultation for New Churches in Germany”. We are hoping this will have a broader and younger appeal since we can’t really do much about our balding, grey heads.

The massive influx of refugees in Germany has shown itself in our neighborhood in Cologne. Two hotels, located close to our apartment and my atelier, are housing 145 and 35 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Africa and the Balkans. God has burdened me to reach out to these people - many are completely traumatized from their ordeal. Their futures are completely uncertain as they wait for their asylum applications to be processed. I have been slowly making friends with a gang of grade school boys from Bosnia/Serbia since they discovered my candy bowl. A few days ago I stopped and talked to a group of young men from the same area. Only one of them could speak limited German - but they were all very friendly. After explaining who I am, with the German-speaker translating, he asked if I could help them with asylum. I said probably not - but I would like to be their friend and they should stop by sometime for a cup of tea. I am trying to recruit people from our church to give German classes in the Atelier. In August I am planning an art outreach at the Atelier with Christian artists from Dallas. The goal is 12-15 participants: 1/3 from church, 1/3 refugees, and 1/3 Germans from the neighborhood.  Please pray for the planning, preparations and God's blessing.

Please continue to pray for our church plant. We are in our sixth year and still under twenty people. We enjoy our fellowship and are inspired in our worship services and are spiritually challenged to grow in our home groups. We long, however, to see numerical growth through people coming to faith or rediscovering their faith in God. Please pray for three faithful attenders to make first-time commitments/recommitments. Please pray for our leadership team pictured here. Ralf is a gifted German architect and Susanne is a retired teacher. We work well together and all share a longing for growth. Pray that God would continue to guide us and inspire us as we lead the church.

In Christ,
Jason and Sue

Mittwoch, März 04, 2015

March update

Dear Friends,

This past Christmas was different for us. For financial reasons, we decided that we would not fly the kids here or fly to the U.S. for Christmas. What to do? Although we dreaded going through the holidays without Sam and Heidi and Roy, we are very aware of God’s grace in our lives and thankful that this is only the second time that we have celebrated without any of our kids.   As a distraction, we spent nine hours on Christmas Eve helping to setup, serve, and tear down a meal for several hundred homeless and lonely here in Cologne.  We came home exhausted but thankful for God’s goodness to us.  On Christmas Day we had a wonderful 2-hour conference Skype with Roy in Pennsylvania and Sam and Heidi in Denver.  We are so thankful for Skype.

On January 24 I hosted a jazz concert at the Pastorenatelier with 2 singers accompanied by upright bass. It was the biggest crowd I have ever had with over 40 people. The music was exceptional and we were able to meet several new people from the neighborhood and add many names to the mailing list. Please pray that these contacts would turn into friendships and opportunities to share the gospel and make disciples.

The deluge of refugees coming from Islamic countries has created much fear among many German citizens and has been the impetus for sometimes violent marches in various cities - including Cologne. The German and local governments are contending with difficult questions related to tolerance and civil society. This task is made more difficult by the fact that Christian values have long ceased to serve as the foundation for private and public life.

At our recent GEM German field retreat we agreed together to pray every day at 10:02  - Luke 10:2: "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest".  The acronym COG is our guide: great Crisis, great Opportunity, great God! We have all set our cell phones to remind us each day to pray regardless of where we are or what we are doing. Please join us in praying that God would mobilize His people to reach out and, perhaps, for our church and us to reach out in new ways in response to this rapidly evolving situation.

On a final personal note, the skin doctor has found more spots of cancer on my (Jason) nose and cheek. I will be undergoing photodynamic laser therapy on March 12 and 26. I had the same treatment on my forehead last year and it was very painful but effective. I would appreciate your prayers for a successful treatment with minimal pain.

Peace and Blessings,

Jason and Sue

Montag, November 17, 2014

November update

Dear Friends,
Last weekend our Cologne Project church family gathered for a time of fun, fellowship and workshops with our speaker, James Ros, on what it means to be a church family. James is on the leadership team of the Consultation for Church Planting and has recently moved to former East Germany to plant churches there. In his loving and personal he quietly challenged us from Scripture to foster our passion for the local church.

The New Reformation Tour I co-hosted in October reminded me once again of the huge potential Germany has to influence the world. We visited Wittenberg, where Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church; Eisleben, where he was born; Erfuhrt, where he studied law and then theology after he decided to become a monk. We also made stops at Halle, whose sons include Georg Fredrick Händel and August Hermann Francke and at Fritzlar, where Bonifatius first brought the Gospel to the Germanic tribes. We visited Weimar, the home of Goethe and Schiller. We were reminded, however, that Germany also has the potential for horrendous evil as we visited the death camp Buchenwald, just outside of Weimar.

On the inside of the entry gate are the words Jedem das Seine which means "to each his own" or "to each what he deserves. This was the Nazi's twisted take on an old Greek principle of justice - considering it a justification for murdering so many people. Franz Ehrlich, the inmate who designed the gate was a German architect who had been arrested for being a communist. In a subtle act of resistance, he used a Bauhaus style font, knowing that the Nazis deplored the Bauhaus style and considered it to be decadent, intellectual Jewish trash.

Today Germany is a modern, tolerant Nation taking in thousands of refugees fleeing the atrocities in the Middle East. This is a good thing. However, Germany is a nation that has left its Christian roots. Only about 3% of the population attends any kind of church regularly. Most of the people I talk to on the street or at my atelier have never heard a clear presentation of the Gospel. Germany needs to see a new reformation sweep across this land and beyond. If God does a mighty work in Germany, we firmly believe that this nation could be the catalyst for the spread of the Gospel throughout all of Europe and the world.  Please continue to pray with us to that end.

Also, please pray for C., a new church attender and member of our Thursday night small group.  Last Thursday she expressed the desire to really get to know God and experience him.  As we look forward to Thanksgiving, give thanks with us for how God is going to reveal himself in her life. 

Your missionaries,

Jason and Sue

Montag, August 04, 2014

August update 2014

Dear Friends,
I have been asking you to pray for the City Mentoring Program phase one group.  In May the 8-month training that I co-led came to an end. There were 10 participants - most of them students at the Bibleseminar Bonn ( It is always encouraging for me to see how God works in the hearts of these young potential church planters as they wrestle with their calling. Here are a few of their comments at the final session.
Arthur: I'm leaving the course with double-courage. I want to ask unbelievers questions about their faith and to listen to them, get to know them deeper. I want to dare things for Jesus. 
Simon: I can see how the spiritual life of a church planter needs to find its source in Jesus. I want to be much more consistent in following Jesus and see His kingdom as the goal, in which he can use me.
Emilius: The course has opened my eyes to the subject of church planting. The practical examples of the missionaries were very valuable. I want to conduct demographic studies of my home country, Lithuania, and share what I have learned about church planting there.
Stefan: The course helped me to see what the church should be and how I can best serve God.
Fabiana: The course has challenged me to reach out to my neighbors.
Raphael: I am looking forward to my contact with non-Christians.


Pray for these young participants as they continue on their spiritual and ministry journey, that the Spirit would move and enable them for God's kingdom.
In mid July I was contacted by a friend of a friend who is working on a post-doctoral project that she is hoping will eventually be presented in several churches and museums in Cologne. The Pentateuch Project is a series of photo compositions inspired from scenes and events from the first 5 books of the Bible. She wanted to do a power point presentation of the project in order to garner more support. She asked if she could do it at my atelier and I agreed. The presentation was interesting. However, even more interesting was that the local catholic priest also attended with whom I have recently had contact in regard to renting a small church building in the area that is no longer used regularly for services for our church plant - Cologne Project. We had a very pleasant conversation after the presentation. Please pray that they would make the decision to rent to us. It would be a great location for our church plant to grow.
Please continue praying for the “Blue evening in Nippes”. Pray that we would be able to make many new contacts for the Gospel through this event on September 5th.
Thank your for your prayers for us in June as we spent three weeks visiting supporting churches and individuals in Ontario and Michigan.  Although the travel and schedule were exhausting, we were so encouraged by many of you; your hospitality, encouragement, support, genuine interest - for reminding us again of how much you share this ministry with us.
Yours for Germany,
Jason and Sue

Freitag, Mai 09, 2014

May update

Dear friends,
Following are a couple of stories from the Pastor’s Atelier:

In the Tuesday morning men’s prayer group we recently agreed to limit our personal sharing time and jump right into our theme. M**** gave us copies of a chapter on prayer from a book titled Christianity for Beginners - I am looking forward to working through this chapter with these men. They have a longing to learn how to pray more in their every day lives.  The idea of freely and spontaneously communicating with God is still novel to them.

I recently had a chat with a father and his 20-something daughter in front of the atelier. They were admiring my work through the window. He was thinking of buying one of my paintings for his daughter to hang in her new apartment. As we chatted, he wanted to know what exactly I am doing here. After explaining it to him I told him, as I have told many others, that I just want to be a blessing for the neighborhood. He said he thought I already was and then as they were leaving he said that he hoped that a lot of blessings come right back to me. That made my day!

I have signed up to take part in an event called “Blue Evening in Nippes”. Nippes is the name of the district of Cologne we live in and where the atelier is. It is an evening where all the participating shops and businesses decorate their shops with blue streamers, balloons, etc. and offer specials, music and creative events - staying open much later than normal. Last year there were dozens of participants with hundreds, if not thousands of visitors wandering from shop to shop. I have invited a jazz musician to perform at the atelier. Please pray that I would be able to make many new contacts for the Gospel through this event on September 5th.

Oh the pain!
Although I was not up to it earlier, I would like to share about a medical condition I have been dealing with over the last month. In April I went to the skin doctor and was diagnosed with pre-cancerous spots on my forehead. The doctor recommended a special light treatment that has proven highly successful in eliminating the abnormal cells.  The procedure was executed two times over eight days.  The discomfort and pain after the first treatment was manageable but the pain after the second treatment was almost unbearable.  Fortunately it subsided considerably after six excruciating hours.  The next several days were spent dealing with a severely swollen forehead and eyes followed by severe scabbing.  Thankfully I was able to preach at the Easter service less than a week later - albeit with a hat pulled right down to my eyebrows to spare the congregation from having to look at the disaster underneath.  Amazingly the outer layer of skin has healed quite rapidly and I am thankful to the Lord for modern medicine and for how he carried me through this unpleasant ordeal.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Yours for Germany,
Jason and Sue

Samstag, März 01, 2014

Dear friends,

The first 3 Sunday afternoons in February, I (Jason) hosted and led an evangelistic workshop in the Pastor's Atelier entitled, MyLife.  The 8 participants were fully engaged and eager to return for the next session and the feedback was very positive.  Although I am not yet aware of any first-time decisions for Christ, it was clear that God was working in the hearts of several of the participants.  Please pray for the continued work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of these seekers.  I highly recommend this workshop.  For more information see:

We would like to give you a look at our ministry activity in 2014. It is often in our ongoing ministry that we see people taking steps and growing in their trust toward God. The day-to-day and week-to-week activities in which we serve are so important. Most of our time in ministry is devoted to: 

sermon/service preparation and celebration, counseling, street evangelism, friendship evangelism, pre-evangelism events, discipleship, prayer, small groups, leadership meetings, planning, administration 

Please pray that God would continue to use us for the advancement of His kingdom in our ongoing, everyday activities here in Germany.

In addition, these are the highlights to date that we are looking forward to this year.  More special opportunities and events will most likely be added as the year progresses. Please pray that God’s kingdom would come and that His will would be done in Germany as it is in heaven.

The Consultation for Church Planting - March 5-6
Currently we have a relatively small group of 22 who have registered for our annual 24-hour gathering. Many church planting leaders have full schedules and due to the speaker’s schedule (an expert on social milieus) we have moved the location to southern Germany in Schwaebish Gmuend - near Stuttgart - which makes it more difficult for those from northern Germany to attend. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to learning and working together toward more interdenominational collaboration. We decided as the leadership team to spend another half day in sharing and prayer, and brainstorming about long-term goals for the consultation.

German field retreat - 27-30 March
This is always an intimate time of sharing and prayer with our team here in Germany. The uplifting mixture of tears and laughter as we recount the ways that God is working in our personal lives and in our ministries is always encouraging. It was just a year ago that I resigned from leading the German field. I am thankful for the new leadership team and I am looking forward to attending this year as a supporting field missionary.

Home Ministry Assignment - May 30 - June 17 in Ontario and Michigan
We look forward to connecting with family, friends and the folks at 6 of our supporting churches in southern Ontario and the Detroit area. Albeit, trips like this are often a mix of exhaustion and encouragement for us.

Preaching at the amphibious vehicle rally worship service - August 3.
A man who heard me preach at one of the churches in the area has invited me to speak at an event he helps organize in the picturesque town of Traben Trarbach on the Mosel river.  It is an international weekend rally of amphibious vehicles, where about 50 vehicles and 150 people from all over Europe are expected. For years they have been working on a strategy to reach the participants with the Gospel. On Sunday morning they will be offering an open-air worship service. Traben Trarbach is of particular concern because the entire town is under the strong influence of a Buddhist who has placed his little statues in all the shop windows and has opened the largest Buddhist Museum in Germany. This event is a unique opportunity that I could have never thought up on my own.

GEM annual conference August 4-9 in Willingen, Germany
This annual gathering of the GEM family is a highlight for us because of the worship time and the fellowship with so many like-minded missionaries who have a heart for Europe. The speakers, training seminars and workshops also provide learning opportunities and are a source of encouragement.

New Reformation Tour - September 26 - October 5
I will be co-hosting this tour along with my colleague, Dr. Joel White. We will be visiting the sites of events that have had a powerful impact on the world: the conversion of the Germanic tribes, the Reformation, the Holocaust and more.  Professors from the Giessen School of Theology (GST), a GEM partner institution, who have extensive knowledge of Germany’s rich religious history, will be joining parts of the tour. Participants will gain a sense of Germany’s present spiritual need…and celebrate the beginnings of a new reformation in the heart of Europe, encountering exciting ministries that are working to fulfill GEM’s vision: “God expanding His kingdom through all the peoples of Europe to the world.” Click here to download a brochure with more information.

Cologne Project church retreat October 31-November 2
The mission statement of our church plant is: Creating space for Jesus Christ. The retreat helps us to do just that. The opportunity for close fellowship over an entire weekend allows for deepening relationships with one another and with the Lord.

kirche.neu ( - November 26.
The Consultation for Church Planting is not the only network in Germany that is seeking to see God’s kingdom advanced and new churches planted. Kirche.neu has become significant due to its broad range of key leaders of church planting movements. This fall we are co-initiating a one-day inspirational conference that is pulling together 5 different networks with different emphasis but the same ultimate goal of seeing God’s kingdom advance in Germany. Pastor Oscar Muriu is the keynote speaker. He is the leader of Nairobi Chapel, where he was an intern 25 years ago when the church had just 20 members. In the mean time the church has grown and planted many daughter churches. Today 14,000 attend the 40 churches that have been planted. ( We are praying that God will use this day to foster even more unity and vision for church planting in Germany.

Thank you so much for your prayer and financial support.

In Christ,
Jason and Sue