When Kate traveled to Germany, she expected to grow in her faith by living and serving with a community of Christian believers. But she was only half-right.
As it turned out, only one other female would be living with Kate over their six weeks in Berlin—a young woman from Turkey with a Muslim background. For Kate, this ended up being a different opportunity to grow in her faith than she expected.
“I grew up with people with similar backgrounds and beliefs,” said Kate, “so it was really eye opening to be with someone who has a different upbringing and worldview than me.”
The two lived together, traveled together, and volunteered together. All of which helped Kate understand more about mission work and ways to share her own faith.
“I’m considering being a missionary so this helped me realize it’s about relationships,” said Kate. “And through those relationships you can minister to people. Because we had established a friendship, we were able to talk about deeper topics. I learned more about her faith background and she could learn about mine too.”
“She asked me questions like ‘why did Jesus die,’” Kate added. “Those questions made me think about my faith in a new way and experience the exciting answers over again.”
As the two grew in their friendship, they also bonded over what first brought them to Germany that summer—meeting people who have recently arrived in Germany after fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East.
Kate, her roommate, and other volunteers served through Berliner Stadtmission (Berlin City Mission), a Resonate partner ministry in Berlin. Together they organized a summer camp for children in the neighborhood and also got a glimpse into the refugee situation.
Kate is studying German herself at Calvin College, which she says gave her a fresh appreciation for the language learning process.
“I felt like I could relate because I had an appreciation for what’s different and what’s difficult about learning German,” she said.
“You hear about the refugee crisis, but it gave me a new perspective hearing from someone directly what it means to flee for your life from Syria.”