My apologies for the delay in continuing this series. My day job- yes, I have one- has kept me up to my eyeballs in alligators while trying to drain the swamp, so, lamentably, blog activity has been a lower priority. Where were we…
Ah, yes. We had just gotten word that two apartments had opened up in Augsburg within about 50 hours of our arrival here. The word was brought to us by one Stefan Karrer, a dedicated intercessor who had been involved with the Gebetshaus Augsburg for years and who had graciously allowed us to stay with his family for a couple of weeks while we looked for a permanent housing solution. We had come to Germany on faith, trusting the Lord would open up a place for us. And now we had two to look at, and, with the help of Stefan and his family, we soon made arrangements to look at each of them by the end of the first week.
The first of these was an apartment in the south of Augsburg, held at the time by Hermine and Hans-Martin Harsch. The Harsches were friends of the Karrers, and they were very happy to meet Americans who had moved to Augsburg to join the 24/7 prayer movement in Germany. The apartment was roomy, had some good light, and living there would (have) put us in easy walking distance of the Gebetshaus, schools, shopping, and other amenities Only it would have meant being …well…in an apartment. In the city. We’d come home, close the door, and be by ourselves. Maybe we’d make friend with neighbors, develop stable relationships with them, and enjoy regular fellowship. Maybe not. And how the „maybe not“ would impact our daughter was a concern. We didn’t want Felicia to be socially isolated. The Harsches did not have any children living with them who could give us insight into the child population of the building and that was a significant minus, no matter how close we would be to any prayer room. But the price was right. At least, before any costs for utilities were included. And they were willing to leave basically all the appliances, some furniture and the window fittings for us. That was a huge point in favor of the in-city apartment.
The next apartment we looked at was owned by one Johannes Hüger. He was an outgoing type, a Christian business consultant who regularly held seminars in the States. The apartment was in a Christian community house, a „Gemeinschaftshaus“ named „Koinonia“, located in Biburg, which was not far away from where the Karrers lived. I asked about the „Gemeinschaft“. What was its focus?
„Ökumene, aber im persönlichen Sinn“- „Ecumenism in a personal sense“- was the response I got from Stefan to my question. I dug into the background a bit more, and learned, to my very pleasant surprise, that Koinonia had been founded by Evangelicals and Catholics who wanted to share life centered on the author and perfecter of their shared Christian faith: Jesus the Messiah.
In other words: The core of their mission was the core of our mission. Bringing Christians from different streams of the historic Christian faith together in reconciliation and shared lives in Holy Spirit-driven faith.
Hüger picked me up the next morning, a sunny late June day in the alpine foothills of Bavaria, and the drive was only about 15 minutes. We pulled into the cobblestone driveway of the converted monastery and…there were children playing the yard. Children who were close to Felicia’s age. She would have automatic playmates if we moved there. The apartment itself was smaller than the Harsches‘ apartment, and we would be 11 kilometers from the city. We would be dependent on public transportation and help from others to get to and from the Gebetshaus, shopping, whatever churches (there were going to have to be two) we eventually landed in, and we would not have the already furnished apartment to move into. In Germany, unfurnished really means unfurnished. I liked the place and its mission really gelled with ours. But the distance, for people who did have their own car, could potentially isolating.
But there were children at Koinonia who were close in age to our own daughter. I knew of course that I would have to talk with Susan about it, and she needed to see the apartment with her own eyes, and give me her thoughts about the weight of the advantages and disadvantages. So, the second trip to see Koinonia with Herr Hüger was a whole-family trip. Within minutes it was clear that we agreed. Having other children, other children from Christian families who shared with us, in their own form, a vision for reconciliation in the body of Christ here on Earth, was a plus that outweighed the minuses by several orders of magnitude. We would be moving into Koinonia.
And on July 1st, 2015, we did.
Thanks for reading this newest installment of „Martin Family in Bavaria“.
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