Since it has been over six weeks since I wrote a blog post and ministry update, here are the highlights quickly:
The Ukrainians we took in at Koinonia have adjusted well to life in Germany. They are looking for work, and their children are in school. There has been less casual, daily contact with them of late because, in addition to proving that they can be employed here, which is not the easiest task to accomplish, even with the allowances the German immigration bureaucracy is making for their lamentable situation, they are all enrolled in the German classes offered through the Office for Asylum and Integration. Consequently, they are not around the house much. Please continue to pray for them. They have been here for four months now, and the war shows no sign of stopping this summer.
Since January, I have been working for Reasons to Believe as their German translator. This is an ongoing project, and involves more than translation. The long-term plan is to publish books from the ministry here, and found a German-language chapter here. These tasks demand some time for research and building networks. Pray that I be able to find publishers, make contacts and translate effectively. Pray also that the German-language resources achieve their intended goal of “Helping thinkers to believe and believers to think.”
You can explore the website of Reasons to Believe here: https://reasons.org/ . Warning: The archives are extensive and you can spend days reading through papers or listening to old podcasts. Trust me. I have.
The youth ministry in which Felicia participates, Generation4Christ, has recently begun leading worship one session a week at the Augsburg House of Prayer. We are, of course, thrilled that she is moving into this role in the worship team and joining the 24/7 intercession and worship ministry on her own initiative!
Since spring of this year, I have been busy, with Susan’s help, translating documents for a theological symposium being held at the University of Vienna in July, sponsored and organized by Toward Jerusalem Council II. We’re rapidly approaching the deadline for all of these to be ready for distribution. Please pray for accuracy, eloquence and that I get the work done in time.
And speaking of Toward Jerusalem Council II: Since last year, I have also been engaged by Toward Jerusalem Council II Germany as their webmaster. We put up the website after a lengthy series of drafts and revisions in May. For those who read German here it is: Toward Jerusalem Council II – Hin zu einem zweiten Jerusalemer Konzil (tjcii.de).
Remember that Office for Asylum and Integration mentioned above? We, the Martins have to deal with them, too. Before the COVID pandemic panic, we had repeatedly gotten our residency permits renewed without any difficulty. Then COVID hit and demand for my services as a translator dropped off a cliff. My income in 2020 and 2021 was less than 1/3 of what it had been before, and only began to recover recently. The Office for A. and I. does no however yet consider that improvement of income to be sufficient to provide a stable economic basis for our family life here, so they have not yet approved a renewal of our residency permits. We have submitted our tax returns and now they are asking for additional documentation showing how we are able to meet our financial obligations. That I have, in spite of the financial difficulties, still managed to fulfil those obligations for two years, does not seem to have left much of an impression.
That being the case, we are looking for support, specifically that the ministries we work with might be able to officially bring us on, so that we can continue ministry with them here. Until now, we have been acting as “tent-maker” missionaries, i.e. the income from my work and from reserves we had accumulated has been the financial basis for our “meeting our basic obligations” required under German immigration law. We now may need to find a ministry organization to support us and apply for some religious worker-type visa or other permit. I will contacting people in the next days about possible solutions. We contacted a lawyer yesterday already. Please pray about our residency permits being renewed and if you can help, please do. Contact me here or through other channels where we regularly communicate if you want or need further information. The timing of this wrinkle in our residency status strikes me as simply diabolical. We were just getting off the ground with RTB and becoming more involved than ever before in the Messianic-Jewish/Christian reconciliation ministry in Germany when… our legal permission to stay here is attacked. This does not seem coincidental to me.
Thanks for reading. Please do pray for a positive resolution of the residency problem as well as the ministry work we mentioned above.
Thank you for your support. We quite covet your prayers.
If you can, please do contriibute to maintaining our ministry here.