Munich Adventure

Nathan, Rada, Anya & Aleksa's move to Munich…

Tag: community

Putting Down Roots: Part 1

As the spring and summer of 2020 have worn on I (Nathan) am sure that all of us are feeling some sense of disconnection from our communities and/or uncertainty about future plans.  This has certainly been true for us, maybe even exacerbated by the pioneering nature of our context here and the geographical distance between us and most of our support network.

As I reflected and prayed about this over the summer I really felt the voice of God say to me that the next season for us was to be a season of putting down deeper and more significant roots in the communities around us and into German life in general.  

The first obvious step for this is to make another purposeful go at language learning.  Our first 18 months here saw the greatest progress in language and we have improved steadily but very very slowly since then.  So this term I have enrolled back at the language school where it all began back in autumn 2016. I go four mornings per week and to help stick to Covid-19 restrictions class sizes are reduced from 12 to 6 participants, and the length of the class is 2 hours instead of 3. Both of these factors suit me perfectly and I am loving it so far and feeling very inspired.

I’ll write in the coming weeks about a few other language topics and reflections in relation to putting down roots. I’ll also share some tips for German language learning and hopefully receive some tips from others too!  I’ll also discuss ideas and thoughts around how one can put roots down into community life.

All the essentials for getting back to school!

Munich parkrun Birthday!

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated one year of parkrun* in Munich! I attended the first run on 19th January 2019 and have been involved as a participant, volunteer or organiser ever since.

Westpark parkrun – one year old!

Personally it helps me keep fit, brings some routine to my weekend and gives me a grounded and regular sense of purpose to be in Munich. I have made some great friends over the last year and there is a real sense of community and mutual support. Along with a few of the other guys we went for a daytrip to Ingoldstadt to visit another event and as one of the Run Directors I have really enjoyed our planning meetings – always in a Bierkeller or Biergarten!

At my local Westpark Event we usually gather between 40-80 runners and our early success meant another group was able to begin in Munich in July at Riemerpark on the other side of the city. Although the parkrun phenomenon has very much come out of the UK we are very pleased that there are more and more Germans joining us every week! We also have tourists come from all over the world for parkrun in Munich – most weeks there are visitors from at least Australia, South Africa, Russia and the UK.

I also find that being part of parkrun really complements our church ministry here in Munich. Our family’s ethos is that all aspects of life should serve God and love other people – we use the phrase ‘building the Kingdom of God’ to describe this. Being part of parkrun is certainly a way to do this by helping to organise this healthy and social initiative for the community as well as build personal friendships that can encourage others – they certainly encourage me!

I’d thoroughly recommend getting involved with your local parkrun – it can change and transform lives for sure… And if you live in Munich it would be wonderful to see you at the start line in Westpark one Saturday morning! (see the links below)

When mum and dad came to visit

*parkrun is a free, timed, weekly 5km run each Saturday at 9am for anybody and everybody to participate in with at least 200,000 runners each week.

A bit of chocolate goes a long way

In the classic film Chocolat we see the amazing protagonist open up a chocolaterie in the middle of a closed off, overly religious and legalistic French village.  The mayor and other prominent villagers ensure she is made very unwelcome yet, one by one, she brings life to the more excluded villagers through a non judgmental attitude, an ability to see the potential in each of them and, of course, through amazing tasting chocolate!  Relationships are restored and the village transformed!

In some ways this really resonates with what we are aiming to do in Munich.  We are not seeking to find a place within church walls to which people can come to us.  We are seeking to set-up our lives outside of formal church structure and encounter people with whom we can share a bit of the life of God with.  Similar to Chocolat it is important that we are non-judgmental, look for the best in others and, of course, eat great food together!

Many people have recommended we read Alan Scott’s Scattered Servants book that came out last year.  It is a very special book that exhorts its readers to bring life to the cities they live in, not through great quality church meetings, but through scattering throughout their neighbourhoods and loving people wherever they find them.  This is what we love to do and this is what we believe God has called us to!

“You are My children and I have given you good things to share.  As you follow Me, you will encounter people who are far from Me, who are fighting for faith, struggling in their marriages, longing for healing, wondering if I am alive.  As you meet them, share what I give you for them.  Don’t worry if it feels like you have nothing to offer.  It is My pleasure to send you out empty but bring you back full.”


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