by Esther Crook
After giving my life to Jesus on the King’s church Kingston Alpha course 9 years ago, I developed an almost instant fascination for anything related to international mission. Thinking back, I don’t think I even really had a clue what this entailed, but I made up my mind that someday I wanted to “go to the Nations!”. Seeing as I was half German and had been raised bilingual, Germany was a pretty obvious choice. However, initially this seemed way too boring – Africa or South America sounded far more exciting!
When I was presented with the opportunity to visit Ghana as part of a church Mission trip, I jumped at the chance. I absolutely loved it and ended up visiting a further two times. On the third occasion, I travelled alone and my intention was really to see if I could imagine moving there; if this was what God wanted. To cut a long story short, during this trip I felt God unexpectedly close the door on Ghana, but heard him say clearly “use your German”. This led me to finally (albeit reluctantly) consider Germany as an option!
On my return from Ghana, I began to explore this further and visited a church plant in Berlin a couple of times. Although I fell in love with the City and liked the Church, something about it just didn’t feel right. I remember returning to the UK feeling quite deflated and asking “what now God?”.
A few days later, I saw a random post on Facebook from someone from Revelation Church Camden, about a new church plant in Frankfurt. This immediately caught my eye and I got in touch.
After an initial Skype chat with the lovely Natalie and Simon Tarry (who had practically just arrived in Frankfurt themselves with their three young boys!), I booked some flights to go and visit them and check out Frankfurt. There was an instant connection and I felt a peace about Frankfurt that I hadn’t felt about Berlin.
Following my visit, once a fortnight, I joined in on a virtual meet up via Skype with all the people considering joining the Frankfurt team. That was in January 2015 and in October the same year, I moved over. Amazingly, God had provided me with a job in the meantime!
So we started, with a Core Team of nine Adults and four Children. We spent the first year meeting in the home of Natalie and Simon, with the focus on growing together as a team and establishing a vision for Frankfurt. A year later, we started meeting publicly once a month in a Museum in the City centre. About 6 months after this, we found another central venue where we could meet regularly. During this time, God was adding to our number, from all around the world; England, South Africa, Afganistan, Jamaica, Ukraine, Bloomington Illinois, as well as some authentic Frankfurters! Initially, we wanted to be an exclusively German-speaking church, however, soon realised that as Frankfurt is so international, many people actually don’t speak much German, hence we continue to hold bilingual services. On an average Sunday now, we gather up to 30 People, which is quite amazing considering we`ve only been going for a relatively short time.
It has been an exciting journey so far, though not without its challenges. On the whole, we have all been incredibly blessed with finding jobs and homes. Right from the beginning, we all got on incredibly well as a core team, which isn’t a given, with a real strong sense of family amongst us. We really don’t want to lose this, even as we grow!
This summer we held our first community festival in a park in Frankfurt, which was an amazing success and exceeded all our expectations. Even more exctingly, in recent months, three people have given their lives to Jesus, just through spending time with us and realising there is “something different” about us, which they also wanted!
Some challenges have been the German culture – particularly the “different” sense of humour and the directness (I have had a to grow a thicker skin since being here!). Also, Germans are still quite suspicious of non-state churches, so-called “free churches” and can be quite dismissive and label them as “cults”.
My flight-attendant Job proved to be a bit challenging at the beginning, as I had to work so many Weekends. This has got better now, thankfully.
A big challenge we are facing currently is that, due to a number of reasons, we need to be out of our current venue in the next few weeks….and still haven’t found a suitable alternative. We believe God wants us to be a light in the centre of Frankfurt, not on the outskirts somewhere. But finding a suitable venue centrally, which fulfils all our criteria, is proving a bit tricky, though we trust God will provide for us! He has been more than faithful so far.
All in all, I am very happy living in Germany and being part of what God is doing in Frankfurt. I have developed a real heart for not only the city but the country as a whole. On a personal level, it also has been a blessing for me in terms of deepening relationships with my German relatives, who don’t live too far from Frankfurt.
Despite it not being exactly my “plan”, it has really taught me to trust that God knows best! It has also shown me just how faithful God is, how he cares and provides for us. God has a heart for ALL nations and the Church really is his way of reaching the lost around the world. Therefore, it is a privilege to be part of this adventure!
– a new venue; somewhere in the heart of Frankfurt that we can grow into. It would be great if we found one before the end of the year!!
– more People to join us, particularly men
– more salvation across Frankfurt