What a summer! David and I were blessed to be the head leaders of the 2012 Germany Camp team. We had an awesome team of 14, seven guys and seven girls. As staff leaders, it is challenging to find the time we want to spend with our team during their training here at The Lord’s Boot Camp, so we really depend on our assistant leaders to set a good tone for and with the team. Our leaders this year did an amazing job and we are very thankful for having had Natalie Ressler and Josh Marshall as leaders with us. They set a very positive, yet disciplined, tone for our team that was a blessing throughout the summer.
After our training, we headed off to Germany. Specifically, we were in the Thuringen region, an area that was once part of East Germany. Our team project was renovating the exterior of a building for Siloah, a Christian community, education center and camp. The building will be used in ministry to youth, and our task was to remove the stucco finish from three sides of the rather long building, and when all the preparation work was done (and all the math!), apply
board siding. In addition, the team added a retaining wall extending out from one corner of the building, and removed insulation from part of a different building. Though it was expected the team would not actually finish the project (due to the sheer size of the job), the Friday afternoon before we departed, the last board was put in place (signed by all the team members and leaders on the inside of the board). Words cannot express how proud we were of the team for their hard work and diligence.
In addition to completing their work project, the team had the opportunity to present the gospel through songs, puppets, and drama nine times in a variety of settings from kindergartens (day-care/preschool age children from about one year up to about five years of age), to elementary and secondary schools and to elementary children visiting Siloah. Though we did not see any salvations, we know God will use the seeds we planted and that which we watered through our ministry and bring more souls into the kingdom.
As with all teams, it wasn’t all work. There were plenty of fun times as well, from playing soccer on Saturdays with some of the Siloah folks, to a “beach party” they invited us to that was being given for the Siloah interns who would be completing their time soon after we left. In addition, we had the opportunity to shop and sightsee a bit – in the nearby city of Gotha, and also in the town of Eisenach, the town below Wartburg Castle, which we also visited. Wartburg Castle is notable for a couple reasons – it is the most well preserved medieval castle in all of Europe, and it is one of the locations where Martin Luther hid for the protection of his life. During his 10 or so months there, he translated the New Testament from Latin to German. In addition to visiting Gotha, Eisenach and Wartburg Castle, the team was able to visit and tour Buchenwald, a Nazi (and later Communist) prison camp. Though it was not a “death camp” per se, tens of thousands died from the horrible conditions and the forced labor. It was a very sobering experience to walk through and learn of all that went on there. I am certain none of us will soon forget what we learned there – nor should we.
Too soon, our project time was over, and we returned to Florida for our time of Debrief, a time to prepare to go home, to share our summer experiences, and for the all too difficult goodbyes. We’re keeping all our team members in prayer – for God’s guidance and direction for each and every one of them. We know some feel called to come on another team, others are feeling a call to other areas of ministry, and we pray God makes clear His direction for their futures. We know all to well that the devil will try to steal what the Lord taught them over the summer and distract them from the call of God on their lives.
As for us, we are, once again, working in the office of TMI. David is working in the Finance Department and I am the receptionist. We do have one of our team leaders here with us now – Natalie Ressler is attending BiBle, Missionary & Work Training Center (BMW), so we are able to see her daily. It has not happened often for us, that a leader or team member from one of our teams has come to BMW, so it is nice.
As the year draws to a close, there is some uncertainty as to the future direction for our lives. We made a three-year commitment to Teen Missions that ends in December. We are prayerfully considering the future and trusting God for His clear leading and provision for whatever direction He has for our us. We know a couple things for sure, wherever we are, we want to continue to serve Him, to lead summer teams, and to sow into the lives of young people. We would appreciate your prayers for us as we seek His perfect will.
Together in His Service,
David and Stephanie Spindler Romans 10, 14,15