Monday, October 24, 2011

Berlin Reflections Post 1

I'm calling this post one of my Berlin reflections because I'm sure as the next couple of days pass there will be many more thoughts that I want to post. Plus I have a lot on my mind and heart and putting it all in one post might be overwhelming and probably won't make a ton of sense.

This trip to Berlin was one of the greatest moments in my life, both spiritually and personally.

I can't talk about Berlin without talking about all the amazing people I got to share this experience with. So much talent and passion in the small group of us that went. From John already in Berlin, to the entire team, to all the great people we met in Berlin, it was just an amazing group of people who got along and gelled so well together. I am blessed to have met and become close friends with everyone on the team. If I haven't expressed it personally to anyone on the team yet, I'll say it here; I love you guys and am so glad to have been on this trip with all of you. You are all amazing talented people who put together a killer gallery in such a short time... It's mind blowing all the work that was done. I am blessed to know you all.

The trip itself was nothing like I expected and I will say it was completely successful in a handful of different areas. First, and maybe most importantly, the team was able to be an encouragement to John. Getting to hear his vision for the first time and see his passion was awesome. Getting to be there with him and help him take the first steps in seeing what a cafe/performance space over there could look like was awesome. I'm so grateful for John and the vision God has placed on his heart and I'm glad to say that I was a part of what God is doing in Berlin.

Secondly the team was able to be an encouragement to the Christian organizations already in Berlin. Which was really a double blessings because we were so blessed and inspired by what other people were doing in Berlin that our creations reflected the stories we were told. Having them show up to our gallery and being able to perform our songs and show our work to them that was inspired by them... I think it was a nice encouragement.

On a real personal level I was pushed this week. Walking the streets that second night in Berlin and seeing the prostitution really... Convicted me... I don't know if that's the right wording. I was extremely sad as I was praying that night and honestly I felt helpless. I wrote a song called Perceptions. It's the story of a girl and the way she and those around her perceive her. The moral behind the story is being trapped and not knowing how to break free and in the end, still being loved. It's a rough song content wise but... I got some positive feedback. At our gallery I performed the song. I don't like singing in public (even though I led worship for 4 years and used to perform as a singer/songwriter). I'm just not that comfortable being behind a mic but I did it this week. I don't think I sing very well but I'm glad I could perform this song and sing with the conviction that was inside of me.

The best moment for me came on our last night in Berlin and the second night of the gallery. I wrote a song with Tiffany Thompson that was inspired by a story I heard at the Berliner Stadtmission. Dorit, who showed us around the Stadmission and told us the story, came to the Gallery the second night and we were able to perform the song for her and show her the lyrics. Dorit wanted to take the lyrics with her to the Stadmission and present it to have the words posted on the wall at the Stadmission. It was one of the most touching moments of my life and it took every part of me to not breakdown and cry in that moment. It meant a lot to me and really touched my heart.

I could go on forever about conversations with people that touched my heart and challenged me but I'll stop for the moment. It was an amazing trip and I'm still processing all that God has begun to do in me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Berlin: Post 2

After a couple of days wandering the city and exploring Berlin and taking in the culture and observing some of the social justice issues in the city, today was the first day of creating. I had been struggling with what aspect I would create from. Would I be musical or take pictures? As the days had progressed I've felt a pull to use my musical abilities.

So today I sat in a round table with my musician friends and discussed ideas and passed on going to take pictures. I was a little bummed about not going out and taking pictures but I was excited about the idea of working on music with other people and collaborating. So I got to write a song with the wonderful and talented Tiffany Thompson. I've never worked on writing a song with another person before. I was mostly nervous about my ability to contribute to the process.

After a handful of moments of awkward silence, an idea for the song was born, chords were written, a melody put in place, and the song writing process was in full swing. Beside coming up with a killer song, it was an awesome experience of getting work with someone and have your ideas help and compliment each other in creating a single minded piece of art.

I look forward to the next 2 days of continuing to create and collaborate with others and seeing what kind of awesome songs we can come up with.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Berlin: Post 1

Not really day one because it's Monday and we've been here since Saturday so post one will work.

When I started praying and thinking about going to Berlin Isaiah 61 was a verse that was heavy on my heart. And it's been a verse that's floated in and out of my mind for a couple of weeks.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations."

It's been one of my favorite passages of Scripture for a couple of years now. So last night we walked around parts of Berlin to observe the sex industry and prostitution in the area. As we walked I was just sad. What had happened in these girls lives that had brought them to a life of prostitution. I think back to my blogs about speaking potential and life into others and women and I couldn't help but wonder where people had been careless with these girls lives.I was sad, near tears, and I felt helpless. What could I do? How could I help? But through it all, as I was praying while waling down these streets Isaiah 61 kept running through my head.

We were on the train between streets and I wrote this little poem.

"These words hold me hostage to this feeling of emptiness. This deep sense of sadness is haunting me. What can I say? How can I be a light in this dark corner of the world? You came to bring change. To bind the broken-heart and free the captive. How am I supposed to be your hands and feet...