Last weekend, after spending our first Thanksgiving away from family, we decided to head down to the city of Tübingen to catch up with some of our friends from college that are starting up a campus ministry there. We haven’t seen them since we arrived in August and the Georgia Tech vs. UGA football game was a great reason to come down to visit.
Tübingen is only a 2-hour train ride south from Frankfurt, just past Stüttgart, so it was a perfect weekend trip. The city is in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg and is mostly inhabited by university students. Just over a year ago, some friends of ours from Tech and Emory moved there and began the arduous process of starting up a campus ministry. They’ve fixed up a building just off of campus and have been meeting students and establishing relationships for the past year. Many of you know due to your own experience, but starting a campus ministry in Europe (and in a different culture) is a real challenge to say the least. I’d say at this point they are starting to build a base of “core students” that are catching on to the place and are just getting into having regular events at the campus house. More on this later…
Campus House - Josh, Chris, and Chandler (left to right)
Watching Tech seemingly start to come back after halftime - approximately 3:30 am
We were met at the train station by our friend, Chris Coleman, who we were glad to have hosted at our apartment back in Atlanta a couple of times during he and his wife’s (Stef) fundraising days. It was definitely nice seeing a familiar face and catching up with him as he returned the favor as host, allowing us to stay Saturday night at their apartment.
Walking through the town brought back fond memories of five years ago when Marisa and I visited Tübingen on a scouting trip for the very same ministry that we were visiting. We walked past familiar stores, streets, bridges, squares, and ate at a couple of the same restaurants. I was reminded of the trip where I went fully expecting to feel confirmation that we were supposed to help start this ministry. However, I’ll never forget how the Spirit moved in me and I came away with a strong sense that a campus ministry definitely should be started in Tübingen. However, at the same time I also felt a peace that it wasn’t for me. It was cool to fast forward five years and now there is a team here starting this ministry and I’m able to visit to see the progress.
Speaking of…….when we finally reached the campus house I was blown away by the drastic changes that’d been made to the eyesore of a building that I remembered. Bright paint with a trendy, coffee-shop feel met me at the door, along with another friend from Tech, Chandler. We were also graced with the presence of Josh K, whom you may remember from such blog posts as “Oktoberfest 2009”. After going on a quick tour and catching up with everybody we basically had a night, beginning at 6pm, of playing video games, watching college football, eating, and watching utube videos……….until about 5:30 am! This was technically a student event, so we hung out with a few German students who had plenty of questions about American football. It was pretty entertaining watching Chris and Tyler (another Tech friend working for the ministry – fyi, he was also on my study abroad trip to Germany 6-7 years ago) explain football in German. I will argue that explaining a sport in another language is actually much more difficult than it sounds – try it! Throughout the evening we were also able to catch up with Beth – the leader of the campus ministry team, who also came on the scouting trip with us years ago.
Much fun was had and it absolutely sucked sausage that the Jackets were rocked by UGA. I’m still wondering why Paul Johnson had us throw deep three times in a row on the potential game-winning drive in the 4th, with 3:00 left on the clock. Why change the game plan then? Oh well. That’s the curse. We sauntered back to sleep at about 6 am and had a short Sunday before heading back to Frankfurt. It was really nice getting to catch up with all of the team members and hear about their lives over the past year. We’re hoping that they take us up on the open invitation to come visit Frankfurt sometime.
For more information about the campus ministry in Tübingen (aka “Unterwegs” – meaning “along the way”), or to find out how you might support them, check out their website: http://www.imkeller.net/
Signature pose and signature jacket! Marisa thinks she wore this jacket the first time we visited 5 years ago.