Doing ETM: The Decision

Chris and I have just become participants in a course called Evangelisation-Training und Media or as many of you more fondly know it ETM. Basically, it is a discipleship training program for church members in Germany. So, yes. It is all in German. I know that doing ETM is going to be a great challenge and growing experience for both us. So, I would like to document our journey. I hope that maybe our growing experience can also help you grow, as well. Or maybe at least give people who are thinking about the program in the future some more information about it.

ETM is a 10 week program, in which we will read and study and learn for a few weeks. Then, we will have one intensive week of “training” at a retreat center. Afterwards, we will have a few more weeks of studying and finishing a final project. The final project is the reason that I am most nervous about ETM and also, the reason that I am doing ETM. At the end, we have to do a presentation for 10 minutes in German. Alone. Woah. So, at first, I decided I was most definitely not doing that. No one is requiring me to do ETM and I am just fine not standing up in front of a group of people speaking a language that I know I sound ridiculous in. Thank you very much.

Then we went to Lithuania.

And I watched as all these men from different countries, stood up and gave entire sermons in a language that was foreign to them. And I know they had to be terrified, no matter how good they were in the language. It is still scary. And I was very moved by this. These men did it because they desperately want to be in community with other Christians and English is a great way to do that. I desperately want to minister to the German people. And German is a great way to do that. So, I decided I had to face my fear and just do it.

When we first came here, our supervisor told us that his expectations of us were to be learning German and growing spiritually. That’s it. Surely, we can do that. And ETM is a great avenue for that for us. It is already challenging us in both of those areas and I know will only continue to.

What is one of your biggest fears and what would it take to inspire you to face it?

German Culture: Schulanfang

So, I am hoping to start a series in our blog on things that I think are really cool about the German culture that we don’t really do in America. In honor of the beginning of school, I wanted to start with a beginning of school tradition. In Germany, you are six years old when you first go to school. Of course, children here also go to Kindergarten (it is after all, a German word). But you are six years old when you start your first year of “official” schooling. Going to school for the first time is a huge deal. The kids look forward to that day for their whole lives (I know, a whole six years!). The school hosts a big welcoming ceremony in which the older students welcome the new students into the school. Then, the new students have a huge party with friends family, at which they are the honored guest. They receive gifts of school supplies, a great expensive very first backpack and of course, the all coveted, Zuckertüte. It literally translates to mean “sugar bag”, but it is actually a cone.

A giant cone of happiness that is usually as big as the new student and filled with all kinds of goodies. The bounty of a Zuckertüte can yield school supplies, toys, candy, gift cards, and much more. And nowadays, kids don’t receive just one, but usually more than 10 Zuckertüten of various sizes. This year, one of the kids at our church was going to school. Of course, we were so excited and decided to build him a Zuckertüte.

We, of course, filled ours only with CANDY!! And, some fake money from our Kid’s Night at the church. All of the kids wanted to take it home, but we had saved some! After Sunday morning was over, he had received about 13 of these candy-filled cones! We definitely think it is something we should integrate into American culture!!