Randy and Katy Smelser

Americans living in Germany but citizens of heaven

Kicking the USA Habit

We in the Independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ do not have a headquarters to work through and connect us. Now more and more workers from the States are coming through an organization. The problem arises that we do not know each other or what is happening in Europe outside our organization. Thus quite often when our European churches or work need help all channels lead back to the USA. This leads churches and work in Europe into a form of dependence that is not healthy.  The MidWinterRally helps build ties inside Europe so that we can start looking around here FIRST if we need help.
Andrea Gentile at our church retreat
We are trying to break this dependence. An example was this Spring when our church in Peine had Andrea Gentile from Rome come up to do a weekend retreat for us.  Some of the people from the Peine church knew Andrea thru the MWR.
Our church is now also supporting a German woman working with Globalscope in Birmingham England. She came to Christ thru the student ministry in Tübingen which we knew about because of the Caulleys attending the MWR.  Katy met Vannesa at a women's breakfast at a nearby church of Christ (Hildesheim).
Our church is also looking into how we can help a work in Bosnia. Katy and I have already visited this work and hope that others from our church will in the future also visit them. It is only a 16 hour drive from us.
This is also the reason why we have speakers coming from England this year. They will give a perspective on churches from a European (well at least until the Brexit is finished) perspective. When a European church needs money for a project, where does it turn?  Why do the churches here not make "mission trips" to help with other churches or works, yet many Americans come this way on "mission trips." 
This year I am planning the MWR to encourage the connections. Maybe you need to come to the MWR to see what God is doing elsewhere in Europe so we can break the dependence on American churches.  Let us starting thinking long term and then the MWR is an important aspect of the future for the European church.