Are you someone considering a short-term mission trip or internship? Here is a recent update from the Coonces who went on a GoConnect short trip with Kontaktmission USA. For more information about how this could be you, check out gokmusa.org!
Where did you go on your GoConnect Trip?
A: Our trip was a little different than most, planning our visits all within Germany: landing in Frankfurt, visiting Herne, Paderborn, Peine, Braunschweig, Berlin, Wüstenrot, and Pforzheim. We planned our trip to visit two potential full-time placements, the Kontaktmission USA intern coordinator, the city where we interned in 2017, an already established healthy church-plant, and KM Germany’s headquarters.
Initially, we plotted what looks like a giant circle around the whole of Germany! This was the most streamlined route and gave us the ability to network and see every place and city we might partner with full-time, friends and mentors from the past, KM colleagues, and meet with the German office.
Q: What did you do on your GoConnect Trip?
A: We did a lot of old-fashioned ‘table-talk,’ entering homes and being hosted by families, eating and talking and praying at great lengths with so many brothers and sisters of various areas, churches, ministries, you name it! Our goal was to see the places offering placement in full, gathering and seeing the needs and ministries in the most hands-on approach we could. Learning from the leaders of various teams and ministries, seeing services and group work, participating, asking questions, and taking on an active learner/observer approach. Speaking, eating, and sharing with a community is one of the best ways to hear stories and experience local needs and vision. Most of our time was scheduled to spend time being thrown into the natural ebb and flow of the local ministries. We had a lot of conversations, had a Q and A with youth groups, prayed with and for a lot of families, and consumed a whole lot of coffee and tea!
We also had the opportunity to visit the elders and church leaders of the small town we learned and mentored under for our internship in 2017, being refreshed and encouraged by them! So much of our individual stories are woven into each other, it really is reflective of Hebrews 12, which is talking about our rich heritage in the faith before us, but arguably can be applied to our immediate Christ-like mentors and leaders in our lives who are a picture of the patchwork quilt that is our story in following Him.
Another major goal was to meet the Kontaktmission Germany home office and team and dialog with them about the ministry in Germany, the networks, groups, and future work as an organization and group of missionaries and churches. So much of the meeting and networking was richer and more intimate than is possible on a ZOOM or Skype meeting, and in a hopefully increasingly post-covid world, meeting and being in a physical community will only become more paramount.
Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in going on a GoConnect Trip?
A: Our biggest advice would be to go in as a learner. A posture of a learner is one of the strongest and most authentic indicators for people that you are willing to humble yourself, ask good questions, and learn from those outside of your context. Having a mindset of “everyone has something to offer” forces you to put your heart and mind in a better gear for actual growth and action. This is not to be confused with some sort of false humility ploy, or some form of continual self-deprecation, but the ability to enter situations and groups of people and be able to ask for help, ask good questions, and to watch and learn cultural context while participating in said context.
We would also encourage others to have a willingness to try new things. Now normally, you would think a person who would be interested and willing to go on a GoConnect trip would be fairly open to trying new things, but that’s not always the case! A willingness to try new foods, activities, you name it, big or small! A willingness and curiosity for things that are other than what you already know shows others you can share the value of other cultures and ways of life.
Take notes. Writing down anything and everything is extremely helpful for debriefing and reflecting on your trip afterward in the weeks following. Even if it’s a simple scribble of things that happened at the end of the day, you will be surprised how much more you will remember, and how helpful for reflecting and praying it is.
Q: What is your next step?
A: Our next step is hammering out the details in the next few weeks of our official choice for placement, after finally seeing in person the area and community we will be living and working in. Meeting and confirming with both the ministries and our organization, and the final steps before announcing to our supporters and various partners. As we finally land on a definite place and ministry, we will move into total focus of support and partner raising to meet our financial goals for living and working full-time in Germany.
If you would like to support the Coonces or start planning your own GoConnect Trip check out gokmusa.org for more information!