Emptied to be Filled

How a family of five follows God's call to Berlin

You don’t know how much stuff it takes to fill a house – until you start to empty it. That is what Denny and Nicole realized as they packed their life in boxes to move to Berlin.

“It makes you see how materialistic you are, even if you never thought you were,” Nicole says.

Denny and Nicole, along with their three children, moved to Berlin this summer, but their transition started much earlier.

Nicole started selling the family’s possessions about a year before they moved, and their mini-van full of stuff became a familiar sight at the Goodwill store.

In the end, they fit their lives into 22 boxes and totes that were shipped to Berlin.

For Denny, that was a final step of closure. They had packed what would help them to make Berlin their new home, and they were ready to step into their new country.

Living out of their suitcases for their first few months in Berlin, they realized that, even as a family of five, they don’t need much to live on.

Even before they had a flat to call their home, Berlin started to feel like home, as they lived inside their answered prayers.

Denny and Nicole had been praying for their children to adjust quickly and integrate with German children. When they went to church for the first time, their two oldest kids, who learned German at an immersion school in their home state of Minnesota, were able to communicate with other kids.

Denny, a former IT professional, had been praying that his former career as an IT professional could be a connecting point. During their first week here, he met another IT professional watching a World Cup game, and Denny was able to share about how he left the IT world to come to Berlin.

Nicole was praying that their family would fare well without the conveniences of home like a dryer and vehicle. Surprisingly, they haven’t had trouble getting around on public transportation, and she has seen the adventure in trying new things, even in trying to figure out what kind of household products to buy.

“Never in my life has it taken me so long to figure out what kind of toilet paper to buy,” she says with a smile.

All these moments have given them excitement for what lies ahead.

“In seeing answers to so many of the prayers we’ve been praying, I’m full of gratitude to God and all He’s done for our family,” said Denny, “and full of hope and expectation for what’s to come.”

Denny and Nicole are currently learning German and building relationships with their neighbors. They attend a church in their neighborhood and are partnering with local Christians to develop new ways to express the gospel in a post-Christian context.

Learn more about church planting in Berlin.

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