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Summer Update from the Armbruster Family

Blog -> Bible

Dear friends,

It’s been an exciting and exhausting summer so far. Lots of things happening, great stuff and challenges. So I guess it’s time for another update.

First of all, we want to thank everyone for all your care and your prayers for our 1st service. We had a great time with Jesus and one another. Around 18 people were there, crammed in our living room. But it was actually a very nice atmosphere (which we also heard from several of our members). We had two wonderful ladies who led worship. And the sermon was,… well, I guess it went OK. The feedback we got afterwards was very positive and most people decided that they would want to come again. It was definitely a great start.

After this successful launch, we decided to have our 2nd service two weeks later, which was last Sunday. And again, atmosphere, feedback,… was just great. It was really God’s timing to start regular Sunday Services.

Plus, we see some great changes in some of the people from our Explorer Group. I’m not going to go into details now in a public blog, without their permission to write about them. Let’s just say: God is clearly working in some of them.

So with the momentum we just got, we are working towards a more regular schedule. Our small group now has moved from Friday to Sunday, so that we can meet every Sunday, same time, same place (even if there’s not a service every Sunday yet). Hopefully this will help people commit to Aletheia and keep that time free each week. We plan on having a service every other week for now, to not overwhelm ourselves and other volunteers too much too soon. The weeks we don’t have a service, we’ll have a small group Bible study instead. Then we hope that by the fall, we can have a weekly service in an outside location.

If you are interested in following our sermons, then you can check them out either on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSHBEjQ_Kpye-B8Xk7FIx0A) or on our website (http://aicmunich.org/sermons.php). We’re also nearly ready to publish our Aletheia Mobile App. Through these tools, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to follow us, both for people who are our attending our church and for people all over the world who simply want to follow us, listen to our sermons and read our blog. So stay tuned, we’ll let you know as soon as we have the app, so you can follow us as well.

Another great thing is that we are also getting a team together. Next week Friday we are having our first leadership team meeting, and I’m excited that we can now start making decisions as a team. The last year was pretty much Ryoko and myself running everything, which is OK for a while and for just one small group. But long term, we need the team to support us, work with us, give us a new perspective on things, and also tell us when they think that we’re making a wrong decision. So we’re excited to have them on board and being able to work together with them. 2 families (one of them we know from Shanghai) and one lady will be on the team with us for now (We’ve told them that we need to settle the responsibility of this leadership team first. Then they can still decide whether they would like to be part of the team long term).

The first two major decisions we have to make are a) our leadership structure and b) where we stand concerning the issue of “women in leadership”. Fun topics. But those are important foundations to build as we move forward. Please pray for wisdom for us as we lay these foundations for Aletheia for years and decades to come.

So as you can see, Aletheia is moving in the right direction. Slowly but steadily, we are seeing glimpses of the vision that God has put on our hearts for the last 2 years. And that’s just a wonderful and satisfying experience after months of waiting and setbacks.

As for us personally, we’re all getting a bit edgy because of the summer heat. It’s much nicer than Shanghai summer. But still, it’s exhausting. Kids are getting more and more unfocused and disobedient because they’re exhausted. Ryoko is also challenged at her German classes because of the heat. And I’m having some difficulties focusing on the many hats I’m wearing these days (work, church, husband, father,…) We’re all in need of a break. The kids have one more week of school before they start their summer break. Ryoko is having her German test on August 19th. And after that we’re taking a short holiday. We’re visiting a friend we know from Shanghai who now lives in Switzerland. After that we spend some days with my dad and family in the Black Forest. And after we come back, Ryoko and the kids still have a few weeks off. Hopefully that will help us all to recharge our batteries and be prepared for the things God has ahead of us. Abigail will start Kindergarten in September, Noah will start 1st Grade (Abi is actually taking Noah’s spot in kindergarten, with exactly the same teacher team and the same classmates). Anna will move into 3rd Grade, but she’ll have a new teacher. So big changes are coming for all our kids in September.

And Ryoko will then transition from German classes to classes about Politics, Law and History of Germany. If she passes the German Test in August and the test after this political course, she has completed the Integration Course and has fulfilled all requirements for a lifelong visa in Germany. That’ll be the first major milestone for her. She’s still praying about what to do next, but she is currently leaning towards going into the field of education and childcare for small children up until kindergarten age. Not decided yet, but that’s what is on her heart right now.

As for me, I need wisdom to balance everything that is going on right now. I would like to be able to dedicate some paid time to Aletheia work each week, but for that we of course need a more stable income from Aletheia. Things are getting a bit too much with Aletheia and freelance work, and we’re praying that God will allow me to reduce my hours I have to spend on freelance work and allow us to get some income from Aletheia. But until that day comes, we’ll just have to press in. Along these lines, I’m struggling with one of my clients right now who is in hospital. He owes us quite a bit of money, the projects are already pretty done (one of them is completely done, one is 2/3 done). But since he’s been hospitalized for a few weeks, it’s hard to figure out what’s going on. And in his difficult situation, I can’t expect him to fulfill his financial obligations to us in the same way I would expect him to if he was in the office daily. With all that money “missing” from the financial plans we had 2 months ago, we’re now in a different financial situation than what we expected back then. It’s not that we are broke, we do have enough savings. But it just brings us in a situation we didn’t expect to be in, and we need wisdom to know what we are supposed to do next. Pick up new projects to make up for the missing money? Wait for the money to come eventually, and spend the extra time on Aletheia instead? What if we keep on waiting without pursuing new projects, just to find out that it doesn’t come for another 2, 3, 4 months? We need His wisdom on how to deal with this unexpected situation, and would appreciate your prayers along the same lines.

Alright, that’s our update for today. Thank you once again for all your care and prayers we still receive after being gone for more than a year. We're so encouraged by the support we receive from many of you. May God bless you all for the love you are sending to us from all over the world. 

In Christ's love,

Bernd, Ryoko, Anna, Noah and Abigail

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