Don and Cindy Roehrkasse moved to Hildesheim many years ago to establish a churchin a country that is predominantly Lutheran and Catholic. While most citizens are suspicious of religious groups, the church has grown from only a handful of people to an average of 35-40 meeting together on Sundays. They have developed an active youth group for teens and pre-teens and lead a number of retreats and seminars for families, women, and children. Don, together with Kyle Bratcher, has also taken on the responsibility of organizing continuing education seminars with professors from the States. Cindy is receiving training in counseling, as many who come to the church are from broken homes.
Kyle and Susan Bratcher have been missionaries in Hildesheim, Germany for over 18 years. Together with the Roehrkasses, the Bratchers spread the good news in northern Germany. Their main objectives are teaching the gospel in Hildesheim through individual and group Bible studies, firmly grounding our faith family and encouraging them in their own outreach, leading marriage seminars, providing marriage and family counseling, and reaching out to seekers through relationship and various activities. In the past few months, God has brought three new family units to our church, which is exciting after having lost several members and teens to moves and university studies. They bring with them a whole new set of outreach possibilities! Erzählet unter den Heiden seine Ehre, unter allen Völkern seine Wunder. —Psalm 96:3.
–The Roehrkasse and Bratcher Families
New Year's greetings from Hildesheim! It is hard to believe that the new year has already begun! We hope your new year has gotten off to a good start!
The past few months have gone by in a bit of a blur. Much has happened during this time, and we want to get you caught up on what God's been doing here!
We have known Mara for quite a while. She is Kyle and Susan's neighbor, whom they met through her husband, Mike, Kyle's biking partner. After Mike and Mara married, Kyle and Susan started a marriage evening with them and one other couple to help them develop the tools they would need for the years ahead. Over the years, she has gone to retreats and other activities that the church has hosted. It has been beautiful to watch her faith grow during this time. After their daughter was born she began seeking God and His will for her life with more earnest. As a resut she began studying the Bible regularly with Kyle. What a joy to experience her decision to put her life into Christ's hands and be baptized! That step has only deepened her hunger to know Christ and His will for her life. Please pray for Mara, as well as for her husband.
Watching people give their live to God is always exciting, but when it is someone that you have watched grow up and you have enjoyed being a constant part of their life, then it means even more. We were so, so happy to get to witness Kyle and Susan's youngest child, Lara, as she made the decision to put on her Lord in baptism. It was wonderful to hear of her love for God and her desire to serve Him with her life!
There are a number of retreats that we are involved in, including the Fall Conference each October, which we help plan. Dr. Rick Oster from the Harding school of Theology in Memphis has always had a great interest in grounding Christians in God's word. Through his Ministry of Theological Education, he has sent and continues to send professors and experienced teachers throughout the world to do just that through seminars and educational retreats. Each year we have been the fortunate recipient of this ministry. This year was no exception. Dr. Jim Dvorak, a professor from Oklahoma Christian University (and also an elder at our sponsoring congregation, the Springs church of Christ in Edmond, Oklahoma!) joined us at the German Bible camp in Gemunden for a week of intense teaching on the book of Colossians. All who came for the week went away well nourished!
When time allows, Don also goes to the annual German men's retreat, a 5-day retreat in southern Germany. This year he was part of a group of five men from northern Germany who were in charge of planning the retreat, which was attended by over 60 men. We are thankful for these opportunities to encourage and strengthen Christians in their walk with God, especially in a country where antagonism to the gospel message is growing.
One of the favorite parts of our jobs is teaching classes. Don has begun a class for new believers on Thursday evenings. We currently have six people coming to the class, all who have come to Christ or the church in the past year, and it is a true joy to see them soak in all they are learning, so that it will (hopefully) give each of them a solid foundation for their life with Christ.
One of my, (Cindy) favorite parts of my responsibilies is teaching the ladies bible class, which meets once a month. Women from college age to…..well me, Cindy ;-), meet once a month to share struggles, laugh, pray and study God’s word together. This past year the Lord has really been showing me just how small my understanding of prayer has been. My gratitude at growing in my understanding of prayer and even more my experience of prayer has motivated me to spend the next months with these women learning about prayer and practicing it together.
Last Wednesday night after a general introduction and exchanging some of our experiences with prayer we practiced a way of prayer called Lectio Divina together. This is a practice of the meditative reading of scripture, soaking it in, talking to God about what we heard and just enjoying being in His presence. It was fun and interesting to hear how they experienced the process. I gained new insights into how we could do it better as a group. What pleased me the most was their willingness to try it on their own, so that we can discuss how God used this in our lives. One woman even asked for scripture suggestions that she could use to get started!
On a personal note, we were honored and proud parents in December, as we got to attend our daughter Julia's graduation from Oklahoma Christian University. She graduated with a degree in Teaching English as a Second language, and she is already putting her learning to use in Honduras, where she is working with a Christian Mission school in Roatan. Way to go Julia!
We are so very thankful to the many of you who have supported us and prayed for us over the years. May our gracious bless you, as you have been such a wonderful blessing to us!
In Christian love,
Don & Cindy
Updated on 2/7/18