“Service before self”.  That was the motto for the team that traveled from the Twin Cities area to Germany representing both The Why Churchand the Greater Twin Cities YMCA. They had the joy of living out that principle during this life-changing two week adventure!

Pastor Bjorn Dixon of The Why Church, which meets in the Elk River YMCA, planned this trip to be a combination of service, education and inspiration. Work projects were mixed with sightseeing and visiting with their partner YMCA leaders in Germany.

One of their first stops was in historic Marburg!  The Minnesota team went to church at Christus-Treff with Pastor Roland Werner, learned all about their ministry in the city and the world, and served at their evening outreach to international university students.

The team also spent an amazing day at Himmelsfels – an international Christian community like nothing they had ever seen before! Nature, the arts, and spiritual formation all happening in a thoroughly intercultural setting… on a mountain! There they made new friends from Germany, Indonesia, the Congo, Romania, the Netherlands, Burkina Faso, etc. And they came to understand why the German YMCA sees Himmelsfels as an invaluable national partner. 

A following visit to Kassel was monumental, allowing them to explore their ongoing partnership with the German YMCA! The city of Kassel is home to the YMCA national office and the YMCA University. They enjoyed in-depth conversations with key national leaders, professors, and students. While in Kassel their team also shared a 90-minute presentation on Youth Empowerment.

Following their stop in Kassel the team had an incredible time at the Nuremberg YMCA! Executive Michael Götz and his team gave them a warm (97 degree!) welcome. Highlights included: their work with refugees and newcomer communities, international partnerships with China and Romania, sports and youth outreach,  a presentation on the “C” in the Twin Cities YMCA, and dreaming out loud together about future opportunities together. One thing was certain; the entire team felt blessed to make new friends in Nuremberg!