Greetings to everyone! I decided I would take a moment to record some long overdue updates on our progress towards integration into German culture for the purpose of spreading the kingdom of God.
Our long-term plan since we were married has been to move to Germany, integrate into German culture, and live as Germans while working to be witnesses to Christ for our fellow Germans, advocates of apologetics and good doctrine, and instigators of discussions about the hard parts of Christian theology and philosophy amongst our German peers and college students.
At the moment, however, we are not in Germany. We’re in a small town in North Carolina. Although we have been to Germany, we cannot live there on a long term basis yet due to the need for a visa. Many missionaries support themselves by means of donations from their local churches and working with international missions organizations that have a local base in the host country as a means for living long term in these cultures. Our intended style of outreach, often called tentmaking, however, is different in that it involves integration by means of regular employment to support our efforts.
Efforts to spread the gospel of Christ in post-Christian cultures start with goals of integrating as fully as possible into the host culture, forming authentic relationships, building trust with our surrounding community and peers, and only then reaching into the lives of our friends to show them how God’s glory has transformed our own lives and can transform their own as well. We believe that a tentmaking strategy fits best with a long-term approach.
Currently, we are not in Germany for one practical reason: we need a legal reason to be there for a long time. We’ve entertained multiple possibilities for accomplishing this, one of them being Jodi’s attendance at Hochschule Rhein Waal University of Applied Sciences in Kamp Lintfort, DE to finish up her Graphic Design Education. This would grant her a student visa, by which I could join as a spouse.
But the problem with this is that while it would give us a legitimate reason to be there, we would eventually need money to sustain our existence there. Due to the EU laws requiring EU employers to favor EU residents for hire, it is unlikely I would be able to find a job in this time without a specialized skill set.
The second possibility we currently pursue is my (Evan) applying to work at a German Web Development company. While EU employers must favor EU residents for potential employees, there are certainly no restrictions on hiring an expat from another country who has the skills to get the job done. German companies often do hire International and non-EU members for web-development careers, as you can see from Stack Overflow’s job search results for German jobs with employers willing to sponsor relocation and a working visa.
God has blessed us in many ways through my joining this school. I have been put in direct, first name basis contact, not only with the owners, senior developers, and managers of different web development companies in America, but also of companies in Berlin, Germany. One of the teacher’s assistants who is present with us in our online courses as we work through different challenges is a German who co-founded a web-services company in Germany. He has been extremely helpful in pointing me towards the right resources and advice for finding a job in Germany. He is connected with around 50 German recruiting companies and is glad to show them my profile once I reach the point of graduation from this school.
So, this is our outlook for the near future: Once I graduate from Thinkful in June I may immediately find a job with a German employer in Berlin. If so, we will leave for Germany immediately.
If for whatever reason I am unable to find a job in Germany immediately upon my graduation from this school, I will seek a job at an American company to gain the employer’s ever-sought 1-2 years of ‘experience’ needed before they will hire an employee, while applying to German companies, seeking a job offer.
Jodi has been working remotely for a graphic design company in Athens called ‘H.W. Creative’, doing paintings, murals, and side graphic design work to help support us financially. Jodi has become active in Awana, contributing graphic design work to our local church in Wilkesboro, and helping at the Homeless Soup Kitchen ministry, (along with myself, when my school schedule allows me the time). Meanwhile I have been trying to use what time I have free to dive more deeply into some of the theology and philosophy books, podcasts, and articles I’ve been wanting to spend more time on.
We live with our parents in Wilkesboro, NC, and we are so grateful for their being willing to support us by giving us a place to live while I am not employed, removing our need to pay rent, utilities, or food. We have very much enjoyed living in the mountainous parts of North Carolina and would certainly consider calling it our home, were we to stay in the U.S.
Our thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement in this process. Please pray for us as well as the Germans who live in darkness and don’t jnow the joy of living for Christ.