Ohio’s First Generation of Young Ambassadors experienced a “trip of a lifetime” this summer in three weeks in filled with new culture, language, food, castles and travel throughout Germany.
For nearly 3 weeks in Germany, 13 youth and two adult advisors from the Ohio Conference UCC traveled with a delegation from our partner churches in Paderborn. This first generation Ohio youth exchange is part of our conference’s 25-year partnership with the Evangelische Kirche in Westphalia, Germany.
From Berlin to Frankfurt to Cologne to Mainz, you can read about the amazing things these young people did while representing the Ohio UCC in Germany. Check out what they wrote on their blog:
• A Long “Day” of Travel and Arrival in Frankfurt
• Introduction to Martin Luther and trip to Wartburg Castle
• A Day in the “German” side of France
• Mainz and the Rhine River
• The daily lives of Germans, Day 1 with host families
• A Day off with German Host Families including Soccer, spicy gummy bears and more …
• On Retreat in Kirchburgh, Differences in Cultures
• Learning to speak the language and much more …
• Wewelsburg Castle including prayers for those who lost their lives under the German SS Regime
• Going to Hamburg, instead of taking a rest day
• Waterskiing and BBQ, German Style
• Berlin: Day 1
• Berlin Day 2, the Brandenburg Gate
• Berlin Day 3, a Good-bye to Germany
Although the sites they visited and the culture they experienced was significant, these young participants agree that the relationships they developed were the highlight of the experience, “To be completely honest; everyone on this trip is a freakin’ sweet homie,” wrote Issac Dean, a young ambassador. “Germans and Americans. I think I speak for the whole group when I say we’re all having a blast together.”
These young people also planned worship together, praying in both English and German. “Most of our time was spent on making up the things that we wanted the people of the congregation to pray for. Some included: Pray for those who are ill and alone, for those who are coming to the country in seek of peace and a safe home, and those who are dealing with political conflicts. After we were finished writing the sentences, the Germans had to translate it into German because not all of the people in the congregation will speak English,” wrote Young Ambassador Olivia Young.
This amazing faith formation opportunity did not come without months and months of work on behalf of the Ohio Conference’s German Partnership Team, particularly adult leaders, Rev. Dan Doty and Annette Schroer, who accompanied the group to Germany.
“For me, just being able to be a part of this first group was the best part,” wrote Schroer. “Our group was eclectic. We had sporty, nerdy, quiet, talkative, etc. members of our group. But it was how each member slowly changed throughout the time we were together that amazed me.”
Doty reflected by writing, “In getting to read the blog each day I have been extremely impressed by the maturity their writings have shown. They have indeed learned a lot and for the most part have ‘had the trip of a lifetime!’ It is extremely gratifying to me as a leader to ‘see’ their joy through these daily blog posts!”
The German Partnership Team of the Ohio Conference also wants to thank the Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve associations and the many churches and individuals who funded this first generation Young Ambassador faith formation program. The team will support another group that will partner with a group from Unna, Germany, traveling abroad in Summer 2017.
To support this faith formation experience for more young leaders from Ohio, please donate through our secure, online site.