Mike and Elissa Picconatto
Chapter by Chapter
Our lives are stories in process. Every chapter provides an opportunity for plot and character development. As we approach our first home assignment year we are also experiencing a few plot twists. One of our main topics of discussion lately has been evaluating the last 4 1/2 years in light of the Great Commission and our team vision statement. We want to stay focused on the vision to develop communities of faith in NE Germany as we transition to our family´s time in the USA. The adventure continues!
We had a beautiful Christmas Eve service in the St Johannes Church building, which was also our last meeting at that beautiful location. Please pray for the individuals and
families that have called it their church to continue to grow in their faith as EKW (formerly called Freischwimmer) faces some restructuring decisions.
ART AS A BRIDGE
We are squeezing in several art shows before packing up Gallery2 for a year. Four women with very different skills brought new interpretations to painter Heironymous Bosch´s 500 year old works. Then a photographer shared his grandmother´s story as a German refugee in the 1940´s and how, as a single mother, her faith in God gave her the strength to journey to safety with her children. Our current abstract art exhibit focuses on Jesus and his teachings about mercy. These three exhibits have a common thread: humanity in the light of eternity, which includes our hopes, dreams and fears.
Three more artists will have individual shows with Gallery2 before we get on the plane in July. They are all completely different from each other, from their work to their temperaments. We have the opportunity to be "Jesus with skin on" in the way we handle ourselves and the conversations we have with the creative people God has put in our path. Please pray for the two women and man, that we would be sensitive to God´s leading as we help them navigate the art world and get to know them better through all the interactions while setting up and having their exhibits.
Thank you so much for your prayers and messages of encouragement for our family. As we prepare to move from Berlin to Staples, MN we have a nice long to-do list that requires significant planning and work, alongside our daily work and school activities. Please pray for mental and physical strength and health, decisions regarding schooling for the kids for when we return to Berlin and that we would finish or hand over our different responsibilities well. Please also pray for Johannah (16), Caleb (14) and Joshua (11) as they prepare to navigate new schools, friends and house for a year too.
If you would like to follow us on facebook, you can do so here:
Gallery2 - https://www.facebook.com/gallery2berlin/?ref=settings
Berliner Freiraum - https://www.facebook.com/berlinerfreiraum/?ref=settings
And - here is our youtube channel, you can see some videos from our exhibits or watch some of the artist talks:
• Several decent leads and good conversations with potential renters for Freiraum. Still waiting for a solid commitment, but ongoing conversations are also encouraging.
• Some amazing conversations about issues of faith – in the last month there have been opportunities every week to talk about Jesus, eternal life, hope, and peace with God with people. Such a far cry from what we were capable of even just a couple of years ago. Our language skills have improved, but we are also seen as trusted people in some of the networks we are in, and God is providing us with some neat opportunities!
• We are part of a newly formed small group with some great people. From a relational point of view, this is really good for us as we prepare to go on home assignment – we need the connecting points in this group as we also disconnect in other groups.
• On Thursday we open a very distinctly Christian art exhibit for Lent. The art works are very nice – and interesting in that the works are, in themselves, very strong (in my opinion!), and they become more strong as one reads the title and becomes aware of the Christian theme behind the work. The theme is The Seven Works of Mercy, drawn from Matthew 25:35-36. It is a longer exhibition, running for just over a month. Pray for us as this exhibit will also give us the chance to connect with some of the Christian art crowd, and possibly open some new doors for us when we return.
• Pray for our kids as they process returning to the US.
• Keep praying for Chrissie and Rainer as they face multiple transitions, including Chrissie’s ongoing cancer treatments.
• Pray for EKW as they continue to go through transition, and for us as we carefully navigate the waters of helping without taking on too many responsibilities. Elissa is doing better at this than Mike! Pray for wisdom on how to let go.
Updated: March 17, 2017
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