Campus Ministry

Berlin, Germany March 2003

Spring Break Mission Trip to Berlin, Germany--March, 2003

We took a team of students to Berlin, Germany in March of 2003--our first mission trip to continental Europe.  We traveled with career missionary and church planter Randy Dodd.  Randy also writes Christian novels under the pen name Randall Arthur.  His most famous novel is called "Wisdom Hunter" and is definitely worth the read; we recommend it.  Randy pastored in Berlin so he had many contacts that we pursued with him in this fascinating European city.  Berlin has had a sad and tragic past--first under the tyrannical control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and then later occupied (in the eastern sector of the city) by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.  We sensed the spiritual oppression in the place as we visited.  And yet the Christians we met there were hungry for the Lord's presence and wanting to spread the gospel to friends and neighbors.  In the pictures below, you get a taste of what our trip was like.  (Clockwise from top left)  Campus Minister Ben Gates is standing next Eugene Bird, the American commandant of the prison in Berlin that housed Nazi war criminals including Rudolf Hess.  We visited in Mr. Bird's home with he and his wife.  We also led seminars in some of the churches.  In the next picture, IPFW Science Education professor Jeff Nowak is sharing ideas about creationism and evolution in a seminar he led in a church in Berlin.  Mission team member Olivia Marker is pictured next singing as a part of a worship team in another German church.  One of our favorite events on the trip was a chance meeting with some German college students in a downtown McDonalds in Berlin.  In the next picture, Randy Dodd is shown along with some of our mission trip team members in an intimate and intense discussion with these German students.  Of course, there was lots of history surrounding us as we walked the streets of the city.  In the next picture, some of our students stand before one of the remaining portions of the Berlin wall still standing in the city.  You can tell we are on the side of the wall that faced West Berlin since you see calligraphy and murals on the wall; the Soviets did not allow the murals on the eastern side of the wall.  (They shot anyone who got close enough to the wall to paint it.)  Finally, Campus Minister Ben Gates stands near "Checkpoint Charlie," the military checkpoint that separated East and West Berlin during the Cold War.  President John F. Kennedy gave his famous "Ich Ein Berliner" speech near this location in 1961.

Campus Minister Ben Gates and Eugene Bird, Commandant of American Prison in Berlin   IPFW Professor Jeff Nowak teaching seminar in Berlin church


Campus Minister Ben Gates standing near "Checkpoint Charlie"    Mission Trip Worship Team in Berlin

Students standing at Berlin Wall    Randy Dodd talks with German students