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Baking, Teaching and Preaching – Backen, Lehren und Predigen


‘Tent-Making’ in Germany! A report by Jonathan Jeffreys, E.M.F. home staff team Tim and Deb Brooks have been in Utzenfeld for over twenty years now, and run Haus Barnabas, a Christian guest house. Utzenfeld is a small village in the Black Forest area of Germany, with a little over 600 people living there; the area is predominately Roman Catholic. The ministry at Haus Barnabas involves the proclamation of the Gospel through preaching, literature, and personal witness.

There is also the pastoral and spiritual care for the guests and for anyone who comes into contact with Haus Barnabas. The services and Bible studies are advertised locally and open for anyone. There is such a need for the good faithful preaching of God’s Word in the area and in Germany as a whole; we pray that one day, a good, reformed church faithful to God’s Word and the spread of the Gospel can be established in the area.

I recently visited Tim and Deb and their two children, Tom and Esther, to experience first-hand their ministry and the opportunities that God has given them to serve Him. A lot of their time is taken up in running the guest house, managing all the practical details, cleaning, cooking, doing accounts; the list goes on. They also hold a Sunday service at the house in the afternoon and a midweek Bible study on Thursdays which Tim preaches at. He fits preparation in for this into his already very busy schedule. These meetings are advertised in the local paper, along with a different Bible verse each week, for locals to come along to; they do from time to time get visitors joining them. If these visitors understand German more easily than English, then Deb, and occasionally Esther, translate for Tim. There is also a local church in Maulburg that the family attend on Sundays too, where there is the youth group that Esther enjoys being a part of.

Deb is a regular teacher at the local language school, which is just across the road from Haus Barnabas! She has opportunities from time to time to share the Gospel, often in just small ways. There are also many Christian books and tracts for guests in the house to read and take away, and they are made use of.

“It needs to be absolutely perfect – not just really good!” This was Esther’s response as I was helping her make the traditional Black Forest Gateau one Sunday afternoon. Esther is very gifted in baking desserts and cakes and arranges all the baking at Haus Barnabas. This is amazing, considering she is very busy at school now, studying a business course with languages. She was baptised this past summer, which has been a real encouragement to Tim and Deb, and we pray she may be greatly used by the Lord in the future.

One exciting development in the family’s ministry has been the start of a Christianity Explored course, with several people attending their weekly Bible study. There is a real, keen interest in studying the Bible and discovering what a personal relationship with God means.

So much going on in Utzenfeld, and the Gospel needs to go out into the local area so desperately. The family have struggled to keep things going during the challenges of the last 18 months and Covid. But they have faithfully kept on serving the Lord – scattering Gospel seeds in all the practical ways of running a guest house, but also through the proclamation of God’s Word, through personal friends at school, and through students at the language school.

Please join us in prayer and in supporting this important work in such a needy country in Europe.

The Lord can do immeasurably more than we can even imagine –who knows what the Lord has in store for them…and others? – God’s plans can never be thwarted!  

Prayer Points

  • For Tim in all his preaching and preparation for regular services alongside his many other jobs in running Haus Barnabas. For the leading of the recently started Christianity Explored course.
  • For Deb as she teaches in the local language school, for her to have many opportunities to share the Gospel with her students, and for her as she works in the house.
  • For Esther as she continues studying at school, for her witness to her friends, and for her future, that the Lord would guide her.
  • For their son, Tom, that his various health issues would be wonderfully resolved, and that he might have a clear idea of what he wants to do in the years ahead.
  • For the provision for their needs in a challenging time for them with limited numbers of guests able to come, and that the Lord would give them the faith and trust they need.
  • For the future of the work of Haus Barnabas, and also the need for a church to be established in the area, for the Lord to provide those with a call to serve the Lord alongside them at the Haus, and with a burden to spread the Gospel in Utzenfeld.