COME ON IN AND SEE THE MANNCHENS APARTMENT ONE LAST TIME.
This last week was our last days in our apartment we’ve lived in for 3 1/2 years. We’re having all the feelings. We wanted to close this time out with giving thanks to this beautiful home and share a bit about how each room blessed us and so many others over the years.
CHAPTER 2: OUT OF THE CAVE AND INTO THE WILDERNESS
We moved into our apartment in 2014 after living in some of the awful living situations our first 4 years of marriage. From tiny apartments with no heating, mold infestations, and prison showers in the cold basements, to one room on the student floor at our base, with no privacy, no bathroom, no peace, to another apartment in need of massive renovations and work, to 5 months of living without a home. When we finally moved into this apartment, we thought we struck gold...
However, this apartment soon became what we called "The Cave." Not because it was dark, clearly there is beautiful light, but because it was a place we found refuge and hiding in a season of much pain and grief.
1 Samuel tells us of how David fled from Saul and his army into the caves of Adullam where he found refuge and safety. In these caves, he hid. He mourned. He went a little insane. He tested His faith and found a deeper more beautiful relationship with God than he ever had before. And out of that, he created poetry and songs that have never in history been more read, proclaimed or exceeded in greatness.
2014-2017 were some of the hardest and darkened times in our lives. Our whole world fell apart. Close friends died, our work and ministry fell apart, we were in and out of doctors and hospitals because of health issues, we lost the majority of our friends and social group and we were beyond lost and scared. This apartment was our cave. It was our place to retreat to when the storm was too strong. It was a place we lost and found our faith again. Our calling again. And it was also a place where we welcomed the broken, the sick and lost to take refuge and cover with us. To find hope in the dark cave.
I want to go through our apartment and share with you, room by room what these spaces were used for and share our gratitude for each one.
This is our living room. This was the room where we and so many people came to gather and sit on our couch and talk, pray, cry and process. Where so many last minute people needed a place to crash. Where some very hard and real conversations, breakthroughs, fights, and healings happened. Where decisions about how to serve orphans and widows in India were decided. Where much hot chocolate was drunk and songs from my belly were written. Where photoshoots were taken. Music videos recorded. Where nephews hid cookies in the cushions and many beautiful Christmases were celebrated. And where too much "stranger things" was watched. naww... that's not possible.
This is our dining room. Oh if this table could talk. This was our office the last years. But it was also our dinning room. We had some of the most amazing dinners here. Every month it felt we had some incredible people over to our house and broke bread with them. From refugees to widows. Missionaries to gays. Hardcore bands to businessmen. Poor to rich. And we hosted them with love and food and good wine.
Our guest room pretty much could have been its own hotel! Out of the 3 1/2 years living here, there was a total of 4 months our guest room was NOT in use. When we first moved in we prayed that this room would be a place of rest, safe harbor and healing for all those who came through. We hosted people anywhere from one night to 8 months. We hosted people who came to visit us from all parts of the world. I think over 35 nations lived in this room. We hosted people who had no place else to live. We hosted people going through very real, hard things like illness, burn out, divorce, miscarriages, debt and mourning. We always made hospitality a priority in our family and no matter the cost, time or energy it took from us, hosting people was always our priority. We are so thankful we were able to do this for so many of you!
But the most magical place in this apartment was our kitchen. I can’t begin to explain how many incredible, life-changing conversations happened here on this little island. I always loved to cook while our guests and friends and family members would come and sit here and talk and cry and process life. The best conversations always happen in the kitchen. Or on the balcony there with Uli and his pipe.
This apartment was very special. You felt it when you came in. It had a calmness mixed in with creativity. It was the place the majority of our ministry here in Nuremberg happened.
I remember when we first moved in we had no idea how to fill it. All the rooms seemed so big and empty to us and we had no idea how to provide it with furniture and life. Every single thing you see in these photos is a blessing. I love interior design. My mother is an award winning designer and so it’s in my blood to create a beautiful, welcoming space. But we live off very little so to make that happen always takes a lot of grit and faith. We’ve found the most amazing treasures off the side of the road, in the red cross or in peoples basements that they no longer wanted. We’ve had amazing supporters gift us with couches and rugs and kitchen appliances. And bit by bit, we filled this apartment.
In one of the caves in Adullam David wrote ”every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented gathered around” 1 Samuel 22:2. I think this was spoken over this apartment. ALL are welcome. The broken, the lost, come without money, come without hope, and we will fill you up.
There were so many nights in this apartment where we thought God could no longer hear our prayers. That the cave was too dark and deep for our cries to get through. But in this cave, we also found a hope and faith that rested not in what we felt the Lord saying, or doing, but simply in who He is.
David says ”it (the cave) is bold and animated, almost enjoying the situation for the certainty of its triumphant outcome. In the present psalm, the strain of being hated and hunted is almost too much, and faith is at full stretch. But this faith is undefeated, and in the final words, it is at last joined by hope. (Psalms 57)
We’ve come to learn again and again that:
Faith= God will & Trust= God is
This cave taught us something that was instrumental in our lives: When everything in your life is falling apart, trust not in what God is doing, but in who He is. He is a father that cares for us, loves us and will never leave us alone in this cave. He goes out of the cave to fight our battles while sitting beside us holding and crying with us while we are scared and alone. He defends and He comforts.
Now is a new season. We have left the cave and moved into our new home in the wilderness (literally). We will share more of that when we are not knee deep in boxes, moving and bills. Our prayer over this house is that in the wilderness we find more of His treasures. His peace and His calmness. That even more people will be able to be hosted, loved on and cared for in our home than ever before in our apartment. And that when you walk in (please come visit) you will know you are loved and welcomed.
We have a prayer request. We are closing out our apartment this month but still have to cover the rent for February and half of March. On top of that, we need to get the rest of the down payment for our house (FYI we didn't buy our house, still renting, get real folks) and put in a kitchen (Germany does not come with kitchens and our old one does not fit). The stress of these finances are overwhelming and causing us much anxiety, sleepless nights and health problems. Would you stand with us in prayer that we can get the 2000€ together to make this transition happen?
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