Sister Cities Magdeburg & Nashville

Mayor Purcell, Mayor Truemper and I      Ok,  this is a long story.  Soon after arriving in Magdeburg, I learned that Magdeburg is a sister city with Nashville. I thought this was cool and interesting; I figured it would be cool to have a picture beside the sign on the city border that indicates which cities are the partner cities.  What are the 'odds' that the only missionary in the mission from Tennessee (let alone Nashville) is sent to the sister city of Nashville.  I thought that was cool by itself.  As a way to find people interested in our message and as service, we taught a free English class there.  One night, I talked to a guy and told him where I'm from.  He told me of a restaurant/line dance place called the Nashville Saloon and offered to take us there one day.  That was an interesting idea.  We agreed.  Whenever someone offers to take you somewhere and talk about why you're there as a missionary, you don't refuse (especially in East-Germany).  

     So, we went to the Nashville Saloon and had the opportunity to talk to this man about the gospel.  The man talked to us and had lots of questions, but he didn't want to change his life.  We figured that the whole story ended there.  Little did we know that he wrote an article about it in the Magdeburger Volksstimme (big newspaper in Magdeburg).  Consequently, our meeting was on September 11th and he tied that into the article.  It was a small article and we thought it was kind of funny until we saw our aspiring 'journalist' again.  He told me that the article that was printed was only a portion of what he sent in and that he will make the newspaper print it in its entirety.  I figured he was making a big deal out of nothing.  So, a few days later we see another article in the paper.  The title says, "Wish of Man From Nashville is being fulfilled."  I guess he told them about my idea of getting a picture of the sign.  

     Consequently, my companion and I were invited by the mayor's office of Magdeburg to the unveiling of the sign denoting the city partnership.  Evidently, the mayor's office somehow found out about the articles.  The mayor of Nashville, Bill Purcell, would also be there.  Then next, the German-American Dialogue Center invited us to be at a meeting where the mayors would speak.  It was all a good opportunity to represent the church and talk about the gospel to city officials from both cities.  We actually talked to the mayors of each city for about five minutes about the church (very good PR for the church in both cities).  I was also able to get the picture that started the whole mess.  In fact, I was able to get it with both mayors.  

     After this whole PR success, we figured we should use whole ordeal to get us teaching opportunities.  So, we go to our friend that wrote the articles and asked him to write another article following up on the event.  We slyly instructed him to put a comment in there about us teaching a free English class, as well as our phone number.  Once we get people to the English class, they also have the opportunity to hear a message about the gospel.  And in no more than 48 hours we saw our article in the paper (the third article).  This newspaper is circulated throughout the entire state of Sachsen-Anhalt, so our response was pretty good.  We had about 30 people (if I remember right) call us interested in the class.  So, in a round about way, this helped us spread the gospel in Magdeburg.  I think it was a very neat experience!

My pictures of the sister cities Magdeburg and Nashville can be found in the picture gallery.