Leandra didn’t know where she would find God in Berlin. She had always associated God’s presence with the aesthetically beautiful – gorgeous sunsets, mountains, blue skies.
When the 25-year-old Californian arrived in the capital city last summer for TREK7, she discovered God where she assumed He would never be found.
“The most amazing thing to me was seeing God in some of the most broken places, the places I expected his presence to be absent,” she says. “But He is everywhere, and even more so in the places we don’t expect to find Him.”
Leandra and her TREK7 teammate spent seven weeks learning and serving – volunteering with youth summer programs, helping with an art camp, going on prayer walks, sharing food with prostituted women, giving a photography tour to the homeless and fixing up apartment complexes.
The most captivating moment for Leandra happened when she was giving a manicure to a prostituted woman.
“I gently held her hands as I painted her nails, and there was something in getting to hold the hands of the broken that broke my heart and made me feel whole at the same time,” she recalls.
She doesn’t often share the story because she struggles to find the words to describe what her heart captured and treasured in that moment.
“I was broken because no woman should be beaten and bruised and broken the way this woman had,” she explains. “It made me whole because, for a moment, I got to experience the love that Jesus has for her by serving her.”
It is in reflecting upon moments like this that Leandra is glad she decided to step, or rather, fly, outside of her comfort zone to spend her summer in Berlin.
“I would have missed some of the most beautiful moments of my life with God and serving God if I had given into the million reasons I had lined up of why someone like me should never go,” she says.
There’s still time to apply for TREK7 in Berlin this summer!
Photo: Jef Poskanzer