Dinsmores in Durham

Tomorrow will be two months since we left Germany.  It is hard to believe that it has been so long.

Leaving Berlin and arriving in Durham on the same day was a very surreal experience.  In one continent, there were tears at the airport.  Across the ocean was a group of about 25 people with banners and balloons awaiting us as we came out of the gates.  In both cases, we felt extremely loved!

We have been settling in to our “new life” back at home.  I have a new job at the same church, which I am enjoying more and more each week.  I am now serving as the Minster for Gospel Mission for our church and am responsible for leading our Local, Global and Church Planting initiatives and partnerships.  I have a great team of people working with me and am very excited about what lies ahead.

We recently hosted a forum at our church where we shared stories about our time in Berlin, what life and ministry were like there and what opportunities there are for us to continue in our partnership with Mavuno Berlin.  It was a great evening of hearing form our team members and from three members of Mavuno Berlin who were present at the meeting.

Our team at "Berlin Night".  From left to right- Mary, Paul, Tyler, Elijah, Simone, Jeff, Sophie, Samuel, Gabe, Roddy, Katie.  Kristina and Caroline were not able to join us.

Our team at “Berlin Night”. From left to right- Mary, Paul, Tyler, Elijah, Simone, Jeff, Sophie, Samuel, Gabe, Roddy, Katie. Kristina and Caroline were not able to join us.

Great things are still happening in Berlin.  We continue to pray for the church there and for many dear friends of ours.

Tschüss, Berlin!

This is it.  As a friend posted on Facebook, “one more sleep”.  It will actually be more like a nap, as we have to get up in four hours to go catch our flight.

It has been an incredible year for us as a family.  We are coming back to the US tomorrow and in many ways will be just like the people we were back in May of 2012.  But in other ways, we have also changed.  I have had my passion for music and writing and recording re-ignited while in Germany.  My boys have discovered that speaking more than one language is really fun and advantageous.  Katie has discovered that she can do anything.

We will also return as people with mixed emotions.  There are many things that excite us about being back in the US.  Yet there are also many things we know we will really miss from our time in Berlin.  This leads to us all experiencing a variety of emotions throughout the day.  Our boys in particular had a tough day today- they almost don’t know how to deal with what they are feeling at the moment.

It has been hard saying goodbye.  We’ve gotten very close to many people here.  We will miss them and will be missed by them.  We will have many memories of them and will often think of them and wish they were with us and that we were with them.  I know this will happen because it happened when we moved here, too.  

This is my last post from Berlin.  I will make sure you hear from us soon from the US (once I get internet setup at my house).  Thank you for following us on this adventure.  We are so grateful to God for allowing us to be here and serve His church in Berlin.  We are grateful that we helped many people consider God and explore a life with him.  We are grateful that we encouraged this church to reach out and share the gospel with those around them.

This is it.  

Tchüss, Berlin.  Wir werden Dich vermissen.

Last Day at Church

“The only reason I did not cry is that German men don’t cry”, said my good friend with a smile, slyly revealing that he had indeed shed some tears.  It was a sweet and a sad morning.

Sweet as we celebrated what God is doing in our midst.  This particular Sunday was a day in which another church in town (Gospel Haus) joined us for our time of worship.  It was exciting to have a full house, share the stage with members of their band and enjoy a pot-luck lunch together.  

It was sweet to see so many faces in the room which were not there when we first got to Berlin.  Families who used to have nothing to do with church which now attend every Sunday- they are joining Life Groups, reading Scripture, asking questions and exploring a life with Christ.

Lunch after the service on 7/7/13.  It was a beautiful sunny day with lots of great food.

Lunch after the service on 7/7/13. It was a beautiful sunny day with lots of great food.

It was sweet to get to play on the stage we built with our own hands.  And also to play songs which, throughout the course of the year, have helped Mavuno Berlin form its identity.  We played two songs which I have written in my time here as well as others which have become “staples” in our set.

It was sweet to be recognized on stage after the service.  The entire congregation sang a song to my family as the service came to a close.  That is not something you experience everyday- or that you forget easily.

Roddy on stage leading worship on 7/7/13, the Dinsmore's last day at Mavuno Berlin.

Roddy on stage leading worship on 7/7/13, the Dinsmore’s last day at Mavuno Berlin.

It was also a sad morning.  It was our goodbye.  We’ve been walking with this church and its people for the past year and it is not easy to say goodbye.  It is not easy to be a part of starting something great, knowing you still have much to offer, but recognize your time is up.

We have made many amazing friends here. We have met men and women who cause me to smile when they enter a room.  We’ve developed the kind of friends whom you can call and say, “I know this is last minute, but could… you watch our kids… have us over for dinner… help me at the such and such office…”. Our boys have friends who call them over for playdates and beg for spend-the-night parties.

I have to admit I shed some tears on stage that morning.  I love this church in Berlin.  I love the people in it.  I love what God is doing in this city.  I am grateful for the opportunity we had in coming here.  And I am hopeful for many chances to reconnect with my friends here.

As sad and hard as this may be for us, I am also glad that we are returning to a place where are loved and missed.  We have been so encouraged by the efforts of many to make our return as easy and good as possible.  We’ve been receiving messages almost daily from friends who eagerly await our return.  One family has even called our return date “Dinsmore Day”, as their kids are so excited about it.

We are spending our last week in Berlin by doing lots of packing and lots of spending time with friends.  There are also errands that need to be run.  Gabe and I are going to the Brazilian Embassy on Thursday to renew our Brazilian Passports, I need to unregister with the city of Berlin (mandated by law), cancel my cell phone contract and close out my bank account.  In between that we are squeezing in a couple of parties, a one day trip to the beach and maybe a couple of sites in Berlin we’ve yet to hit.  

Our family while being prayed for on stage- yep, this is exactly what we are like.

Our family while being prayed for on stage- yep, this is exactly what we are like.

Wednesday morning next week will mark the end of an incredible journey.  And as much as I’ve assimilated to the German culture, I don’t think I’ll be able to be a real German man and not shed at least a couple of tears.

Elijah’s Last Day of School

Today we picked up our little guy from school for the last time here in Berlin.  It was a short day at school, having lasted only from 9-10:30 am.

To celebrate, we joined up with some friends to head downtown and munch on McDonald’s and then watch Monsters University.  It was a good way to celebrate Elijah and his school year.

Elijah had a great experience at the John F. Kennedy School of Berlin.  His class had 18 kids in it, of which approximately half the kids are native German speakers and the other half have English as their native tongue.  All activities in the classroom take place in both German and English, thus exposing the kids to both languages.

This was a great set-up for Elijah.  He was able to communicate freely (which is very important for him) while still getting exposed to the German language.  He has recently really enjoyed speaking German, and is becoming better and better at it.  Katie and I are really impressed with how much he knows.

I am going to miss my daily bike ride with my boys to school.  This was a very special time which we shared almost daily over the last year.  It is also amazing to see the difference in their endurance compared to one year ago.  They can walk and bike for miles now without complaining or struggling.

Elijah- you may read this one day.  I am so proud of being your dad.  You are so much fun to be around and you have so much passion for the things you do.  You are an amazing drummer, soccer player, bike rider, dancer and snuggle buddy.  I am so proud of how you adapted to life in Berlin and just played with other kids-even if you could not communicate with them at first.  You were an encouragement to other kids at church and helped us make new friends here in the area.  I love you, my buddy.

PS.  In the pictures below, you will see Elijah wearing a shirt which his class made for him, featuring art from his classmates.  Gabe was also given a shirt like this from his classmates.  It seems to be the thing to do here when a student is moving away.

Katie and Elijah at JFK School Berlin

Katie and Elijah at JFK School Berlin

Elijah with his teacher and some of his buddies.

Elijah with his teacher and some of his buddies.

Fearless- Hear it Here!

Hi Everyone,

As promised, this is to let you know about my song “Fearless”, which is now available for streaming and purchase online.  In addition, you can download the lyrics and chords as well as the Bass tabs.  Tabs for other instruments will be coming soon.  You can check it out below or here.  Please share it if you like it!

Fearless release

I received the final Mix of my song “Fearless” a couple of nights ago.  I am very biased, but I have to say “wow”.  If I may quote the legendary Nat Stine, who got a sneak listen at the song yesterday,  “This. is. strong.”

This song rocks.  I am working on final details for upload and release on the web.  It should be available to listen to and purchase (if you choose to) within the next two days.

Meanwhile, here is the simple yet catchy theme of the song.  Then when you listen to the song, you’ll be ready to sing it out!

Oh oh oh, We’re gonna be fearless

In shouting out Your name

Oh oh oh, We’re gonna be fearless

In making known Your fame


Gabe’s Last Day of School

Today was a big day for us.  It was about 10 months ago that Gabe walked in to his class at his local school for the first day.  New faces, new teacher, new school building, new friends to be made.  Oh yeah, and it was all going to happen in German.

The school which Gabe attended was fantastic.  He was very well received by the teacher and by his class mates.  One of his now buddies remembers the day this kid who does not speak German first walked in to his classroom.

Fast forward almost one year and Gabe has made great friends, has had spend the night parties, after school play dates and is now fluent in German.  It is amazing to hear our boy speak away with his friends.  He’s even come to us before, and not finding the right words in English, blurted out what he needed to say in German.

Along with his new found ability to learn a language quickly and well, Gabe has also discovered a talent and passion for music.  He loves playing bass guitar and can talk music theory with you for hours.  Want to know how EQ and Compression can help bring clarity to a mix?  He can explain it to you.  He is currently practicing a song I wrote for the church here- If he learns it well enough, I will invite him to perform with me on stage before we leave for the US (and will very proudly post a video here)

One of the coolest experiences (and I think Gabe would agree) was the fact that we biked to his and Elijah’s schools almost everyday.  It was a blast riding with my boys each day, saying hi to their friends and watching them go to their class rooms.

Another great thing for Gabe here has been the independence which he has experienced.  The part of the city in which we live is very safe and very bike friendly.  Many children here around Gabe’s age ride their bikes or walk to school on their own.  What at first seemed strange to us has now become very normal and comfortable.  We’ve allowed him to bike back from school on his own a few times.  On one of those treks home we met him at school, gave him some money and sent him to the grocery store on his own to go buy ice cream.  He was so proud of himself and, in his own words, felt so grown up.

It has been a good year for Gabe.  There have been hard moments, when he’s missed friends, family and familiar things.  But he’s done it.  He has not only survived this year abroad but has also thrived in it.  He has brought friends and their families to church.  He has given church information to his teacher.

Gabe- you may read this one day.  I want you to know how unbelievably proud I am of being your father.  You are a great kid!  You are a great musician, soccer player, linguist, and friend.  You are an awesome big brother! Thanks for being my kid!

Gabe on his bike after his last day of school

Gabe on his bike after his last day of school