Dancing for the Gospel: Break for Change in Germany
9 months ago Triangle 0
Written by, Mathäus Schwarzen
Alexa Prince did not expect her summer to be as exhausting as it turned out. Prince, a psychology major and a junior, went on a nine day Break for Change mission trip to Germany through Bryan College.
Though she had a little experience with drama and theatre from middle school, she was completely unprepared for the over 50 miniature performances her group put on over the course of their time in Northern Germany. By the end of her trip, Prince felt strained in ways she had never considered.
“That strain was a good thing,” Prince said. “It pushed me to do a lot of things I would have never stepped out and done on my own. I really appreciate that. It gave me a lot of confidence in my story and in the Gospel.”
Prince—a junior—was part of one of four teams that participated in Bryan College’s Break for Change program this summer. The four teams visited the Bahamas, Jamaica, India and Germany to spread the Gospel by partnering with different ministries already working in those countries.
For Prince, that meant working with European Initiative—a Christian missions organization founded in 2006 to share the Gospel with the people of Europe through short-term missions.
Bryan College sent their team of five students, along with co-leaders Luke Morris and Michaela Thomas, to Northern Germany to minister in the form of street-productions with European Initiative. The team visited three cities over the course of their trip while staying in host houses and hotels along the way.
The daily routine saw the team starting off with a devotion and breakfast, then heading out to perform shows in the streets of the city in which they were staying. Each show began with two performances of the Cupid Shuffle—a simple line dance that the group would invite passers-by to join.
After the dance, the group would perform a play the length of the song based on a story from the Bible and spend time discussing its meaning with the audience. The whole process was repeated an average of six times every day.
“The team performed the shows well despite their lack of experience,” Prince said. “In middle school, I did a few plays, and then in high school, I did show choir, which is basically choir, just more theatrical, so I had some faint experience. They threw me in as the main girl because I was the only one who had ever been on stage.”
According to Prince, the students spent up to 40 minutes discussing the message of their play with the audience depending on how willing they were to listen and ask questions. They would talk to anyone who would listen and then head off to the next location, usually by subway.
The biggest challenge for Prince was her physical exhaustion.
“People usually say language barrier is the biggest challenge,” Prince said. “But the majority of people spoke English very well—that was not a challenge at all.”
Prince took comfort in the small amounts of personal time the team was allotted in the evenings. It was time for her to recharge and prepare for the next day. She had no prior experience with evangelism, and the work of dancing and performing plays every day left her physically and spiritually drained. She hadn’t counted on the performances being their only activity.
“Generally, in Break for Change you just have a broad idea of what’s going on,” Prince said. “I knew that we would be working with European Initiative, and I knew what their mission was. I had no idea that we would be doing street performances strictly the whole time.”
Regardless of the surprises, the trip gave Prince a valuable lesson. She saw many conversations open up that seemed to have hit a wall, and experienced firsthand the power of personal connection.
“There were a lot of good and deep conversations just in that span of 30 minutes that you sat and talked with people,” she said. “It was really cool to see that you could get so far with someone and that you could encourage someone and give so much of the heart of Jesus to them in such a short period of time, especially with them being people you just met.”
That sentiment is shared by both of the team’s co-leaders.
“The exhaustion was worth the effort,” Michaela Thomas said. “It was truly amazing to see the team give 110% each day. I hope that this experience helps all of us trust in God’s faithfulness to provide the strength and energy to do what we have been called to do.”
Luke Morris echoed that he hopes the opportunities the students had to talk seriously about their faith will inform the way they live in the United States.
Mathäus Schwarzen is a staff writer for the Bryan Triangle specializing in campus news, and a sophomore at Bryan College, majoring in creative writing. He spends his free time writing and listening to music.