Donovan Harper ’15, a counseling and human services major, and his wife Erin recently started a college ministry through GlobalScope in Freiburg, Germany. Through the ministry, the Harpers and their team are reaching out to college students and inviting them to different events—such as Café English, free meal, coffee dates, etc.—to create relationships and hopefully to create opportunities to share their faith. The Harpers recently visited campus and shared with us about their ministry.
How do you feel like your degree prepared you for where you are now?
I think in any line of work, counseling is always a good thing to know when it comes to your relationships with other people. Point also did a good job of requiring us to take some Biblical classes so that we’re prepared for ministry. I think it just got me ready for the world and everything that happens in it.
What’s the Christian climate like in Germany?
It’s pretty dead in Germany. A lot of people may say, “I go to church on Christmas, so I’m a Christian.” And maybe they are, but a lot of students between the ages of 18-24 think, “I don’t really need God. Life is good.” They don’t feel this need to figure out who Jesus or God is. There’s just zero desire. That’s what makes what we do so important. In a recent study of this age group, only 23% said they were a Christian. And the reality is that even less would truly be a follower of Christ. It makes us want to go show people, not just tell people, what faith looks like, especially because a lot of them know the Bible. They study religion classes all through school, so they know who Jesus is, they just don’t care. It’s not relevant to them.
What are ways the Point family can be praying for your ministry?
Pray for us an and our teammates as we learn the language. This fall, we will start up our weekly events; pray students will come in with open hearts and open minds to the possibility of hearing what we have to say about the Bible, Jesus, what he means to us and how he can impact their lives. Pray that students give us a chance.
What’s the culture difference been like?
Germans stick to themselves a lot, so before you can become friends with Germans, you have to create this relationship. In America, I feel like you can become friends with someone right away. In Germany, it will take a half a year before someone will consider you a friend. Relationships are just different there, so ministry is different.
What’s the biggest thing you miss from the states, other than people?
Definitely the ability to drive places. The public transportation is awesome, but it’s also nice to get away, drive, and go wherever you want.
Also, I miss Chick-fil-a a lot.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Point?
My college life revolved around soccer, so a lot of my memories are from soccer games. We were in the play-offs competing against Truett-McConnell, and one of my teammates, Matias, scored off a header in double overtime to win the game. That was a pretty awesome moment and probably my most vivid memory.
You can help support the Harpers’ ministry in Freiburg by praying for them and by giving online.