In my mind I don’t often see life full of coincidences, and by often I mean never. I truly think that every moment and every opportunity has a place and is a chance to impact and improve who we are as people and make us more capable of helping ourselves and those around us.
That being said, I don’t believe that meeting Theresa was by chance at all. One aspect of this has to do with how we became friends, and the other because of how we met. Amy (my friend from America) and I had looked for multiple Air BnB’s before finding Anya’s (Theresa’s flat-mates) listing. We found several that boasted to be close to the city center and to be well endowed with many special features or conveniences, however despite Amy’s previous shining reviews, we were denied for no apparent reason. Three times actually. It was in the fourth attempt that we found Anya’s apartment at which we were finally accepted to stay.
This brings us to the second part of the story which is how we became friends (which is more the story of our beginning and not our story as friends or our growth as people together). Amy and I had briefly met Theresa before leaving to explore the city, however upon returning, we had an opportunity to hang out with her more and really hear more of who she was.
I am a Christian, and I want to say that in my story, it is important, and gives it the significance that it has as well as the frame of mind by which I tell my stories. That being said, before I left I heard God tell me to bring one Bible. I had some help ordering one, and since I read the NIV (New International Version – A specific translation/adaptation of the Bible) translation, I decided to order one for the Bible that I was told to bring. However, upon receiving the ordered Bible, it had gotten mixed up and NLT (New Living Translation) versions had been given to us instead. It was about 2-3 days before I left for Germany and I was in no position to complain, so I decided it was better than nothing and packed up regardless.
Fast forward to when we were hanging with Theresa and she mentions church. So we ask her where she goes and what she believes. As she begins to share where she goes to church and what she believes, I feel God telling me to go get the Bible from my pack and give it to her. This is the part where things got crazy and it was wonderful. As I hand the bible to her, I say, “Maybe this is for you or for one of your roommates, but I feel like I’m supposed to give this to you.” Theresa begins to say thank you very excitedly and then pauses looking at it.
She then picks up her phone and starts sharing, “Like I said, I haven’t gotten to go to church in a while, but I got to go two weeks ago, and I met this woman who told me to get a Bible. But she told me to get an English translation and not a German one, and I have a note on my phone so I wouldn’t forget.” As she pulls it up on her phone, there is one thing written on the note on her phone, “NLT (New Living Translation).”
Joy and excitement fill her eyes and face as she begins to cry at the realization that she was hand-delivered the Bible that she wanted to get by a stranger. It was absolutely one of the most inspiring and awe-filled moments of my life thus far and I will never forget how our friendship was forged.
As the weekend ended, I was invited to go to church with her at Hillsong in Düsseldorf as well as stay at her apartment for another day or two. As the days continued, we became better and better friends, and I was allowed to stay with her and her flatmates for the entire week! Which was such an incredible blessing. Throughout our time together, we did an interview for her and her friend Tyree, we went to an orchestra concert at the Köln Phil-Harmonic Orchestral Hall, we went to some sweet bars for drinks, and failed at remembering/knowing a lot of each other’s language. She was such a huge blessing and fun segment in my journey through Germany. Our time didn’t just end in Köln, but continued on to Velen where I got to interview her grandmother and stay with her family for the proceeding weekend (which will be our next blog entry/story)!
Overall Theresa is a wonderful woman, and I have loved every minute of heartfelt laughter and joy that we had, as well as moments with tears and sharing stories of pain. It was hard at moments because of some language barriers, but Theresa is a true friend and a woman that I care about very deeply because of our time together and everything that she has done to help me through my time in Germany. Here is her story; her experiences and life moving up to where she is and who she is. Please take a moment and hear who she has become and who she aspires to be. Prost.
Thank you Theresa. Thank you for everything that you have done and have helped me with; whether it be German, staying in your apartment, or even just simple (weeks worth of) meals. It has been a pleasure and a joy learning more of who you are, and I hope that we see each other very soon friend.