Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Leaving Germany for One Year!

Today you will hear from Jim about our up-coming plans for the next 12 months: 

We hope this finds you well and looking forward to Spring.  We are still currently under a tight Covid Lockdown here in Germany.  Yet the Gospel is unchained as we minister online and one-on-one with individual students.

Empty Closets for a family to live in our home for one year. 
We are writing to you today to inform you of some decisions that are impacting our plans for the coming 12 months.  There is something called the "Totalization Agreement" between Germany and the United States.  It is a document meant to coordinate and protect nationals living in the other country from being double taxed for Social Security.

This document stipulates that a person may live and work in another country and maintain their payment to and anticipated payment from their home country in regards to Social Security income.  This is typically 5 years with the option, here in Germany, of requesting a 3 year extension.  

We have been compliant with these requirements and were anticipating having to begin our one year exile from Germany in October 2022.  Yet in conjunction with Josiah Venture (JV) leadership, we are aware that we currently have two families raising support to join JV Germany and us in 2022.  With that knowledge the decision was made to have us go earlier rather than later.  So that means we will do our exile now, in hopes of returning just as the families will be ready to move to Germany.

This has been a relatively short decision making process.  We are making preparations to leave Germany March 16. We will continue to work remotely online with our contacts here in Germany during this year.  We will also be able to take some time to visit our daughter Emily and Alpha and our new grandson, Noah in Bangladesh.  Then we are planning on spending the summer in the States before returning to work from Czech in September through the end of our exile (March 17, 2022).  In addition to working with our contacts here in Germany we will be working with JV leadership in areas of HR and Member Care across the 16 different JV countries.

Jim packing van.
All of the other Josiah Venture countries affected by this Totalization Agreement only have to leave for 6 months.  Germany is special in that we have to leave for one year.  Yet at the end we will be granted a new certificate of coverage for 5 more years.

During the previous three weeks I have sought information from other mission organizations with Americans working in Germany hoping to find an exception. But in the end they all said this is what you must do to remain compliant and eligible for Social Security in the United States upon reaching retirement age.

We are trusting the Lord to accomplish His will in our lives and the ministries that we are partnered with.  We are so thankful that Rachel Berkebile, our teammate will be here working during our exile.  She will host two evangelistic camps this summer, Lord willing.

In personal news, Lina had her gallbladder removed 2 weeks ago.  She is recovering, tired, but doing well. 

Our friend, Simeon, helping us pack our van.
In short:
  • We must leave Germany for one year, beginning March 16, 2020 through March 17, 2022.
  • We will be in Bangladesh for one month, March 18 - April 15.
  • We will be in the States working remotely, traveling, and being there for new granddaughter to be born, April 17 - Sept 14.
  • We will be living in and working from the Czech Republic Sept. 15, 1021 - March 17, 2022.
Prayer Points:
  • Pray for us as we travel, especially with all the Covid 19 restrictions, that we will be able to cross boarders and travel without a problem and with good health.
  • Pray for Lina as she is still recovering from gallbladder surgery.
  • Pray for time with family and friends while in the States.
  • Pray for continued good connections with young people we are discipling, youth workers we are training, and youth groups we are involved with in Germany.
  • Pray for a healthy rest of pregnancy and delivery of Nate and Caitlin's little baby girl.