Me: I really feel called to be a missionary in Europe.
Mom: That's so far away! Couldn't you be a missionary somewhere closer? How about Pennsylvania?
My sister: Mom, did you have Charlotte dedicated to the Lord in a baby-dedication service?
My sister: Then it's your own fault!
This conversation took place a number of years ago at my parents' home in northern Indiana. I chuckle when I think of it, but it contains a simple truth. It explains to me that what happened over the course of my life was all pointing in the same direction -- to get me to Germany so that I could serve God here.
My mom babysat for a German-American couple. I wanted to learn French in high school, but only German or Spanish was offered. I struggled through three years of high school German and finally gave up after the grammar pulled my GPA down! The year I thought I could take French in college was the year the professor was on sabbatical. The interim professor -- straight from Paris to do doctoral research on the Amish -- made the class so stressful that I dropped it after one semester. I returned to college-level German and started to grasp the grammar. I spent a semester in both East and West Germany with Goshen College.
After I went into YES, I had a total paradigm shift in what I felt called to do with my life after my outreach in Germany. I led a STAT team and a YES team to Germany. I participated in YWAM's School of Intercessory Prayer in Germany. From 1993 to 1999, I felt homesick for Germany and out of place in the U.S. I made the bold decision to venture to Germany to find out if I was called there or not.
In October 1999, I ended up in Halle/Saale with the church planting team that started Soli Deo Mennonite Church. For 11 years I prayed and served alongside the EMM team which was committed to seeing people who were once under a communist regime come to Christ. When I got married in 2010, my German husband and I felt that God was preparing us for something new as we both have a call to be missionaries in Germany.
Now we are exploring this call by fasting and praying, seeking counsel, and opening our hearts to have the Holy Spirit direct us into the ministry that has been prepared for us by our heavenly Father. While we are processing, I continue to teach business English as a freelance trainer. Our goal is to be self-employed so that we can follow the Apostle Paul's example of being a tent-maker who could minister the Gospel anywhere at any time. We have dedicated our lives and our gifts, talents, and abilities to Jesus Christ. We are eager to see how our future unfolds!
Charlotte Yoder Neumann and her husband Gerhard Neumann live in Halle/Saale, Germany. Charlotte served on the 1986-1987 and 1989-1990 YES Germany teams and the 1988 STAT Germany team. She served on the YES staff from 1990 - 1992 and on the Discipleship Ministries staff from 1994 - 1996.