A young apprentice, his colleagues, and refugees

Martin Boller

Martin Boller 1995 –

Martin works as a sales rep for Community Playthings in Europe. His preparation for the job included a three-year training outside the community at a furniture manufacturer in Bavaria, where he did “everything from HR to logistics.”

The work was enjoyable, but I was frustrated by tensions caused by backbiting and the drive to get ahead of others. There was this polite veneer, but underneath, mistrust and loneliness. 

The highlight of each week was the evening I spent with young men I met at trade school – from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, and Pakistan. This was during the 2015–16 refugee crisis, and thousands were pouring into Germany. All it took was saying “Hi,” and next thing you knew, they’d invited you to stop by the center where they were being housed. We cooked. We played a lot of soccer.

Many were traumatized by all that they’d been through. Some would sleep for days on end. Some mutilated themselves. But their biggest hurdle was feeling alone and invisible. These guys couldn’t have been more different from my colleagues at work, but they were living under the same stress, and dealing with the same loneliness.

Danny and a student take the lead on a school hike.

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The Book

A Window into a Christian Community at 100 Years

With photography by British photojournalist Danny Burrows, this 300-page hardcover book celebrates what is possible when people take a leap of faith. It will inspire anyone working to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable future.

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