Cody is a real New Yorker: his Chinese parents immigrated to the United States and he grew up in Chinatown, Manhattan. Like all immigrants, his parents wanted the American dream to become true for their son: therefore they sent him to a well known Catholic high school. That was his initial contact with Christianity. He first felt kind of excluded from the catholic rites as non Christian, but was eventually really attracted in Christian faith.
After 9/11, he suddenly lost his job and began asking himself about the meaning of life. As a missionary of the “411-Church” offered him a granola bar and invited him to the Easter procession, he agreed to entered a church for the first time since many years. This decision was about to change his life: he became a Christian, got baptized, and took part for the first time in a mission to Germany on the occasion of the Soccer World Cup in summer 2006.
The conversion effort is carried out by believers like Scott Rourk, an evangelical pastor from New York. The Big Apple ist a key place to convert souls in the USA.
To bring the lost sheeps back to Jesus, Scott uses modern marketing methods: fashionable outfit, a CD as business card, and rock music instead of church bells… Because he managed to get into the creative scene in New York, Scott was chosen by the Southern Baptist Convention to cross the Atlantic in order to conquer Old Europe. This trip to Berlin is his first mission out of the US headquarters.
Tilman advocates a greater influence of the conservative Christians on politics in Germany, like in the USA, where he worked as an event manager. He returned to Germany about a year ago in order to settle a special mission called „Youth with a Mission“. Today Tilman is still working for “Youth With a Mission” and therefore studying “Mission and Development Aid” at the University of the Nations (university related to the “Youth With a Mission” network). Tilman is also the European leader of “World Orphans”, a Christian organisation that funds the construction of orphanages around the world.
Gershom Sikaala was born and raised in Zambia but has been living in South Africa for a couple of years. Before the shooting of “Jesus Loves You”, he was in training to go on mission to Muslim regions of Africa.
He was recruited to join the World Cup mission in Germany by “Youth With a Mission”, as he had previously been a missionary in Africa and India.
Gershom´s spontaneity and cheerfulness are really appreciated in Africa; but in Europe he is often considered as too extroverted and too blunt with the people.
Nowadays, Gershom is probably preparing for the next World Cup which will take place in South Africa in 2010.