***Photo---Evette and I went on a free walking tour to the Brandenburg Gate last Friday (9/27/13)***
God has encouraged me so much over the past few days, with the most encouraging story taking place Saturday. Saturday, I went with Timo, his kids, John, and Alicia (both serving the youth at Timo’s church) and traveled to Brandenburg, our neighboring state/district in Germany. Timo wanted to show us the countryside of Germany, and this was a great way to do it.
We took a train to get to Brandenburg. And during the train ride, I was able to have a conversation with a guy from Germany (though born in Switzerland). He shared a lot about his travels and his family. He asked why I was in Germany and I talked with him about the anti sex-trafficking organization I was volunteering with. He seemed intrigued, I guess by the uniqueness of this “job”, and so I began sharing with him what I’ve learned about the women who are trafficked and shared with him real stories of injustice, oppression, and abuse and how people serving with Neustart are seeking to help.
During our conversation, he also asked why I specifically chose to come to Berlin. In my mind, my answer was somewhat like, “The simple and truest answer is God has carefully orchestrated everything to bring me to this city, and He has revealed to me over the last three years, through different ways, the path that has finally led me here.” However, to someone who doesn’t believe in God, this is completely foreign…and well, just plain weird! So when he asked me the question, I was a little thrown off having a million things running through my mind of how to answer truthfully, but simply, in a way that still gives God the glory.
So I shared with him my story. The few times that I mentioned God, his expression told me he was not a believer. However, and thankfully, he seemed to respect my story. Moments later, he got off the train because we had reached his stop. And after he left, I was a bit troubled…did I do enough? I pulled out my prayer journal and began to write a long prayer to God…in it, I wrote, “God is a huge component. God, please show me. Please tell me how you want me to share your story.” I was troubled, thinking I had covered up too much of my faith (God is my cornerstone, but I was afraid my story conveyed that He was only a little part)…but then on the other side, I believed I had shared enough…because seeing his reaction, he was seemingly opposed to God and if I had bombarded my speech with “Christian-ese”, I could completely shut down the opportunity to continue talking with him. I was troubled…and prayed for him throughout the day and prayed for guidance from God as to how I should share my story.
Then, 3 hours later—after our group had reached our destination in Wittenburg, stayed for a bit, began traveling back to Berlin—we made another stop. We stayed in a small town called Neustadt-Dosse for about an hour or so and then went back to the train station to wait for the final stretch back home. As we were outside waiting, I heard, “Rebecca?” I look behind me, and there was Fabian! The guy I had talked with on the way up to Wittenburg….I WAS BLOWN AWAY!
I asked him how his visit was with his old Latin teacher went (this was the person he had stopped to visit). It had gone well, he said, and then the train arrived. Our group and Fabian boarded the train.
Fabian asked what I was doing the rest of the day, and I shared with him that I was going to church that night. He was puzzled a bit by my response (first, going to church? Second, one a Saturday night???)…I paused, looked out the window…and then felt led to ask him, “Do you go to church anywhere?” God had opened the door.
Fabian shared about the problems he had with church….with the pope, with priests, with the hatred and rejection he’s seen and hear about from Christians. Later in our conversation, he asked me, “Which do you think came first: the Big Bang Theory or God?” I told him, with a smile, “God”…and then asked, “So do you think God is something mankind has fabricated? A belief people have turned to for comfort and ease?” He said, “Exactly” and shared more of his belief.
Fabian’s beliefs and arguments were ones that I had faced and struggled with before in my life…I could relate to him and his doubts. As I listened, I was so overjoyed by our conversation and so encouraged because I knew that God had put him in my life (TWICE!) because God had life-giving answers to share with Fabian. It was such a blessing and encouragement from God to meet and talk with him…and to be able to share the good news of God’s hope, love, and truth found in Christ.
I pray that Fabian seize the challenge brought before him—to test the claims of Jesus Christ (as the truth, the way, the bread of life, the everlasting water, the Messiah, the Son of God, the great shepherd) for himself. To see that they are true and believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. To trust in and follow Jesus as the source of hope, forgiveness, and salvation in his life! Please be praying for him, too. Also, please pray for the salvation of a woman named Michelle and that her eyes may be opened to see that living for and loving God is our purpose in life.
Please continue to pray for my housing situation. Evette and I are looking at two flats tonight, and Lord willing by the end of tonight we will have a place to move to! Pray for wisdom and discernment and that we have the audacity (and trust in His plan) to say “No” (though we are a bit desperate to say “Yes!”) if God tells us He has somewhere else for us to go.