This week has been an amazing whirlwind of a week. Here are just the highlights.....
Most of our encounters at the Refugee Homes seems to somehow get to the point of someone asking us for a bible. So in our last update I just asked for prayer on us getting arabic bibles. Even as I was writing the thought occurred to me, "It is time to get serious about prayer for these bibles." Then, one of our friends and supporters launches a Go Fund Me campaign and in a few short days we have the money to FILL OUR GARAGE with bibles for distribution! What an amazing group of people you are! What an amazing God we serve!
We have talked with several groups who are mobilizing teams to send our way to help with bible distribution and other needs, such as discipleship. Please be in prayer as most of the teams will stay with us in our home. Logistically, this can be a challenge, but we know that the Lord will bring us through. Now we are seeing the reason that God provided a home big enough to host teams! He is not a random God, but when He says to do something you better do it, even if you do not quite see how it all fits together. In essence our home has become and is becoming a place to launch from.
This week we spent our time at one of the homes further discipling men and getting to know them. These are some precious people and we are amazed that we get to be with them. Keri made cookies and we distributed cookies, shared Jesus, and did a bible study. The nature of these homes is that they are normally not visible to the uninformed eye. So one of the best ways to find them is to talk to the people and get to know them. They told me about other homes that are very close. Walking distance or a short bike ride from our house.
Friday, I went to see two other homes I had heard about. I arrived at the first one and the first man I met was an Afghan man who was an English Translator for the US/Allied Special Forces in Afghanistan. Needless to say, his English was amazing. I became quickly aware of the fact that he was definitely a person a peace as described in Luke 10. As we sat and talked he showed me how so often people bring all manner of food or clothing, but rarely take time to interact with the people in the home. I told him we are here to change that as God has sent us here to share the good news of peace with God and man through Jesus Christ and to demonstrate that through praying for the sick and hurting. He says, "Oh we have many people who need prayer here. Thank you for coming."
As I left that home, just so overwhelmed by the goodness of God to open up a work, I arrive by bicycle to the next home. I see a group of people standing around smoking. Normally I never go to the main management office, because normally they will tell me that unless I have relationships with the people I cannot come in. So I went up to this group staring at me suspiciously and told them why I was there. One man stands up and pulls up his shirt to show me something obviously distorted with his belly. He tells me he has a tumor and asks if I will pray. I prayed and whatever this was began to move all around! He and his wife were overjoyed and the man who was doing the bulk of the translating says, "is there a church we can go to?" I responded with, "why don't you let me show you how to meet together here in this home and I can show you how to get to know Jesus and you can pray for one another?" The man says, "This is a great idea! We can meet in my apartment and I will invite my friends. They will come!"
As with most of this path God has put us on, He has challenged us to see this whole refugee crisis in a different way. He is challenging us to not look at the people as a crisis or problem, but to see them through His eyes. To see them with the value and dignity that comes from Him. To see that this is the greatest missionary force the world has ever known and yet they do not know it yet. These people can be BOTH a huge blessing to this country AND the answer to peace in their own countries. We are working to see the power of God so transform these homes that the neighbors will want them there because of the tremendous blessing that comes from their presence!
There are literally hundreds of state churches and organizations doing their best to meet the physical needs of the refugees. THIS has blessed us as we are free to minister to them spiritually! What a gift!
language has not been a problem as many of these individuals never knew they would end up in Germany. English has been the bridge language, and ANY time language could have been a barrier, the LORD has been faithful to provide a person of peace; someone in the group who speaks English and translates to his family/friends. He is faithful!
Terror groups and criminal activity function well in these environments because they tend to be the groups who are giving the people purpose and reasons to belong. We have to be able to extend to them the dignity and value that is given them by God and cast vision for who they were created to be. This is not an easy task as hope has not been a concept in many of them for a long time.
We came to Berlin, Germany to make disciples of many nations, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that He has commanded us.
Behold, He has been with us always.
Thank you for your prayers. We are grateful for every one of you!