For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:13-15
I am sitting upstairs in the relative quietness of the Dietz home. Most of the troops have gone out for a walk by the river.
I was meditating on my week, and I thought you should hear this story.
This past week was completely different than any week I’ve had over here. We started out the week with a blessing of unlimited Internet for a total of three days. In the midst of that, we met a new conversation partner, Sandra.
We met her on Tuesday and chatted for nearly three hours. We then met up with her again at a student bar thing in the cellar of a student apartment building on Thursday. And, on Friday, she went with us to Leipzig, her hometown and a city a little west of Dresden in Saxony.
Friday was a fun day, and pictures will follow soon, but I found this a bit more important than pictures. The five of us walked around beautiful Leipzig, and I got to see a church in which Luther preached, Wagner was baptized, and Bach (yes, Bach) played the organ. Sandra pridefully showed us around her city.
The train ride back is where the real bittersweet beauty lies. It started out in a rush and panic that we would miss the train and have to wait an hour for the next one. We didn’t, but we did board to a slam packed train. I was none to thrilled about having to sit on the stairs, but I knew it wouldn’t be for long because there was a major stop about 20 min away. After some shifting and rearranging of people, I still ended up on the stairs. Hooray for comfort.
About 10 minutes into the ride, Sarah found me being all pitiful on the stairs and said that a seat freed up next to Sandra. I was a little sore and inwardly cranky from my stint on the stairs that I would have sat next to rude smelly German. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do that.
I made my way down to the seat next to Sandra and opened my Bible and put in my ear buds. I know that was a little rude, but I was not in the mood (at that moment) to talk to anyone. Did I mention that I was slightly damp from the rain? I am not sure how much time passed, but I looked up and Sarah had gone to talk to Jessica and Day to tell them seats had freed up near us. I looked back down at my Bible, and Sandra tapped me on the shoulder.
“Do you mind if I ask what you are reading?” Honestly, I was a little stunned. I thought that even if you’ve never read a Bible, you’d (some yous, not all) at least know what one looked like. That may sound American or arrogant or completely naive, but it’s the truth. I know that there are tons (too many) of people who have no idea what a Bible looks like, but I thought that a German might know.
She was surprised to see that I was reading the Bible like anyone would read any other book. She asked me what my favorite part was. It told her that it all is my favorite. Then, I concentrated on a few key books from which I have learned a lot– Psalms and Proverbs and a few of Paul’s letters. The beauty of it all is that Sarah jumped in the conversation when I was talking about how glorious Psalms is.
The two of us spent the remainder of the train ride talking to her about a lot of spiritual matters– God’s existence, Jesus, hope, faith, joy, the reason for living, and the list goes on. The most mind-blowing thing– the most heart-breaking thing– was that she had either never heard what we had to say or heard it presented in the way we presented it. She could tell there was something different about us. She could tell that we really believed what we were saying. She could see our passion, our hope, our love– the passion, hope, and love that could only come from God.
Without question, people know where I stand in my faith. I haven’t always been a good example of Christianity, but that was a different time. Since I have been here, I’ve shared with people about God, and they know I’m a Christian. But, I have yet to flat out share the Gospel. You may be thinking, “What!? Isn’t that what you’re there for?” Well, I don’t really know why I am here. I am simply obeying God. Not simply, really, as nothing about this trip is simple.
When I was sharing about Jesus, the look in her eyes was heartbreaking. She was so focused on what I was saying. She was trying to drink it all in all the while battling what she’s grown up with. She has never touched a Bible. She did not know what the 10 Commandments were, really. She knew of the story of Creation, but she believes in evolution. I was floored. She’s never met a true Christian– a person striving with all their might to be like Christ.
This is what I encounter all the time. There are people looking to fill the void in their lives with a range of things from drugs, alcohol, and sex to family, friends, and television. Their lives may appear together, or their lives may appear to be falling apart. They all lack the hope, peace, and purpose a person has whose knows the awesome love of Jesus Christ.
So, as you pray, please keep this mind. There are people out there who have never heard the Truth. They may have head stories in passing, but they don’t know. There are some who don’t see a need for Christ as they “have everything they need”. Sandra is a real person. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Sarah and I were able to present the Truth to her. We want to give her a Bible in German. (Which she was shocked to know that there is a Bible in German. She thought it was an American thing because the first Bible she saw was mine… in English.)
We were able to push her scope of thinking into the possibility that a higher being does exist. She finds the idea of Hell scary.
It’s a start.