Friday, April 20, 2012

Youth in Mission

God loves Germany and Germans!!! I know that I am not telling you anything new. You and I always knew it, but what happened in the past two weeks only gave life and a new dimension to these words.

I have to admit that I had a lot of prejudices when I went to Germany. I knew how secular the church is in this part of the world and I was wondering how it is going to be. I also knew that it was going to be different than other events I went to. Nevertheless, I was not prepared for the challenges I was going to face.

First session of united prayer Friday morning
Besides the all-day prayer room, we also had a session of united prayer every morning at 6 AM. I did not know how many people would turn out. In fact, I was warned that not very many people might turn out to the morning sessions.

Friday morning. First session of united prayer. I was surprised to see that we had a good turn-out (I did not count them, but I think that there were 30+, almost 40 people). There were only a few who prayed, but it was something and we were happy.

Friday evening, at the end of the first day of the Youth in Mission (YiM), something was very clear to me: Germans are very afraid to pray with other people. They are so afraid to be vulnerable and open their hearts before other people and God. I came here to pray with people, but it seemed that they were too shy and to scared to pray in a group setting. They would come to the prayer room, but they would refuse to pray with us. They would pray by themselves. My heart was heavy and I cried out to God: "Lord, what can I do? How can I help them see the importance of united prayer?" I went to the evening devotion and the Lord showed me that He cares so much about them. Dwight Nelson preached that night about prayer. His sermon was so timely. At the end of the meeting I was convinced that I need to wrestle with God in prayer, to stay on my knees and intercede for them until God gives me peace that He will answer. And so I did. "Lord, give me Germany or I die" was the prayer of my heavy heart that night. Around midnight He gave me peace so I went to sleep.

Next morning we had the next morning prayer session. Not only did more people pray, but the prayers were simply flowing. If the previous morning there were some pauses between prayers, Sabbath morning things were very different.  

Some of those who chose to pray during outreach
Things were also different in the prayer room the next day. We got to pray with more people. Saturday was also the day for the outreach. We were wondering if people would be willing to stay and pray for those who were doing outreach. And I was so surprised when I saw how many people came to the prayer room. Lina was one of those people who chose to pray instead of going to the outreach. In fact, she wanted to choose the easier way. So she came thinking that she will pray for 2-3 minutes all by herself in a corner and that was all. But as she entered the prayer room, we were all gathered in a circle and she heard us saying that we will be praying together for the whole 3 hours while the other young people were doing outreach. She was horrified and she wanted to turn back. She could no imagine herself prayer for 3 hours with a group of strangers. But she was too shy to do that, so she came in. She was really scared and she was not happy at all. But as we started to pray, she not only started to be joyful, but she felt the need to pray and she wanted to pray more and more. She is just one of many who had this experience. There was another family who joined us for the same prayer session and the husband was confessing that he was wondering if our prayers did any good. As we finished praying for the outreach, he went out and met a girl he knew who was just coming back from the outreach. She was so happy about how the outreach went. When he told her that we have been praying for them, she told him that God has truly answered our prayers and that everything that happened was an answer to prayers. His heart was simply flooded with joy and he had no more doubts that prayer works.

There was another young man who came to the prayer room with a heavy heart. He and Arlaine started to talk and when he heard that Arlaine was from Indonesia he started to cry. He explained to her that last year he and his wife were suppose to go on vacation to Indonesia, but they never got to do that because she left him. She also cut any communication with him and with their common friends. They had a very close friend who was trying to help them with their marital struggles, but she refused to answer her emails and phone calls. He came to the prayer room and Arlaine prayed with him. The next day, he came back with a big smile on his face. The very same day he prayed in the prayer room, their common friend who had no idea he has been praying, called his wife again and this time she picked up the phone. She agreed to meet and talk with him.

"What is it with the prayer room?" I was asked by a young man. "How is it that there is so much power there?" He is just one of the many young people who discovered the power of prayer. One of the many who had a special encounter with God and whose life will never be the same.

Wendy, Arlaine and I
I was happy to know that the YiM team felt the power of prayer. They were wondering why there were no major obstacles like before and what is it that makes this congress so different from the other ones. It is true that every congress is different, but they felt that there was something special about this one. The last day, as they were talking again about these things, Wendy, a wonderful lady from the organizing team who was in charge of the prayer room and whom I got to love dearly, remembered what I told her - that there were a few of us who fasted and prayed for YiM, that my ARME team mates were praying for us and that we have been praying every day for YiM in the prayer room. So she shared with the team and they all agreed that it was prayer that made a difference at this YiM congress. In fact, as I write, they have their evaluation meeting and I was told that they scheduled two session of united prayer with the whole team this weekend. Praise God is all I can say!

I could also feel the power of prayer when I had the United Prayer workshop. When I saw that there were 17 more workshops in the same time and that the two main speakers (Dwight Nelson and Martin Probstle) were among the speakers, I told the Lord that I was content with just a handful of people and I asked Him to bring the right people to the workshop. When I got to the room and I saw that there was no video projector, I knew that Satan is trying his best and that God has big plans. But I still did not expect too many people to turn out. God surpassed my expectation again. Not only did I have a video projector, but the room was full of people and because there were no more seats some of them had to sit on the floor and on the window sills.

Remember about my prayer on Friday night? Oh well, when I prayed: "Lord, give me Germany or I die" I thought that He will bring people to the prayer room and make them willing to pray in a group setting. This is actually what I was praying for. But the Lord answered this prayer in a way I never expected He will. At the end of the congress I was invited to come back next year to coordinate the prayer room and have again the workshop on united prayer and I was also invited to another youth congress on the Northern part of Germany (Northern Germany is much more secular than the Southern Germany were YiM was held). How's that for an answer to prayer?

After Youth in Mission was over I spend one and a half more days with Lukas and Arlaine and enjoyed tremendously the Bible study, united prayer and sweet fellowship we had.

Than I went to Frankfurt where I finally met Melody. She was invited to speak over the weekend at the Christian Advent Center and I joined her (if you want to know how it all happened, you can read it here). God showed me again how much He loves Germans, that He can touch hearts and that He has His people even in this very secular country. We had a full weekend and were able to see God at work in a might way. My prayer has been one more time answered. I am very excited about the AFCOE program that they are going to start this summer in the very same church we visited. Germany needs something like this.

We also got to see the Cathedral from Worms and Wartburg Castle, places where Luther had been and who are very important in the history of the Reformation. What a blessing it was to be able to see all these places. Mel and I were really spoiled by Gerda and Reed who have been more than wonderful to us. In case you don't believe me, here is the proof (in case you still do not believe me, you have to check my facebook pictures):
Wartburg Castle

In front of Luther's room in Wartburg Castle

Downtown Frankfurt
In front of the Cathedral from Worms

Standing in the very same sport
where Luther stood before the Diet of Worms

View from Shonburg Castle
Lunch at Wartburg Castle
It was an honor to be able to witness all these miracles that God performed in Germany. I know now why He did not want me to go to our ARME Bible Camp in the UK and I am so happy that I stayed the whole time at YiM. God showed me one more time that His plans are far better than mine.

So, yes, God loves Germans and so do I. I went there having a lot of prejudice against them and I left having a special burden on my heart for this special nation that was once the birthplace of the Reformation. So, thank you, God, for showing me that Germans are hungry for the Word just as much as I am and that they are not that impossible to love after all.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE IT!!!! As my favorite verse goes, "As for God, His ways ARE PERFECT!" Ps 18:30. Now….. I need to write my own review of this amazing trip and experience!!!