Well here I am sitting here in Nicaragua (up on the 3rd floor for my fellow Nica peeps, with a great breeze blowing) and I’m thinking about Germany. It’s taken me a bit to process our time there and I’m sure more thoughts will come – at least I hope they do before I start to forget the details!
These two countries couldn’t be more different. Just driving around today with my family the fact that this is the second poorest country in this hemisphere is so evident. The landscape is different, the cultures are different. You don’t see anything like the Cologne Dome here. But you know what? The people look amazingly similar if you look behind their eyes. Sure the skin color is different, hair color, complexion and even language. But the deeper longings of the heart are revealed through the eyes.
The German people are a quiet people. Saying “hi” on the streets is uncommon. Hearing even quiet talking on the trains is unusual. They are seemingly devoid of national pride and some of that is understandable considering the monumental dark spot and atrocities under the oppression of Hitler. They were taught under communism to be needy without being “needy.” So to reveal a need – like a spiritual need – is a difficult conversation to get in to. Many of the pastors and missionaries we had an opportunity to serve shared how long they often labor (years and years) to see a convert.
I was told that 2 out of 100 Germans are Christians. The harvest is plentiful for sure. It pained my heart to see these beautiful, giant cathedrals and churches that were once overflowing (post-Reformation) now either virtually empty or simply turned into a tourist attraction. But there is hope. Isn’t there always! The Gospel always works and I was so encouraged to meet some of these laborers for the Gospel in Germany. My prayers are with them and for Germany that God’s Spirit would fall in power and bring another reformation – a reformation of the heart!
I am so grateful to have had yet another opportunity to go and serve with my fellow a cappella alums. Bringing the Gospel through music is a strategic point of entry to the German’s hearts. I was so honored to have the opportunity to preach the Gospel each night as well. My prayer is that the seeds that were planted will be watered and bear much fruit.
And so here I am in Nicaragua. Different country with the same need. The reality is everywhere we go, people are hurting. And the even greater reality is everywhere we go, the Gospel always works. Jesus is always the answer.