Sunday, January 30, 2005
The Berlin Wall - circa 1984. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" I think God had lots to do with it too!
Last night, I began a tale of my travels into Eastern Europe in 1984. This was, for me, a turning point experience of my newfound faith, as I had come to know Christ the fall of 1979 (a story I shall reserve for later, if you care). Ever since my coming to Christ, I had always felt that something was missing - that I did not really understand the whole picture about what following Christ meant.
I shall never forget one man we visited in a little house in what is now the Czech Republic. Our team of four US well-meaning 20-something missionaries had worked quite hard at trying to "dress Eastern", meaning dull colors, no designer labels or hip styles, etc. We were painfully drab, and proud of it. We had memorized the route to our "contact's" home. We walked there from our campground outside of town, and we were quite pleased with the way in which we attracted essentially no attention to ourselves. It should be noted here that the people we were to visit were never notified in advance that we would be coming on a specific day and time; they were simple told to anticipate a visit at one or several times each summer - from "friends from the West".
The home of our contact came into view as we rounded a corner, and we were feeling more confident that no one would ever notice us, due to our clever disguise. As we came to the front yard of the home, we looked up to the front porch of a simple house to find the front door opening, even before we made it up the front walkway. Outstretched arms greeted us, as we were quickly welcomed in. We thought our "cover" was blown! After we exchanged greetings, we asked our contact how it was possible that we had been recognized, since we looked so "Eastern". This dear brother, persecuted for many years for his faith, imprisoned, and marginallized by the communist regime, smiled, looked us in the eye, and said,
"Oh my friends, that is easy. I saw you coming down the street. You walk...like you have freedom!"
Want to discover a new demension of faith? Spend time visiting persecuted believers, whose very lives are at risk because of what they believe. Moving. Transforming. Meeting people like this has a tendency to reorder your entire world view; it did mine. It has been 20 summers since we packed our vehicle full of Bibles and headed off on an adventure.
The adventure of following Jesus continues to this day!
Posted by Steve at 5:41 PM
The early returns are in, and maybe I have it wrong - I just heard a probable 60% voter turn-out on Fox News. Given the fact that one might get shot or blown up voting in Iraq, I still find this day quite remarkable. As a side note, now might be the time for France, Germany, Russia, and other nations to consider really participating in some positive nation building. I wonder what my friend Rob Asghar thinks about today's developments, and the likely future for this struggling nation? May peace and find a new home in Iraq.
History in the making
History in the making
Posted by Steve at 5:15 PM