WER GOTT VERTRAUT HAT WOHL GEBAUT – said the note above the doors of the mid-fifteen century building at my first destination point, Blankenheim. I cannot agree more – indeed, “the one trusting in the Lord builds well.”
This formerly Russian-speaking evangelical church trusted God in allowing me to come and teach in their midst for two days, and these were exactly the words of their pastor after I was done: “You built and reinforced the walls of our faith, especially among the younger generation of believers.”
His son, Iohannes, did a great job of translating my presentation into German. I could tell by looking at the audience’s faces: they smiled at my jokes and looked truly puzzled when I asked them tough questions. Iohannes and I quickly developed the trust and found the “vibe” that is absolutely necessary for effective ministry partnership in a foreign land. I trusted him in knowing his audience; he trusted me in providing solid teaching. Together we “built well” on each other’s faith in God.
As I already expected, my travel itinerary started to change right away. My next destination turned out to be not Baden-Baden (which was moved to July 10) but Osnabrück. Their Russian/German congregation peppered me with dozens of questions on the reasonable and, especially, on the historic foundations of faith. Apparently, this material is not often taught in their Pentecostal churches. The hunger for it was mixed with a healthy dose of skepticism and even suspicion. Again, the trust in God’s providence and the Holy Spirit’s presence in our midst provided the foundation on which I was able to build my reasoning and argument.