It’s been an incredible week in Cologne. We have been stretched in many ways, but blessed beyond measure. More stories to come but all of the team has left Cologne except for Nate who will return on Sunday.
Nate went out to serve coffee at Chorweiler last night while the rest of us packed cleaned the apartment for our early morning departure. He had some significant gospel-centered conversations with some Muslims.
Thursday night we were able to minister to a man who was most likely a heroin addict and was in a pretty bad condition. The Lord really put us out if our comfort zones.
We will post more stories from the team as we have time to reflect. Thanks for your prayers. Looking forward to seeing the fruit from the trips.
Just a quick update before we head out to the grill party in the park. We have continued to split up and everyone has had ministry opportunities. New connections, great follow-up meetings. Began our day today by praying as we circled around the new mosque here in the city. I’m told it might be the largest one in Western Europe. Praying that the Lord would reveal Himself to the followers of Islam.
More follow-up meetings tomorrow (Friday) then everyone packs up as most are leaving early Saturday. Thank you for your continued prayers!
Thank you for continuing to pray for the city of Cologne. Many times we will show the people here our “Köln One Life at a Time” wristbands. The response is usually a mix of surprise and very often the comment “Good. Cologne needs prayer.”
Although a city where 99% are far from God, more often than not our experience has been that people are interested and open to discussing spiritual things. Perhaps they are curious about the faith of so many in America. And also surprising is that generally they have respect for authentic Christ followers but not much respect for the traditional church. It just seems like we need more workers in the field here…
We began the day with a time of Bible study and prayer and then split up for a day on the streets. All of us engaged with many people today, were able to share the gospel, got contact info and invited them to our Thursday cookout. One of the things we’ve learned is to get an email address or phone number of people we speak with. That way we can follow up with them a day or two later.
Following up with a connection made by Richard and Kevin’s trip earlier this year, I connected with a Muslim man named A. We talked about Jesus and how even A’s holy book says that Issa (Jesus) was born of a virgin, was sinless and takes away the sins of the world. We prayed together that God would reveal Himself to him. I gave him the gospel of John in German but he said he wanted it in English because he could not read German very well. He is from Ghana, and then lived in Spain. Because of the bad economy, he moved to Germany. So, Cindy and Tawnda went on a quest to find an English Bible. After 4 bookstores and lots of conversations, they found one and took it to him. He was happy to have a New Testament in English. I will continue to follow up with him this week. Many times Muslims put their trust in Jesus because they saw a man wearing brilliantly white clothes in a dream. Would you join me in praying that Jesus would reveal Himself to A this way?
Fran and Jessica have been able to reach out to moms and grandparents with young kids. All of us have made good connections. From Fran:
There was Josef Pelzer, the artist that we met just coming out of the train station. Josef approached us as we were taking pictures of a water fountain just outside the train station. He offered to take our picture with our camer if we would return the favor for him. As we began talking with him, I pulled out the cookout invitation card and invited him to come and join us with Nate’s translating our conversations. He seemed very excited to come and see us again. We asked him for his information so that we could follow up with him and look forward to seeing him on Thursday!
Then the family we met at the persian cafe: Ella (Grandma), Paul (Grandpa)–ironically enough is a carpenter, and the children: Cedric, Lara, and Kim
After we left Josef, we were hungry and searching for a good fruitful place to eat. Most of the cafes were empty by this time and so we walked down the street a little. We wanted to eat where there were people that we could potentially talk to. We prayed a little and asked where we needed to go. We ended up in front of a Persian cafe where two elderly people and three children were sitting at table outside. We ordered our food and sat down at the table next to them. We were trying to prompt Jessica into making the first move (a big step for her) by offering the children a Gospel bracelet. She was a little nervous so I pulled the Journey’s with the Messiah table book out of my backpack and started showing it to Nate (making sure the family could see the pictures). The boy (Cedric) and Grandfather (Paul) kept looking over. Finally Nate opened the conversation by asking if they were enjoying their pizza… the rest was history… It turned out that the Grandparents spoke English fairly well. Jessica and I offered the children bracelets and a few other items that I had in my back pack. The Grandparents were very warm and friendly. The children were a little shy and spoke very little english, but the Grandparents were happy to translate. We invited them to the cookout and they gave us not only their phone number but also their address. The boy immediately warmed up to Jessica and instigated a great game of tag, which Jessica and the older daughter Lara were only happy to oblige. While the older children were playing tag, the yougest girl Kim asked me something in German… The grandmother translated the qustion: “Why are you giving us these things for free?” I was able to answer her in German: “Ich liebe Dich!” Kim smiled, we all hugged with promises of follow up and them looking forward to the cookout on Thursday. In parting, Ella told me of a surgery that she had endured that is healing too slowly due to her diabetes. We will continue to pray for her healing and this family.
Shortly after the family left, we noticed the gentleman that worked in the cafe sitting at the table behind us. Nate moved over to his table and began conversation, then Jessica… then I did… We all sat and talked with H for about 20 minutes. We discovered that he had been in Germany for 6-8 months and that his wife is German. He also has a three year old little boy. I invited him to the cook out but he graciously declined. A customer arrived so he had to serve them. As he was walking into the cafe, he told us that he would be back. We waited and talked with him some more. I tried again to invite him or at least his wife and come to the cookout, but again he graciously declined. He was very warm to our conversations and wanted us to connect with him on facebook so that he could keep up with us. We left with the promise of sending other friends his way. We are praying that the seeds we planted in him today may bear fruit with further contact.
Even as I write this, Nate is heading out to follow up with J – a Bosnian – who just called him and wants to talk with him about some things on his heart. Pray for Nate’s meeting with J.
This morning commenced with Evangelism Training and time of prayer. (However, the day started out a few hours earlier for those devoted individuals who got out at daybreak for a walk or run along the river….Not mentioning anyone specifically, but those who have names beginning with anything other than “t” were able to get some much needed rest.)
We divided into 4 teams for the day:
Team 1: This 3 member team went to a local park where they engaged with German children. They had the opportunity to share the basic simple truths of the gospel utilizing special bracelets. These little girls also had the opportunity to learn the words to the “Wordless Book Song” with the aid of a 7 year old translator. It was a great day for all involved!
Team 2: This artistic duo headed to a local school for musicians after spending time in a Turkish neighborhood looking for opportunities to interact and engage with Muslims during Ramadan. Their day ended with a lengthy, encouraging dialogue with a local artistic couple. There will be follow up with them again this week…
Team 3: This team headed out to Mulheim and to Holweide where they were able to minister to a local Romanian family. This family has been without employment for some time and requested prayer for their circumstances. (Pray they accept the invitation to Thursday’s BBQ party in the park ….and ultimately, that they accept the most important invitation of their lives!) In addition to this sweet family, Team 3 intersected with a number of local Turkish Muslims and an English speaking Barber from Ghana. (Pray his eyes will soon be open to the one and only True God.)
Team 4: This crew began the day engaging with the owner of a local Turkish bakery. As they left the shop, they saw the local fire department responding to a fire alarm which prompted the thought, “hey – has anyone visited the local fire station?” The day ultimately included extended dialogue with a total of 6 firefighters at 2 stations. They have a follow up visit on Friday at one of the stations where relationship equity is being established. A firefighter at the other station was open to dialogue, revealing much of his own “story” and a few personal prayer requests. He was invited to Thursday’s BBQ & encouraged to bring his family as well as other firefighters from his station. (Pray that he will!) As the day concluded, several Turkish Muslims, and 2 couples in the park were among the people greeted, engaged and prayed for.
It was a hot day in Cologne today… we are all tired and some a bit dehydrated. Pray for a solid night of sleep (and a wave of COOL air to invade the city for the next few days…there is no A/C. A cool breeze would be welcome.
Thank you for supporting us through your prayers and encouragement. We are excited about the next 4 days of evangelism and look forward to seeing what God has in store for us….and for the people of Cologne!
blessings to all,
Everyone got a good night of sleep on Saturday after being up all night the day before. Having arrived a day early, Nate stayed out late last night to serve drinks at a train station with Jim, a GEM team member here. He had some good conversations and we will hopefully see some if them again on Thursday.
First thing this morning we headed out for the trip via train and bus to a park area south of town on the Rhine River for Jenni’s baptism service.
Tim met Jenni last October during a trip to Cologne made by some FBCers. Her heart was very open to the gospel and a GEM woman in Cologne followed up with her and has been meeting with her weekly since then. Jenni wanted to be baptized and she invited many of her friends and relatives who came to witness it. Tim spoke before the baptism and was able to present the gospel to everyone and explain what baptism was all about.
Everyone waded together into the river for the baptism and then we all celebrated together over a cookout. Each of us were able to have follow up conversations with folks there and we have a few appointments for one on one meetings later this week. :-)
On the train ride home Tawnda was able to share with an older woman who sat next to her. Tawnda had written out her testimony in German and gave it to her along with her e-mail address.
Everyone is feeling very encouraged by our day today and looking forward to a week of ministry to the wonderful people of Cologne!
The team finished up our final day on Friday with a free morning and a concert featuring Kevin at a small art studio. Kevin was joined by our new German friends Tobias and Micha. We had the opportunity to share with some folks individually and Kevin shared his testimony during the concert. It’s been an incredible week with an incredible team. We feel as if we were really able to help with the work tjast is going on in Cologne. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for Köln!
Team 6 arrived safely this morning and is getting settled in. No one slept much on the plane so we are trying to keep everyone outside and moving as much as possible. Another week of ministry in Cologne begins tomorrow!
This evening (Thursday) we had a cookout in a park with the GEM team. We had invited folks during the week to join us for this. One young man named P showed up and we had a long conversation about the gospel. He was very interested and was touched by the demonstration of love by the team. We plan to meet again in the next week.
Stuart was engaged in a long conversation as well. Following the cookout he and a GEM team member went to a local mosque to join in the sunset dinner they have during Ramadan.
Tomorrow is a cleanup day in preparation for team 6, then Kevin Wyglad will play in a concert at a local art studio tomorrow night. It’s been a great week and we appreciate your prayers!