March 31, 2014: Anne and I were taking a prayer walk through our neighborhood in Dresden. We picked up a brochure from a brand-new pizza delivery store, bought a couple of greeting cards and took some pictures of some empty buildings badly in need of renovation. We wanted to get a feel for the neighborhood and its atmosphere.
Towards the end of our walk, as I was snapping a few pictures of a dilapidated house (pictured to the right), a woman said to me: "It's not very pretty, is it?" I responded: "No, but it has character and potential." And so began an interestingly and surprisingly long conversation with this delightful widow.
As we stood on the sidewalk, Frau K. told us some stories about the area, her own personal history and then mentioned that she attends the Lutheran church up the street. She said she was raised in an atheistic family, but met a Christian medical doctor in a Catholic hospital in Dresden's Neustadt some years ago while she was having some health problems. This doctor invited her to some worship services at the EV Free Church (FeG) of Dresden, the church with which we are partnering.
She was interested enough in the church to pick up a copy of its newsletter and read it regularly. She even remarked: "Yes, I read recently that a few Americans were even going to come and start working with the church." I replied: "Guess what? We are those Americans!" She smiled broadly and said: "Die Welt ist ein Dorf, oder?" or "The world is a village, is it not?"
We gave her our address and invited her to come for coffee and cake sometime. We headed toward home, astounded that the God who'd sent us to help the FeG Dresden start new churches could get us into a conversation with a woman we'd never heard of, but who knew we were coming—and this in a city of over a half a million people!
One Sunday night in Feb. 2014, Anne and I took a bus to a castle in Dohna, just SE of Dresden, for a Johnson Grass folk music concert. Johnson Grass is a music group whose members are all part of the EV Free Church (FeG) of Dresden and we've gotten to know them primarily because of their interest in speaking (and singing in) English. Anne helped one of the musicians with the lyrics to a song she'd written in English.
While we were waiting at the stop where we had to change to a second bus, we got talking to a guy who had come from the Dynamo Dresden soccer game and had probably had too much to drink. He was quite friendly and curious about us two foreigners who work with the Evangelical Free Church. He admitted being an atheist, but shared some stories to tell us the differences between his new Dresden and the old GDR Dresden. We exchanged emails and he invited us to come visit and continuing chatting over a cup of coffee. We were amazed at his openness.
When we got off the bus near the castle, we asked a young lady riding by herself who got off at our stop if she knew which way the castle was. It turns out she's a university student who was also going to the concert and likes Johnson Grass' music. We walked to the castle together. At the intermission I found her and asked if I could buy her a cup of tea. She lit up like a light bulb and we started talking and sharing stories.
Amazingly, one of her roommates is a Christian who goes to the FeG Dresden—small world! She's been meaning to go to a worship service with her too. We enjoyed our long chat with this gal who was raised in an atheistic family. We also took the bus and train most of the way home together, talking the whole time. So, if you think of it, pray for Miss S., that she would come to a worship service at the FeG Dresden and meet Jesus.
We returned from this fun concert with the distinct impression that the Lord is answering prayer for us to meet and converse with agnostics and atheists. —by Jeff Ingram #DresdenInitiative
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