It was an amazing experience being in Europe with Paul and Mechthild Clark. We were in the German-speaking part. I taught at two, one-day forums Paul hosts, to encourage and teach pastors. One was in Grandstadt, Germany and one in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. I also spoke at a pastors meeting in Innsbruck, Austria on the following day with Paul and Mike. We had great fellowship on the 4 hour round trip drive. What an It was busy traveling, and speaking the first week that is for sure, but we loved it!
Wendy was able to share in Innsbruck, the foster-care ministry as they have similar challenges with foster-care in Europe also. My translator was moved has he and his wife are foster-parents. His name was Marcel. He is a great guy and we became instant friends. I will miss him.
On Saturday the new Church Plant the Clark’s are pastoring in Bregenz, Austria hosted a ladies breakfast. Mechthild worked hard and Wendy spoke. Saturday night was fun as we traveled to Salem, Germany for a community Outreach. I played bass and Mike Clark, played keys, and Paul led worship from the guitar. We talked about getting more gigs and hitting the road. The community center was full, and the host Pastor, a Romanian, man David and his wife were so kind!
Wendy’s cousin, Pauline and Manfred, came to Grandstadt, on our first day of ministry. They took Wendy to lunch and then we were able to visit after the forum They were so kind to take us to the train station in Mannheim. We rode a few hours then to Switzerland.
Sunday I taught on Philippians 1.6 at the Bregenz church and helped with worship. Paul was my translator. We visited and enjoyed a great new body of Christ that the Lord is building there. This is Paul’s 8th church plant. He planted a church in Michigan before going to Germany and planting 7 more. Absolutely incredible. He has always been one of my encouragers andd he calls often to see how I am doing. Before we came here, we took a team of students to Germany, and he encouraged me to church plant. I am thankful for priceless friends.
Wendy and I stayed a couple more days. We were guests at Mike and Laura Clark’s for dinner. What an amazing family they are. We have known them for years and love what God has, and is, doing through their lives. of course did some shopping, drank some great coffee and also saw a couple of castles. Our time together was well spent and needed after such a busy schedule of ministry.
On the way to the airport in Zurich, Switzerland, we stopped in the historic and beautiful St. Gallen. We had lunch with Paul’s daughter and son-in-law, Stephenie, and Peter. We had not seen Stephanie in 20 years. What a great couple. We were able to see the St. Abbey Cathedral and Library. I must be honest and say I will miss the coffee/expresso there. While I write this I am drinking coffee from my drip-coffee maker, is a disappointed experience after the delicious coffee I have had the last few days. An epresso machine is in my future.
So What are our “take-aways” or things I know the Lord show us from this trip?
- We are called to reach the world, to help people find, know, and trust God with their lives. Church cannot be just a bunch activity without purpose.
- The people of God are wonderful, wherever you meet them. There is the bond of Christ and I sensed that, even when I could not speak the language.
- The power of relationships can never be underextimated.
- Compelled must continue to be missional, sending, praying, and going, at home, across the street and around the world.
- Christian faith and growth are intentional. One does not grow in Christ
accidentally or just because you believe. You must be intentional in your faith.
- Some ancient traditions of faith, may not be pointless and dead, if they lead you to the life of Jesus and the fullness of God’s Spirit.
- German-speaking Europe is not a 3rd world country. We did not pass out food, or do a medical clinic, that is greatly needed and a way to share Christ in other contexts. We just poured into leaders. We loved them, encouraged them, as the mission there is greatly needed and for many reasons, the work is harder than many places.
- We must not forget Europe. Europe needs more churches, church planters, and people reaching out.
- I was humbled to get to participate in the Ministry of the Clark’s. They are heroes to me. Paul, Mechthild, and Mike and Laura, continue to chip away at the darkness one life, and one family at a time.
- Prayer must overcome the hardness of people’s hearts. Whether in German-speaking Europe, Bedford, Toledo, or Holland, Ohio, people are softened through prayer and calling on God, the Holy Spirit to draw them to truth.