CMM October 2015
Dear friends Oct. 2015
I have found myself in a unique place in time and history. Yes, I am still in Austria – but I have the privilege of sitting in the front row watching God move in mighty and unexpected ways!
I sat at a table in the Oasis (International Teams center for refugees) yesterday afternoon with two teenage girls from
The East. I asked each one of them where their family is. “In our home country,” they said. My mommy heart cried. These girls are alone in a foreign country hoping for a new safe homeland, perhaps opportunity. These girls are only two of 700,000 people fleeing war, fleeing a violent religion, and poverty to arrive in Europe this year. Many of you have probably heard through the media of the current refugee crisis in Europe. You may have also heard the term “10/40 window”. It is a geographic location 10 to 40 degrees north of the equator, including North Africa, the Middle East and most of Asia. It has been a focus for missions for more than 2 decades. Why? This area is home to some of the largest unreached people groups in the world, but not an easy place for missionaries to get into. These unreached people groups are arriving in Austria – at our doorstep! They are desperate, hungry, lost, and open to hearing the gospel!
For such a time as this…
I am in the middle of an ‘Esther moment’, for me personally and for the
local church. By God’s grace, Esther was in a place of influence to help her people in a time of serious crisis. She struggled through fears and questions, stepped out in faith, and trusted God to work. In Esther’s shoes, I probably would have asked God, “Me, really?” Right outside our doors here in Austria, we are being confronted with an incredible opportunity with the refugees. They are in need. Many Austrians are stepping up to help. Each of us needs to ask God what part we may play as this historical moment unfolds.
Yes, I am asking the question, “what is my part in all of this”? The Austrian system is overwhelmed as thousands of refugees arrive daily. There are times the government is turning women and children away,
literally forcing them to find shelter elsewhere. I have struggled with the question of opening my home to provide a warm bed, bath, and food to those in need. I want to be open to what God has for me. God’s call on my life here in Austria is to equip and release women into ministry. I am so grateful for loving hearts of the women who want to care for and share the gospel with these dear people in need. God has prepared us for such a time as this.
The unique situation the refugee crisis presents has provided us opportunity to step up and help. Some of the practical fruit among the women helping in my local church has been: 1. ‘Chai Time’ – Refugee women and kids coffee/games/crafts/talk time each Wednesday afternoon I am a leader and a learner in this group of women primarily from my local church.
2. A discipleship course for refugee women each Friday afternoon and a German class on Tuesday afternoons with two young women in the church (one Austrian and one Afghani). 3. Practical help such as accompanying refugees in submitting official paperwork. In my local church, we have baptized 17 refugees since August, almost all young men. As these men shared their stories with the church, each one told how their journey of discovering truth began in their homeland. They had a longing for a God of love and they knew they would need to leave their country to find this God. One young man shared his story that his parents divorced when he was a baby. The rules of his religion forbade his mother from ever seeing her son again. This horrible rule was enforced and he never saw his mom. Yet he watched as other rules about alcohol and sex were broken again and again. He knew he would have to leave his homeland in order to find a loving God, and He did indeed find HIM! The miracle…a heart revolution!!! God is changing the hearts of Austrians and refugees, and drawing them to Himself. You know God is moving in powerful ways in your church when the 9:30 to 11:00 am Sunday morning service and baptism
goes till 1pm and everyone is happy about it! We have new brothers in Christ, and we get to pray over them, thanking God for them coming into our lives and church.
Please pray for us, that we would walk ever closer to the Lord and trust Him through these unique and precious circumstances.
Leanne, Jonathan and David
This Friday evening and Saturday our church is having a Bible teaching Weekend. The topic is the father heart of God. Along with many from our church, we are expecting 30 refugees. Please pray for God’s truth to sink deep into our hearts.