zehn

The conference wrapped up with one pastor from each region, 'the regional leader,' giving some prayer points for their region - North, South, West, & Middle - there's really nothing going in the FEGW in the former East Germany - not for lack of trying over the years, but the difficulty & opposition is great.

After hearing from each leader, all of the pastors represented from that region stood up, & people gathered around them to pray for encouragement & also for the specific requests that we'd all just heard.


Afterward, we had a few minutes where we could 'break bread' with each other - pull a chunk off of a flat, garlic loaf, & go to another person to share with them (the bread.) Part of the sharing was to be an opportunity to pray blessing on each other. It was a very moving & powerful time together. I was really touched by the prayers & blessings prayed over me... and by the number of people who said encouraging things to me.

This is the 3rd year I've been at the conference, & so far I haven't 'done' a whole lot - just got to 'be'; spend time with people that were interested in spending time with me, usually over meals & in the gemeindeshaft (fellowship :) time after the service in the bistro - answering questions, listening quietly, & trying to pick up as much as possible what was going on around me. I go because I was invited, & because I feel a 'call' to support the pastors & leaders of Germany - I do that in prayer, at home, but also by being present, & by looking for a person that seems open to talk & get to know each other (aka "the hungry bird" -) It's trusting in God's Sovereignty for provision in the connections that I am to make. It's how I met Roland & how Julia has ended up in our house.

It seems that this year, more than the others, I can feel the acceptance & belonging - I heard from at least 10 people that being present, again, is a point of encouragement, for several reasons:
  • Its a reminder that they are apart of something bigger than themselves - FEGW is about 30 churches, & some have said that it can feel that they are very small.
  • Someone is praying for them & their situation - which means that they are not alone, forgotten or insignificant.
  • We have a 'unity in the Spirit" that transcends culture, national origin, & even language. The fact that we're fellow Christ-followers is incredibly uplifting, like being at Disneyland & seeing someone from your own neighborhood, a friend. An unexpected & uncommon love. (I love that phrase, uncommon love. Sharlee M. prayed it for theBean at the Womens Retreat last week, & now I can't get it out of my head. It's begging for a book... on how Christ-followers are to love each other, deeply, faithfully, & without condition...)

    I don't always get to know the WHY of my call to Germany, or understand HOW stuff is supposed to look or to work. I just want to be faithful to it - & to be an encouragement, a giver of courage to others, that they would be strengthened in their faith, & in their God-given identity & their own call. And it also makes me thankful for Hillside, & for the people I am blessed to know & be known by there. Traveling reminds me how blessed I am, & all the areas that God has shown His favor to me.

    Thank you.
  • 3 launchings into the blogosphere....:

    Erica said...

    Louie, when you were describing how people gathered around you and prayed, I thought of how the women did that for your wife this past weekend. This is exciting what's taking place

    TPluckyT said...

    Very exciting news. I've been happy to read the reports of your trip . . . Time well spent!

    I don't know about you, but I like my encouragment to actually be encouraging . . . :0

    laura said...

    No, Thank you:)
    You and your wife are very special people:)