In recent weeks we have posted several articles about the overseas endeavors of Charis Bible College mission teams. These reports are full of testimonies of the signs and wonders that flow freely when the seed of the Word is preached in materially impoverished nations. But what happens when the CBC teams go to more prosperous nations and cities like Berlin, Germany?
For the second time in April, Charis Bible College-Colorado sent a missionary team to the capital city of Germany. Their mission was to evangelize Berlin and to share the unconditional love and grace of God with a culture in spiritual need. The nineteen member team, led by CBC Missions Coordinator, Michelle Patterson, worked with representatives from several Germany-based ministries including the team's hosts, European Initiative.
Jeff Serio, co-founder of European Initiative, took the students many places across the city to give them a feel for the culture and spiritual climate of Berlin, a city where only one percent of the 3.4 million people claims to be Christian. His tour helped the team gain an understanding of the mindset of the city and generated within the students a Christ-like compassion for its people.
The team fervently ministered in the streets and public squares throughout Berlin, sharing the Gospel through open-air performances of Jesus-centered dramas, music ministry and one-on-one discussion and prayer. The students used every moment and opportunity, whether on the street, in a local church or traveling by train, to minister to the people with whom they made contact.
As they shared the gospel of Christ, many on the team were astonished by the number of people who had never heard of Jesus. Michelle shed tears over the people in Berlin saying, "Their spiritual poverty is greater than the material poverty in the third world countries." CBC student, Abby Feldhacker, echoed Michelle's sentiments and said, "Even though Berlin may not be in poverty like some third world countries, their spiritual poverty was heartbreaking."
While the overall sentiment was one of heartbreak, the team members did plant seeds and were encouraged by the few who listened to what they were saying. Michelle had the opportunity to minister to two fifteen-year-old girls who had never before heard of Jesus. They did listen intently, and although they did not receive Jesus at that moment, Michelle assured the young ladies that if they asked God to reveal Himself to them, He would.
Students, Bruce and Joyce Ball, were seated together on a train one evening when a young woman sat down next to them and pulled out her Bible. Bruce saw her Bible and asked if she was a believer. The young woman said no, and explained that she was just reading it because she was curious. Bruce and his wife spent the rest of the ride ministering to her, explaining the Scriptures to her while she too listened intently.
"I can’t really say that we saw any salvations or healings like when we go to third world countries, but I believe we did plant seeds. I feel that our presence there in the city made a difference," said Michelle.
So what happens when the CBC mission teams go to places like Berlin? The answer is, God's love is shared, seeds are planted and miracles are expected. After all, farmers don't see immediate results after planting their seeds either.