“One more body on the ground, just one more!” That became the rallying cry from Brendo Schack, skateboarder extraordinaire, as he would bait the crowd for one more volunteer.
Brendo, along with 19 students and staff from Charis Bible College, ventured to Serbia and Hungary with European Initiative this December. Their mission was multi-faceted: to perform dramas in subway stations, share the gospel in public schools, bless the poor in remote villages, and teach in the local churches.
The Bible says that "God is love" and that "Love never fails"…NEVER!
Sadly, there was a time in my life when my drug addiction caused me to believe I was a piece of trash that no one could possibly love. A debilitating injury in my lower back during my teenage years led to some very poor decisions. I began using painkillers, which eventually led to stronger drugs. Sixteen years of my life were squandered with drug addiction. After much self-inflicted hurt, out of desperation I opened my heart to Jesus Christ. But even after becoming a Christian, I still felt entrapped by the physical limitations of the injury and my resulting broken identity.
It can be a tense moment when you approach a stranger at Boxhagener Platz in the edgy neighborhood of Friedrichshain, on Berlin’s east side. Boxhagener Platz, or "Boxi" as Berliner’s affectionately call it, is not an area known for having an abundance of sober minded Europeans, but that’s one of the reasons I love it so much. One can be guaranteed to run into a few folks who are visibly in need of Christ’s compassion.
Immediately after hearing about the mission’s trip to Budapest and Berlin with European Initiative I knew I had to go! There wasn’t an overwhelming sense of excitement; it was more like a matter-of-fact resolve. In my mind it wasn’t “Maybe I’ll go,” it was “I must go!” For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about the continent of Europe. I knew that I would be stretched, never having done an evangelism outreach. To be honest, I felt completely unprepared to share the gospel…..but I knew God was calling me to step out of my comfort zone. I had hoped this unprepared feeling would change in the months leading up to our trip; it didn’t.
The bridge’s majestic spires ascend high above the surging waters of the Danube below. It is one of Europe’s most aesthetically beautiful bridges, and perhaps one of Europe’s greatest ironies. Budapest’s famed Szabadság Híd translated “Freedom Bridge” has sadly become a symbol of death. It is the most popular launching point for Hungarians to plunge to their death, leaving this life for a supposed “freedom” in eternity.
A Hungarian stunt man left his movie set and while walking through the city he came upon Széll Kálmán tér, the busiest square in Budapest. Wearing dark sunglasses and standing at a distance, he watched a group of Americans dance, laugh, and then proceed to do a thought-provoking drama.
In the words of the great American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, “Times they are a-changin’…” While Mr. Dylan was undoubtedly writing these words as an anthem to the ever-progressing civil rights movement sweeping America in the early-to-mid 1960s, these words also describe the slowly changing spiritual ‘climate’ of one of the most important and influential cities in Europe.
This past week theMill, a team from Denver, Colorado, partnered with European Initiative to invade the college campuses of Berlin. Our strategy was to follow the example of Jesus, by sitting down and eating a meal with people. We chose to visit German students in their mensas (campus cafeterias). We simply had lunch and lots of good conversations!