This last week, I had the opportunity to be in Berlin with the leadership of our mission, Greater Europe Mission. We took a break from our meetings to go into a part of Berlin and do some Prayer Walking or as some call it, Spiritual Mapping. (If you don’t know what this is, I would suggest doing a web search on the topic – great stuff) Essentially, this is where you ask God to reveal to you what it is He is doing in the area and open up your eyes to see what the state of the area is spiritually through praying and speaking with people. I want to share with you a couple of conversations I got to be a part of during this time (this blog is 1 conversation, I’ll blog the another one later).
I went on this adventure with Charles, a missionary based in France, and therefore I became the interpreter since I knew more German (scary). As we were walking, a young man, whom we later found out to be named Stefan, approached us asking if we lived in Berlin. He held a stack of papers like he was doing some sort of survey. As it turns out, he was getting people who lived in Berlin to sign a petition to allow students to have the choice of taking a religion course instead of ethics. Currently, everyone is required to take ethics but if they want to take a religion course, it is only offered after normal school hours.
The conversation went a little something like this:
Stefan: We think that students should have the choice of attending religion courses instead of just ethics classes.
Us: What grades are we talking about?
Stefan: 1st grade through 4th grade and higher.
Us: Do the parents of the child choose or does the child choose him/herself?
Stefan: No, no, the child chooses for himself.
Us: Do you believe a child at that age can really choose for themselves?
Stefan: Oh yes. Parents shouldn’t be choosing these things for their children.
Us: What religion would the religion classes be about?
Stefan: They can choose which religion. They should offer Christianity (remember, that would be Catholic or Lutheran here in Germany), Judaism, Islam, and other worldly religions study (think New Age along with a mixture of Eastern Religions).
Us: Do you believe in religion?
Stefan: Yes, of course.
Us: Do you believe in God?
Stefan: Yes, I believe in God. I’m a Christian.
Us: Catholic or Lutheran?
Stefan: Oh, I don’t go to church. Church is not for me. I don’t do anything with it. But I do have and read the Bible.
Us: Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?
Stefan: Well, the Bible has a lot of things in it that are really good for people to know but I don’t think I believe it is the Word of God.
Us: We believe that God hears our prayers and answers them. May we pray for you?
Stefan: (very shocked look on his face) Um, well, OK. You really want to pray for me?
Us: Yes, is there anything we can pray for you for?
Stefan: Yes, I’m going to have to leave school soon to do my required 9 months in the German army. I’ll be away from my family. Please pray for that time period.
Us: Good. Let’s pray then.
Stefan: You mean you are going to pray right now, here?
Us: Yes. Is that OK with you?
Stefan: Yes, that is OK. Can I then pray for you?
Us: We would love that.
We then prayed right there on the street with him. We continued to pray for him even after we left and as I write this, I continue to pray for Stefan. Would you pray with us too?
Tomorrow, I’ll post another conversation we had that day.