All in Europe

God snagged my attention

“I did a lot of thinking and praying. I thought about my fears, my hopes and dreams for the future. I thought about my fears about my hopes and dreams for the future. I let whatever emotion come that would come,” says Hannah. “I let the tears come if they wanted. Only the sheep, fields and river were there to see them. I let any – and every – thought come up, pouring it out before God…and then I left it there for Him to take control.”

Of covers and smiles

“As I continued watching, I wondered if the smiles I saw through that lens of mine told the real story of their lives. Maybe those smiles were a cover for something else, just like the way of dressing sometimes covers those beautiful smiles and faces in their own countries,” says Anja. “In Europe, we often say we are not used to these covers of fabric. We like to see a person’s whole face. But I wondered if we really always see a person’s true face or is what we see not often a cover, too?”

Christmas with a capital ‘C’

“Christmas isn’t just a day, though. It’s a season, a feeling, a thought process that brings us to the realisation that we are small parts of a much larger picture. In the middle of the hustle and bustle, shopping, wrapping, giving, sharing, laughing and caring are we focusing on the right part of the season? Where are our hearts?" wonders OMer Hannah.

Pub prayers for revival

“Looking around that pub at the various people enjoying their tea, I started really thinking about what he’d said,” Hannah remembers. “Praying for revival…In a country that many have come to learn is spiritually dark, have we given up on praying for the people? Has the belief in revival died, or are we still trusting that God can move in a mighty way?”

GPS as a guide

“Lost in wonder at His greatness, I marvelled at the beauty of God’s creation as the car wound its way down a narrow country lane. Then I suddenly realised that not ONLY was I lost in wonder, I was also lost altogether! How had it all gone wrong?” thought OMer Paul. “No satnav! It’s not that I didn’t have one in the car, it’s just that I chose not to use it. And that got me thinking about how similar, in some ways, a satnav is to the Bible!”

God's story never ends

“Every movie, book or song tells a story. They all have a beginning and an end. When a song ends, the story seems over. When the killer is found at the end of that thriller, the movie ends. When the couple is finally together and they kiss on the last page of that romance novel, the book ends,” says OMer Anja. “But in life, the end of a story is never the end of it. It always goes on. When that book or movie is over, time seems to freeze and life as we know it seems to stay exactly the same.”

The ultimate home

“I was recently travelling by train through two countries, which meant a whole day of sitting on trains,” OMer Anja said. “There were many people coming and going on these trains, many people with whom you share space for a few minutes or hours, who you smile at or have some other kind of common courtesy interactions. But rarely do you talk more to the strangers around you, at least not in Europe.”

From Jesus to Martin Luther to Bonhoeffer to me

“I currently live in a VERY Catholic country and have sat in a number of Catholic churches. I have to honestly say that they are far from alive and inspiring in my opinion,” said OMer Michelle. “After reading a biography on Bonhoeffer and other books regarding the early church I realised it was not always this way. As I sift through various descriptions in many books, the one attribute that sticks out in a variety of churches of old is when the church did community.”

A writer's connection

“I finally did it,” said OMer Hannah. “After months of debating with myself, letting fear win the argument, shirking away from something potentially incredible…I finally womaned up and joined some coworkers on their weekly visit to a hotel where nearly 200 refugees live. My coworkers had been visiting for months, so they had pre-established relationships. I was just along for the ride.”

Would you rather...

"If you read the first half of the Bible, it is full of stories of people who made choices when faced with God – many of them Bible heroes!" said OMer Paul. "Think about Noah: he didn’t need to obey God’s instructions to build a giant boat. He chose to. And Moses – he made a choice to go to Pharaoh, then chose to lead the people through the desert. Isaiah, when faced with a vision of God and the question 'Whom shall I send?' was like that kid in class during primary school who always had his hand up to answer the teacher’s question, 'Send me, send me!' almost out of his seat with excitement! This was not an onion soup moment, this was a 'Yes, I am IN!'"

Crossing borders

''But the world needs many more heroes. It needs people who are willing to go without knowing whether they will come back. We need risk-takers who step out and face the difficulty of opposition because it is the right thing to do,'' said OMer Anja. ''We need people who go out and cross difficult borders because God’s name needs to be proclaimed. These borders might not be physical. The difficulties might look different. But they are still there, they are still difficult and they still need to be crossed.''