Christmas in Germany
Each December, CBR’s Jane Bullington takes a week of “vacation” and works as a missionary in Germany. Here’s her report:
In December, for the 10th year, I went to Germany as part of a mission team to assist Southern Baptist missionaries Steve and Susan Jett of Knoxville. Steve and Susan have lived in various towns in Germany for 17 years. They have devoted their lives to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the German people. Germans believe Baptists are part of a cult, so successful witnessing has to begin with relationship building.
Direct evangelism is not often successful, so the Jetts have devised several ways to get the Word into the marketplace and gain respectability in the community. That is where the December teams come in. Every German town, no matter how large or small, has a month-long Christmas Market in the heart of the town. A few blocks are set aside for vendors to sell Christmas wares, all kinds of German fast foods, and German hot spirits. They sell “kinderpunch” for children and tee-totalers!
The marketplace is full of festivities every evening, and parents love to bring their children out to enjoy the Christmas season. Booth owners have to rent space, but because of their reputation and the draw they have on families, the Jetts have been given 3 spaces, at no cost! One space is used for the very popular Living Nativity, one is for a kinder-pavilion (activities for children inside a warm tent), and one is for a marionette show that tells the Christmas story straight from the Gospel of Luke (in German, of course).
The team rotates among all 3 activities, 6 nights in a row, to reach as many adults and children as possible with the Gospel. My favorite place to be is the Living Nativity. In it, we place a Mary, a Joseph, an angel, and a shepherd. We also have two sheep (a mom and a baby) plus a young donkey. These living characters are a magnet for children.
A photographer draws poeple into the Nativity scene and takes a photo of the children with the shepherd and donkey. A team member prints the photo, on site, and places it in a packet of “Jesus” materials for the children and the parents. In that way, the Gospel gets into the hands of folks who would not listen to an overt presentation of the Gospel.
It is so fun to see the absolute delight of children as they pet that donkey, get a hug from the shepherd, and then see themselves in a Nativity photo. Parents are also delighted with the way we love on their children, and are amazed that we come to Germany at our own expense to share the Christmas story with strangers.
Germans think everything has a price tag, so this gift of a photo and sacks of games and tracts, at no charge, is hard for them to believe. Our answer: “We come because Christ loves us and we want to share His love with you here in Bruhl. Merry Christmas!” What a wonderful to begin preparing ourselves for the Day of Celebration when God sent His only Son into the world to save us from our sins. Thank you, Jesus.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 11:00 am and is filed under God's Kingdom. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.