We've just concluded our last day in Germany. Today we went from the city of Hamburgers to the city of Frankfurters. I kid you not. We saw the signs and we laughed. (We are rather easily amused. And speaking of amused, check out this rollerskate of a car. It is the perfect urban vehicle. Why parallel park when you can perpendicular park?!)
I really like Hamburg. It wasn't anything like I expected. When I arrived, I read it was the Venice of Germany--and with the port, lakes, and canal system, I can understand why. There is a lot of waterfront acreage there! Hamburg is in the top ten of my favorite cities. (It might rank higher if I spoke German, but that's my issue and not Hamburg's.) God gave us glorious weather. Everyone kept saying it's not like Germany. We were quite grateful.
Our host, Wolfgang Wegert, was excellent company, as well. He must be an incredibly busy senior pastor, but he was so genial--it seemed like he had all the time in the world for us. One night he took us out for a steak dinner and the waitress stopped him to say hi. We later found out it was because of his TV show. His Sunday sermons from the Arche church are seen throughout Germany and into other parts of Europe, reaching somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000 people each week. He gave us an incredible interview in English, so I can only imagine how powerful he is while preaching in German.
This weekend, Arche church is hosting a Bible exposition, the largest of its kind in Europe. I was able to see a bit of it while it was being set up. Incredible! I saw one of the original clay jars that held the Dead Sea Scrolls and a Bible from the early 1500s, from the time of Martin Luther. I wish I could have seen the rest of the displays.
Tonight we flew into Frankfurt, in order to connect here and fly out to Addis Ababa in the morning. We saw a little bit of the historic town center tonight and the commercial district on the way into town.
During dinner, we had a serious conversation about what we were learning during our personal devotions and other small group-style spiritual fellowship. Our earnest conversation caught the attention of four businessmen at the next table. One was an evolutionary biologist from the U.K. and a huge Richard Dawkins fan. His other colleagues were from the Netherlands, Poland, and Scotland. They were stunned to hear young men so passionate about God and the Bible and couldn't help but interrupt us to talk about it. The biologist was alternately intrigued and irritated. He couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that we actually believed in God. But he was not the least bit rude. In fact, we were honored by his persistent interest in us. The guys did a great job of presenting the gospel and drawing attention to God's Word. We left that restaurant rejoicing in the opportunity God gave us, and eager to pray for these men. It was, however, a sober reminder of how much of a culture gap exists in Europe when Bible-believing Christians are such a novelty.
(Photos: On location in Hamburg; a popular urban car in Hamburg; Wolfgang Wegert with one of the Dead Sea Scroll containers; a Bible dating from the early 1500s.)