Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
All the saints from the Frankfurt Church send you greetings. We thank our God for your continued prayers and support. This report is not primarily about our church in Frankfurt. Instead, I would like to tell you about God’s work in the Basel region. Basel is a city in Switzerland with about 170,000 inhabitants. It is located directly in the border area of Germany, France, and Switzerland. The Basel metropolitan region includes about 1.3 million people in Switzerland, southwestern Germany, and eastern France.
For several years, we as a church have been privileged to assist a small church plant in the Basel region. The group of believers there consists of two German families who moved to France to homeschool their children, which is illegal in Germany, and three other believers. A few days ago, we were able to visit the brothers and sisters in Basel to officially constitute the church, baptize two brothers, and appoint brother Sebastian, a school teacher, husband, and father of six, as pastor of the church.
The story of one of the brothers we baptized is particularly moving. His name is Dominic. He lived in the German city of Duisburg, about a six-hour drive from Basel. He grew up in a Christian home, but then turned away from God and lived a godless life, including dealing drugs and other sins. For years he was more and more often deeply despairing, without hope, and increasingly ashamed of his godless life. As a result of the Covid crisis, he lost his job. While sitting alone in his apartment having nothing to do, he fell into deeper and deeper depression. He became increasingly aware that his life had no meaning, so he began to call out to God. He often prayed to the Lord to free him from his meaningless and suffering existence. Even though he told himself that God could not possibly forgive him, he knew deep inside that the Lord is the only salvation.
One day he wanted to travel to Switzerland to visit a friend. On the way, he stopped in a small German border town, from where he wanted to take the train to Switzerland. But before he could get on the train, he somehow felt that he should go to the city. Suddenly Pastor Sebastian and another brother, who were evangelizing on the street, stood in front of him and spoke to him. When they approached him, he knew immediately that God was reaching out to him. He forgot about his train to Switzerland and simply could not resist the invitation to accompany the brothers to the worship service, even though his voice was shaking, his heart was trembling, his knees were weak, and tears were streaming down his face. He knew by that time that God was leading him there and He had a plan for him.
The sermon about the “rich young ruler” from Mark 10, 17-27, cut him right to the heart, convicted him of sin, and made him realize that he is lost without Jesus, which the Word of God told him and his conscience also confirmed. In prayer, he confessed his sinfulness to God and begged Him for forgiveness. He felt God take the burden from his heart, give him faith and peace. Suddenly he was so sure that God had forgiven him, as he was sure before to be lost.
He stayed with Pastor Sebastian’s family for a whole week. Then he decided to move from Duisburg to Basel to be with the brothers and sisters.
In his testimony, he now praises God for the miracle, as he says, “that surpasses my understanding: The miracle of being saved and declared righteous as a helpless, filth-laden sinner who deserved hell. The Lord changed my will, gave me a new heart and peace, freed me from my anger and bitterness, my rage, my hatred, my addiction to marijuana and nicotine, from my desire to live in adultery and transgression of the law.”
With great joy we were able to baptize him. When I spoke briefly during the worship service about the love and grace God had shown him, the whole church was beaming with blessed joy, while Dominic’s eyes filled with tears. There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents, and so there is also joy before the saints on earth; and what joy it is to see the grace the Lord gives to wretched sinners!
Please praise God for His work in Basel and especially in Dominic’s heart. Please pray that the Lord will protect and bless the small church in Basel, that He will give especially Pastor Sebastian strength and wisdom to fulfill his ministry as shepherd for the glory of Christ, and that the church will continue to evangelize boldly and joyfully so that more sinners will turn to Christ and be saved. And please pray also for our church that we will have wisdom and grace to continue to support the young church in Basel.