Despite its post-Christian culture, Germany loves a good Easter celebration. They take four days to celebrate, from Good Friday through Monday. They hold Easter markets and share amazing food. They shut down offices.
Few people actually believe in the miracle of the holiday, but they know the story.
So when a German celebrates Easter as a believer for the first time, it’s a day like no other. For the first time, this wonderful holiday has meaning beyond what they could ever have imagined.
But on Easter of 2017, Anne wasn’t feeling all the joy she was supposed to.
It had only been a couple months since Anne had prayed, “Lord, I just want to follow you. I want you in my life.”
But that Easter, Anne began to wonder if following Christ meant losing the man she loved, forever.
A Secular Life Interrupted by Grief
Growing up, Anne knew about God because of her grandmother. The two of them would read the Bible together, and Anne thought it was very interesting. But she never fully understood it.
As an adult, Anne moved to the city of Dresden for work. She fell in love with a divorced man named Frank. They moved in together. Life was good — until Anne’s dear grandmother became sick.
The sickness was brutal. Anne’s grandmother was in terrible pain and just wanted to be released. So, in desperation, Anne said a prayer.
She asked for her grandmother to die in peace. And the next day, she did.
To Anne, the whole thing was confirmation that God existed. But she didn’t know what to do with that knowledge.
And she wouldn’t for another three years.
Workshop Leads to Prayer
While Anne wondered about God, God was working to reveal Himself to Anne.
Through the generosity of TEAM supporters, God sent a missionary couple to Dresden. Jeff and Anne Ingram started a small church. Then Jeff started holding MyLife Workshops — a six-evening program designed to help people consider their lives and understand God.
Friends invited Anne and her partner, Frank, to go. And as Anne learned about God, she started praying for everyday things — her health, relationships and family. She started seeing God answer.
A week after the program, Anne sent Jeff an email: “Dear Jeff, I’ve decided to become a Christian. Would you come over and pray with me?”
New Faith Challenged by Partner
Once Anne gave her life to Christ, her daily anxieties and stresses melted away. Life was just so much easier when she gave her problems to God! She started going to church and studying the Book of Mark with Jeff.
But Frank did not like this transformation at all. He couldn’t understand it. And on Anne’s first Easter Sunday as a believer, Frank’s anger boiled over. Frank bombarded Anne with nasty texts about her involvement in the church and commitment to Jesus.
Anne was so upset, she didn’t know what to do. She loved Frank, but how could she stay with someone who treated her like this?
Anne shared her troubles with Jeff, and Jeff thought of Mark 5, where Jesus casts out demons.
“Do you think Frank might be subject to demonic influence?” Jeff asked.
Prayers Soften a Hard Heart
Anne didn’t know if Frank was under demonic influence or not. But Jeff prayed anyway that God would set Frank free and protect him.
Then, they waited.
Three weeks after Jeff’s prayer, Frank showed up at church with Anne. Then he joined Anne and Jeff’s Bible study.
Frank wasn’t ready to make the kind of commitment Anne did. But he started asking questions about Jesus and became a regular at church, even when Anne couldn’t go. Salvation tends to come slowly in East Germany, but God was working.
Musical Series Transforms Partner’s Life
Two years after Anne’s salvation, a Swiss group came to town to perform a series of evangelistic musicals. Jeff helped organize the local publicity, and he invited everyone at his church plant to attend, including Anne and Frank.
The story that night focused on a couple and their broken marriage. And as Frank watched it, he saw his life before Anne —his broken marriage, the fighting, the making up, more fighting and the divorce.
The Swiss team gave an invitation at the end of the performance. To Anne’s surprise, Frank stood up and walked forward.
“I knew my time had come to accept Christ,” Frank says.
The response was smaller than what the Swiss team had hoped for — disappointing, even. But Anne and Frank saw things differently.
“I can’t believe how many people went to the cross,” Frank said. “This is East Germany; nobody believes in God here.”
Anne was so overjoyed, she could hardly speak.
Slowly, but surely, God is making Himself known in East Germany. Let’s pray that the harvest continues!
You can help reach people like Anne and Frank throughout Europe! Check out our opportunities to reach atheists and agnostics as a church planting team member, business trainer, community development worker and more. Whatever your talents, God can use you for His glory.