February 2014 Update
Richard & Julia Rudolph (2007)
Before you eat dinner at night, you usually set the table. You prepare everything so that everyone can simply enjoy the meal. I feel like that is what God has called us to do. Prepare the spiritual atmosphere here making it possible for people to be discipled, to worship freely, and to take part in the mission of God that they are called to as Christ followers. This month we continue to see that this is our reality here, as we continue this goal of church planting here in Germany.
We have enjoyed seeing God gather together many believers and unbelievers at our “Dinner and a movie-game nights”, an event that we started a couple of months ago. It is for the purpose of building relationships between the young people from our church and other young people in the city who they know. It opens up doors for them to see that we are not a cult and hopefully are considerably normal people. We´ve seen the fruit of this event as some have now even come to our church. This last month a new girl came who has no connection with church except for her very newly believing boyfriend. After the event that Saturday, she has now come twice to our church and we are enjoying getting to know both her and her boyfriend better. This has been a great pre-evangelistic door opener and we are thankful for the new relationships forming.
One very effective community building event to “prepare the table” has been our church wide lunch one Sunday of every month. One of the biggest complaints among people is that they do not have real community and friendship. The great thing is that everyone has to eat after church, so why not have lunch together? This event attempts to tear down any walls that could be built up, with the hope to begin building bridges into one another’s lives with the end result of a Christ centered community. We are not there yet, but please pray that this event would be fruitful for our church. It will only go as far as they want it to go. They have to be willing to go out of their comfort zones to get to know those maybe not exactly like them, and this takes some time.
I’ve heard one saying that has stuck with me in ministry, “So goes the men, goes the church.” Our men have to become real leaders in the church. One of the important objectives we’ve attempted is to create an environment where the men spend time together. There, again, is no greater occasion than over a meal. We have begun doing monthly men’s meetings where they can simply eat, talk about life, and laugh together. This has led many of them to acknowledge that we ought to continue to take this further and study the Bible together regularly. Many of them are young in their faith and do not know the Bible well, so we are going to work our way through the Story of the Bible together, seeing Christ’s redemptive plan from “the Garden of Eden” to the end. Please pray, as we will soon try to lift this off the ground.
The Valentine’s Day Dinner was an amazing time and was very well attended. We had an unbelieving couple who gladly came and enjoyed the night with us. Julia had a great discussion with the woman, a friend who she often meets with for play dates with their two little ones. A discussion she would appreciate prayer for as she continues to share the Gospel in German with the hope that it comes off clearly.
This last month we have experienced some hard things. We had the opportunity to go back to America this month because Julia’s Grandma passed away. It was a time of celebrating her life because she was a believer and we enjoyed seeing family. About a month ago we found out that Julia was pregnant. At her first appointment just recently they saw that though the baby was the right size, there was no heartbeat. Our second miscarriage in these few short months, we hope and pray for another child. We pray God uses this for good, as He is able to do with all things; even the hard. Through this, we’ve already had opportunities to meet new people and share the Gospel. Besides that, often the challenge of learning this language, culture, and the pressures of parenting a two year old and ministry are about all we can handle, and so we know that God’s timing is also perfect if and when He chooses to give us more little onesJ We appreciate your prayers concerning this and all of the above. We are so grateful for you!
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