August 20, 2020
Bawer (not his real name) moved to Berlin, Germany, alone—but he found community through the church planted by Resonate Global Mission missionaries Mary Buteyn and David Kromminga.
He’s also finding new faith in Christ.
Bawer comes from Kurdistan, Iraq, where many people practice Islam or at least come from a Muslim background. Kurmanji Kurds, of which there are 15 million in the world, are considered “unreached” because very few are followers of Christ.
Bawer hadn’t met very many Christians in his life. And just like Christians have stereotypes about Muslims, Bawer had a few preconceived notions about Christians. He always heard that Christians were violent.
But then Bawer moved to Berlin for cancer treatment and got what he calls “a second chance at life.”
Mary and David, who work in partnership with the Berlin City Mission, remember meeting Bawer first at the language café where they teach German lessons. Soon, he was joining David and Mary’s church plant for Sunday morning breakfast and prayers. The Willkommens Gemeinde (“The Welcoming Church”) reaches out to refugees and other newcomers to Berlin, using easy German as the common language.
“He has been with us ever since, with his ready smile and deep kindness,” said Mary.
Learning About Baptism
After attending a baptism service earlier this year (before COVID-19 caused restrictions on in-person gatherings), Bawer voiced his curiosity about Christianity: “What was with the water? What happened there? What does that mean?”
David and Mary set up a time to talk with him. Even though Bawer didn’t speak German very well yet—and David and Mary don't speak Kurmanji or Arabic—they found a way to talk about the gospel. Mary and David shared about the woman who had been baptized and God’s promise of new life to her.
“[Bawer] beamed when we asked if he would like a Bible in his first language and when we said we could watch the Jesus film together soon,” said Mary. “He told us how our group is his family because he came utterly alone to Germany.”
A New Faith Journey
The coronavirus has not hindered Bawer’s new faith journey. In fact, David and Mary said that Bawer’s interactions with Christians and the gospel has only intensified during the pandemic.
The church started meeting online twice a week to pray together, and Bawer regularly joins and prays aloud. He goes on regular walks with David to talk about “God and the world,” and he’s started meeting regularly with one of David and Mary’s friends for German lessons. During their lessons, they read through simplified text from the Bible that David and Mary will talk about during worship on Sunday.
When a missionary couple got stranded in Berlin because of COVID-19, Bawer started giving them language lessons. They work with Kurds in Iraq and wanted to stay fresh for their work in the field. Bawer even invited the couple to worship!
“I have been working in ministry with Kurds for 30 years, and this is the first time a Kurd has invited me to worship,” one of the missionaries told David and Mary.
Praise God for the Holy Spirit’s work in Bawer’s life! Bawer’s cancer is in remission and he continues to learn about the hope and love of the gospel—and what it means to be part of a Christian community. Thank you for supporting Resonate missionaries David and Mary’s ministry among newcomers in Berlin! Please pray:
- Give thanks that Bawer is in remission from cancer. Please pray for continued and complete healing!
- Pray for Bawer as he continues to learn more about Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Ask the Holy Spirit to continue working in his heart.
- Ask for God to move powerfully through the 15 million Kurds in the world. Ask God to stir hearts and open eyes to faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
- Pray for David, Mary, and their church plant in Berlin. Give thanks for the supportive community of believers and pray that the Holy Spirit will continue bringing people into their community. Ask God for wisdom, guidance, and open doors for ministry.