by Laura J. Seaman
In Luther’s homeland today, the sad fact is that few Germans respond to the Gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus. Yet God is bringing to the Church new, unexpected opportunities to preach His Word on German soil.
In Leipzig, the largest city in the state of Saxony, Germany, there is a large immigrant, Muslim community. It is there that our partner church, the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) of Germany, is working to spread the Gospel to those who are willing to receive it.
Hugo Gevers, a South African missionary with German heritage, is called by the SELK to witness and show mercy to these refugees — many of them Iranian — through a mission effort called Die Brücke.
Die Brücke, or The Bridge, is based out of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, a Leipzig church that is more than 100 years old but has gone unused for the past two decades.
Many Iranians, after fleeing their country, find themselves homeless in the land of Luther. Die Brücke provides physical and spiritual assistance at hostels, where families receive food, clothing and shelter. As Pastor Gevers visits the hostels to lead worship, teach the Catechism and baptize new believers, hungry souls hear the saving Word of God and lives are changed forever.
Iranian immigrants are responding eagerly to the salvation and forgiveness found in God’s Word. Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt of the SELK says, “Every time I meet these people from Iran I can see in their faces the joy of the Gospel.” The Word is working so strongly, those closest to it call it a “second Iranian revolution,” and about one-third of the congregation are former Muslims.
The LCMS is walking alongside our partner, the SELK, providing a $15,000 mercy grant to enable them to continue to provide merciful care for refugees, leading them to Christ, their Savior.
Die Brücke (The Bridge), Leipzig, Germany
Result: Iranian refugees receive spiritual care, housing and help with basic needs.