From May 14 – June 1, Lisa and I had the privilege of traveling and ministering in Russia, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Italy. I preached 26 times on this trip, and Lisa sang and ministered in music several times. In addition, we enjoyed rich times of fellowship with pastors, their wives, and other church leaders. In Switzerland and Germany we were also able to visit and learn at many of the Reformation sites related to Hus, Zwingli, Calvin, and Luther (We always pay for any expenses related to our “touring” of historical sites personally, not with ministry funds). We hope you’ll enjoy this trip with us through these pictures!
Our first stop on this trip was Moscow. As always, it was a great joy being with two outstanding people and amazing ministers, Rick and Denise Renner. In addition to preaching at their two Sunday morning services on May 17, we had the additional joy of seeing their beautiful new sanctuary. Those who are partners of the Renner’s ministry can take great joy in seeing the results of their generous giving to this high-impact ministry. As in previous visits, we saw a spiritually vibrant congregation worshipping God and hungering for God’s Word in the Russian capitol.
Brugg, Switzerland and Constance, Germany
We left Moscow on Monday morning, May 18, and flew directly to Zurich, Switzerland. Our hosts, Pastor Peter and Vivian Hasler picked us up, took us to lunch, and then we drove to the Gospel Training Center in Brugg, where I taught two sessions. Five different pastors lead this Bible School, and students are from approximately twenty different churches. On Tuesday the 19th, Peter and Vivian drove us to Constance, Germany to visit historical sites related to one of the very early martyrs of the Reformation, Jan Hus. That night, Lisa and I enjoyed ministering at Peter and Vivian’s excellent church, Zoe Gospel Center in Zurich.
On Wednesday, May 20, we arranged for a guide to give us a Protestant Tour of Zurich. Ulrich Zwingli, a contemporary of Martin Luther, led the Reformation in Zurich while Luther was doing the same in Germany. Though not as famous as Luther or Calvin, Zwingli was very influential in the Reformation. Wednesday evening, we went back to Brugg and preached at Gospel Center Church, under the leadership of Pastor Michael Merkt, and his parents, Siegfried and Hannelore.
On Thursday, May 21, Peter and Vivian Hasler took Lisa and me to the train station in Zurich, and saw us off on our way to Geneva. We were met in Geneva by another wonderful couple, John and Laura Madan. I had the privilege of ministering twelve sessions to the students at Rhema Geneva, and a few students from Nice, France also attended. In addition, while in Geneva, we visited St. Peter’s Cathedral (the church of John Calvin), the Reformation Wall, and the Reformation Museum.
After finishing all of our sessions with Rhema Geneva on Saturday, we drove with Pastor Luc Favre across the Swiss border into France. He and his wife, Rachel, pastor Une Eglise a’ Vivre in Thonon-les-Bains, France, which is fairly close to Evian, France, which is known for its water. After preaching and lunch at their home on Sunday, May 24, Pastor Luc and Rachel drove us to the Geneva airport, so we could catch our flight to Berlin, Germany.
We arrived in Berlin on Sunday evening, May 24, and spent the night near the airport. On Monday morning, we rented a car and drove to Wittenberg, the German town from which Martin Luther led the Protestant Reformation. Touring Wittenberg was one of the most memorable days of my life. St. Mary’s church where Luther preached was very nice, but I especially enjoyed Luther’s house and the fantastic Protestant museum that is there. The Castle Church, where Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church doors, and also the church where Luther is buried, is undergoing extensive renovation for 2017, when Wittenberg will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
On Tuesday, May 26, we checked out of the Luther hotel in Wittenberg and drove to Eisenach. This is the town located near the Wartburg Castle, where Luther was hid and protected for ten months, during which time he translated the New Testament from the Greek into German. After visiting the Castle, we drove to Erfurt, Germany, checked into our hotel, and then visited the Monastery where Luther lived for six years prior to relocating to Wittenberg.
After visiting the Wartburg Castle earlier in the day on Tuesday, May 26, we drove to nearby Erfurt (43 miles) to visit the Monastery where Luther lived for six years prior to going to Wittenberg.
On Wednesday, May 27, we drove from Erfurt to Munich, Germany (by this time, I was really beginning to enjoy the German autobahn). We met Pastor John Angelina (originally from the States and out of Pastor Sam Smith’s church in Seekonk, MA) for lunch, and then did two sessions for his key leaders and workers that evening.
On Thursday, May 28, we took the train from Munich to Verona, Italy. This was a beautiful trip right through the Alps. We enjoyed great fellowship with Pastor Mauro and Connie Girgenti, and enjoyed ministry at the Rhema Italy graduation on Friday evening, a pastors’ gathering on Saturday morning, and at their church service on Sunday morning, May 31. We also got to see some great historical sites in Verona. On Sunday afternoon, we flew from Verona to Frankfurt, Germany, spent the night there, and flew back to the States on Monday, June 1.