Report from Auburn Team
A team of teachers from the church in Auburn, Alabama (led by Steve Lambert) recently spent time with Gerhard in Austria working with the four Farsi-speaking churches. Members of the team tell some touching stories.
For example, Linda Clemens writes, “In all my life, I have never experienced the passion and growth of God’s church as I have here.”
Linda explains that some of the refugees came to faith in Iran and Afghanistan, and they “gave up their homeland, families, spouses, occupations, homes, and all their possessions rather than deny Jesus.
“These people are teachers, professors, physicians, business owners, IT professionals, musicians, graphic artists, international businessmen, farmers, students, and athletes. I have yet to meet a refugee who said he left his home for economic advancement.
“We hear horrifying stories of escapes via traveling under eighteen-wheelers for hours at a time, walking hundreds of miles, and hiding in the woods by day and traveling by night. Most of the women were hesitant to speak [about the abuses they suffered along the way].”
Linda reports that the refugees in Austria are reading their Bibles and voluntarily requesting baptism. She says, “One young farmer had just heard of Jesus through friends at the camp, and he told me that for the first time in his life he experienced peace. He desperately wanted to be baptized, but that was not possible in the camp. He did not have permission to leave the immediate area, but the following Sunday, he showed up with others in Vienna to be baptized. He and the others risked being sent back to their country and losing their lives in order to put on Jesus in baptism.”