Walking by Faith in Germany, Part 3

Through the contact of old friends, two of our number were inspired to go out walking in Germany. These friends had heard of what we have been going through being persecuted by the state for our religious beliefs.

As you will see, it is rare when people meet us personally that they are able to believe any more the lies and slanders about us. See, when we are no longer “objects” to them, but real people who obviously love and care for others, their hearts open up.

Here is the brief story of a recent walk of faith in Germany of a special young couple from the Community in Wörnitz.

…Participating in our suffering, our friends encouraged us to endure.

Fast forward to June 2014 when C. sent an e-mail saying that B.’s birthday was going to be the following weekend. She suggested that it would be wonderful for B. if we could be their surprise guests. This prompted us to get on the road.

After asking all kinds of people at the Wörnitz rest area for a ride, finally a car pulled in and Barak said, “Probably this is our ride.” It turned out to be our ride… with a nice married couple from former East Germany. We had a lot to talk about, even about our situation with our children. They extended our conversation long past our arrival and said that if they saw us again the next day (our day to return home), they would pick us up again.

After many futile attempts to hitch a ride, Barak approached a married couple. They showed themselves interested, even intrigued by us. “Hey, we had already wondered whether you two might be Christians,” the lady commented. They swiftly cleared space for us in their car. They were curious as to what we were doing and where we were going. “Oh, you don’t even know the street address of your friends. Hmm, I can send them a text message to find out. Just give me their cell phone number.” “Oh, yes, thank you so much.”

It turned out she was an up-and-coming teacher and he did computer work in the advertisement industry. They were shocked to hear about the situation with our children and totally sympathetic about it. Without us even dreaming of it, they went out of their way to drop us off right at C. and B.’s house.


Barak and Shalhevet

Once there, we were welcomed in the circle of B.’s family, a Christian friend of theirs, along with a Mormon couple from Utah. C. and B., along with their Christian friend, stood out to us by their sincerity to want to follow the Word. They expressed much care, hospitality, and friendship to us. They are at a point in their life where they want to get out of their rut, get out of their rented apartment with a restrictive landlord, and move into a bigger place where they can have an open house. They can even see us moving in with them. “I can share my room, even sleep in a bunk, if you two move in,” C. said from her heart. B. insisted on driving us to our next destination.

Before we arrived at our next stop, a Christian family, I was getting a little nervous, and my heart was full of anticipation of seeing them again after four years. When they were coming towards us in their courtyard, I had to cry. I was wondering why, but it was because my heart recognized them as two very honorable people, hopefully our future brother and sister!

Our time with them was marked by friendship, hospitality, and heartfelt conversations for seven hours straight. It was confirmed in us that their hearts are the same as ours. They also had experienced very humbling circumstances making them very desperate altogether and wondering how much longer they’ll be able to endure in Germany. Most recently, she had been agonizing to find a real purpose for their seventeen-year-old sons during the coming six-week summer vacation. We were able to tell her we had that for them. So now they are invited. They accompanied us to the nearby rest area where they talked and waited with us until we had our ride. What friends.

Barak squatted down to listen to a young man passionately playing his guitar on a lawn. There was no car anywhere near. Minutes later another young man (they had just met each other) returned from the restaurant and sat down. This eighteen-year-old man was willing to take us to the next rest area. The first man was a traveler and a dreamer and very tender hearted.

He thankfully took Barak’s invitation and was going to visit us. The second man was very open and revealed his entire private life to us. Once at the next rest area, he just parked his car there to continue talking with us until we had our next ride almost an hour later.

A businessman Barak approached pointed to his full car. But Barak was sensitive enough to feel that the man was actually open to suggestions on how to clear some space to fit us in. Barak helped him reorganize his car until there were two extra seats. It turned out that this man had been a monk for eight years until he had seen enough of the relationships among monks.

The family he started lay in ruins now as he and his wife had separated after seventeen years. All the while his heart had remained tender, so that he received our invitation and maybe even a flicker of hope for his life. Also, when the subject of our children came up, he had a lot of sympathy for us knowing from his own experience how much injustice there is in Germany.

It was starting to get dark (as walkers know, time to get home or find some shelter) when we approached someone with an alternative-looking truck. Without any hesitation he consented to taking us. Wow! We are still going to make it home tonight. “You two are lucky because I often take hitchhikers, but normally a friend of mine would have come with me. Today she got ill, so here you are.”

When he heard of our plight with our children, he got riled up and shouted, “Those are Gestapo methods!” He himself tries to stay out of mainstream society as much as he possibly can. He took us to a parking lot five minutes from Wörnitz where faithful Tahar Takif came to pick us up even though it was after 11:00 pm.

We definitely felt strengthened in our faith, cared for by our Father at every step of the way, and were surprised how many people sympathized with us and really wanted to talk with us. It was clear our Father had picked them to pick us up.

Barak and Shalhevet Anavah