WITTENBERG — Missionaries marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation sense a spiritual breakthrough for Europe and the entire world.
As tens of thousands descended upon the city where the Protestant Reformation began, The Christian Post encountered young people from Youth With A Mission singing songs and worshiping God with guitars on the main street in downtown Wittenberg, the town made famous by Martin Luther.
"We really sense there is some move of God," said Susanne Schmell, a German native who leads the YWAM base in Bad Blankenburg, which is about 130 miles south and west of Wittenberg.
The group brought a few hundred Bibles to distribute, thinking people would be closed but locals and other Germans were practically "ripping them out of their hands" with eagerness, she said, saying they did indeed want a Bible. The young people hailed from Ukraine, New Zealand, and the United States. One young man from Afghanistan loved passing out Bibles.
The YWAM team also ministered to and prayed for people on the street. If people wanted to be prayed for but not in public, they would go to a nearby building. Schmell recounted that they felt particularly strongly that they were to do an outreach in Wittenberg on Oct. 31, Reformation Day. Usually on Reformation Day, the historically Protestant states are given a holiday. But because this was the 500th anniversary, nearly the entire country, including the historically Roman Catholic states, had the day off as well.
"For the Germans, our prayer is that the Lord will not only visit us again but restore the gift of faith to the Germans because we have lost it," Scmhell said.
"We have made reason to be God and we ask God to bless whatever we think. And we need to come back to the source of the Gospel which is faith and grace, Christ and Scripture."
Madison Horn, from Gas City, Indiana, and a recent graduate of Ivy Tech Community College, was there leading the outreach team in Germany for the week. As part of YWAM's program, she did her discipleship training in Montana for five months before God spoke to her about moving to Ukraine, where she is currently based in Kiev.
"I just feel God's presence here; the Holy spirit is moving here," she said in a CP interview through tears, marveling that she was in the same city on the historic day. "He's moving into people's hearts and opening up the things that are closed, the walls that are closed. Those are just being torn down."
"People who would probably say 'no' to a Bible are saying 'yes' to a Bible and that is just the start of learning who God is and about the Gospel and who Jesus is. And this is just the beginning, not just for Germany but for the whole of Eastern Europe and the whole world."
Youth With A Mission, which began in 1960, is a global movement of Christians from many cultures, age groups, and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world whose common purpose is "to know God and to make Him known," according to the organization's website. Today, YWAM operates in 1,100 locations in over 180 countries with a staff of over 18,000.