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The next years I joined outreach teams to Thailand, China, Mongolia, Romania, India, Berlin and Amsterdam. And I always had the same question: “Is this were I am supposed to stay? Jesus, I would do it for you. Leave my friends, family and home. Learn a new language (Ouch!), get used to the climate, the culture...“. His answer was always a calm sovereign “No“.
Where can I help?For over 20 years I was part of the FCJG – Community and I always helped where most needed – regardless of whether or not I liked the work or was any good at it. Simultaneously I worked part time as a nurse and shared my life with others in living communities.
God, we have to talk!
One day I sat in my chair talking to God – and I meant business. “We have to talk! I believe in you, the supernatural God. My life is not supernatural at all. Something is not right. Something has to change. I don’t know how it can happen. Please, you have to do something“. And then nothing happened – for the time being.
A few months later the first steps of faith came. Investing money into missions, that I don’t have and trusting God to provide it in due time? I did it. And God came through with the finances. No doubt about it.
I started telling more and more people at work about Jesus and I took time to pray for them. Simultaneously I was yearning to live a more intense spiritual life that had to be out there for me. The stories in the bible and biographies of faith-filled Christians were plenty evidence to me. Again I prayed earnestly: “God, I want to walk with you more closely. Please change my life around. I’m open to ANYTHING. Even for that which I can’t even imagine.”
Formed in heavenBy this time I was 47 years old, had worked 25 years as nurse and had gotten rooted into many relationships in Lüdenscheid. Suddenly I got a request that simply must have been formed in heaven – to become staff in our branch of HELP International Vienna. No, I would not be able to work a normal job to earn money, because they need me full time. But I wouldn't need to worry about the finances, because God will take care.
God’s yes for Vienna came clearly, uncomplicated and quickly. A few days later I quit my job and four months later I moved to Vienna.
It's worth itNow, six years later, I lead our HELP-FCJG Vienna Ministry. I get to see that God is a supernatural God, to whom all things are possible. It is well worth it to ask him, to wait, and when he speaks, to obey without delay. There is no better life than to walk through the paths he paves.
Veronika von Bernuth
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It is amazing how deep worship can be - despite distance, mask and without singing. The songs were hummed along, spoken and prayed along in the heart. The prayer time that followed was powerful.
It had all started a year ago, when the first lockdown had just ended. It was obvious that our country and its leaders needed prayer and - finally! - it was possible to meet again. Quite spontaneously, Christians from different denominational backgrounds came together to pray for our country.
Shower from Heaven
"We prayed in great unity and friendship. Listening to the Holy Spirit. And trusting that the Lord would hear our prayer. Looking forward to what is yet to come."
Christoph Neuwirth, House of Prayer Loretto Community Vienna
"Such a joy after these weeks of physical separation! It feels so good to meet in person and come to Jesus together."
Ulrike Comer, Bruderhof Community
"My highlight was the diversity that came together in our prayer... across denominations and callings!"
Gaby Schubert, Mercy House of Prayer, Vienna
"We had a strong unity. I felt welcome at the IHOP of FCJG Vienna."
Priest Hans-Otto Herweg, House of Prayer Wiener Neustadt
"It was like an hour and a half shower from heaven."
An Austrian politician
And we will do it again! Being a blessing is so simple!
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Why he is here? Well, his sister had told him he should go. She has been here before. That‘s what one of the teens said on Sunday, when the team arrived in our community. The following day he mentioned, he might as well go home. „I‘ve already experienced so much more than I expected to! If you don‘t encounter God here I don‘t know where you will!“ Those were his words after our first communal time in the house of prayer. At the end of his stay he was overwhelmed and explained how he immediately could tell that „within these walls something is completely different“. „I totally received the Holy Spirit!“, he went on astonished and reported how he started praying in tongues.
And that is just ONE story. One of the teen girls rejoiced how freeing the gift of praying in tongues is, which she had received, and also the third experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
But it is always most beautiful to hear testimonies in their original, so read for yourself what Christfried, the team leader has to say:
„The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!“ Psalm 126.3
It is pretty hard to put into words, what we were able to go through together with the FCJG / Help Family in a week led by the HOLY SPIRIT. The best summary is a verse out of Psalm 126: " The LORD has done GREAT things".
Summer-Mission-Tour-Vienna, that sounds quite big and powerful, but at a glance it is small and unimpressive. Two ministers and three teens with the gospel of JESUS on their hearts, heading out from the Erzgebirge and Stuttgart to Vienna: To herald the gospel, pray for the city and to be led by the HOLY SPIRIT. In the eyes of the world this is ridiculous. But this has always been a precept of GOD: "that HE chose the weak things of the world" (1 Cor 1.27) to reveal HIS power. We were able to live out this precept once again together in this week.
- Worship over the city Worship over the city
- Blessing Vienna Blessing Vienna
- A great bunch of people A great bunch of people
A place of the presence of GOD
The FCJG House in Vienna is a truly holy place, that is brimming with loving hospitality. A huge thank you to you, FCJG Family Vienna!
How overwhelming where the encounters the teens had in the house of prayer. To receive words from GOD that go right into the heart! To receive gifts of the HOLY SPIRIT! We could all get touched deeply by JESUS, rejuvenating our love for HIM anew.
- Good fellowship Good fellowship
- In the house of prayer In the house of prayer
- At the feet of Jesus At the feet of Jesus
Bringing JESUS to the streets
What had to be most memorable experience must have been to worship JESUS together in the forecourt to the railway station and to bring the love of GOD to the streets. HIS presence filled the place and it was a pleasure to pray for people there.
The stories GOD authored in these times were extraordinary: the little girl that gave her life to JESUS, Computer Scientist that longed for a purpose to live, the joyless woman, who laughed with us after prayer.
On this day I (Christfried) got to experience, how JESUS himself put the right words in our mouths at the right time. Never before had I preached without a sheet in my hand, but there in the middle of the street the HOLY SPIRIT supplied the words. Words directly from the father's heart: "I love you", this is the gospel.
That is how we got to see how "the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it" (Mark 16,20)
- Worship on the street Worship on the street
- Bringing the love of God to the people Bringing the love of God to the people
- Christfried preaching - without any notes Christfried preaching - without any notes
To be a missionary doesn't require something big, no special education, no minimum age, no special qualities. The only thing that is required is a love toward JESUS and the readiness to go.That's it. That is what we went through in these days in Vienna. Thank you JESUS!
We'll be back, Vienna!
In Saxon, our dialect, we would say: "risch subbor" (really super) ;-)
Gerda, Annabell, Moritz, Rebekka, Christfried
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Three days, over 1.000 people in our courtyard – and the Holy Spirit in action!
Our hearts were not just eager to sell, but to tell of Jesus and to see people encounter him. And so they did!
For hoursA young man stays for hours and talks to many of us. He soaks it all up, receives a prophetic impression and invites Jesus into his heart.
HealedA woman has severe shoulder and neck pain. After prayer her pain goes from initial alleviation to being completely gone. She is astonished to raise her arm, which she was unable to do before.
BullseyeTwo girls see words of knowledge – things the Spirit of God showed us about them – precisely detail their lives, are totally touched and invite Jesus into their lives.
PersonalAfter a young woman received a prophetic card with a personal word from God, she can't stop crying from being so moved. At the end she invites Jesus into her heart.
StunnedA man comes in limping hard, with serious pain in his foot, and is visibly shaken after prayer – because suddenly he is able to walk normally again and the pain is almost gone. He invites Jesus into his heart.
ScepticalA young man is initially quite skeptic towards God. As he feels both of his tennis elbows healed and his back pain vanishing, he has a real change of heart. For the first time he hears the true Gospel and later comes back with a female friend so we may pray for her as well.
And these are just some highlights!! This is our God! Who brings heaven to earth, who does miracles here and now, who sees, touches and saves the individual… More of that!!!
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Either »rolling« or on a »comedown«When I was 19, I went through a failed suicide attempt. After that my social circles were continually getting darker and the drugs got harder. When I happened to be sober I generally escaped from reality by means of the internet. I was continually partying, spending my time either »rolling« or on a »comedown«. At this point, I was cool to the outside world and had the things the world has to offer. For some odd reason I was ashamed for what I had been doing, never truly feeling at peace in my heart. My pursuit for truth was growing and I got awfully curious when I realized how bible prophecies are supernaturally accurate.
The BibelI prayed to God: »If you want me to know you, you have to make a way for me to read the whole bible.« As if that would happen … I worked two jobs and spend my time outside. A few days later, out of nowhere, while I working, I had a testicular torsion. It required surgery, leaving me in bed for two months. With my new bible, that is. Alright, so God had spoken clearly enough and I had almost worked my way through his word in that time. But I didn't exactly feel like changing my lifestyle and so as soon as I got better, I called up my friends making plans for a big party. Towards the end of the night at 8:00 AM, after having had many chances to turn back, and just before I would have done a huge mistake, it happened. A testicular torsion on the other side.
Jesus couldn't have told me any clearer: »Don't follow your lust, follow me.« In the days leading up to the next surgery, I used a Youtube video to give my life to Jesus. I pleaded with God: »Alright, I'll do your will, but don't make me go through all that pain again!« Not only was I feeling as great as never before, but the surgery was pain-free. In the following time I quit using substances, clubbing and other dark past time habits. During this I didn't go through an inner conflict or withdrawal symptoms – Jesus had saved me.
Google itThen I wanted to meet other people who got to experience God as I did. I prayed about it and went for a walk. I saw the HELP-FCJG sign and got curious what it was. A google search and a phone call later, I knew that the following day I would attend their church service. There I experienced the presence of God like never before and understood that this is the place Jesus wants me to be. The next step was my water baptism in the Danube River, and shortly after, I moved in with HELP-FCJG and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit there. Each day I learn to live by God's will - to be free. To my great joy, I can now share with my family, friends and strangers (e.g. when we do outreaches) of what Jesus has done in my life and how great he and his love are. It's always awesome when people encounter Jesus regardless of what they used to believe. I have seen people getting healed by the name of Jesus on several occasions, finding hope in hopeless situations and starting their new lives as children of God. Today I am happier than ever without all those things that used to hold me down. Thank you, Jesus!
Steve, 21 years old
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We are still perplexed about God's intervention!A few months ago the financial situation of our ministry had gotten so serious, we were unable to pay our monthly credit rates anymore. This was the case even though we were regularly praying, fasting and holding up God's promises for weeks. Only as we, against common sense, started donating money into missions, everything changed. From different sources money started pouring our way. We were able to buy an urgently needed new laundromat, do expensive repairs and pay everyday bills. And God gave us the promise that the remaining credit on our house would be paid off until the end of 2020. Then we suddenly received a donation: the remaining 40.000€!!! Debt free! In one go!
Many of you have contributed the last 20 years with regular or one time donations, that the 500.000€ debt mountain is lifted away. THANK YOU for your help, friendship and generosity!
Our next faith-challenges:95.000€ for energy-efficient windows instead of our old ailing ones
1.000€ for summer tires for our van
1.500€ for renovating our living room
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And it has been the most beautiful time of evangelism I've ever been in. It was really special. A lot of our evangelism times before has almost been like performance, but this was like a complete act of worship. It was just beautiful to see that people were drawn by the Spirit of God. It wasn't anything that we were doing, but just the presence of God.«
Into worship»This deep and intimate worship we experienced here made evangelism just so much easier and more natural. The way you worship here really deeply effects like every part of my life, but especially going out doing evangelism.«
Life changing»For me it has just been really kind of life changing being here. It's amazing how present the Holy Spirit is in this place. I have never been involved with or even seen anything like how you worship. It is the farthest thing from my comfort zone, but I was so drawn in by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
When I started this program I told myself that I would not join in skits, I would not sing or dance in public and I would not share my testimony. Well that all changed here. It was amazing: I felt so free in the Holy Spirit that I danced and sang loud. I even gave a couple of testimonies at the mic. I have stepped completely out of my comfort zone and God has moved mountains in my life.«
Without fear»Coming here absolutely changed a lot. There were a lot of firsts like first time singing a spontaneous song or sharing on the streets. A lot of fear has gone.«
Where the Spirit of the Lord is…We heard testimony over testimony like those from the participants of the DTS (Discipleship Training School) from Perth/Australia. For four days the 14-person team from YWAM (Youth With A Mission) was living and going with us into the presence of God as well as to the streets. Every testimony is unique, everyone experienced God in those days in a different way and very personally. And still one thing is somehow conspicuous: Everyone is telling of the powerful worship times, of the presence of the Holy Spirit, how He has changed them and how they experienced release to proclaim the gospel.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3.17). We've heard or maybe even proclaimed that verse already so often. And how wonderful is it to really experience it and to see how young people get transformed and released in the presence of God indeed.
Love wants to get out!
Actually everything is quite simple. When we come together in His presence to worship Him, the Holy Spirit gives something to everyone: a new song, a bible verse, a dance... And by simply going with what he has given us, he comes with freedom and confirmation into our lives, ignites our heart even more for Himself and for what is on His heart. And a heart which is ignited by Him cannot hold back, cannot stay at home to worship Jesus only there, but it is pushing out, into the width, into the highways and hedges, into the cities, to the people. Because Jesus shall be exalted there as well. Because Jesus is Lord and King there as well. And because he will draw everyone to Himself where He is exalted. Why worship in our church buildings only? Jesus belongs to the streets! Where we worship something changes. In ourselves, but also in the spiritual realm, the atmosphere changes, cities and people get changed.
Simple.During one of our outreaches a 13-year old Muslim girl was standing with us for several minutes, drawn by the presence of God. She confessed that she didn't believe in Jesus, but that our singing was just so beautiful and that she sensed a difference. The Holy Spirit. It is Him drawing people, it is Him working healing. So one woman whose leg pain was healed asked us quite astonished, if that healing will stay forever. Yes, that is the love of God for the people out there and it's this love that eventually makes it easy for us to proclaim the gospel. Out of His presence, out of the intimate heart to heart worship, it's not hard work anymore, it's not exhausting or an annoying performance of duty anymore, but just the absolutely most natural thing. Because we are moved by His heart. By His love for this world, which we were able to experience ourselves. And because there is no fear anymore, but freedom in the Holy Spirit. The confidence that He is with us when we go or rather the confidence that it is HIM doing the things. In the complete dependency to the Holy Spirit, there is no fear of making mistakes anymore. Because HE is doing the things. And the more we know Him and surrender ourselves to His presence the more we experience that release and how He is working through us in power.
Do you know… the Holy Spirit?That's what the team from Perth experienced, that's what we want to capture here more and more and that's for you as well! You're longing for a vivid relationship to the Holy Spirit and you want to get to know Him better? You want to experience how he leads you in worship and sets you free? You want to have a heart for evangelism and you're longing for His power to flow through you?
Holy Spirit I want to know you as you are. Fill me completely and change my heart. Amen.
If you would like to experience that and grow in community, you're also very welcome to join at our place! Just message us here in Vienna/Austria, in Lüdenscheid/Germany or in one of our other international bases (depending on where you are living) and come around!
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By middle of March we wanted to regularly be on the streets again. Around Floridsdorf railway station, where the need is greatest. It's a focal point of social issues in our area that almost feels like home to us. Alcoholics spend their days there, drugs are sold and thousands of "normal citizens" have to pass through there on their way to work. Last year we did outreaches there each week. To hundreds we have laid out the way from addiction and dead ends to God and lots have heard the gospel. And now, all of a sudden it was decided: "Lockdown – stay at home!"
Nonetheless many things are possible…Prayer has power and often changes more than we can see immediately. God can and wants to do the "impossible". That is why we almost spend more time out now than before.
We pray in the car at Floridsdorf railway station or ride our bikes to strategic places to bless Vienna. Two by two we stroll through our neighborhood speaking blessings or we drive our red bus filled with worship and prayer through the city – especially to hospitals and the government.
You can see a snippet in this video here.
And what is the goal?These intense times of prayer are a preparation for the times to come, when the city is opened up again. Our prayer today sets the stage for many people to encounter Jesus and be saved later.
Together with Christians from Austria and helpers from outside we want to do regular street outreaches again as soon as possible. Join in and sign up now for the living-with-us weeks in fall.
We are excited to meet you!!
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Light in darkness"I was really not aware, how Muslim Bosnia is" This sentence was heard repeatedly from one or the other member of our team. There is a mosque next to each school, everywhere you can see the minarets towering up into the sky. You can't just go to the streets and worship Jesus in public or preach the gospel. But above all this stands God and his light shines in darkness. How wonderful it was to hear Jesus meet Muslims and make them passionate followers and see small churches burgeoning and hungry for more from our living God.
"It was a privilege to get to know all these people, worship with them, strength and encourage them in their faith. Hearing their stories elevated me extremely" – Tobi, Vienna
EncourageSpiritual encouragement and confirmation from gods speaking was also received by a group of American missionaries. "Bosnia is well known as a graveyard for missionaries" – with this statement was our meeting rung, there was no sign of discouragement at the end any more. Thankfulness, hope and vision filled the room.
Worship as a key
Also our south-American missionaries/friends Oscar and Dania, who invited us, were happy and encouraged. Their aim among others is to establish a house church and it felt like it already started, when we were celebrating worship service with Bosnian friends in their garden. One special spiritual moment was, when during our worship under open sky a muezzin started to sing and at the same time the church bells rang, while a Bosnian was praising Jesus passionate and full-throatedly in her local language. That night something happened in the spiritual world!
"I feel that worship in truth and in spirit is a key for Bosnia. It was really special how just in worship so much encouragement was released. Worship times like these are very rare there because most of the ones we met cannot play an instrument. I firmly believe God wants to use us there to train His church in worship." – Franz, Vienna
Bosnia needs Jesus!It was also special to visit the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and perceive spiritually. The Yugoslavian war is still present here, you can see a lot of monuments and the atmosphere is marked by mistrust and a clinging to the past. Bosnia needs healing, restoration and reconciliation - Bosnia needs Jesus! And Bosnia is on Jesus' agenda! He has salvation, healing and true peace for this wonderful country – Hallelujah!
"One of my highlights was to preach the gospel in one of the slums at people who live by collecting garbage. Afterwards a woman was healed from shortness of breath and could even dance through the room." – Sandi, Vienna
"I was extremely exhausted and tired before I was on the road with the team. Although I was translating a lot, I was totally refreshed and encouraged at the end of the three days. Even my Muslim girlfriend asked me in amazement that I was suddenly so fresh." - Azemina, Zenica/Bosnien
We are totally grateful and encouraged by this time, all the open doors and hearts and are very excited about what God has in mind. We definitely believe that it was not the last time we were there and we have a great vision for further outreaches and workshops.
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Who cannot relate? To a deep yearning for health, freedom and well-being. The path there can be astonishingly simple at times.
Whoever walks in crooked ways burdens himself with guilt. When we try to repress our guilt it can weigh us down, which can lead to massive physical and mental illnesses. The process of inner healing starts with forgiveness, reconciliation und applied reparation. Even broken relationships get mended when we reveal our misdeeds and seek reconciliation with God and men.
After they heard the teachings many participants of the seminar directly applied what they had learned. They admitted their mistakes, asked God for forgiveness and fell decisions to fix their daily lives on a tangible level.
Walter HeidenreichThe well-founded teaching of Walter Heidenreich on inner healing is based on biblical truths and over 40 years of serving addicted and burdenened people. In his deep love for God and people he explained in simple and clear terms the path to healing and the solution to addiction.
Full HouseWith over 90 participants the House of Prayer was jam-packed. Beside people from Hungary, Germany, Greece and of course Austria, we even received groups of traveling visitors from Czech Republic and Switzerland.
Holistic HealingGod wants to restore us totally – our soul, spirit and body. So after they were prayed for, several testified how they were healed. A young man recounted how he was relieved of the severe pain he was suffering in his back, since he had been in a serious car accident. An elderly woman suffered of Polyneuropathy and was enabled to walk uprightly which had been impossible prior. A Czech man had persistent pain in his knee for months, but then it vanished and stayed gone even under strain. Thank you, Jesus!
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Here, spiritual leaders from Austria share how the ministry of HELP-FCJG Vienna has become a blessing for them personally, their ministry and the whole of Austria.
»Our friends of HELP-FCJG Vienna are a real blessing for Vienna and for us. We value their zest for life, hospitality and helpfulness, but above all their love for Jesus and their passion to make His name known. We look forward to the next 30 years with you. Much blessings!«
Harald Höllermann (Leader of Youth with a Mission Austria)
»Even before I came to Vienna, a brother told me about FCJG and encouraged me to go their place. It was easy, because at a first meeting of the Evangelical Alliance, I got in touch with Paul Maurer via the FCJG information booth. Later, I got to meet Franz and his dear wife Melanie. Since I have been in Vienna, I feel wonderfully connected to them, yes, even more, FCJG has become family to me. A place of refreshment, worship and constant search for the kingdom of God. The FCJG is a strong bridge builder and networker for the people of God. Many young people have experienced renewal and got equipped. The FCJG is a big blessing for the city. If you weren't there, someone would have to invent you. May the Lord Jesus continue to bless your path and that many more people will be blessed by your ministry.«
Sascha Becker (Leader of YMCA Vienna)
»Thinking back of the beginnings of FCJG in Vienna and how God opened the doors for them to serve the needy and addicted, makes my heart rejoice. Even more I recognize God's fingerprint on this ministry, when I look at their development to this day. With them, a verse in the Bible is no longer just a verse when I read: »God is my provider.« A ministry that is indispensable for Vienna. God bless and good luck for the future.«
Pastor Karl Peloschek (Christians in Vienna)
»I am glad that the FCJG has been in Vienna for 30 years and how much our Lord Jesus has accomplished through your work. Above all, our joint evangelistic outreaches have always encouraged me greatly, and I thank you for supporting and praying for our common heart to bring God's word to the people of this city. I and all friends as well as members of the EA Vienna wish you Gods rich blessing, perseverance and strength for your future work.«
Günter Körber (President of the Evangelical Alliance Vienna)
»As Vienna Christian Center, we congratulate the FCJG on occasion of their 30th anniversary! We are glad to have you and for the wonderful and fruitful co-operation in all these years. Your commitment is always encouraging and refreshing!«
Pastor Gerhard Kisslinger (Vienna Christian Center)