Sunday, November 9, 2014

Today in History: Two Anniversaries

Today marks a very significant anniversary in European, and even world, history.

Twenty five years ago today, the Berlin Wall fell.

On August 13, 1961, just four days before I was born, Berliners woke to a barbed wire fence surrounding the western part of the city. It sealed off west Berlin from the eastern side of the city.

Overnight, families were split and East Berliners working in the west were cut off from their jobs. Barbed wire soon became a concrete barrier stretching 155 kilometers, with thousands of armed guards keeping watch over the fence in 302 observation towers.

Twenty eight years of division ensued.

A lot of history occurred during the following years as the East was cut off from the West, and Communism ruled across Central and Eastern Europe.

But in September, 1989, protests broke out in East Berlin with people wanting to leave for the west. The long-time leader of East Germany resigned in October, and on November 4th, five hundred thousand people gathered on Alexanderplatz in East Berlin to demand freedom.

Just five days later, on November 9, 1989, the bankrupt East German regime collapsed and opened the borders, giving its citizens their freedom.

Photo from Google images

This touched off unparalleled revolutions throughout Central and Eastern Europe that broke the back of Communism. By August, 1991, it was fully dismantled with the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Fast forward to November 9, 1993.

Twenty one years ago today, our little family moved into the Czech Republic to begin the work of Josiah Venture.

Left: Nov 9, 1993, the night we arrived - Right: the next morning, Dave and Caleb at the front door of our home in Haviřov

What an amazing privilege to spend these twenty one years here in Czech, on the front lines of what God is doing in this country and across the whole region.

We're thankful for those brave ones who protested and spoke out against oppression, calling for freedom in these countries where we now live and serve. Their bravery and vision for the future allowed us to move here to freely proclaim the Gospel and train up leaders to fulfill the great commission in Matthew 28: to make disciples who make disciples.

We're still happily and resolutely committed to the vision God gave us all those years ago: a movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe, that finds its home in the local church and transforms society.

I am celebrating both of these historical anniversaries today.

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