2013 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
BRAUNSCHWEIG, Germany (BP)—Martha Moore doesn’t waste time dreaming small. The Southern Baptist missionary from Tampa, Fla., has learned to fully expect that God will do something miraculous.
Without question, she expects that will happen tonight when her apartment in northern Germany will be filled with students—some excited to be with other believers, some still wondering if this Christianity they are hearing about can be trusted. Moore fills her table with a traditional German abendbrot—a meal of bread, sausage and cheese. She knows there won’t be much left over.
As students escaping a cold drizzle fill her apartment, she’s quick to make newcomers feel welcome in seemingly effortless German.
This is the way she approaches each day of ministry—expecting big things from God.
After graduating from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Moore cut her teeth doing student ministry in the university hubs of Vancouver, Canada, and Los Angeles.
When asked why she had come to live in Jena, Germany, in 1998, she said that she was a Christian and was going to help people explore who God is.
The person responded, “Good luck! Do you know where you are? You’re in East Germany. Nobody cares about God here. You don’t have a chance.”
Not one to back down from a challenge, that’s all Moore needed to hear. Her big dream took shape.
Seeking out the few Christians she could find, she started building relationships among college students in Jena. Fellowship dinners led to discussions about the Bible. Laying out tables full of sandwiches and gummy bears (a variety of the popular candy made in Germany), Moore opened her apartment to anyone who would attend. Sometimes she invited people to meet her at cafés to discuss their spiritual questions.
Even before she had an established campus ministry, she could see her prayers being answered.
“I trust God and pray that He will put people in my path that are seeking and that want to know Him,” Moore says.
Within two years of beginning her ministry in Germany, the students who had been meeting faithfully in two small group studies became known as Connexxion in 2000.
It is exactly what Martha dreamed about—a reproducible evangelistic campus ministry staffed and led by national believers. Today, it has spread to two other German campuses and one in Seville, Spain.
Leading in the dark
As Moore moves through her apartment in Braunschweig, Germany, she lights several candles in her windowsill and adjusts a Christmas light strand that stays lit year-round. Behind her, the windows reveal the grayness of the day.
“We don’t see a whole lot of sun here. It can be very depressing,” she says.
She uses the candles and decorative lights to help counteract the darkness and lift her spirits, but some days she grabs her journal and a fresh cup of tea and confesses her struggles to God.
It takes a lot to break Moore’s enthusiasm, but on those emotionally dark days, she says that God has led her to pray to be the mist that rains down His love in Germany, where only about 3 percent of the population is evangelical Christian.
She remembers one particularly challenging time in her ministry when she had trained several leaders, only to have them move away. Feeling weary, she confessed to God that she didn’t have the emotional energy anymore. In time and with the prayers of her faithful family and friends, God renewed her spirits.
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