Austria

New Friends in the Park

August 24, 2018

The Building Bridges Experience outreach took place in Graz, Austria during the first week of June 2018 in connection with a local Christian partner organisation. This organisation has many contacts among refugees and offers various programmes for them. The team aimed to come into contact with (Muslim) refugees and share the gospel with them. As the 10 participants themselves came from eight different countries, there were many intercultural encounters already within the team.

Mornings were reserved for prayer, praise and seminars about intercultural ministry and interaction with Muslims. The participants really appreciated the teaching, as they learned many new things about interacting with Muslims, or persons from other cultures in general.

Afternoons were spent mainly in a nearby park, trying to come into contact with refugees, using simply ways like sports. It was encouraging for all to see how quickly and easily conversations started. The outreach was a big encouragement for all involved. The contacts made will be followed up and cared for by the partner organisation.

Here are some comments from the participants:

N. from Scotland: “I realised again how important it is to cooperate as a team and that together we are the body of Christ. We rejoice over each meaningful conversation no matter who’s having it.”

J. from the Netherlands: “We learned so much about different cultures. The outreach really has inspired me and shown me how much God loves people from each and any country.”

I. from the Netherlands: “It was great to see the openness and interest in many of the refugees regarding faith. I was encouraged to share more with them about God’s love and the good news.”

R. from the States: “I learned afresh how much happens through prayer. I also realised again how much I need the support and encouragement from my brothers and sisters to not become discouraged.”

S. from Iran: I have learned that God’s love is very big, and we can love other people as he loves us. I was also challenged to share more openly with Muslims about my faith.”