Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A book, a bumper sticker, and a train ride in Germany.

R. Jan Thompson, interim director of Global Mission Partnerships for the Church of the Brethren, relates this story of a train ride he took in Germany in early August, around the time of the 300th Anniversary celebration:

On the train to Frankfurt from Bad Berleburg, the town with which the village of Schwarzenau is consolidated, Thompson struck up conversation with a couple seated nearby. Heidi and Dieter were from Switzerland, and had been in Bad Berleburg for a conference on the Pietist movement.

The couple were well informed about the Brethren and their relationship with the Pietists. They mentioned a recent book edited by a friend of theirs and dedicated to a Brethren historian, the late Donald Durnbaugh. Thompson responded that he had known Durnbaugh, who was his boss in Brethren Volunteer Service.

Dieter jumped up, pulled a brand-new copy of the book from his bag, and gave it to Thompson as a gift. The book was "Schwarzenau 1708-2008," edited by Otto Marburger, co-coordinator of the Schwarzenau Committee for the international celebration of the Anniversary of the Brethren.

Remembering that he had something in his own luggage that he could give as a gift, Thompson offered his new friends a bumper sticker published by On Earth Peace, that read, "When Jesus said 'Love your enemies,' I think he probably meant don't kill them."

The Swiss couple accepted the gift with polite smiles and a thank you. Thompson soon learned, however, that they do not own a car because of their concerns about the environment and the cost.

Thompson is still wondering, "So what have they done with my bumper sticker?" For his part, he is treasuring the book he received on the train.

Source: 8/26/2008 Newsline

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