Christian Single, International Nursing

Oasis in the Swiss Alps – Part 2

Wengen, Switzerland – August 1989

105 Joanie
One of our tour guides

On a crystal clear bright blue sky day, I took the train up to 11,000 feet to the Jungfrau mountain with a widow, one of our tour leaders. She and her husband started a drug and alcohol rehab center for men in England called Yeldall Manor. She told us some amazing stories of men receiving Christ as their personal Savior and being delivered from addiction to alcohol or drugs and having transformed lives. After her husband died of cancer, she felt led to minister to other widows, so she speaks to ladies’ groups all over Great Britain and the USA.

99 dogsled in August
Dog sledding and skiing in August.

 

112 Japanese lady ice
Japanese ice sculpture in the ice palace.

On top of the mountain, I watched people ski and dog sled. Because I shivered from the cold and became dizzy from the altitude,  we went inside the cafe and drank hot chocolate. Then we toured the ice palace and saw incredible ice carvings. Rather than take the train, we enjoyed hiking back down the mountain to Wengen. We made frequent stops along the way to enjoy the beauty and share what God has been teaching us over the years. The rich fellowship combined with the spectacular alpine beauty made a treasured memory.  Thank You, Lord, for such a wonderful day of refreshment.

“I will lift up my eyes unto the hills. From whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2 KJV).

Bluest sky I ever saw on top of the Jungfrau.
Bluest sky I ever saw on top of the Jungfrau.

On our one rainy day, a couple invited me to go with them to Lucerne. Friends of theirs, a retired German pastor and his wife, also joined us. Pastor Will spoke excellent English, had a great sense of humor, and loved the Lord. As a teen, he was forced to live in a Nazi youth camp and moved from country to country every year during World War 2. But God’s ways are higher than man’s ways, and he received Christ as his Savior during a secret Salvation Army meeting. God plucked him out of the pit. A year later, many of his friends were killed in an air raid, but he was spared when he jumped in a hole he had just dug. Now he smuggles Bibles into Eastern Europe. He said Russia and Hungary are wide open, but Romania is suffering terribly. He showed me photos of a crowded Baptist church in Russia and let me take a photo of his photo to show the folks back home.

Standing room only inside packed Russian church in 1989.
Standing room only inside a packed Russian church in 1989.

After dinner, we all met again for a time of fellowship, speakers, and singing. One evening, they asked me to share my testimony and tell of some opportunities I have had to share the gospel over the years. Another evening, we watched a wonderful film made in the Swiss Alps called Treasure of the Snow by Patricia St. John about forgiveness.

On Sunday, one of the men who spoke more German than me went with me to the Protestant church in town to worship. I was disappointed in the cold formal worship service. I could understand the German prayer and hymns, but not the sermon. We then returned to the hotel for the English worship service led by Peter for the tour group. I was blessed by his continuing message on the gates of Jerusalem. We had a delicious midday dinner in the hotel dining room and then strolled around the village and rested the remainder of the day.

Hotel dessert buffet was delicious!
The delicious hotel dessert buffet

I have fun speaking German again, although I’m rusty. My German has come in handy a few times on the different day trips, but many Swiss people speak excellent English. Citizens are required to learn German, French, Italian, and English in the public schools. Their fluency in languages puts most Americans to shame.

Another day I  enjoyed visiting Ballenberg, a Swiss open-air museum village with houses from previous centuries. The cheesemaker and woodcarver fascinated me. We single ladies had a delightful picnic in the woods.

61 making Swiss cheese
Making Swiss cheese over the fire.

 

62 woodcarver
The woodcarver makes a horse.

Another day, we hiked through the lush green valley beside the river to Trummelbach Falls. We paused to watch the farmers rake freshly cut hay by hand, reminding me of the Amish back home. On the last day, I visited a real castle on Lake Thun. I pretended to be a damsel in distress hanging out the castle window, but no prince charming appeared:) The relaxing boat ride back on the lake perfectly ended my wonderful two weeks in the Swiss Alps.

A damsel in distress?
A damsel in distress?

After breakfast the next morning, we all boarded the train to the Zurich airport. I could not hold back my tears when I said goodbye to everyone before we boarded the plane. Someday I will worship God together again with these dear brothers and sisters in heaven. I am glad that goodbye is not forever for us.

Reflections

In a recent prayer letter from missionaries in Romania, they reported wide-open doors to share the gospel in high school assemblies with hundreds of young people who are hungry to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. It will be wonderful to learn in heaven how God used the Bibles Pastor Will smuggled to them for years when they lived behind the Iron Curtain.

We need to pray for persecuted believers around the world to be strong in Him. May we all keep “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

 

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