This story starts out in the country fields of Southern Germany in early 2004. I (Mark) was walking between two villages about 50mins southwest of Munich. I was spending time with God and we were just chatting as I walked. God was asking me what was troubling me and why my heart was heavy. One of the things troubling me was finances and how such a big part of our financial support was going to rent.
Then I believe God said to me, ‘Mark I want to see more faith from you. I want you to ask something of Me that will take lots of faith.’ So after a bit of thought I said ‘alright then God I ask that the next place we live in in Europe will be rent free’. I believe I then heard God say OK. Wow I thought that’s huge! Great God lets see what you bring.
One afternoon a few weeks later, I heard God say to me ‘Mark I need you to be very, very flexible’. As He said this I had the picture of a big tree being lifted up out of the ground and all of its roots exposed. Five minutes later I walked around a corner and here was Helen wanting to talk to me. Obviously something was going on. She had been talking with a friend from Munich who had offered for us to come in to Munich and to stay for a few nights so we could have a change and a break. We accepted.
Well a few days turned into a month. At the end of this time Andrea said to me, ‘You mentioned how God said your next place would be rent free. Well here it is. I smiled and agreed, but in my heart I knew that while that was true there was more. The picture out in the fields was of a place of our own, not a couch in a lounge room.
We have discovered with the Lord when He says something, it always comes into being. So the tree was pulled up and we found ourselves no longer in Europe. ‘It is no small thing for missionaries to Europe to have the faith to allow God to take them to Hawaii and then Israel.’ It was in this time that the Lord firmed up our foundations and greatly grew the vision for what He had grown in our hearts.
He sure knows what He is doing. See Blue Pacific Waters story.
Before leaving Munich I was introduced to a lady who had offered for us to stay in a little apartment that was beside her house. She had told me that she was the mother of 3 boys and that they played loud music! Six months after this offer had been made I called from Jerusalem to see if her offer was still valid. It was! On our return to Munich we met and then stayed in the small flat beside the Oberschelp family. What a blessing from God these guys have been. God had placed us with family, and a very special one at that. Rent free in Munich no.2.
At the end of this season we returned to Australia for a break and a family wedding. Our next trip to Munich we flew in via Jordan and Israel. See The Kings of Jordan story.
We touched down at Munich airport in Royal first class courtesy of the King of Jordan. With our heads still spinning, we travelled across to Tübingen in West Germany for a conference. At this conference we received a word that it was ‘not right’ for us to return to live in the small apartment/office. This was a new season!
We had received a prophecy in Australia that the Lord would bring us before Kings and Royalty. We had just experienced some of this word proving true in Jordan. Yet we left Tübingen, heading for Munich with no other place to live, Helen was 4 months pregnant, we knew that this was a new season and that God had something new for us.
With heaps of faith after our experience in Jordan we drove into Munich. We had our mobile phone sitting there, waiting for it to ring and for someone to miraculously tell us of our new living arrangements. It didn’t ring!
We arrived and felt to drive around and claim a building for HIS Tabernacle See Uptown story. With no house for us yet, we headed back to the little office and a wonderful reunion with the Oberschelp family.
As soon as we entered the main room of the office, Helen and I knew that this wasn’t where we were supposed to be staying. We both instantly felt a strong sense that this was wrong and that God had somewhere else for us to stay. What an awkward few days, having a place incredibly and very generously supplied for us, yet knowing from God that it wasn’t right and not knowing of any other options.
Helen called our friends in Tübingen to get some advice. Within 24hours they called back and told us that they knew of a lady who lived in Munich who had a large house and might be willing to help us out. She was currently in Switzerland but coming back in a few days. Once again we practiced the art of waiting!
Well when the waiting has to do with God’s timing the results are always good. Once the Princess, yes a real live Princess, was back from Switzerland we met. What a blessing that was!
First the encounter with the King of Jordan and now sitting having tea with Prinzessin Reuss of the German and Dutch Royal Families. What a lovely and amazingly gracious woman. God was about to truly bless us.
We stayed with Prinzessin Reuss for four months. Helen was pregnant with our son at the time so what a surprise to discover that the Princess was also a midwife trained in England. Wow God when you provide, you really do provide! Rent free in Munich no.3.
But again we knew this wasn’t the full fulfilment of what God had promised us He had promised us a place of our own. This wasn’t to eventuate in this season, God wanted us to return to Australia for the birth of our son.
Our son was now 5 months old and we were enjoying sharing about what the Lord had done over the last 3 years with churches and our prayer and financial team in Australia, when we received an email from the Oberschelp Family. They had an apartment and it had just become available. They felt to offer it to us, wait for it, ‘rent free’. Wow! Here we were in Melbourne, Australia and God was showing the way for us to return to Munich into our own place/space rent free.
We had quickly discovered that when your family moves from two to three people your flexibility and ability to fit into small spaces changes. Wow! rent free in Munich No.4.
As I write this I am sitting in this beautiful apartment that has lots of light and a big living room. The Oberschelp’s told us that they see this place as like the first fruits that God gave to them and therefore their first fruits back to Him.
Thank you God you truly are wonderful and your people, generous. Is this wonderful? Yes! But is this it? Is this the end of this story? Helen and I don’t believe so.
We believe that God has granted us this place for a season, but that there is more. There are a few things that God has said to us and shown us, especially from the impressions that other people have received that don’t fit into this space. For instance team members that we believe God has indicated will come and join us, where will they live?
Before we left for Germany the very first time in September 2003, God gave me a very clear picture of a house. It was long across the front and it had very nice furniture and fittings inside, including a HiFi stereo, etc. I could clearly see the balcony rails, they were chrome with stainless steel wires as the balcony walls, and there was a black BMW X5 in the garage with a boat beside it. Now I don’t know exactly what all of that is about but I do know that I saw it and that I haven’t forgotten it. Helen and I are not here in Europe because of any house. We have a house in Australia that we love and it is surrounded with space, friends and family. We are in Europe because we firmly believe that God has asked us to be here as He wants to establish a worship Tabernacle here in Munich and He wants us to be a part of that.
So I don’t believe that this story is finished. With God there is always more in the adventure of following Him.