Changing the world always begins over coffee

“The church needs to change….maybe in the future it could be in a cafe like this, just a few people sitting around drinking coffee, praying, and reading the Bible. People can be so narrow-minded.”

No, I wasn’t in America listening to young people vent about the church.  I was sipping coffee in Croatia with three Bosnian friends, students at a seminary.  As they went back and forth, sharing their visions and dreams, hopes and frustrations, I had the sense to remain quiet as a mouse, soaking in the moment.  Was I listening to future history being written?  A thrill passed through me as I realized that these young men would likely be some of the  second generation leaders of a still-young Bosnian Evangelical church—a church forged largely through the horrors of war and its aftermath.

“What is a pastor, anyway? How does someone decide if you are a pastor or not? What does the church in Bosnia need?”

All of a sudden, one of my friends stopped talking and looked at me, humor hovering around the corners of his mouth.  “We better be careful about what we say….this might end up in a book someday.”  I laughed and urged them to keep talking.  “How can you see it changing?  How would you contribute?” I asked.

Another friend looked at me and smiled.  “I don’t know,” he said.  The other said, “I guess it is up to God.”

I thought about some of the first generation Bosnian Christians I had interviewed. Their stories—often fraught with pain and tragedy—told of radical conversion during the war, sometimes being thrown into leadership when they were barely taking their first steps as Christians.   “Be careful, ” I said, treading gingerly on words I was not sure I was entitled to speak.  “Remember they have laid the foundation for you, and it sounds like it has been a very difficult task.”

He smiled, “We know. We respect them and what they have done. Maybe it was so hard  they have just dug the holes for the foundation.”

Two hours passed quickly and soon we were piling on our jackets and tromping out the door.  “I think you would fit better in Bosnia,” one said to me.  “You have a similar spirit to ours.”

True?  I don’t know…but I certainly felt honored at the compliment and invigorated by the conversation—and I don’t think that it was just a caffeine buzz!


7 responses to “Changing the world always begins over coffee

  1. “Will this Rock in Rio?” by Ken Lottis is the book I’m reading. You might find it interesting- it was pretty revolutionary evangelism back in the 60s and 70s by two Navigator missionaries in Brazil-Corinna

  2. Terry Vanderslice

    I am so glad that you are there to listen, thank you for sharing. Please tell them that in The Woodlands we are thinking of them and praying for them…and for their countries. A small group just finished The Tiger’s Wife. Have you read this?

    • Melody Wachsmuth

      Terry…yes I have read it and really enjoyed it. The way it was written really helped me glean a deeper perspective on the culture.

  3. On the verge of something big, Melody. How cool that they want you to be part of it!! You’ve assimilated well. Does it mean we’ll be going to Croatia to visit you in a few years from now??

  4. First, knowing you, you would have to drink a lot of coffee for that caffeine buzz 🙂 Second, you are witnessing some powerful and amazing stuff!! love reading your stories and learning from them….so great

  5. Coffee buzz, good conversation, looking to the future of what God is doing, and bringing the history and respect of the previous leaders with us. 🙂

  6. Hi Melody,
    That was an interesting conversation. I am glad you are feeling comfortable with your hosts and they can also see it. What a blessing! Trust you are keeping warm and making progress with the language.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s