Back in September I was in Berlin for an emerging leader initiative. Even then the city was gearing up for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall-and with it communism in Europe. Of course last week on November 9th the actual 20th anniversary was marked by many festivities in Berlin. As one watched the international media you saw Angela Merkel, Gordon Brown, Hillary Clinton, and Mikhail Gorbachev. Credit was given to the people of East Germany-and to Gorbachev and Reagan as would be architects of this monumental moment. It was amazing to witness the crowds, the fireworks and the long domino like symbol of the tumbling of the wall.
What you didn’t hear in the media was the story of Wilfred and Hannelore Weist. We spent an evening with this wonderful couple as they told us of the hand of God in the collapse of the Berlin wall. They explained how for years East German Christians gathered for prayer. Every Monday they and many others in a prayer network would secretly meet to pray for East Germany-for the persecuted believers at the hands of the Stasi (the East German secret police) and for the wall to go down. Each Wednesday at noon when the East German government would do a trial run of their emergency warning horn over the city-Christians would pray. A few nights before the mass gathering that is credited with the fall of the wall-hundreds of Christians gathered on the east side of the wall to peacefully protest the domination and injustice. That protest is what gave rise to the following one. Hannelore and Wilfred talked of how they trusted God for years to take down the wall that separated the German nation and provided a fertile field for tyranny. They confidently stated how they knew that it was God who broke down the will of the tyrants-not back room politics between the U.S. and USSR. As you can tell by their picture-this couple is jubilant-their joy is contagious and makes you wonder what role persecution plays in developing real joy. Hannelore and Wildfred still live on the east side of the city-and they are still ministering to all who will listen about the love of Christ that marked them in profound ways before and after the fall of the Berlin wall.