By Kevin Maxey
The Lord has blessed my family since March of 1999 with the opportunity to worship and work with the church that assembles in Ramstein, Germany.
Ramstein, a small city of 19,000 people, is located about 1½ hours southwest of Frankfurt. Germany is home to 82 million souls and is comparable to the size of Alabama and Georgia combined. Imagine if there were only four or five small struggling faithful congregations in all of Alabama and Georgia. This is the condition of the Lord’s body in Germany. There is a dire need for laborers to be sent forth because the fields are certainly white for harvest (John 4:35; Matt. 9:37-38).
History of the Church
Troubled by the liberal and institutional error being taught at the nearby Kaiserslautern congregation, a group of Christians began worshiping in the town of Sembach in 1980. A short time later the church moved her assembly location to Ramstein. In 1983 brother Steve Wallace came to work with this body and labored faithfully to spread the gospel to both Americans and Germans for 16 years.
While I continue to learn the German language, my wife has been a tremendous help with the work. Jennifer majored in German in college and speaks fluently. Though the congregation currently consists of all American brethren, we are making increased efforts to reach the German community with the gospel. We have put up new German street signs, placed various advertisements in German newspapers, printed German tracts and flyers, and invited German neighbors and friends to attend our services. We have been encouraged to see eleven German residents attend in the last 14 months. Four of these have attended more than once.
It is not against German law to put flyers into residential mailboxes. We have taken advantage of this free avenue for distribution and began passing out lesson one of a German Bible correspondence course two Saturdays each month. We have, to this date, distributed over 2,000 courses in the cities of Ramstein, Jettenbach, and Neirsbach Nine Germans have enrolled in this study thus far. We pray God will bless this effort and help us find souls searching for the truth (Col. 4:3).
Approximately 45 Americans who are stationed here, either with the military, civil service, or a contract company, work and worship with the congregation in Ramstein at this time. There are eleven American military bases within a 20-minute radius of our area. One hundred fifty thousand Americans live within a one-hour radius. We receive anywhere from 20 to 35 visitors each month, mostly consisting of Americans moving to the area, working on temporary duty, or traveling through.
One of the biggest challenges of this work is refuting the error of institutional and liberal doctrine. At least 80% of our visitors are from this background. Most find our ad in the local American paper, see that we are the closest church to the Ramstein base, and as a result visit us first. When they discover we do not teach what they are accustomed to hearing, they move on to the Kaiserslautern congregation. Some however, after attending the Kaiserslautern group find them to be too liberal and return to us. This has turned out to be an incredible teaching opportunity not often found at a typical stateside congregation. Over the years, of the brethren who worshiped with the Ramstein church for their entire tour, 90% of them learned the truth on these issues and went back to faithful congregations in the States. I pray this trend will continue.
May the Lord give us all the strength, love, and wisdom necessary to boldly spread his glorious gospel throughout this sin-filled world (Mark 16:15; Acts 4:29; Eph. 4:15).
Eichenring 4a, 66877 Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany