Granats Battle in Guben, Germany
A/Captains Patrick and Kitty Granat are dealing with a spirit of anti-Christ in Guben, a little town on the eastern edge of the former German Democratic Republic.
“I don’t want the children going to meetings at ‘Die Heilsarmee,’ and I don’t want them praying to God at home!” These words were spoken by a real-life stepfather who could have stepped from the pages of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
When Jesus came into the hearts of the children of the Themen family, along came strife. This is not something we often think about, but it is a fulfillment of one of Jesus’ promises, “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Before the night was out the mother of the two children sported a new bruise, and the police were called to issue a restraining order. The presence of Christ in this formerly godless family had made a difference, but not all of the family members were rejoicing in the change.
Recently, the Granats have had to be involved in further adventures at the police station regarding the continuing saga of opposition to the claims of Christ. Even the Salvation Army building comes under physical attack.
During the recent visit from the USA West service corps, the opposition was felt very strongly by the team members. Their presentations of the gospel in song and mime were greeted with some interest, some avoidance, and even active indifference. When they were passing out leaflets to announce the special meetings, one of the neighbors ran out of her apartment, noisily saying she was “not interested in this sort of thing!”
This reaction to the Army’s presence and to the glorious gospel of Salvation is new to the officers in Guben. The Granats had served for 12 years in San Francisco at the Turk Street Central Corps, where active opposition was part of the territory, but where there was a steady stream of new attendees, new converts and new soldiers.
“Here in East Germany the response is truly ‘underwhelming.’ It is not very positive, but it takes away one’s energy and eats up one’s scheduled time trying to reach the “whosoever won’t,” explains Granat. “The levels of stress are comparable to those produced in a very active American corps, but the rewards are very slim, and almost always lead to opposition which must be dealt with. Jesus said that the harvest is truly plentiful, but that the workers need to be prayed for,” he says. “Keep Guben and all of eastern Germany in your prayers.”