A few weeks ago, we sent a mission team to pray, serve and bless the Polylux Community, based in Neubrandenburg, Germany.
Sam was part of the team and shares his reflections:
As I took my seat on the plane, I was praying through the pending mission trip, and asked: ‘What do you want to show me, God?’ After a few minutes, the song ‘Ashes’, by Celine Dion started to rush through my mind.
I pushed my earphones in, and began to listen with joy. As the lyrics of the chorus played: "Let beauty come out of ashes! When I pray to God, all I ask, is, can beauty come out of ashes?" - it reminded me of a verse from Isaiah:
‘…bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes’. - Isaiah 61:3
Then it occurred to me that God might be speaking to me. This might be what He is wanting to show me – beauty from ashes. I arrived in Germany with expectation.
As we got to know the Polylux community, we heard stories, and it became clear that there were ‘ashes’ all around: unemployment, loneliness, depression, hopelessness.
We heard of a woman whose grandchild died in horrendous circumstances, but lived alone and had no one to talk to – the pain was just too hard to bear.
Yet, in the midst of brokenness, beauty was beginning to break through: we also heard of a man who would never leave his house, but through the friendships that he made through a community choir run by Polylux, he’s now the life and soul of the party!
And now, he’s taken a young man under his wing who had found himself homeless, giving him a place to stay and acting as a role model - such a beautiful picture of ashes becoming beauty.
We also took a few trips around the surrounding region, and noticed many instances of lack of life, but the presence of what had been: people without joy; factories abandoned; anger and hatred toward the ‘other’, expressed through support for fascistic, neo-nazi political movements.
"we became a part of God’s beauty revolution in that estate, town, region, and nation...."
But, as we prayed and blessed those towns, despite the apparent presence of ‘ashes’, we could see the potential of these towns, and the beauty that God had inherently designed it with.
Then, as we got to know each other in the team, it became clear that there were many areas in our own lives that resembled ‘ashes’ rather than ‘beauty’: some had lost spouses and parents in the months leading up to the trip; others were dealing with the mundane nature of life; some finding themselves in the middle of unsettling transition in life.
Indeed, it became clear to me that there too, ashes abounded.
I was reminded by God that His agenda is to use these ashes to bring about His beauty on earth, and in our lives. God has given His ‘Yes’ to this promise of making beauty from ashes through Jesus, and we are to be the ‘Amen’, the ‘so be it, Lord’, on the earth, releasing the reality of this promise.
I saw this first-hand through the loving presence of the Polylux community on the Datzeberg. Through their ‘amens’ from moving onto the Datzeberg, to every-day moments of presence and obedience, they brought friendship to the lonely, hope to the hopeless, and healing to the hurting.
Through our prayer-walking, and blessing all that we saw God was doing, we became a part of God’s beauty revolution in that estate, town, region, and nation.
In her song, Celine Dion asks the question: ‘When I pray to God, all I ask is, can beauty come out of ashes?’ In the Polylux community, it feels like the answer is almost certainly yes.
Find out more about the Polylux community on the blog or on their website.
Interested in being part of mission? Every summer we send teams to 24-7 Prayer communities around the world. 2019 details will be launched later in the year.