Learning more about Switzerland — and about God

Walking higher and higher

Julita Kok continues her special report from Switzerland

I am thankful to be in warm Switzerland in a time when my home town, Cape Town, is under severe cold attack.  Cold and I are not friends.  It has been lonely here though.  Nearly nobody speaks English here and I do not speak Swiss/German. So communication is difficult.  

Last week I asked the Lord for a change in my routine and some meat. Now, you might not understand this, but truly, it is immensely expensive over here for a South African.  Every time I travel outside Seelisberg, it is a lot of money to me. So I decided to not buy any meat in order to save for travel.

But, my son Leo, reprimanded me and said: “Mommy, He supplies all your needs. So stop doing this, buy what you need or ask Him for it. So I hung my head in shame for a moment or two hehehehehe, lifted it up and asked the Lord. Change of scenery without having the cost of travel and meat please. This God of ours. So a few years back, there was a missionary from Switzerland who travelled around the world and she needed accommodation for a time. So I opened my house to her for a week or two and that was it. Never thought much of it. I have actually forgotten about her and when I receive a phone call from her, out of the blue, I suddenly remember.  So she heard that I was in Switzerland and she stays in Lucerne, 40 minutes by car from where I am. She invites me to come spend a weekend with her and she will even come and fetch me.

When she arrives, one of the first things she says: “Julita, I know you come from SA and you guys are meat eaters. I am going to take you out now to have some lovely grilled chicken”. Guys, I will never call chicken vegetables again!! I cleaned the bones of that quarter chicken hehehehehehe. It was amazing. So funny the effect of food. Hehehehehe. And that night, when I lay in my bed… I was just in awe of this God. There are big things going on in the world right now. Truly world events that are shaking our universe. But this God of ours gives me a change of scenery and some meat because I asked Him. He takes the time to orchestrate all of it. Might seem totally insignificant to you, but to me…. He knows my name!!! He knows about me. He knows it all. 

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Lucerne, the oldest city in Switzerland

I walked the streets of Lucerne everywhere I could. The oldest city in Switzerland. The religious wars which happened here throughout history are well known. I walked the streets and especially the station. The station in Lucerne is an end point in Switzerland — kind of all roads and tracks lead to Lucerne. Thus the station is a portal for many things and travellers. So I most definitely put my vellies down. The church bells ringing in Lucerne all the time is quite something…. And it is loud. There are soooo many old churches as this is the Catholic headquarters. The bells keep on ringing, but the churches are empty. 

I went to a Solidarity street festival and this was so interesting.  So many refugees from so many nations in this one place. I spent two hours with one of them.

Fadia is from Syria. She says when the war started in 2011 they thought that it would end soon. Two years later, they had to evacuate, but they all thought they were going back home the next week or so and packed only for two to three days. She never went back home. Her whole town was demolished to the ground by the war and nothing was left. She had to flee and went to Turkey. And she did not take a flight or a train…. she walked, travelling with what she had.. What she endured in Turkey in the refugee camp is inhumane. And I cannot repeat it here. When I asked what the saddest part of it all is to her, she said that she had no picture of her family or her home. She never realised that she should have taken pictures wth her. She spent seven years in a refugee camp in Turkey and at the end she was able to “escape” and come to Switzerland. She has been in Switzerland for seven months. She says the worst is that you have to share accommodation (and it is only a small space with mattresses on the floor) with strangers. You cannot lock anything away and are in constant fear of your possessions being stolen or your life being taken.

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She is in a group of 60 people who share a kitchen and a bathroom. The conditions are horrific, but there is no war. The camps are a different war. She has not seen any of her family since that day she fled her home. She is an educated women, went to university and studied accounting, but now she works for CHF200/month (R4 107) — which she is very thankful for — as a security guard, counting the number of people entering the building. She is beautiful, but has a lot of health issues now because of the past eight years. She is so alone.

I spoke to her concerning her faith (she is Muslim) and asked questions. She loved me. She kept on saying: “Have I met you before?? I feel as if I know you. Your face is comfort”. Very broken English and I think she meant my face is familiar, but she said I make her feel loved. And that was my job. I told her that I am Christian. Asked many questions and then explained in return how my faith “works” ; it is a relationship and all I had to do was shine His light. It deeply impacted me. We complain such a lot (and with reason) in SA, but let me tell you, we still have it good. She shared on how she and other refugees had to endure without food (so many died of hunger especially children) and with cold conditions. In winter (with snow), no heaters, no blankets…. And people got sick and died. She is one of the lucky ones. And she is so thankful and kind and joyful even. And she kept on saying how happy she is to have met me. My friend, who I stayed with, took her number and is going to try and sort out a few work things for her and I trust God to intervene in her life. But she felt His love through us for sure. 

And  it changed me. 

Seelisburg — population less than 500

Back in Seelisberg, I had quite a few encounters and I must say, God is so good at orchestrating these encounters. I just need to show up. Do not have to do anything.  Just be available. So it was a tough past few days, I was walking and putting down my vellies till I felt I was going to die. Doing what I believe He leads me to do. But at the same time — what glorious days. I am learning such a lot. About Switzerland, the world, the nations, people, myself and God. Always see something more about God during my travels. Here I see how He loves those who never once even think about Him. And when I asked Him about it, he reminded me about all the prayers of their forefathers. This generation might have forgotten Him, but He has not forgotten them. The prayers of their forefathers are still very much alive “in Heaven”.  It made me realise how important it is to pray for our children and our children’s children. Pray for the generations to come. You might just save them with your prayers now.

Then God had a surprise for me.  A friend from SA connected me to someone in Switzerland who contacted me and said that she wants to connect me to a lady here in Seelisberg.

Oh my hat!!! Was this a God connection!! A Christian lady right here on my doorstep that lived in SA for one year, then went to Australia for 13 years and she and her husband speak perfect English. He is a chef and they invited me, being a meat-eating South African — wait for it– FOR A BARBEQUE!!! The man said: “I know you South Africans, so come for a braai”. And did he go all out!! And we shared all our God stories and it was as if God just said: “Let me put a little bit of fuel in your tank Julita.” 

A special braai in Switzerland

This connection simply energised me. I was so happy to meet other Christians here. It was simply marvellous.

I am blown away with what goes on in this small country. Did you know that they have thousands of bunkers in these mountains and there is even one tunnel that leads to a bunker as big as a whole city. Switzerland is the only country that can in times of trouble or war, protect their whole nation in these bunkers. And they are not stupid little bunkers!!! They are modern, well-equipped bunkers with weapons.  Some even with operating theatres and all. It is mind-blowing. The Swiss are supposed to be neutral, but they sure are prepared for the worst. So interesting to be here among them.

This is a much more difficult assignment than Africa. Of course it does not seem like it. I mean, I am surrounded by cheese hehehehe. But spiritually — so much more difficult. I cannot explain as I do not have the vocabulary. It is to operate from a place of knowing rather than a place of feeling. It is an extremely lonely place in the spirit. And I know it is a place that will be very real to many people in future. But with all this being said, I was reminded of a spectacular Scripture this morning: look at this: “The disciples had rowed about halfway across the lake when all of a sudden they caught sight of Jesus walking on top of the waves, coming toward them. The disciples panicked, but Jesus called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. You know who I am.” They were relieved to take him in, and the moment Jesus stepped into the boat, they were instantly transported to the other side!”

Oh my word!!! My whole spirit jumps at this!!

“the moment Jesus stepped into the boat, they were instantly transported to the other side!”

These are the things and times we are stepping into now. I trust you are ready. Aaahh, just go read the whole of John 6. There is a wealth of mysteries in this Scripture that He wants to open up to us. Ask Him to reveal it to you.

As for me, I have another few weeks of walking, walking, and walking with my vellies. Money is a huge mountain that needs to be conquered also as a transfer of wealth is coming. Just saying.

More walking to be done in these “vellies”

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