This past few days we have been in Switzerland, visiting the Church of God in Zurich. What a splendid time we had. We were hosted by Pastor Uli and his son-in-law Scott (who originally hails from California but has been living in Germany for 11 years). The Church of God in Switzerland celebrated its 100th anniversary in November! This is quite an accomplishment.
Many people in the USA do not even know we have a Church of God in Zurich. But we do. A few years ago the church went through some hard times and dwindled down to five people. But three years ago, Pastor Uli decided to drive from his home church in Pforzheim, Germany to Zurich two weeks out of the month to pastor in Zurich also. It's tiring, but his work has paid off as the church is growing again. Like many small churches, there are many challenges in staying encouraged. But we believe in them and were very impressed by the people. We had always heard that you cannot find sweeter people anywhere in any church. Maybe it's all that Swiss chocolate they kept giving us.
The church is a walkable distance from the center of Zurich. This particular neighborhood is filled with Orthodox Jews. I was thrilled to actually get a smile from one of them as they usually keep to themselves. Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, but it doesn't feel very big. It is consistently ranked one of the most livable (usually #1) city in the world because of its beautiful environment, safety, clean air, and great wealth. It is also played a key role in the Protestant Reformation. Not only is it the world's banking center (Mubarak's assets were being frozen as we were walking past the banks where his money is probably housed), but the people there are very wealthy. It seems like every single shop is Hermes, Gucci, or some other high end brand. It was hard to find any restaurant which was less than $35 per dish. "Can a brother get a McBacon burger? What's up with that?" Well, when unemployment is less than 2%, I guess you can charge everybody a lot.
Pastor Uli and Scott took us up into the Alps. It's amazing how small and compact Switzerland is--nothing is really that far away. One short drive and you are in the gorgeous Alps. We were surprised by this little outing, but really appreciate the time and energy that they put into hosting us.
There may be some exciting things coming down the pike for the Church of God in Zurich. I can't say too much now, but we are so glad to have had this time with them. Here are some photos of Zurich.