A guest post from CTC staff member Michelle Marshall.
Until I met Judith and Leo Dietschy at the 2013 City to City International Intensive in New York City, the city of Basel registered solely as Roger Federer’s hometown. Judith’s smile and Leo’s intensity and enthusiasm brightened many a crazy workday. It also helped that they were planting a church in Roger’s city!
The next time I saw them was at the CTC Europe conference in October 2014, when I took a slight travel “detour” through Basel. Leo and Judith were generous hosts, gracing the pillow of my blow-up mattress with a Swiss chocolate and promenading me through the beautiful streets of Old Basel. Even amongst the hustle and bustle of the Fall Fair, Basel revealed a darker side - a lostness. Bars were full and the red light district was populated. Buildings that once housed churches, now sheltered museums and tributes to humanity.
The morning saw us biking many of these same streets, where art and architecture adorned the way. I learned that three countries converged here: France, Germany and Switzerland. Global pharmaceutical companies are a major industry in this city.
Leo and Judith explained the prevailing skepticism toward Christianity which caused them to approach conversations about faith with caution and creativity. Almost on cue, they ran into an old acquaintance of Leo’s from the business world. This happened several times over the course of the day and the conversation inevitably came around to what Leo was doing now. I listened to him recount his move from the business world to starting a church. Each conversation ended with an invitation to continue the conversation and was received positively. It was obvious that Leo held their respect.
Their core group met that evening for teaching, prayer and a meal. It was clear that Leo and Judith had a strong support system and that they were unified in their desire to bring the Gospel to the city.
Now? I see Basel as a major force in the art world (Art Basel), a statement of architectural beauty and diversity, a global hub for industry, a growing city that needs the gospel. I see a young couple who loves and understands their city. I see hope for the gospel to be known and lived in Basel.
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