Giving Thanks for Seeds Planted over the Years…
Tucked away in the south east of Austria is the town of Graz, home to one of CLC’s longest established centres. Our first shop was granted a licence there in 1957, which in itself was a miracle as no new bookshop licences had been granted in Austria for the previous ten years. It followed many years of hard work from both inside and outside the country. Most of the preparatory work in Graz was done by our first Austrian worker, Elizabeth von Ferenchich. Elizabeth was at Bible school in Germany and was surprised to find herself called back to her own country to serve the Lord. After a period of candidate training in England, her sister Helga joined her in 1960.
Then, as now, a lot of the work involves taking the books out to the people, first from their home and then from the new shop premises. For many years, Elizabeth and Helga worked alone, developing relationships with local people and university students until Heinrich and Marianne Krauter, from Germany, joined them in 1980. They worked together until a well-earned retirement, and Heinrich continued to run the shop with Olav Kabella until joined by Armin and Edeltraud Heumann in January, 1999. (CLC World, Nov/Dec 1999)
2016 Update: Due in part to the shop location, lack of managerial staff and the health issues of Armin Heumann, the work in CLC Graz will close down in 2016. We have been working with another group to assist them in opening a multi functioning centre,including a bookshop, in the city. Praise God for the faithful service given over many years by Armin and his wife, Edeltraud, in the ministry of CLC Austria.
A Bookshop Encounter by Elizabeth von Ferenchich
Here comes the first customer. On his way to the technical university, this professor passes our shop and regularly buys evangelistic literature to give away to students, colleagues, or others he meets on the bus. Since his conversion two years ago, he has already given away a significant amount of literature.
A young man comes in for the first time. While one of us is serving him, the two men recognise each other. Soon they are involved in a serious talk and leave the shop together. The Lord has used the shop to bring together the student and the professor who had previous contact on spiritual things but had lost sight of each other.
(Excerpt: ‘A Typical Day in the Bookshop in Graz’, – Floodtide Mar/Apr 1980)