The name of Jesus has power—just ask Eva Wenzl. Grasping the wonder of His name is an indispensable element in the story of how Eva (and her mother before her) came to know Jesus Christ as Savior.
Eva’s mother was desperate, facing the prospect of raising a baby daughter on her own in Salzburg, Austria, after her husband left her while she was still pregnant. Having come from a Catholic background, this young woman prayed to Mary and all the saints of the Catholic church for help during her divorce, but to no avail.
Then one day, a friend spoke words that would change her life forever:
“Have you ever thought of Jesus?”
The Holy Spirit must have been doing something powerful in Eva’s mother’s heart: in that very moment, she heard Jesus’ name like never before, knew she needed Him, and began a journey of walking with the Lord.
Have You Ever Thought of Jesus?
Eva, on the other hand, would need to embark on a spiritual journey of her own.
Growing up in Salzburg as the only child of a single mother, Eva knew a lot about the Christian faith and loved the church, thinking of it as a substitute family, but she didn’t truly understand the gospel. When she was twelve and, she remarks, “afraid of going to hell” Eva said a prayer in the hopes of “securing a ticket to heaven,” but doubts hung thick over her heart and mind. Eva says, “To the outside world, I was always confident, always popular. However, I also knew that one day I would probably have to answer to God myself. But I pushed this thought aside.”
Things began to change when Eva was eighteen and feeling deeply tormented about her wickedness and sin. Around the same time, she lost some key friendships. Eva began to see that she could not be good on her own, but she still could not understand God’s love. She believed God was powerful and holy, but rather than cultivating a healthy fear of the Lord, she grew increasingly afraid of Him—until one day when a believing adoptive “grandma” took Eva under her wing and began to minister to her. “God is like a loving father,” Eva’s grandma said, “and waits for you with outstretched arms.”
Still, Eva’s questions hounded her: But what is love? And what does it mean for a father (something with which she had no experience) to love a child? Faithfully, that grandma prayed and read the Psalms with her. As a result, “The Lord clearly showed me,” says Eva, “that love is not something emotional, not just a good feeling, but He is the greatest love and showed it on the cross for me, personally.”
All the World’s Charms
Eva’s life was changed, but she still fought her desires for “the charms of this world”: being good, achieving success, getting ahead. She says that even in ministry, she had a heart to serve the Lord, but it was a divided heart, preoccupied with outside motivation. Though she actively served at church, Eva continued to place much of her identity in her relationships and professional success. She genuinely wanted to serve the Lord but in the quiet moments found herself continually confessing her weakness and double-mindedness.
During this period, Eva experienced trials that tested her obedience to and trust in God; in a short time, she lost family, friends, and worldly success. Those were dark days, but God used them to open Eva’s heart to something new:
My mother gave me the book Lies Women Believe during that time, and that also convicted me and made me love His Word, the Truth.
He Is Worth it All
Eva began to believe that no matter what her feelings told her, God’s Word was true and ultimate. Slowly, God began to open the deep recesses of her heart.
In very lonely and dark hours I came across a video by Nancy [DeMoss Wolgemuth] "Jesus, What a Wonderful Name!" There she recites 200 verses about our Lord Jesus and I was overwhelmed. The verses, the Truth, opened a piece of heaven to me, and I was allowed to realize that the Lord alone is worthy and has overcome all. And if He, the Lion of Judah, has overcome, it is only worthwhile to serve Him. He is worth it all!
Now, Eva’s heart’s desire is to introduce other women to that same Truth. “My concern grew to share with other sisters how good He is, how precious His Word is,” Eva says,
But also to share the gospel with my friends and to take it out into the world. In 2013, the Lord awakened my heart once again in a very concrete way for women's ministry in our community and beyond the Austrian border. We started Bible days for women, evangelistic women's breakfasts, and the Lord in His grace gave us many blessings and let us see fruits—women who now know Him as their Savior and Lord.
From Austria to Germany into All the World
In 2016 God stirred Eva’s heart once again, impressing upon it a question: are you ready to invest in Me and My kingdom as much as you’ve invested in building your career? This idea became her urgent prayer and earnest desire—“to invest ‘more’ for Him and His kingdom, whatever the cost may be.”
After a while, the Lord clearly led Eva to set aside her job as a police spokesperson in Salzburg and go to Heukelbach, an old missionary work in Germany. Here, she uses her expertise in marketing and communications to support the mission’s leadership and board in strategic planning around its vision, mission, and evangelism goals.
Eva expects her work in Germany to be completed before the end of the year and says, “What the Lord has in mind then, He will show!” In the meantime, she has seen confirmation after confirmation that her decision to come to Germany was right.
A short time before moving to Germany, Eva came into contact with the team of women working hard to see Revive Our Hearts resources come to fruition in German. While the countries of Germany and Austria found themselves in their first COVID-19 lockdown, Eva found herself living very close to sisters in Christ who, like herself, are “on fire for the Lord and so eager to translate the resources from English to German . . . Heaven rules!”
She’s also working with the German Revive Our Hearts (Belebe Unsere Herzen) team to establish a structure for their ministry and hopes to see the movement replicate itself in Austria. It’s a difficult work, with all of the women involved balancing other commitments such as work, family, and church. Why the massive effort?
The soil in Germany and Austria is hard. In Germany, revival is needed. There is not much left of the Reformation. I see many congregations here that are spiritually dead. They have made marginal issues and discussions about theology their main topics, and they have lost sight of the Lord. People are very busy keeping up old traditions. Theology often takes precedence over heart attitude. Revival is needed.
Austria is a bit younger from a Christian history point of view. The [average] Austrian doesn’t like to open up that much and is also more suspicious of what comes from other countries, so there is a need for willingness and revival to live completely in trust in the Lord.
Revival. Eva believes this is the greatest need of the women in Germany and Austria. Women need “to be steadfast, to persevere,” says Eva, “according to Isaiah 37:31, that we take root downward (in His Word, firmly connected to our Lord) and bear fruit upward—for His glory!” As Eva herself did, the women of Germany and Austria need to experience “the wonder of His name.”
Her desire is that women in the United States and beyond would pray for Europe and specifically for German-speaking countries. If you’re able, would you pray with us now from Psalm 96? It’s one Eva hopes we’ll pray much and often.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. (vv. 8–13, emphasis added)
Father, we pray for our sisters in Germany and Austria, and for German-speaking women throughout the world. Would you open their eyes and hearts to receive your Word? Give wisdom and persistence to our Belebe Unsere Herzen sisters as they work hard to get Truth-saturated resources into women’s hands. May You be glorified at every turn. In the wondrous name of Jesus, Amen!