For 14 days in March, billboards across Vienna, Austria, quietly but boldly urged people to “be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)” Focusing on just the words in white, the message was simply, “Know God.” The billboards explained this is a life motto for Maria Toriser-Wallisch, one she recommends to others. How did this happen, in a town not known for outspoken Christians or megachurches?
Maria won a contest in 2015 sponsored by Gewista, a large Austrian outdoor advertising firm. Maria won the privilege of putting a message on 170 billboards for two weeks, free advertising worth more than $56,000.
Natasha, a Christian who’d invited Maria to a Bible study, encouraged Maria in her faith and had become her friend, suggested using a Bible verse. Maria agreed. But which verse? “I thought a long time,” Maria says. The verse had to be short enough to fit the billboard. “Natasha supported me, helped me and reminded me, ‘This is your campaign. God knows to whom he gave it. He will show you what to say.’”
Maria bumped into another friend from a Bible study, Lilie, another young mom sold out for Christ. She shared her thoughts about the billboards with Lilie, who suggested three verses, one of which was Psalm 46:10. Maria and the Gewista company chose that verse.
Maria opted to use English for her billboard, because, she says, most people in Vienna can understand the words in English, and she felt the same words in German would sound somehow offensive, whereas they are more palatable in English.
Reaction to the message was positive. People who know Maria and are not Christians asked her, “Is that really you on the billboard?” People who do not know her but are Christians made a point to get in touch with her to say, “That is the best message ever. Thank you.”
It was a bold gesture, connecting one’s name with a Bible passage in such a public way. Maria was glad to do it. She’s been strengthened in her faith by Natasha and Lilie, who have been strengthened in their faith by Entrust’s Sandy Shaffer. One generation investing in another. This time, with hugely public results.
Read more on Gewista’s website: http://www.gewista.com/…/…/BE+STILL++KNOW+THAT+I+AM+GOD.aspx