Life During The First Year on The Field

The idea of a new year is revitalizing; we can start afresh, establish new goals, and envision a year full of potential. Sure, there are uncertainties, but in those uncertainties, there is excitement – we can’t wait to see what the new year will bring!

Now, as we entertain the thoughts of entering 2022, let’s shift our focus from anticipating a new year, to anticipating a new culture; let’s imagine the feelings and experiences an appointee has as they step foot onto the field for their first year as a long-term missionary.

Crystal, Sharon, and Alex have all experienced the highs-and-lows of serving overseas. They’ve had to say goodbye to family and friends back home, learn new languages, and transition into new cultural norms; and although they’ve each had experience in serving on short-term mission trips beforehand, the transition to serving long-term in a new culture is something entirely different.

“It’s harder than you think it’s going to be, but that’s okay… God is more faithful than you think He is,” Alex reflects. “You realize just how much of what you thought about God and what you thought about yourself is tied to the place you came from, and that gets taken away from you. You find that your identity comes from much deeper things than you thought they were back home.”

Fortunately, those serving with GEM are prepped beforehand with what they might expect emotionally once overseas. Even so, all three of our interviewed missionaries can attest to experiencing the varying emotions that come with living cross-culturally. “The first 2 or 3 months I was still in the honeymoon phase; I was just so grateful to God because it was so hard to get there – I didn’t want to take anything for granted,” Crystal remembers. “In about month 4 I started to notice the culture shock of ‘okay, not everything is as easy as [it was back home]’, and I realized I stopped smiling at people.” It didn’t take too long for Crystal to get back to her own rhythm, though, and soon felt more comfortable and at home in her new environment.

Sharon remembers the transition she experienced, with a mother’s perspective; “I was totally out of my zone; It was just way more difficult for me [than the rest of my family]. Once the kids were okay, then I started to process. So, you don’t really do it all together, everyone transitions at a different pace.” Sharon goes on to remember some of the hard moments she had; “It’s going to put stress and pressure on you that you didn’t know exists. Asking for help is something I wish I had done more.”

“I’ve gone through many of those stages,” Alex recalls, “You get days when everything just annoys you and you don’t know why, and you get other days when you’re like, ‘Well, I’m on an adventure, I get to explore this new place and meet different people and see different places,’ and a lot of homesickness happens as well.”

Moving to a new land with the challenges of a new culture and language, all for the sake of the gospel, often begins the same way we enter a new year – with excitement, anticipation, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. To have a successful experience, though, we must remember to stay connected to the Vine; “None of it matters if you’re not doing it with Jesus,” Crystal proclaims, “because that overflows into everything God is calling you to do – and you can’t pour out what you don’t have!”

Please pray with me for those experiencing their first year on the field. May they experience God’s peace even when it seems hard, and grace to complete the work that the Lord has led them to do!

The Brokenness of Europe

Europe is a land of wonder, beauty, and inspiration. It is an historically deep-rooted continent which appeals to millions around the globe as a place to visit and explore. Many of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals and churches are in Europe, proving to those around the globe that it is a land thriving with faith and religion. But is it really?

There’s a misconception many of us have had about this continent. The very thought of missionaries serving in Europe is lost on them, “Isn’t Europe already very religious? Why would you need to serve there?”

A continent bursting with stunning cathedrals yet lacking in faith; how did it come to be that a land that once held such strong religious power back in early modern Europe has now strayed from those deep Catholic roots, with little more than religious stereotypes echoing on?

Over the past five centuries, a multitude of factors have led to a waning faith in God. Jon Burns, President of Greater Europe Mission International says, “The problem is we see all these beautiful cathedrals and we assume there are all these people committed to the faith, but since the Second World War, the church in Europe has actually been on a massive decline, and I argue with anyone that Europe is the most unreached place on the planet right now.”

And he’s right! While you’ll find that many Europeans claim to be Christian (Catholic specifically), they generally state this as an assertion to their culture and upbringing, rather than having active, authentic relationships with God. Much of Europe’s remaining population claim no religion at all and live atheistic or agnostic lifestyles, especially in the younger generations. Add to this, millions of people have landed on Europe’s shores in recent years, in search of hope and peace, bringing with them the religions of their home countries.

But is this limited to Europe? Burns explains that “around the world, continents have come to a tipping point, where there’s enough Christians to reach themselves. However, in Europe, that’s simply not the case. In villages, towns, and cities, it’s rare you’ll find even 2% of committed Christ followers. Very few people even know a genuine follower of Jesus. All these stunning cities with beautiful churches, very few of them contain a thriving Christian community.” Burns goes on to say, “If we define an unreached people group as less than 5% evangelical Christian, there’s really only a little bit of Romania that’s reached, there’s about 8%. But really the rest Europe is nowhere near [being reached].”

With Europe being such an influential continent, the importance of reaching it and bringing its people back to Jesus is great. “It’s imperative and urgent that we reach Europe now,” Burns explains, “Europe has been the epicentre for art and architecture and philosophy and religion for more than 2,000 years. Its influence is unmatched. Europe is the crossroads of the world, and therefore reaching Europe is critical for world revival.”

With Europe being a global leader, imagine the potential world-wide impact that could be made if it were to become a thriving continent full of true Jesus followers! This is one of the reasons many choose to support or serve with GEM and other agencies serving within Europe – if we reach Europe, we can reach the world!

Now is the time for us to come alongside the people of Europe as one body of Christ; will you pray with me to see the brokenness that has overtaken Europe be lifted, that the church would be renewed in Christ, and that God would expand His kingdom through all peoples of Europe to the world?

About the author:


Leanne Monge Barrera is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves out of Winnipeg, Canada.

Growing up as a Christian in France

Friends sitting on a hill in France

How many of us can say we attended school in a place where others openly believed in God? If you grew up in Canada, there’s a good chance that you can.

Now imagine growing up in France, where fewer than 1.5% of the population are committed followers of Jesus Christ. For example, although half of French residents claim to be Catholic, church attendance in France is among the lowest in the world, with only about 5% of the total population even attending a weekly mass. Consider this: would life be much different if a significant amount of the population didn’t affiliate with any religion?

Allison, Patty and Addi grew up within the French school system. Their families lived in France while serving with GEM. They’re now adults, and they all agree that although there were challenges, growing up in France was something they don’t regret.

All three accepted the Lord as their Saviour at a very young age, and so their entire school experiences were as Christians in not-so-Christian environments. Patty recalls the experience as being isolating, while Addi remembers even the teachers making denigrating comments toward the faith. Allison remembers it being lonely at times, but their experiences don’t end on sour notes. “I know that He was in those lonely places, and I know that the small number [of believers] does not reflect His absence or abandonment even,” Allison remarks.

Addi reflects that “although there were many negative comments, and we were taught things that I blatantly disagreed with, I think it helped me to learn how to think critically and be able to disagree without taking things personally, or villainizing those who saw things completely differently than I did.”

Because they were quite solitary in their faith while at school, with their classmates being mainly without religion, with some Muslim or nominally Catholic peers, you may be wondering what type of Christian community they had outside of it. “I had a good group of friends at church,” Addi recalls, “though we didn’t live very close together.” Allison experienced a different scenario, “There wasn’t any youth at our church because it was so small, but there was another kind of church group that drew their youth together about half an hour away, and so we met with them.” Patty also remembers joining an inter-church youth group, “that was the only choice available to us at that time, and I loved it. We did a lot together above and beyond the weekly youth group meetings.”

These Christian communities are vital to the wellbeing of impressionable youth. Allison explains, “I’ve made friends with many GEM K’s [missionary kids], and there have been some that now struggle with the idea of faith.” With Jesus-followers in the minority, it could be difficult to stand firm when surrounded by those who don’t share the same belief. For others, though, it could be a valuable learning experience, “Knowing struggle is a part of faith, and there is a cost and a suffering to it, I think that is a gift that I cherish to a certain degree.” Allison admits.

Addi also has chosen to turn something that had been difficult into something special. “I love France and will always appreciate what I learned through growing up there. I find that I miss the conversations that I would have with people, discussing my faith with those who didn’t have their own and seeing them genuinely interested in what I had to say even when they had no intention of becoming a Christian.”

Although growing up as a Christian in France may feel isolating at times, God does not abandon His kids! Let’s pray for those growing up in France right now, whether they’re refugees, locals, or serving as missionaries, that the Lord would provide them with community, and that they’d know He loves them and is with them always.

About the author:


Leanne Monge Barrera is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves out of Winnipeg, Canada.

Serving Families in Christian Education

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” When God gifts you with children, he gifts you with an amazing discipleship opportunity, right in your own home! You can raise your children up to know the Lord and to walk in His ways. But when God calls you to move across the ocean to serve others, what does that mean for your children? Is it possible for them to experience a school environment grounded in solid, biblical truth?

The good news is yes! There are safe places where children can continue to grow both academically and in their faith. One such example is Black Forest Academy.

This Christian school in Kandern, Germany is run and staffed by global workers from a variety of organizations, including GEM, who have answered God’s call to serve in this type of ministry. In addition to their day program, BFA also serves remote families that don’t have adequate educational alternatives for their children by offering a high school boarding program. BFA has the privilege of serving over 200 students of over 20 different nationalities, who come from families living in over 60 countries. Talk about having a global impact!

Those who serve in ministry at Black Forest Academy take on roles including teachers, office staff, counselors, maintenance, dorm parents, resident assistants, and everything else that keeps a professional school going. They do it because they love it and are passionate about raising a strong up-and-coming generation.

So, why would God call someone to serve in this capacity? Maggie Green, a Resident Assistant at Black Forest Academy shares several reasons; “To work at BFA is to support ministries across Africa, Asia, and Europe. To support missionaries working in the 10/40 window, or with refugees or translating the Bible, or to end human trafficking. The list goes on and on.” The workers at this school aren’t just ‘doing their jobs’, they are allowing other workers to fulfill their callings, as well as ensuring their children are being trained up in the way they should go. “When you break this job into pieces – making breakfast, or driving a student somewhere, or helping someone with their homework, there’s a lot about it that may seem mundane, but all stitched together, this job is literally life on life discipleship,” Maggie explains.

These students are continually in community. What an amazing discipleship opportunity these workers have, to be in community with these students and display what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus.

Katrina Custer, a middle school teacher at BFA says, “I think anybody who gets into education as a teacher does so because they want to make an impact. I think being at BFA as a teacher, it just maximizes that impact because it’s a world-wide scale.” Katrina is excited about the possible impact that serving missionary kids can have, “Statistics show us that a quarter of these students could end up in missions someday… that’s a generation I want to be a part of!”

In 3 John 1:4 it says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth”, and although Paul wasn’t referring to actual children, I believe we can apply it to those the Lord entrusted to us – our children. Yes, there is so much joy in knowing that our children are walking in the truth, and thankfully we don’t have to carry the entire weight of teaching them on our own shoulders.

Let’s pause in our busy lives to pray for those working at Black Forest Academy and schools like it. They have a great responsibility in not only ensuring these kids receive academic success, but also in raising up the next generation to know the Lord and to walk in His ways. That is something these kids will remember the rest of their lives!

About the author:


Leanne Monge Barrera is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves out of Winnipeg, Canada.

Artistic Ministries at Work in Europe

What do you think of when you hear the term missionary? Do you imagine a labourer building a house in a third world country? Or maybe someone boldly praying for the sick to be healed? Does a missionary only serve within an already established church? Or perhaps only in planting new ones?

I wonder if you’d pictured a missionary painting a stunning sunset or sketching an olive tree, inspiring onlookers to ask deeper questions of the artist. Or could you have possibly imagined a musician standing in a piazza holding an acoustic guitar and singing worship songs to God, drawing interest from curious spectators?

I’d like to share with you some of the creative ways missionaries are serving through Europe and beyond. You see, the truth is that there are many unique ways a servant of God can reach others that do not necessarily fit into a box or stereotype. There’s no lack in the ways one can serve. So, let’s dive in and reveal some of the ways the original creator, God, is moving across Europe.

Maya and Patrick are missionaries with GEM serving in London, England. They’ve chosen to serve in ministry creatively. “Patrick does lettering and illustration. We also teach and coach creatives,” Maya shares. She goes on to describe how God has moved wonderfully through their ministry. “Someone shared with us that they had chosen to walk away from their faith and had packed up all their paint, etc. After God used us to share our story, they had taken out all their art supplies, started creating again and felt re-connected with God!”

Jessica, a missionary in Rome, Italy has also seen God move through her unique paintings. “A lot of my creating is out of a place of worship, and I think something that’s fun about being an artist [that has a relationship with the Father] is that people notice it in your art. It’s an instant connection, like “wow! There’s something different about your art.” Jessica has also seen artwork make an impact in those receiving it. “Recently someone who was in a difficult season received a piece of my artwork, and the art piece was life changing for them. They identified with it and found that it symbolized the season they were in.”

Another GEM worker, Pamela, who serves in Camps of the Peaks in France, wears many creative hats. She showcases her creativity through playing several musical instruments and through teaching leather crafting at the camp. “There’s just something about the way people connect over art; it breaks down a lot of barriers.”

Barriers are broken, hearts are opened, and interests are piqued – these are just a few of the reasons some choose to serve artistically. Art tells a story and can reach people in ways that other efforts can’t. Can you imagine the potential of reaching those around you with simply doing what you love, and then having an honest conversation with a curious stranger? Amazing!

Greater Europe Mission has seen this potential, and has created an outlet for artists to encourage others, instill hope, share stories, and inspire one another. This group covers a multitude of mediums, including painting, dancing, singing, woodworking, writing, photography, and needlework, and the list goes on! And although this group of over 50 members are part of Greater Europe Mission, many work alongside others serving in different mission organizations, churches, schools, businesses, and even with unbelievers. There is no telling how big of an impact this creative ministry is having throughout Europe!

Not every lost soul of the world will respond to the gospel being preached in the same way, and if we’re willing to say ‘yes’, there’s no limit to how God will use us. Do you have a gift that you haven’t yet realized God could use? Let’s rejoice in the gifts that God has given us, and say YES to using them for his glory!


About the author:

Leanne Monge Barrera is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves out of Winnipeg, Canada.

Making a Difference on the Camino Trail

Imagine: You are hot, aching, and tired from an extensive hike. You’ve come a long way, but there is still much more to go. You find a resting spot and take a much-needed break. You reflect on how far you’ve come - all the way here to Northern Spain, and for what? You want answers to some of life’s seemingly unanswerable questions.

You see a few hikers pass you as they continue their journey toward the supposed resting place of the Apostle James.

You take a deep breath, stand up, and continue on your way.

On your right you spot a quaint café. You walk closer in interest of some refreshment. Pilgrims Oasis. You enter to see two friendly faces, a man and a woman, who greet you warmly. They welcome you and refresh you in ways you hadn’t expected. They speak a new truth to you that you hadn’t known, and it revives you. You leave with new hope and a new sense of purpose. You find that you now have a skip in your step and a smile on your face, no longer burdened with the weight you had once carried.

What did you experience when you entered Pilgrims Oasis that made such a life changing difference? Let’s ask Sherry and Wes Koop — the husband-and-wife power team that serve in ministry at this café. But before we discuss the life changing difference, let’s start at the beginning…


Leanne: What is the Camino?
The Koops: The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that leads to where the remains of the Apostle James were found and now supposedly lie. There are many different routes that originate from several different countries, but they all end in Santiago de Compostela.

Leanne: How long have you been working with Pilgrims Oasis?
The Koops: We have been working here full-time since 2018.

Leanne: How many people do you serve?
The Koops: Our café is located on the main trail, often called the French Way, and although there are about 40,000-60,000 people each year who walk past our café, we typically have about 1,300 enter our doors.

Leanne: In the story above, we see the main character have a life-changing experience. How would you describe what happened to them?
The Koops: Most people who are walking the Camino are searching and are open to sharing more than just surface things with others. Because of this, we often have spiritual discussions with them when they walk through our doors, and for those interested, we also offer a time of Bible reading and prayer, as well as free gospels of John.

Leanne: What do local residents think of your work?
The Koops: To be honest, it has been easier to share the gospel with the pilgrims travelling through than with the locals. Many people in Spain consider evangelicals a cult, and many believe we want to ‘steal’ from the Catholic church. However, we have been told that we are different in that we live what we preach. Being authentic has slowly drawn interest from the locals, but unfortunately many still refuse to walk through our doors.

Leanne: What’s next for you?
The Koops: Because our café is located after many bars and restaurants in our village, we have less than the ideal number of visitors. To serve more people, we’ve decided to add a coffee truck! We think that with parking it right on the Camino by a local park, we will have a greater opportunity to reach not only more of the pilgrims but also the local people who may not want to walk into the café.


As the Koops expand their ministry by opening another outlet for people to be served on the Camino, let’s keep them in prayer – that the Lord will not only supply all their needs, but also open the hearts of pilgrims and locals alike, to be willing to hear more about God.

For those hungry to hear more about the Koops and what they’re up to, check out the video below!


About the author:

Leanne Monge Barrera is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves out of Winnipeg, Canada.

Building Relationships with our Muslim Neighbours

God has called us to reach the nations and tell everyone about his name, right? What if there’s hesitation due to uncertainty of how someone might respond? Let’s talk about what many of our missionaries will have some level of interaction with; meeting and befriending Muslims.

Due to war, persecution, and political unrest across the Middle East and North Africa, millions of Muslims have relocated to Europe in search of peace in a new home. Muslims account for 5% of the population across Europe, and that number continues to rise. In contrast, most countries in Europe have less than 3% of people claiming to follow Jesus and most cities have well under 2%.

We’re making an effort to serve our Muslim neighbours and equip our global workers to best meet followers of Islam with the light and love of Christ. 

Part of this equipping involves addressing stereotypes. Sadly, our western context includes inaccurate assumptions that lead to unfounded fear and hesitation. Walk with me as we learn just a little bit more together.

Because of the differences between Islam and Christianity, many Christians falsely assume it would be difficult to talk with Muslims about spiritual things. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Muslims believe in God, they believe in many of the same prophets as Christians do, they believe in Jesus and even that God inspired the Bible. With each of these commonalities, there are many connecting points for Christians to build bridges from scripture.

On the flip side, some elements of Christianity are either confusing or hard to understand when put into practice. For example, what’s going on with the trinity? Do we serve three different Gods? And is God’s grace too cheap, if all that Christians need to do is say a prayer and then they’re saved? Are Christians just free to go on living their lives as they please after that? 

Befriending our Muslim neighbours and having these spiritual discussions with them can certainly help bring clarity to these misunderstandings we each might have! Islam is a part of every aspect of a Muslim’s life; this is important in understanding your Muslim neighbour, and in opening yourself up to being understood as well.

Another interesting misconception we sometimes see among some Christians is the idea that Muslims don’t want to be friends with Christians. Through community centres, sports, kids play groups, tea parties, or any number of other connection points, Muslim people can be very easy to befriend. We all seek community. Some aspects of our social lives are drawn on religious lines, but many others are based on interests, stages of life, and geography.

And this is at the core of GEM: discipleship starts with friendship.

Inter-faith friendships lead to inter-faith discussions and chances for gospel seeds to be sown. Sadly, many Muslims have never been befriended by disciples of Jesus. “They might be surprised that you as a Christian want to hang out with them because that hasn’t been their experience,” says Luke, a global worker in Berlin, Germany. “So when they meet a real one, they are interested in your faith,” adds Forrest, a GEM worker in Stockholm, Sweden. Just like any religion or culture, no two followers of the Quran are identical. And as Luke notes, we must “be careful not to reduce people to a stereotype or a project.”

Another misunderstanding is that Muslims are antagonistic toward Christians and only want to debate. This is a common caricature people in the West have of Muslims. But as Emily, a global worker in France, emphatically remarks, “This is not true!” Depending on who you encounter, the same could be said of Christians, if your experience was limited enough! But many Muslims have genuine questions and are seeking to understand. Emily goes on to say that “the key here is loving discussion, not debate. We must avoid the temptation to want to ‘win’ debate.”

Although misconceptions abound no matter what the faith or background, I do hope this has shed some light on what our missionaries are experiencing across Europe and can help you in the relationships you’re building in your own neighbourhoods.  

Please join us in praying for open doors and opportunities for God’s workers as they build relationships with their Muslim neighbours!

References:

https://www.pewforum.org/2017/11/29/europes-growing-muslim-population/

https://joshuaproject.net/continents/EUR

https://gemission.org/five-misconceptions-in-ministry-to-muslims/


About the author:

Leanne Monge Barrera is a storyteller with Greater Europe Mission and serves out of Winnipeg, Canada.

The World Meets in Frankfurt

Frankfurt

Frankfurt is a fascinating city.

It’s one of the world’s most globally connected cities. In terms of culture, education, commerce, and transportation, the world intersects with Frankfurt daily.

With its incredible influence and interaction with so many countries, not only within Europe but also beyond, Frankfurt is a natural home to many global, continental, and national headquarters, including our international headquarters. 

A beautiful mirror of this interconnectedness can be seen in the people of Frankfurt. More than 50% of Frankfurt’s population are from a non-ethnic-German background; that percentage that goes up past 75% when referring to children under the age of 6! Perhaps even more surprising, however, is that over 25% of those living in Frankfurt hold foreign citizenship! It isn’t simply a city with an international past, but with strong, persistent international connections in its present and future.

This creates a uniquely strategic setting for not only business and industry, but also ministry. Frankfurt is among a short list of cities that we have identified as a Focus City – an intentional effort to partner with the local church and other organizations that allows us to build community and strategic ministries that will help to reach Europe by multiplying disciples and growing Christ’s church. Frankfurt is a great example of a city through which we can see our vision come to pass – God expanding His kingdom through all peoples of Europe to the world!

What may come as a surprise to some is that the German church is far from what it once was. Roughly 2% of Germans profess a personal faith in Jesus Christ; it’s into this deep-seated secular society that waves of refugees have continued to land in Germany since 2014. 

Canada has much to learn from Germany, lessons that can help equip the Canadian church in a secular society. Our paths to secularization are incomparably different, on an entirely different timeline with different causes and even different effects, and efforts to anticipate the crossroads of a shared secularity are really unnecessary exercises. 

However, what we must value in Canada is the opportunity to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Germany, to learn from their story, and then to adapt it with our God-given creativity to the unique story here in Canada.

Through our commitment to partnerships, we’re excited to see where God is leading the Canadian church in partnering with the church in Germany. We have seen remarkable fruit in our church planting partnerships, and in our work with local outreach for those living under the shadow of prostitution and drug addiction. We’re also establishing training programs, leveraging the strategic location of Frankfurt to help deliver high quality training that can make an impact in local churches throughout Europe.

This vision starts with responding to God’s simple call. A call to listen, a call to obey, and a call to love. From here, possibilities begin to blossom. There are lots of ways that this can look, and who knows what creative forms this can take. We carry with us into innovation the imprint of the eternal God and, as a result, balance cultural traditions with adaptive methodologies, a reality brought to bear in our global response to restricted life under a pandemic. 

Please, join me in praying for the church in Frankfurt, and prayerfully consider how you can be a part of the incredible ministry taking place in this global city!

Building Hope in Rural Romania

God is at work in rural Romania!

Today I want to share with you a little about the country of Romania and give you a glimpse of just some of the things God is doing there.

Romania is a land of spiritual challenge and opportunity. Even though parts of the country have some of the largest concentrations of evangelical believers in Europe, many parts of the country still have well less than 1% who know what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus. In many areas, spiritual darkness is woven into the culture and fabric of daily life.

For many of us, our image of Europe is a place rich in Christian history, art, and faithful tradition. We know that today much of the continent lacks the light of Jesus, but when our history books tell us Europe and Christianity used to go hand in hand, we may ask ourselves where did it go wrong? As Christianity initially swept through Europe, certain parts lacked the depth and foundation of faith that undergirded the Christianization of society. As Dwight Poggemiller, a GEM worker in Romania, notes, “they simply changed the names of pagan deities to saints; but the local practices never disappeared. Rather than adopting the lifestyle of Jesus, Jesus was adopted to serve our man-made lifestyles.” Down through the centuries, this syncretism of Christianity and cultural beliefs have intertwined in subtle yet powerful ways.

Where is the hope when darkness is so rampant?

God has raised up GEM missionaries to serve in this remote region—to learn the language, to live among the people, and to find ways to break through the walls of mistrust and suspicion that have for so long blocked out hope.

GEM workers Kevin and Michelle Weppler, serving in Dragonesti (pronounced dragon-esht) Romania had a breakthrough when God gave them a vision for a second-hand store in their community. The store they opened quickly became a bridge for the gospel. Their 5 Romanian employees came to Christ and began sharing their testimonies with their families and neighbours. Now, the store is thriving, with nearly 100 customers a day and lines out the door. People come because they need clothes, but what they find is compassion, love, and hope. They are transformed and they themselves are transforming their community.

The gospel has found a small opening in the barriers around this community, and God has given Kevin and Michelle a vision and a desire to expand the second-hand store into a new building that would include a medical and dental clinic for traveling doctors and dentists. The nearby hospital was defunded and then closed by the government—leaving people in the village with nothing and nowhere to turn when the young and the elderly are sick or in pain.

We have recently been running a campaign to help see this expansion become a reality, and God has richly blessed this project already. Construction has been started and partially paid for, but the medical clinic won’t be finished until we reach the funding goal of $150,000. I’m sharing this with you because, as Dwight notes, “The Romanian Church is a praying church” and so we want to lock arms with our Romanian brothers and sisters in prayer.

The Lord is raising up a generation of disciple-makers in Romania, and we can be a part of delivering the practical love of Christ through opportunities like this, using whatever God has given us to share with others. One thing we all have is the capacity to pray, so please join me in praying for God’s work in Romania today! If you want to find out more about the project, please check out the project site at https://gemission.ca/donate/romania/.