EMF have crossed a threshold - 100 missionaries in 20 countries! With the latest new missionaries taken on with the blessing of the EMF trustees, the total number of current EMF missionaries has now passed the 100 landmark. One of the new missionaries, Viktorio Antonovski, is from North Macedonia, a Balkan nation – in line with our 'Lighting up the Darkness' initiative – and a country where we've not had missionaries before, taking the total number of 'EMF countries' to 20. All of this is exciting, and fills us with a sense of gratitude to the Lord for leading us to the right people at the right time, and for making it possible, through the commitment and generosity of his people, for us to support more gospel workers making disciples in more and more needy places across Europe. Andrew Birch tells us more ...
'There is no glory in this spectacle', affirms Alba Ortega, EMF missionary in Almuñecar, Spain. Many tourists are attracted to the colour and 'buzz' of Spain's Easter processions, but are often ignorant of the macabre history attached to that folklore. Why not skip the processions, Alba urges, and seek out a Bible-believing fellowship to attend on your holiday? You would bless them by your presence, and they would certainly encourage you!
Studies report that young people in 2024 (including those in our churches) are more anxious and risk-averse than previous generations. This has an impact on how many Christian young people are taking part in short- and long-term mission. However, young people are also looking for a cause. They want to play their part in making the world a better place. Christian young people even more so. But often, they just don’t know how. As leaders and parents, we have a part to play in how much of a priority our young people place on local and global mission – but more importantly, in what young people believe about God, and who they are in him. And this is the crux of the matter. We can’t force or guilt-trip an enthusiasm for mission, but we can teach and show the beauty of the Lord we serve, and the wonder of being able to share him in this world that so desperately needs him.
It was the end of September 2023. We had already asked our supporters many times to give to workers in Ukraine, but we went back to them with yet another request: could they help us raise £50,000 to support 12 evangelical churches and organisations doing really urgent work? It’s moving and deeply humbling to report that over £120,000 has been received since then. Thank you to everyone who has given so sacrificially! Your generosity has enabled us to commit our support to those 12 churches and organisations up to the end of March 2024, as well as to increase the level of help, and provide the Bibles and blankets they’ve requested. Here’s a bit more about how that money is being used.
EMF's new Mission Director Scott Moore tells us a bit about himself and his wife, Lorna, and what led him to accept the role to be EMF's new mission director.
So what about that conference in Warsaw at which the Legatio publishing house was giving out free books to Polish preachers? You may be asking that, since we published a news item 'Book Bundles for Polish Preachers' on this a few weeks ago. Well, it was all hugely successful! We asked Krzysztof to tell us more ...
EMF is delighted to announce that the new Mission Director is to be Rev. Scott Moore.
It’s only fifteen minutes a week, but wouldn’t you love to have fifteen minutes a week to share the gospel on national television? For many years now, the Spanish channel TVE2 has allowed Evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims, and Jews to have a slot each Sunday. An EMF missionary in central Spain tells us about what it’s like to be a witness for Christ to a large TV audience.
Many Christians may feel very ambivalent about the Christmas season, but the truth is that for hundreds of thousands of European citizens it is an important time of the year. Many of our missionaries would concur with this statement: ‘Even while our culture continues its acceleration away from Christendom, Christmas still remains one of the most likely times of the year for non-Christians to consider matters of faith’ (Adam Ramsey, pastor of Liberti Church*).
‘For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit..’ (Hebrews 4:12). Your pastor reads a review on the latest great ground-breaking Christian book on preaching. He clicks on the Amazon link, and it's on his doorstep the following day. Not so in much of Europe. In Poland, for example, sound Christian literature is hard to come by, which leaves pastors and preachers with limited resources when preparing to preach and share the gospel. Legatio, the Polish Christian publishing house headed up by our Poland mission partner Krzysztof, has been given a wonderful opportunity: they have been asked to attend a large Christian conference in Warsaw with a bookstall, and also to include some of their literature in the free bundle of resources given to each attendee. This might not sound out of the ordinary for us Brits, but the initiative will not only allow Legatio to distribute great books to those who might not have many; it also gives them the chance to promote their work more widely throughout the country. It's no small ask. They will have to provide literature in at least 4 different languages, and they need an urgent reprint of a book that has just gone out of stock, but they are excited and energised by the challenge!
Járed wanted a garden in which he could keep animals. But he and his family lived in a city in Transylvania, Romania. His dad encouraged him to tell the Lord about what he had in his heart. Tünde Sálanki, herself a Hungarian speaker like Járed, found out how God answered this twelve-year-old's prayer.
News cycles roll on, from one story to another. So do our lives. But for the people suffering the effects of the war in Ukraine, and for those helping to keep fellow-citizens alive, there is no such luxury of turning to another page in their tragic story. The suffering and deprivation of Ukrainian people continues well into the second year, and with a level of dread in anticipation of freezing temperatures in a few months’ time.
Summer is a busy time for many of our missionaries as they run summer camps and clubs across Europe, with all the challenges and joys that ensue. This is no different in Moldova, where Mihai and Irina Chisari hold an annual “Narnia” camp for young people. This year, however, they faced an additional challenge – and we’re so grateful for our supporters, who stepped up to help out! Alison Woodrow writes:
EMF made a promise to the town council in the Ukrainian municipality of Kremenets. Presiding over a meeting at which three mission staff members were special guests, the mayor asked the visitors to tell the UK government how grateful he and his colleagues were for the support given by the people of the UK. They felt slightly embarrassed. How could these 'nobodies' ever manage to transmit that message? But they promised to try to do just that. This is the story of how Rishi Sunak came to write about EMF...
Our hard-working EMF staff are scattered all over the UK. The latest additions to the team had until last month never met most of the other members, except on-screen, so they were intrigued to find out how tall the other folk really were! Ali Woodrow shares her experiences of an EMF UK staff retreat, where she met her colleagues 'in the flesh' for the first time. Disappointing? Encouraging? Boring? Envigorating? Read on ... !
Thessaloniki, Greece. A young couple and their four children are reaching out to their neighbours in a fairly deprived area; a café is at the heart of their ministry. We asked our Church Engagement Lead, Alison Woodrow, to find out more. This is what she discovered ...
‘We’re having a heatwave …’ goes the Irving Berlin song, comparing an incoming band of fierce temperatures to a lady dancing a can-can! Well, a thermometer showing 40+ º Celsius can certainly make your brain imagine all kinds of things. But if you are right in the middle of a heatwave similar to that hitting much of southern Europe this July 2023, you won’t consider your situation to be at all frivolous!
We don't talk about them much. But let us introduce you to 'George and Florence, who work with EMF in France.
All across Ukraine, evangelical churches are holding summer camps for youngsters, and seeing unprecedented numbers signing up for a few days of fun and relief from the constant pressures of war, and to hear the wonderful message of gospel grace. But the war is never too far away, and across the country the air raid sirens are still sounding their shrill warnings, in some places up to 10 times a day, warning people to take shelter.
As the Martin Bucer Seminary enters the second year of its so-far successful existence, we thought it would be fascinating to ask Hilary Batty (who was brought up in southern Portugal) to discover more about how this new training ground is forging a reputation for itself as a top-class theological institution. Two EMF workers, Diego Lopes and Joel Lopes, are teachers there. Read on to find out more ...
Bulgaria. EMF has never had a worker there until this year, when Iliya and Christina Marinov were taken on by the mission (as part of the 'Lighting up the Darkness' Initiative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZTFO8JWZy4). Iliya has for some years been involved in planting a Presbyterian church in Ruse, the fifth largest city in Bulgaria. Not long ago, the little congregation moved to new premises in the city. We asked Tünde Salánki to find out more about this couple and their longing to see a solid Reformed work established in Bulgaria's 'Little Vienna'. As Tünde found out, Iliya used to be what his wife calls 'a tough boy'. Read on to find out more!
Rafael Ribas's dream of becoming a footballer in his native Brazil came true! But his father's premature death meant that Rafael had to leave the world of football. Subsequent depression led him to drug abuse and on into crime. One day, someone told him how Jesus Christ had transformed his life ... Read on to find out how, under God, Rafael (seen here with his children) is now being used in a powerful way in a church plant in southern Portugal, and as an encourager of other pastors ...
The floods in N. Italy have affected two of our missionary families, their church plants, and their neighbourhoods. Stefano and Jenny Mariotti have witnessed devastation in Budrio, with an important bridge washed away and families evacuated. (Forlí, where EMF's Michael and Mary Steedman ministered for decades, is also badly affected).Manuel and Jania Morelli serve in Ravenna with their daughters Rebecca and Rachele. They have been at the forefront of efforts to help affected citizens of the town, and Manuel wrote this article for The Gospel Coalition in Italy. It has been translated and reprinted with the permission of TGC Italy, and of Manuel himself.
In 1997, Antonio de Noia had just been accepted as an EMF missionary in south-east Italy. Twenty-six years later, Antonio may have less hair (!), but his zeal for the cause of the gospel is stronger than ever. Read his gripping testimony, published in 1997; then read on to find out what is happening in Antonio's life in 2023, as reported by Gerry Brienza, a member of the UK staff team.
There must be worse places to have a camp than in Almuñecar, southern Spain! Alba Ortega and husband Manuel López Franco (he pastors the Reformed Evangelical Church there) have no young people in their small fellowship. But that didn't stop them holding a young people's camp at Easter! Alba tells the story ... https://www.facebook.com/IglesiaEvangelicaReformadaDeAlmunecar
The motto 'Lighting up the Darkness' was given to EMFs 'Expanded Vision' , launched in 2022 and aiming to take on 15 new gospel workers over 5 years, in some of Europe's neediest areas. Rafael and Lidiane Ribas became EMF missionaries as part of that project in Portimão, Portugal. Read on to discover what an encouraging year it has been in the church plant Rafael is pastoring. The couple tell the story in their own words ...
Tünde Salánki asks: 'Why do we celebrate anniversaries? They give us a chance to remember, to evaluate, to give thanks, to learn from the past and also to look ahead. Milestones are important in our personal lives, as well as in the church. In the Hungarian Reformed Church in London we recently had the opportunity for such a celebration as we gave thanks for 75 years of God’s grace.' Read on to discover more ...
We are delighted to be adding three new members to our EMF UK staff team. One of them is Alison (Ali) Woodrow. New to the staff team, but well-known to Spanish EMF workers. She says: 'I’m Alison, married to Sam and mum to Connie (age 5) and Seth (age 8 months). We live at the top of a windy hill in Co Antrim with our collie, Jess. I’ve known about EMF from an early age, and am delighted to be joining the team in May 2023! I lived in Cuenca, Spain from 2002 to 2003, and have been invited to share my memories of that time.' Read on to find out what Alison learnt in her immersion into 'real' Spanish culture about twenty years ago ...
The church plant in Budrio, Italy, is active, creative, and hardworking in its outreach. In the second week of March, the church was joined by a team from Little Rock, Arkansas, who use their talent in sport as a means of contacting young people with the gospel. Jenny and Stefano Mariotti are delighted to share with us how the Lord used this weekend of activities to make meaningful contact with teenagers from local schools.
Back in the 1970's, if anyone had told Jean Woods (former EMF missionary Jean Pleasence) that one day 120 evangelical ladies from all over the region would meet in a public building in the central Spanish town of Daimiel, and that the local council would send its mayor to greet them, then publish the news on its web site, she would probably not have believed them! Jean and two other missionaries, married couple Esther Eguia and Paco Farrugia, had tried to plant a church there, but in 1970's Franco-dominated Spain, the Gospel was not welcomed in this place, and they went on to found a church in the nearby provincial capital. No ladies' meetings existed in that expansive region, which had barely begun to hear the Gospel message; in those days churches were small, and believers were few and far-between. So what has happened since then? Read on to find out ...
It is hard to sum up José de Segovia’s ministry. He is the pastor of a Presbyterian church in Madrid (Calle del Gral. Aranaz, 49). But he is also a prolific writer, a broadcaster, and a seminary lecturer, as well as a conference speaker who is much in demand all over Spain. Over the past few years, however, illness has led him to sharpen his focus on the need to work diligently for the Lord. José talks about the past and present of his work in the capital of that country.
Charities are a little bit like icebergs.What you see is only a relatively small part of the whole organisation. Under British law, charities are obliged to be governed by a board of trustees, who are unseen, most of the time. Yet they are vital for a correct and successful functioning of the charitable bodies that they are involved with. EMF is no exception. In this article Andy Woods tells us a little bit more about twelve people to whom our mission is indebted: the EMF Board of Trustees.
Marilyn Campbell still takes a keen interest in all EMF news, though it is more than forty years since she and her husband Ivan (see photo of an article in a 1974 'Vision of Europe' newspaper) returned from Norway, a land to which they had been sent out as EMF missionaries in 1970. Ivan went to be with his Lord just a few years ago. As EMF renews its commitment to pray for the Nordic countries, and looks to support new workers there, it is good to recall the faithfulness of John and Oline Taylor (now retired) and of Ivan and Marilyn Campbell, who have served in the (literal) darkness of North Norway. Marilyn tells her family's story here...
Tünde Salánki (Hungarian Reformed Church, London) and her husband István provide a kind of 'home from home' for Hungarians living and working in the UK. They have always tried to make whole families welcome in the church in St. Dunstan's Road, and Tünde is passionate about the importance of taking children into account in their ministry. She has discovered that other fellow EMF missionaries have a similar approach, as she tells us here...
Do you know what an ocarina is? Well, if not, Ed Mezzetti will explain all in this article, most of which is reprinted from his blog! Ed, who is now assistant minister at Christ Church, South Cambridge (https://www.christchurchsouthcambs.org/) met Jenny and Stefano Mariotti earlier in the year while this EMF couple travelled around the UK on deputation accompanied by Raffaela, one of their young church members. It was an encouraging and fascinating encounter for them all, for, as Jenny relates, Ed's forebears are from Budrio, where the Mariottis are working hard in church-planting, and where the Mezzetti family had a lot to do with ocarinas! Read on to find out more...
Andy and Jean Woods revisited the town of Ciudad Real in Central Spain recently (Jean was once an EMF missionary there), and we asked them to find out more about two very committed young people from the church of which EMF's Luis Cano is the pastor. Andy begins his report: 'Commitment' is something of a dirty word today, but it wasn’t always so. The apostle Paul knew to whom he had committed his life, and he lived it out. Christians today need to know the same Lord Jesus and show that commitment in their daily life. But how?' Read on to hear Alvaro's story and Deborah's testimony, as told by Andy Woods...
EMF missionaries from all over Europe, along with some retired staff, trustees, and N. Ireland Council members, came together for a long weekend at our Field Conference in Spain from 29th Sep to 3rd Oct. It had been over 30 years since such an event had taken place, and we prayed that the Lord would make this a special time of spiritual edification and sweet fellowship. He answered these prayers way beyond our expectations!
As part of EMF's 'Expanded Vision', we have been trying to highlight the great needs of the whole of Europe, but especially the needs of the countries of the Balkans and the Nordics, where only a tiny percentage of the population have a true understanding of the Gospel. In a webinar on 12th September Andi Dina, a church-planting pastor in Tirana, Albania, told us about the state of the Gospel among the Albanians, not just in the country itself, but also in the surrounding nations, in which there are significant Albanian communities. We asked Anwen Davies, a retired GP and member of Freeschool Court Evangelical Church in Bridgend, Wales, to tell us about what she learnt in this fascinating webinar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYoPYeL8zSM&t=1080s
Summer is over. School classes have begun. But the great memories from the camps in which many of our colleagues have taken part remain in their minds and hearts, as well as in those of the children, young people and adults reached. Camps are always hard work. We have some very hard-working missionaries amongst us, however, and they have shared a little bit about the camps they took part in throughout Summer '22.
This summer I was a part of the Richhill team to Almuñécar. We as a team had such a blessed time with Manuel and the church family in Spain. Each day, both morning and evening we packed up the cars and headed to the beach, where we played lots of football. For those who didn’t want to play football we had a marquee set up for making bracelets, which went down a treat.
Pietro Lorefice, who died two years ago, was a highly-esteemed EMF missionary on the island of Sicily, Italy. Andy and Jean Woods have sent us a story about Pietro, written by his grandaughter. Andy says: We have had the privilege of having Abigail Rivas Lorefice to stay with us. She has connections with the churches in Alcázar de San Juan, Ciudad Real and Cuenca (central Spain), in addition to her links with EMF through her maternal grandparents, Pietro and Teresa Lorefice. During her stay we have been able to ask her about herself and her grandfather. She has written a short biography of Pietro for her family’s benefit'. Andy shares a little of that story here...
Running a Christian publishing house in a country where hardly anybody reads anything is no easy task! Even Christians (of which there are not many) are usually not great fans of reading; Christians of reformed convictions (of which there are even fewer) are, unfortunately, not very different as regards reading habits. So Matt Hill’s job as manager of ‘Editorial Peregrino’, a publisher of reformed Christian books in Spanish, is challenging, to say the least. To promote the literature brought out by ‘Peregrino’, Matt recently travelled to the US and Cuba. Read on to find out how this long trip went.
Krzysztof Rotkowski (Włocławek, central Poland)took Mariola's funeral service a few weeks ago. 'Sharing the Gospel with Mariola was of the reasons why we started a home Bible study group in Lipno and from that our church plant grew', he wrote. About the service, Krzysztof reports 'There were many people there and I focused on the reasons to be thankful to God based on 1 Peter 1:3-5, and that is God’s mercy, regeneration, living hope, the eternal inheritance, and God’s protection.' As you read Mariola's testimony, you will see that she herself lived in the light of all that truth, and died comforted by that truth. She left this written testimony with us before she died.
EMF recently launched ‘An Expanded Vision For Europe’, called 'Lighting up the Darkness' https://www.europeanmission.org/light, with its aim of 15 new workers in the next five years. The special burden is for the Nordics and the Balkans. Norway is one of the principal Nordic countries, and EMF has had a presence there for over 60 years. John Taylor, one of our most veteran missionaries, shared with us something of the country, its past blessings and present needs. These needs are not material and economic, but spiritual, especially so in the far north of the country, where he lives.
Rebecca Debruyne’s home must be a lively place! She and her husband Andy have six children, and there are two sets of twins amongst them. Rebecca prefers to say they have seven children. They lost a little girl in a miscarriage some years ago, and this experience was crucial in Rebecca’s spiritual life, though for years before that sad event she had been a nominal believer in the Evangelical Church in De Panne, Belgium. She tells us her story here…
Diego Lopes is one of EMF's newest missionaries. He is pastor of a young church in Margem Sul, Seixal, south of Lisbon. He is also a founding member of the Martin Bucer Seminary https://martinbucer.pt/ in Portugal. Diego is married to Stella, and a few weeks ago he helped organise an exciting conference for pastors and church leaders. Diego himself was one of the speakers, as was Joel Lopes, another of our new missionaries in Portugal. You will be able to read more about these men, their wives, their famiies, and their work in church planting and in the newly-formed seminary in the next edition of our magazine 'Vision for Europe'. Diego sent us this report of a conference where there was quality exposition, happy fellowship, and encouraging feedback from all who attended. Read on to hear how Diego experienced the event.
Sarah Debruyne is a gregarious young woman, with lively children who take part in the children’s lesson at church with enthusiasm. She too was brought up in this congregation where EMF missionary Michael Robinson is now pastor and where his wife Ariëtte works among the ladies and children. But, as she tells us here, Sarah was for some years a Christian in name only. Read on to find out how she became a true Christian…
Off the beaten track in a largely forgotten land-locked corner of Eastern Europe, Moldova (roughly the size and population of Wales) lies nestled between Romania and Ukraine. The few that do venture to this land rarely forget their visit, whether it be for the warm welcome from the people, or the not so warm welcome from the austere authorities. Europe's poorest country was once a Soviet Republic, and the shackles of its Communist past have been hard to shake off. There have been more downs than ups in its 30 years as an independent nation. As the Soviet Union collapsed, so did the Moldovan economy, and it has never really recovered since.
Some years ago, the Spanish Christian publishers ‘Editorial Peregrino’ decided to hold an annual conference, where speakers such as Mez McConnell, Andy McIntosh, David Barceló (Barcelona), and Leonardo de Chirico (Rome) were invited to deal with important issues ranging from Creationism, Roman Catholicism, Evangelism, to Systematic and Biblical Theology, to name but a few of the topics covered. The speakers have written books/other literature on their subjects, so the conference is an opportunity to buy those works, and even get them signed by the authors themselves. The event also affords the chance to renew fellowship with beloved friends.
Volodia Kostyshyn talks to Phil Dunn about what life is like for him, his family and the churches in his home city of Ternopil, wastern Ukraine. The interview was recorded on 24th March, exactly a month after the war began in Ukraine. Aid that is being sent to help relieve the stress placed on the Ternopil churches should be arriving on Monday 28th March.
We at EMF believe in training! We are presently supporting a number of students at reliably Biblical institutions in the UK and on continental Europe. But we believe that those on the field deserve to have the chance to refresh knowledge, grow in understanding, and stand back for a few hours from pastoral duties, so that they may receive, rather than give. One person who enjoyed one of the study days EMF has organised in conjunction with London Seminary is Michael Robinson, who has served the Lord for many years in Belgium, along with his wife Ariëtte.
Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people as the horrific events in the country unfold. Many hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing to neighbouring countries, often women and children, leaving their husbands behind. The most important thing for God’s people here is to pray for the people of Ukraine and in particular for the Christians there. But we can also help practically, and many of the evangelical churches we work with, both in Ukraine and in neighbouring Moldova, Poland and Romania are actively helping refugees. They would deeply appreciate any support we can give them.
As we look on in horror at the events unfolding in Ukraine and weep with its citizens, hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing to neighbouring countries. Many pastors have chosen to stay at their posts despite the danger, to care for the traumatised and terrified people who remain. The situation is deteriorating rapidly so there is an urgent need for God’s people here and across the world to intercede.
Just before Christmas 2020, EMF launched an appeal for funds to help in a ministry to the disabled, based in the church pastored by Volodia Kostyshyn in Ternopil, western Ukraine. You may know that, thanks to the generosity of many of our supporters, we were able to purchase not only a much-needed minibus, but also attractive equipment for a sensory room in the church building. If you’d like to know how this project has progressed, read on…
You may know that EMF has been helping to support a number of students over the last couple of years (https://www.europeanmission.org/train).This is part of the mission’s ongoing effort to be of practical assistance to evidently-gifted people who are training to be more effective gospel workers in Europe. Here is an opportunity for you to read about one of them. Manuel Morelli (as far as we know, he is not related to the Italian ice-cream manufacturers that many of our Northern Irish supporters will know and love!), has been studying at London Seminary since 2020. Read on to find out more about him…
Christmas in Spain, as in many other countries, gives great opportunities to share the gospel with people. Iglesia Evangélica Reformada, the small reformed evangelical church in the beautiful coastal town of Almuñécar, where EMF missionaries Manuel López Franco and Alba Ortega are based, were eager to find ways to spread the good news of Jesus. But how can a small church make any inroads into reaching a town of 28,000 people?
If you belong to a church that tries to make the most of gospel opportunities at Christmas, you were probably more than disappointed when Omicron reared its ugly head in December 2021. Our missionaries had their share of these feelings too. Some of them, like Tim and Debbie Brooks in Haus Barnabas Germany, who went down with Covid, or Michael and Ariëtte Robinson in Belgium, who had a couple of Covid cases in their fellowship, had to cancel/postpone evangelistic activities. Restrictions and legal requirements vary across Europe, and most of our workers have had to figure out whether they could proceed with activities as planned. But across Europe some Christmas outreach events did go ahead, and we thought you might be interested in hearing about a small selection of these…
The annual Passion for the Gospel conference (Pasión por el Evangelio) was held at the end of October 2021. As four of our EMF personnel were involved in the planning of this event, we thought you might enjoy hearing about the content this year. We start with the opening images on the conference video, which set the scene for what was to come…
One of the things which brings us the greatest encouragement is to see godly men and women committing themselves to gospel service, in countries where there is such great gospel need. We're delighted to be able to introduce two new families who are joining EMF in January 2022, both in Portugal and both with the family name Lopes (but not related).
In all the excitement we are feeling as a mission on welcoming a number of new missionaries and missionary couples in recent times, we also endeavour to remember that we have a duty to care for and honour those who have worked on the field or as members of our home staff, faithfully and in many cases, for decades. We also know that we must make an effort to look after the members of our EMF family who, while still serving the Lord, have officially retired.
Back in the late 1970's, E.M.F. missionary Jean Pleasence was involved in the setting up of a branch of Evangelical Press in Spain. This publishing house, which later became independent, is called Editorial Peregrino, and is headed up by E.M.F missionary Matt Hill. In this article, Andy Woods, (who married Jean Pleasence in 1997), tells us what he has discovered about the complexities of publishing a Christian book in Spain (with similar issues being faced in Poland, where Krzysztof Rutkowscy directs the work of the Legatio publishing house). As Andy discovered, getting that good book onto the reader's shelf is no simple task. Read on to find out more...
‘Tent-Making’ in Germany! A report by Jonathan Jeffreys, E.M.F. home staff team Tim and Deb Brooks have been in Utzenfeld for over twenty years now, and run Haus Barnabas, a Christian guest house. Utzenfeld is a small village in the Black Forest area of Germany, with a little over 600 people living there; the area is predominately Roman Catholic. The ministry at Haus Barnabas involves the proclamation of the Gospel through preaching, literature, and personal witness.
September 12th 2021 was a Sunday of celebration in the Hungarian Reformed Church in London. Its pastor, István Salánki, had been there for 20 years, and the members of the church, along with others in the wider church community, wanted to show their appreciation of this faithful ministry. Read about this happy occasion…
The title for this year’s ‘Theological Days’ event run by the IFED organisation based in Padua was ‘Prayer, this unknown’ (La preghiera, questa sconosciuta). This was essentially a two-day conference, held on the 10th and 11th of September 2021, exploring the great theme and many aspects of prayer. There were approximately 200 people in attendance, including many pastors and church leaders.
Summer camps and children’s activities are features of evangelistic effort across Europe, especially during the summer. We have had great reports of how children’s camps have been truly blessed this year, with leaders and children trying to get back to some kind of routine in these Covid days. This is one such story, which is all about what the Lord is doing in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, where Mihai and Irina Chisari (new EMF workers; see the report in the latest issue of ‘Vision for Europe’ magazine) have a remarkable ministry among the children of Chisinau, the nation’s capital.
Church planting is hard work. It is also exciting, because any growth in gospel work is good news. It usually means believers are taking seriously the command to spread the wonderful message of hope in Jesus Christ. It means that more people who have never heard that message are given the chance to come into contact with true Christians, perhaps for the first time in their lives. Krzysztof Rutkowski and his wife Aneta head up a church plant project in the Polish town of Włocławek. You will be encouraged by their story.
Stuart Olyott writes an imaginary account of the day when the apostle Paul's letter was first read to the infant church in Rome... It’s the year AD57. One million of the 54 million inhabitants of the Roman Empire now live in its capital and some of them are Christian believers! These include Jews converted in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, Jews and Gentiles converted in other parts of the Empire, and citizens and slaves converted in Rome itself...
We always try to tell the truth about Gospel work in Europe! It is not usually a story of fervent evangelism being responded to with a widespread and joyful embracing of the Gospel. More often than not, we have to report on quiet, persevering efforts that are being made over a number of decades by faithful workers who see less fruit than their hearts desire. Read on to hear one such account about the ongoing outreach efforts of three groups in Romania.
Within the area of Transylvania in Romania, EMF supports Sándor and Napsugár Kelemen, both of them ethnically Hungarian. Sándor and Napsugár live and work in the town of Târgu Mureș, not far from the Carpathian Mountains. They have four children: Sara 14, Jared 10, Rahel 8 and David 4. Sara is at the point of change to high school, whereas David attends nursery school in the mornings. As Hungarian is spoken in the home, the children are not bilingual, although schooling happens in both Hungarian and Romanian, so they will become increasingly familiar with both languages.
The beautiful lakeside city of Ioaninna in north-west Greece, is the setting for the Greek Evangelical Church where Leonidas Kollaros ministers, supported by his English-born wife Irene. They have a real passion to see the gospel shared amongst the people in Ioannina, most of whom would consider themselves to belong to the Orthodox church. But in a society where evangelical Christianity is widely regarded as a heretical sect and treated with great suspicion, how can they share the gospel? The greatest opportunity, Leonidas and Irene believe, lies in gossiping the gospel, striking up conversations within their friendly café culture, where many people are willing to engage even with strangers, and turning these conversations towards the gospel. Martin Tatham interviews Leonidas and Irene about their work in Ioannina.
Many of you are aware that Volodia and Oksana Kostyshyn (EMF missionaries at Grace Church, Ternopil, Ukraine) have two children, one of whom, Zechariah, is profoundly disabled. Late last year we launched an appeal to raise funds for a new specially-adapted minibus that would help the family in their ministry to others in situations similar to theirs. We have already reported on how that project has gone so far. Thanks to the generosity of many of you, the “Happy Wheels” bus was bought, with funds to spare that could be used to provide a sensory room for disabled children. This ministry is helping to open gospel opportunities to many in Ternopil, and we praise God for that. But there is one important character in this story who has until now stayed out of the limelight. Meet Oksana Kostyshyn…
Europe is the spiritually neediest continent on the planet, with the lowest proportion of evangelical Christians. So to see mature, godly Christians from European countries with a heart for the gospel going into the mission fields of their own countries, is a particular answer to our prayer: "The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38). We're therefore delighted to have recently welcomed three new EMF missionaries: Benjamin Pap and Tamás Moroz, two young pastors from Transylvania (the Hungarian-speaking part of Romania); and Mihai Chisari, who's leading a church plant in Chișinău, the capital of Moldova - and the first ever EMF missionary in this country.
‘The path of true love never does run smooth’, they say. Is that also true for church buildings? A church (Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica) was founded forty-five years ago in Ciudad Real (pronounced Th-ee-ew-dath Ray-al, meaning Royal City), central Spain, a town with about 75,000 inhabitants.
Theological education is crucial to loving God, knowing Christ, and pursuing godliness; it’s vital to handling the Scriptures, defending the truth, and preaching the gospel; and it’s indispensable to planting new churches and strengthening existing ones. In short, it’s hard to overstate the importance of teaching people the truths of God’s Word. And that’s why EMF has always placed a strong emphasis upon theological education. A number of our missionaries are engaged in training and equipping men and women to know and serve God. One of these is Rogério Ramos.
EMF missionary, José (Pepe) Moreno Berrocal pastors an evangelical church in the town of Alcázar de San Juan in central Spain. As part of his preaching and pastoral duties he has been ministering to prisoners in the local prison since 1999.
“I wanted to follow my dreams”. For some years Bruno Pires tried to push to the back of his mind the sense of calling to the ministry that came to him in 2015, the year he was baptised. Maybe a career in politics instead? That had always been his ambition, after all. But God had other plans, and today Bruno is studying at the Portuguese Bible Institute in Lisbon, where he is receiving a grant from the EMF Training Fund. https://www.europeanmission.org/train
Just over one year ago a website was launched by the leaders of the evangelical church in Siedlce, Poland – Ben Layer (American missionary), Jan Stefanoff (church elder) and Adam Urban (EMF missionary). Its purpose is to supply trustworthy biblical teaching in the Polish language which exalts the glory and grace of God and equips the church for Christian discipleship and gospel outreach.
Xavi Pérez Patiño is known for having a heart that beats with love for the gospel and for those who still have not experienced its truth. He now has a wife (Paty) who shares his passion for others to know the Lord Jesus as Saviour. Together, they are working in the heart of Spain, in the enormous region of Castilla-La Mancha, whose arid landscape is dotted with towns and villages that are still relatively untouched by the message of hope that grabbed hold of Xavi some decades ago in Mallorca. Here is an update on what the couple are doing in three towns: Cuenca, La Solana, and Ciudad Real.
Work is progressing well on the renovation of two apartments in the city of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, which were donated to the work led by Antonis Topaloglou. They are intending to use these apartments as part of the Sanida ministry, focusing on supporting women suffering domestic violence or coming under pressure to have abortions. The Greek word Sanida means 'Life-Saving Board'.
Anyone could have forgiven Michael and Mary Steedman for wanting to dedicate their married life to getting to know each other and to settling down into full-on leisure. Michael was in his retirement year (2014) when he wed this godly Scottish lady, and he had already for many years boldly and diligently used his strategic position teaching in Bologna University, and then in Forli, to invite his students to come along to “inductive” Bible studies. Would that evangelistic zeal die down in what some call “the golden years”? Read on to find out what has really happened, and what is still happening...
Vico del Gargano, the town where EMF missionary Antonio De Noia came to faith in Christ and where today he ministers to a small congregation of believers, was also the home of a famous Italian Reformer called Galeazzo Caracciolo. Antonio recounts the story.
Nearly three years after the church in Zywiec, Poland began their important building project under the leadership of their pastor, Dawid Kozioł, the work is nearing completion. Dawid has himself given many hours to the job, even during the pandemic, when he and his wife went down with Covid-19 and his aunt Danuta, a retired EMF missionary, was called home after contracting the disease. Read on to find out more about this sacrificial labour.....
Pál Borzási is an EMF Missionary and pastor of the Hungarian Baptist Church at Pericei, in the region of Transylvania, Romania. In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Pál lectures in the Hungarian Baptist Seminary in Oradea. We interviewed Pál about seminary and his involvement in it.
On 14th February 2021, EMF Missionary Vitalii Mariash was ordained as co-pastor of his church in Kyiv, the Bible and Life Church, to serve alongside the current pastor, Borys Borysovych, and co-pastor Yevgeniy Yashchenko.
When you think of Italian politics, you might recall TV images of brawling parliamentarians, or stories of scandals and financial intrigue. What place has a Christian in that world? How should we as Bible-based Christians view the issue of involvement in politics?
Jonathan ‘JD’ Gilmore lives with Annette in Palermo where they are church-planting (LifeHope Church). He is also Area Lead for Acts 29 for southeast Europe. His parents: John and Maureen Gilmore, were missionaries to Italy with EMF back in the 1960s. Jonathan has lived in Italy since he was four months young and therefore is well able to give an introductory article on: The Gospel in Italy.
EMF are passionate about training a new generation of people for gospel ministry. Here we get to know one of the students who is really benefitting from our training fund.
How do you reach a community with the gospel when you’re viewed as an outsider? That’s the problem faced by many evangelicals in Italy. In fact, many Italians view the evangelical church with great suspicion, believing it to be a kind of cult or sect. Evangelism in such a context is therefore especially challenging.
Plans to establish a new church in the city of Włocławek, central Poland are progressing well. Krzysztof Rutkowski who is leading this new venture reports that strong foundations are being established with a group of over twenty people now attending meetings.
We are excited to announce the launch of our brand-new project called ‘Help for Happy Wheels’. The purpose of this project is to raise funds for a new minibus for people with disabilities in the city of Ternopil, Western Ukraine.
Back in 2016 EMF missionary (now EMF Director) Andrew Birch attended the ‘Together for the Gospel’ conference in Louisville, Kentucky and was greatly blessed by worshipping with ten thousand fellow Christians, listening to excellent preaching and enjoying rich fellowship.
Vitalii Mariash in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a young person wanted to study theology, and in this article outlines his journey and the importance to him of ‘handing over the baton’ to the next generation.
1 & 2 Timothy; Paul's legacy for leaders. An article by Steven Bowers.
For many years Leonidas and Irene Kollaros have worked in Ioannina and this article gives an up to date account of the work in that university city in north-western Greece
An article by Mission Director, Steven Bowers, commenting on the Coronavirus problem at the present time and encouraging us to renew our trust and commitment to the Gospel, our trust in the God of that Gospel and our efforts to give that Gospel to Europe.
As a church, how can we live the Gospel in practice in the midst of the pandemia of the coronavirus? An article by Stefano Mariotti. Stefano and Jennifer Mariotti are missionaries with the European Mission Fellowship in Budrio, Italy.
Europe's northernmost country, the Kingdom of Norway is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s famed for its rugged mountains, spectacular fjord coastline, the magical northern lights and the midnight sun. It’s also one of Europe’s most prosperous nations, and regularly ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. A report by Phil Dunn, the EMF Northern Ireland Representative, on his recent visit to Norway to see EMF missionaries John and Oline Taylor.
What do we do when our mid-week meetings are empty? What do we do when the local authority changes and we find ourselves struggling as a church? What do we do when the law changes to limit the activity of Muslims and it affects evangelicals too? These are some of the questions EMF missionaries Stefano & Jenny Mariotti have been asking themselves as a couple in the last year!
Ralph Winter, the American missiologist, says that there were 3 great periods in history for mission : 1792, influenced by William Carey; 1865 and following, due to the impact of Hudson Taylor; 1934 and following, due to the influence of Cam Townsend, who founded Wycliffe Bible Translators and Walter McGavran.
Twenty years ago, EMF made it possible for me to work alongside a mature pastor, Mike Daly, to be mentored and helped in every possible way at Great Whyte Baptist Church in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire. And now the challenge and privilege of mentoring a young man in my church in Luna de Sus, Romania, has passed on to me. His name is Tamás Moroz.
I grew up in a home where only my mother was a Christian. It was through her that my older brother and I heard about Jesus and had contact with the church from a young age.
Here, Christian publishing house Legatio’s Krzysztof Rutkowski, based in the central Polish city of Włocławek, explains some of the priorities that will help Poland’s churches to reach new people and grow.
EMF’s School of Biblical Studies runs a foundation-level six-month course to facilitate and equip Christian leaders to handle the Bible better and to fulfil Jesus’ Great Commission in Europe.
In November 2016, Pepe Moreno celebrated 25 years as the pastor of Alcázar’s evangelical church, situated in central Spain. Here, he looks back on his time, and on what’s been achieved.