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
Not many little Greek girls are given the name “Ruth”, so when Ruth Yfantidis introduces herself, she knows the other person will be wondering if she is truly a Greek citizen. Evangelicals, typically those most likely to give their infant daughters Bible names, make up only about 0.2% of the Greek population. EMF missionary Ruth told us a little more about living out her faith in her work as a nurse (now in a Covid ICU in an Athens hospital), and about other areas of ministry.
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!
In September 2019 Pál and Anna Borzási moved with their family from Luna de Sus to Pericei (Transylvania, Romania) to do mission and pastoral work there. An article by Pál Borzási speaking about their move and the challenge to save the lost and build up the church. How? By preaching the powerful gospel of our Lord Jesus!
On 9th November around 100 people gathered for a missionary conference on the theme of ‘Spiritual Climate Change’. It was the 60th Anniversary of EMF.
450th ANNIVERSARY OF CASIODORO DE REINA'S TRANSLATION OF LA BIBLIA DEL OSO. An article by José Moreno Berrocal pastor of the evangelical church in Alcázar, Spain.
Recently I was asked an interesting (and difficult) question – what is the religious or philosophical cultural situation in Czech Republic. I have tried to respond with great humility for I am aware of the limits of my observations. And you may consider my response as an invitation to join us in prayers for we need it indeed. An insightful article by Jan Hábl.
‘Freedom’ writes the hero Winston in his illicit diary in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, ‘is the freedom to say 2+2=4’. That’s pretty banal, you may think, but a climax in the book comes when the rulers force him under torture to say that 2+2=5, because they say so. Truth in that world is simply what the highest authority, backed up by force, says it is. A article by Mostyn Roberts, Pastor of Welwyn Evangelical Church and former lecturer in Doctrine of the Church at the School of Biblical Studies.
France and Belgium are perhaps two of the main countries in Europe to be classed as Secular. In France 1% of the population is regarded as evangelical and in Belgium 1.2% where even the Catholic church is in rapid decline [source: Operation World]. Michael Robinson working for many years in Belgium gives a concise article outlining the difficulties that secularism can bring in the way of outreach.
Jan Amos Comenius (1592 – 1670), Komenský in Czech, was a Protestant Moravian (currently a part of the Czech Republic) pastor, philosopher and educator who is celebrated especially for his revolutionary approach to education. His universal (holistic) notion of education and international success earned him the epithet “the teacher of nations.”
We are easily distracted from our work. This is as true in gospel work as in any other field. We must, then, be clear about what gospel work is. The Lord Jesus gave a clear statement of the essence of the work,which Luke recorded in Luke 24:44-48. There are three elements.
As of 1st March, we’ve made The Old Rectory, Glenfield our formal headquarters and we’ve closed down the office at Guessens.
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.