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Europe Field Story

One Seed: God’s After Math

"Never in our wildest imaginations could we have envisioned all that when we were doing the math and setting strategies! It is God’s After Math – far beyond our planning and calculations!"

One seed. That is all it took, and the Lord has graciously watered that seed and caused it to grow!  I am now retired from Missionary service in Austria, but the seed that God planted in the heart of this rebellious teenager back in 1956, is still multiplying today!

After graduation from Bible College, my wife and I began missionary service in Europe. We planted churches, conducted evangelistic meetings, and operated a youth center with a rehabilitation program for drug addicts. In 1974, we established a printing and publishing house which produced tons of literature used in missions and evangelism. A generous portion of the literature production was smuggled through the Iron Curtain into Eastern Europe.

In 1984, we founded the Austrian Bible Institute. Graduates are presently serving in churches and missions around the world. One is with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Ethiopia. Another is Director of a Swiss Mission with over 50 workers serving in Muslim countries. Another graduate founded a printing and publishing company that produces Christian books and literature. Still another founded a youth organization in Austria. Because we had that same desire, we joined forces and the organization was founded and growing even before he graduated. There were soon 60 clubs and hundreds of trained leaders in Austria. The organization has since branched out into 17 nations of Europe and is still growing! Our mission also worked with refugees, some of whom became followers of Christ. One of these was an Albanian named Arben, who graduated from the Austrian Bible Institute, returned to Albania, and established a church in the northern city of Kukes. That church is now autonomous and composed almost entirely of converted Muslims under 30 years of age!

Never in our wildest imaginations could we have envisioned all that when we were doing the math and setting strategies! It is God’s After Math – far beyond our planning and calculations!

“Church Planting” is a popular term for what many missionaries do. We first evangelize, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. We share it in many ways, through witnessing, preaching, through literature or media. Our actions and lifestyle are of utmost importance in the effort of winning others to Christ. If we are successful, we begin to plant a church. That is “doing the math.”

Church planting missionaries can get discouraged when their math doesn’t produce the results that they expected. They did the math and formulated a “strategy”, but the results were nothing like what was expected. When this happens, the missionary can get very disappointed. Some remain disappointed for months or years and a few quit and return to the rat race. They may vow to never again commit to do anything for God, but I assure you that with God you can always expect and rejoice in his After Math. In the “civilized” rat race, there is also much disappointment and plenty of aftermath but without God, you cannot expect his After Math.

Most missionaries “do their math.” They prayerfully consider needs, set goals, and calculate costs or risk. We usually develop a “field strategy.” Back in the sixties, missionaries did this mostly in blind faith, trusting God for wisdom, leading and provision as they advanced. When faced with seeming failure, unexpected or undesired results (aftermath), they know that they must depend on God’s wisdom and provision – his After Math.

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