Seeing God at Work in Europe
With great joy we share our thoughts and observations after visiting four European countries on a ten-day trip, talking to distributors and seeing first-hand how WMP literature is used, appreciated, and needed. We felt the Spirit’s presence in each country as we saw the devotion and faithfulness of missionaries, evangelists, and individuals to the call of God to ‘go and tell!’
—WMP 2019 Europe Team
Romania: A Light Shining in the Darkness
Pastor Raul pointed to a map on his office wall. Colored pins marked the cities and villages where 60 missionaries had established a presence for the gospel. In southern Romania, where 7,000 villages have no evangelical church, only a handful of pins were on the map. But Raul was encouraged and moved on to the next map which showed another county and then to a map of the Balkan nations. They would keep on until all the maps were filled with pins!
As the WMP team that recently visited this less-reached region of Romania, we found a mission force fully committed to the work in spite of difficulties and few responses to the gospel. Missionaries must gain the trust of the people, and that takes time and devotion. Mircea and Cornelia have labored in a small community on the Danube for seven years with only a handful of people responding to the gospel, and yet they have a vision to establish a Bible-training center there on the banks of the Danube!
Each missionary we met expressed great appreciation for the Scripture booklets and a desire to have them more available to use as their situation directed. Many had used WMP booklets for years, pointing out that the booklets—presenting the Word of God—can stay with someone to be read over and over. This is invaluable in a place where overt evangelism is difficult. Although the work is hard and people are bound by poverty and remnants of a Communist worldview, the WMP team felt the strong presence of the Spirit of God moving through these faithful ones to bring precious souls to the Savior.
Finland: Revitalizing a Strong Christian Tradition
Visiting with WMP’s national coordinator in Finland was most encouraging and revealing. While WMP communicates regularly with its national coordinators by email and phone, sitting down to talk and share a meal gives new insight into a person and their vision. Brother Ali has a passion to reach the lost, with a focus on those who have been rejected by society, working with ex-criminals to present the transformative power of the gospel. Ali’s time is given to presenting public evangelism activities, working with ethnic groups through the Scripture booklets to reach specific communities, and daily providing WMP literature to churches and individuals who call and ask for more and more booklets in a variety of languages. New doors are opening to send material into neighboring countries, including Germany and Russia, to support growing outreach efforts.
While Finland has a strong Christian tradition, it is a secular nation that is generally affluent and peaceful. The power of the gospel witness has been blunted by humanism and materialism. Here again, however, the WMP team found a vibrant Christian community, including many from African nations working alongside Finnish believers to present Jesus Christ as a personal Savior and Friend.
Sweden: A Change in the Air
WMP has seen an increase in requests for Scripture booklets from Sweden in recent years, so it was exciting to hear from some of these new distributors as they shared how they use the booklets in the ministry the Lord has given each of them. A retired couple works with the homeless, building relationships and sharing the love of God in practical ways as well as through the written Word. An Iraqi evangelist is on the streets and in Stockholm’s central plaza almost daily with a book table filled with WMP Scripture booklets and other Christian literature. A former drug addict, he is a visible, passionate representative of the One who brought him from death to life.
A group of street evangelists shared their appreciation for the Scripture booklets in Swedish, commenting that because the booklets are often out of stock in the WMP plant, the evangelists consider them precious and highly valuable. They are eager to have an additional title available in Swedish to help counter the growing influence of Jehovah’s Witnesses. As in Finland, Sweden has experienced an influx of immigrants from African nations. A pastor from Nigeria shared an earnest testimony of seeing a change in the culture as more and more people are open to receive the Scripture booklets and discover what God has to say. While many traditional churches have declined over the years, there is new life in these young street evangelists, ethnic churches, and newly-established Swedish congregations. WMP will be looking for ways to keep supplies of Scripture booklets on hand in Sweden to fill the growing demand.
Norway: Transforming Norway
The WMP team was able to deliver 13 boxes (6,500 booklets) in Norwegian to Pastor Ferkah in response to his appeal for Christian literature for his congregation’s intensive soul-winning campaign in the capital city of Oslo from May to September. This is just one example of the increasing number of requests from Norway, where believers have a vision to reach the growing Muslim population, immigrants, and nominal Christians with the message of life eternal through Jesus Christ.
Operation World reports: “Oslo and the surrounding area have a lower number of evangelical Christians, but over half the population live in these areas. Norwegians of a non-Christian persuasion are concentrated here. The majority of adherents to other religions also reside in and around Oslo. To see Norway truly transformed, Oslo must be a focal point of church planting and ministry.”
Every step of the way we met brothers and sisters in Christ intent on reaching their communities and nations for Christ—caring for the needy, lifting up the fallen, welcoming the stranger, and drawing back the wayward. What a privilege it was to meet them and offer them assistance through WMP literature in multiple languages! We came home challenged and humbled, ready to follow their example and put our hands to the work of the Savior.
“A framework for walking with Christ.”
“Help from Above was a huge encouragement and help for me as a new Christian back in the 1970’s. Back then I corresponded with WMP and ordered a quantity of booklets. I have now been a pastor for thirty years, and after not being in touch with WMP for many years, I remembered your ministry and your publication. I remember how these key Scriptures helped give me a framework for walking with Christ and a foundation for understanding. I believe I will be able to make good use of HFA in conversations with people just coming to faith—both outside our church context and within the church. Thank you for your ministry!”
—Michael W., California
Meet the Team
Brad L., Artist
[Brad recently illustrated the cover and inside pictures for WMP’s new Who Do You Say That I Am? booklet.]
I moved to Indiana to get closer to jobs and industry. I had a client in South Bend who sometimes requested automotive illustrations, but I was unable to find another client. I began working part-time at a grocery store and met Karen, a cashier. Learning we’re both Christians, I explained my frustration at a lack of art jobs. She told me her husband, Steve, worked at World Missionary Press and that I should visit. After a few months, I finally scheduled a tour and then filled out an application. I stapled a few examples of my work to the back page and said a prayer.
About two weeks later, Harold and Andrew requested an interview. We spent 2½ hours getting to know each other and almost immediately I was asked to re-design the cover for the Bible study on Psalms.
For the past year I’ve been happily working for Andrew in the art department, helping update the artwork in some of the booklets. Artwork has always been used to help readers understand the lessons. I provide Harold and Andrew with sketches and concepts for review, then refine the rough sketches into finished artwork. It has required me to learn to illustrate digitally—an “old dog” learning new tricks!
I feel a sense of accomplishment because my art is finally being used for the Lord’s work. These booklets are on the front lines of ministry. My work as an industrial designer for 25 years was always for secular clients, as was my automotive illustration for the following 20 years. Now that I am working with WMP, my work is used overtly for the spread of the gospel.
My wife Sheryl and I have been married more than 30 years and have two adopted children. Jacob is in the Marines, and Jacki is in high school. Sheryl and I are both artists and work from studios in our home. She specializes in equine art and, until recently, I specialized in automotive art. I’ve been a car-nut all my life. I appreciate vintage cars as well as small-scale models and have collected both for over 40 years.
I’ve also spent many a late night working on writing and illustrating a series of kid’s books. I feel a burden to create stories for younger readers that have underlying Christian themes.