When I tell people that I’m a missionary in Europe, many tend to give me the look, as if we didn’t need any missionaries in Europe because we already have so many churches. The truth is we need missionaries in Europe more than ever!
When I did my DTS in 2008, I went on outreach to four African countries (South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania). It was a life-changing experience, especially seeing people living in poverty and still being incredibly hospitable & generous and more joyful than many rich people that I have met in Europe. I also found that it was so easy to talk to people about your faith and God. The people were open and hungry to hear the Good News. You preach on a tram and people are actually listening to what you are saying, asking you questions and wanting prayer. I discovered that for most people that I met there the spiritual realm is reality, whether a God could exist is not even a question for them.
Heidi Baker wrote in her book “Compelled by love” that believe it or not, living as a missionary in Mozambique is a lot easier than in the Western World. Because in Mozambique the poor know that they are poor, they know they are sick and hurting. They come to Jesus because they know they need a savior. In the Western World the poor don’t really know that they are poor, and the sick don’t really know they are sick unless they are dying of disease and no one can help them. They look confident, and they appear as though they have it all together. But maybe they don’t. Many even think they have it all figured out, have it all in their own hands. Why need a savior?!
When it was decided that all future YWAM Carlisle DTS outreaches will take place Europe, I honestly got a bit nervous. My heart is for Europe and I want to see Europe transformed by God’s love & truth. But I’m a realist and not an optimist. Taking a DTS team on outreach to Europe seemed so much more difficult than taking a team to South Africa or Brazil. I got even more nervous when we felt led to go Germany & France for our 9 week outreach at the beginning of 2012. Talking to people in the streets about Jesus; who would want to listen? Telling people in churches in Germany & France that God speaks to us today? But I trusted that this was what God wanted us to do and I knew that He would need to show up if this outreach was meant to have any impact. And He did. And it was amazing, maybe the best outreach I have experienced so far. There might be churches on almost every street corner in Western Europe, but the church pews are empty and so are many hearts. People are longing for true love, unconditional acceptance and purpose in life. With all the materialistic things available, at the end of the day they are still left feeling empty, longing for more than just fun & pleasure in life.
During our outreach we got to see that God is moving in Europe. People are longing for truth & love & hope. When playing worship songs on the tram in Berlin and talking to people, a passenger stood up for us when we were asked by the security people to stop playing. People would talk to us for hours in the streets to hear more about our faith, about God, about the Good News. People in churches were so touched that they asked God to forgive them for not passing on the Good News, for not sharing the Hope that we have within us.
Many European countries were built on biblical principles & values, but most people in these countries don’t even have a clue anymore who Jesus is or that the Gospel is about Good News that is meant to make a difference today, a real tangible difference. They don’t know that there is Hope that withstands even death. God loves Europe. He wants to see everyone saved. He is pouring out His love & compassion for the people. He is stirring up hearts.
How big is your heart? We want to make a difference that counts and restore Hope in Europe. If you want to be part of God’s movement in Europe, learn how you can live faith in a way that it impacts others, then come and join one of our DTS teams. The next one starts at the end of September. Join us in bringing back the Good News to Europe!
– Dortje Brandes