We all face challenges and Mike Peters (pen name) is no different. Ministering an a largely atheist area of Western Europe, he's seen his share of challenges.
Mike’s is truly an international family. He hails from the Philippines while his wife is from Austria. They have planted a church and have started an NGO in southern Europe, where they’ve lived for the past 5 ½ years.
Life in Ministry
God called Mike and his family to a developed part of the world. While we might not often consider Europe a mission field, Christians make up less than 0.1% of the population where they live.
It wasn't easy though. In fact, God's wisdom was to start a Non-Government Organization (NGO), which has opened up a number of doors for them.
Their time in Europe hasn't been easy. Many times Mike wanted to give up. It sometimes seemed hopeless when he couldn't communicate or connect with his neighbors. But God strengthened him and his family and they are now seeing the fruits of their labors.
About six months into their time in Europe, Mike was discouraged. He couldn't seem to connect with people. He struggled to speak the language. None of his ministry experience was helping.
One day, on a run in the park, he took his frustrations to God.
God had a response for him that liberated him.
That revelation didn't mean that they had instant success. But it crystallized Mike's perspective and approach. And it opened the door for him to focus on his calling – making disciples – so that God could build the Church.
One of the things that excites Mike is seeing how the church is relevant to the culture. As he looks at the landscape of his community, he finds that the locals are among the least-reached people so he's focusing there. The local churches are full of foreigners but nobody else seems to be reaching out to the locals.
That's why God's idea of using a NGO has shown its strength. Because of what they're doing, their NGO has received amazing favor with the E.U. and they're even able to minister on university campuses.
As they minister, they're able to engage the locals and university students in a way that they wouldn't normally, as a strictly faith-based organization. As they minister, the locals begin to see their heart.
Still, it's not a quick path. It typically takes about a year for just one local atheist to be open to the idea of Jesus.
Significance in the Marketplace
Mike reminds us that it all starts with our perspective of missions. In reality, we are all on a mission. In the same way that some are called overseas, others are called to where they already live. That doesn't mean that any person is more important than the other.
And, as people called to our home communities, we have the opportunity to minister locally and also to pray, fund, and send people to other areas.
- If God has called you to pray, pray
- If God has called you to support people, do that
Mike sums it up on one phrase: Get to know the #missionary. That's about it.
He often finds that when people learn that he's a missionary they expect him to ask for money. But that's not how it works for him. He doesn't talk about money first.
He wants to get to know people. To develop a real relationship with them.
- How to really, really prepare
- Take more time to think through things. plan, talk with people, and wait for things to materialize.
Personal Success Habit
- Spending time with God
- Spending time with family
Mike's parting advice is that we are really just learners and that missions is just a fancy way to say, “Sharing the love of God.” When we're in love, giving is the natural thing to do.
For privacy reasons, MIke has asked that you contact me and we will find a way to connect you with him. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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