Do you know the difference of a cat and an elephant – not in regard to size, weight, food, appearance, or the probability to meet an animal of this species in European cities or woods but otherwise?
The gestation period of a cat is about 66 days on average while an elephant waits about two years for the birth of its calf. Obviously, there are things that are varyingly long in coming. Looking out of the window of your home country, you may see people longing for peace, for a life without constant fear, for hopeful perspectives for themselves and their families. And thinking of people in your neighborhood, you might suddenly realize that there are people waiting for someone breaking through their loneliness, hoping for a positive transformation of their health, family, job situation, longing for appreciation, understanding, love. Life does not always stick with our schedules. But Galatians 4:4 says: «When the fulfillment of the time came, God sent his Son.» And following Jesus might therefore also mean to be willing to be sent to others longing for life – and to be there at the right time.
The Fund for Mission in Europe, a tool of mutual sharing and learning of the European Methodist Council, supports individuals and local churches all over Europe trying to do exactly this – with their words and their actions, from Bulgaria to Estonia, from Spain to Eurasia. Recently a new project list has been published, which can be downloaded from here. This project list introduces a variety of ministries, which would not exist if individual men and women had not been willing to be sent. And the story goes on. Natalia Smirnova of the Trinity Program for People with Special Needs in Eurasia put it this way: «What we have achieved so far is not the limit. We are looking for new opportunities to teach people how to live a full life, being in a supportive creative fellowship with friends, and changing the world to the better, with the help of our projects.» And Nastya Kanivalova, a 15 years old teenager in the Ural District might serve as example for those people who have been touched by one of the various Methodist ministries throughout Europe: «I’m glad that God has touched me, opened new things to me, opened my heart and sends me to the world to share His Word.»
Through donations towards the Fund for Mission in Europe people all over Europe aiming to share faith and hope and love are supported. People willing to be sent to those longing for life are enabled to actually go – and be there at the right time.
It is, however, also possibly to simply use the variety of ministries described in this brochure to be encouraged, inspired – and to ask oneself: Who and where are the people God is sending me to?
Source: Urs Schweizer, Manager of the Fund for Mission in Europe
Date: March 21, 2017