The Berlin Airlift of 1948 is the inspiration for European Initiative’s mission to mobilize teams to Europe to spark a spiritual awakening. Jeff Serio describes how God miraculously confirmed and defined the European Initiative mission:
On a Tuesday morning in early October 2006, my wife Barb awoke me at 4:00am with a troubling statement: "I am afraid to move to Germany, but I am also afraid to stay in the States." Although barely awake, I sensed my wife’s fears needed to be addressed immediately.
About a month earlier we had made a decision to start European Initiative, targeting the summer of 2007 for our move to Berlin. I knew we needed to pray that morning to get clarity on this impending decision. My wife's anxieties needed to be addressed before we could go forward. We began to pray about 4:20am and our time ended with Barb crying out to God, “Please, Lord, by the end of this week please confirm to us in a tangible way if we are to move to Germany." Even though our faith was low, we knew that God could surely do something special—after all, He had five days.
I left the house that Tuesday morning to attend an Israel prayer watch at my home church. At a few minutes before 9:00am, I knelt on the floor and began to listen to the Holy Spirit speak to my heart. He told me I was to move my family to Berlin, Germany and that He was calling us to begin a “spiritual airlift” mirroring the Berlin Airlift. I barely knew anything about the Berlin Airlift, except that American pilots flew food and supplies into West Berlin while it was blockaded by Russia. As the thoughts kept pouring into my heart, God impressed upon me He was calling us to Berlin to begin mobilizing spiritual food and water into the city. We were to bring salvation and spiritual encouragement to Berliners. Later, God would clarify that the mission of the spiritual airlift would, in time, extend to the rest of Europe.
This impression lasted about 2-3 minutes and I continued to meditate on it as I gathered up my Bible and coat to leave. About 50 people continued to pray for Israel as I began to walk out of the prayer building. Then God suddenly intervened. As I walked out, I noticed Yvette, a pastor's wife from another church standing near the door. It was odd to see her at this prayer meeting, since she and her husband pastored a church more than an hour away. It was additionally peculiar to see her standing next to a man I had never seen before. She motioned for me to come over, and introduced me to her friend. "Jeff, meet Reiner who just arrived from Berlin." WOW!!! I was truly stunned to meet a Berliner after God had just revealed His plan about a new Berlin Airlift.
I briefly shared with Reiner what God had spoken to me just minutes ago about moving to Germany and beginning a spiritual airlift. Reiner was deeply touched; he asked if I could wait a moment while he retrieved something from his backpack. He proceeded to give me a t-shirt and a post card from Berlin. He explained that God woke him up at 4:20am that morning-the exact time Barb and I had started praying for God to confirm our move to Berlin! God told him to take a t-shirt out of his suitcase along with a postcard of Berlin, for him to give away later in the day. He had originally pulled out a large t-shirt and then felt prompted to replace it with a medium t-shirt (just my size). He asked me to put on the shirt as a prophetic act. The front had the name "Jesus" in English, and on the back in German was John 15:13, "No greater love has a man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends." Reiner’s actions affirmed in my heart that our family would be moving to Berlin, bringing the love of Jesus as we laid down our lives for the German people.
By sharing the beginning moments of this ministry’s existence, I want to glorify God for His quick and certain answer to my wife’s cry for a confirmation about our future. What a God of fine detail to awaken Reiner at the precise time Barb and I began to pray for a confirmation! My wife’s concerns were overtaken by her strengthened faith.
The Berlin Airlift of 1948-49 is one of the greatest acts of kindness and redemption in history. Many of the same American and British pilots who had flown bombing missions into Berlin in 1944-45 were now called upon to risk their lives to fly food, water and other supplies to sustain 2.5 million West Berliners. To this day, Germans are grateful for the Berlin Airlift.
A few months after receiving the vision of the spiritual airlift, I traveled to Germany and shared the Berlin Airlift vision with several pastors. One of the most respected spiritual leaders in Berlin, Axel Nehlsen, the founder of Gemeinsam für Berlin (Together for Berlin), told me that in 2001 a German intercessor received a vision about a "spiritual" Berlin Airlift that would bring spiritual blessings from the USA. Pastor Nehlsen affirmed the vision, saying the time is now for the spiritual Berlin Airlift to begin.