“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” – Saint Augustine
Empty eyes within spiritually darkened Europe reflect unrealized identity. Faces jump into my head and I see mirrors of the minds that are clouded by hurt, pain and lost identity… mouths that aren’t speaking, but with eyes that are yelling the confessions of a broken heart.
This is the question that Jeff Serio, Director of European Initiative asked a group of eager students one cloudy Wednesday morning in Berlin, Germany. I was fortunate to intern this summer with EI, and Jeff's question was just one of many questions he posed to us this summer.
European Initiative is pleased to announce the launch of its second European base in Zagreb, Croatia. Poised to reach the Balkans region of southeastern Europe, EI’s new base is led by Jerry and Zuzanna Low.
The Balkans consists of the following nations: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, and Serbia—and debatably, a few other bordering nations on the Balkan Peninsula. This war-torn area is still full of Eastern European charm but is also fraught with destitution and poverty. The physical poverty is exceeded only by the spiritual poverty; less than 0.7% of those living in the Balkans are evangelical Christians.
Count me among a miniscule minority who has never watched a single episode of the CBS reality show, “Survivor”. I have seen countless promos for the series, none of which have enticed me to give it a try. Through viewing the promos I get the gist of the show: a tropical location, bandanas, snacking on worms, and conniving plots to throw the competition off the island.
No one in humanity is promised his next breath. Life is a precious gift from God. Ask any parent you know about the experience of gazing upon a newborn as he takes his first breath - it is nothing short of a miracle! Yet so often we find ourselves expecting another moment… another day… another weekend… more years to come. This is why news reports of children or teenagers tragically losing their lives at a young age tend to grip the hearts of many. It leaves us asking the question, “Why was that life cut so short?”
A few years ago I was reading John 21:11 and was struck by the precise reference to 153 fish which Jesus caught. Why would it be necessary to record such a specific number in scripture? That random number perplexed me then, and to this day. On a recent missions trip to Serbia and Hungary, however, “153” resurfaced again.
Have you ever wanted to just do a dance in a public space, even though people would be watching, and you would be embarrassed beyond belief? Maybe you just received a phone call with great news and your first inclination was to jump for joy, but you didn’t because….Why does there always have to be a “because”?
European Initiative is heavily engaged in a war for Europe’s spiritual destiny. From the outside looking in, there are many signs that point to this continent’s spiritual demise. Atheism and humanistic thought are running rampant; 7 out of the top 10 countries in the world with the highest suicide rates are in Europe. Germany, the country that I live in, will close the doors to over 15,000 churches in the next few years! Most Europeans have no interest in Jesus and few know why He even came to earth. Europe has become the dark side of the moon in its spirituality but as one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, writes in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, “Aslan is on the move!”