Europe – The World’s New Mission Field
This country, being the first ever to be proclaimed an Atheist nation in 1967, put practiced Christianity under penalty of 3 to 10 years of prison. Today, while state persecution may have ceased, Albania is comprised of 70% Muslims, their prayer calls chiming through the streets of its capital, Tirana, five times a day.
In 2018, EI first broke ground in this spiritually desolate country, partnering with churches inside and out of the capital, ministering to both the westernized Tiranians as well as the impoverished Roma (Gypsy) population in the suburbs. One of our partners has been diligent in ministering to convicted criminals in prison, as well as to the families of the incarcerated, who, experiencing social exclusion in a shame-based society, often lack the most basic means. Here, the love of Christ is often the only barrier between them and death by starvation.
One of the most diverse nations in Europe, and famous for its waffles and chocolate, Belgium has a lot to offer. From the invention of french fries, to the invention of the Smurfs, Belgium has had a more notable impact on our culture than you might expect. However, it is also a country of many challenges. Belgium is two nations within one: the Dutch resemblant Flanders in the north, and the French affiliated Wallonia in the south. Making things even more complex is the exponential growth of the Muslim immigrant community. Belgians today are generally secular, forsaking their Catholic and Protestant historic roots.
Brussels, the home of the EU, is very strategic to Europe’s future and in great need of a spiritual awakening. This is why EI is passionate about sending teams to this beautiful, but spiritually dark nation. Near Brussels, EI partners for outreaches with a 500+ member church that has over 55+ nations represented within the congregation. Further south in the region of Wallonia, a wealth of African-Belgian churches and ministries desiring to see awakening among their people, has opened their doors to EI to a variety of ministry opportunities. Twice, EI has sent teams to minister at the world’s second largest street festival which takes place each July in the city of Ghent. Honest, Jesus-filled, conversations have been had with searching (and a bit drunk) Europeans who are no longer afraid to share about the emptiness they feel inside and their longing for something more.
At the ripe age of almost 1500 years, Bulgaria has experienced invasion by Greeks, Romans, Turks, and other empires, the most recent being the Communist influence of Soviet Russia. Deeply scarred by the clutches of this regime of distrust and total control, contemporary Bulgaria is still characterized by a spiritual atmosphere of hopelessness and social isolation. Moreover, it struggles internally, as the Roma (Gypsy) people face political persecution, being refused education and job opportunities.
This is where EI gets involved. We partner a local ministry that targets the root issues, providing education and shelter to minors in hopes of raising a generation of literate, qualified, confident Romas that has learned to provide for themselves and their families, being fully aware of their identity in Christ. Moreover, we have reached hundreds of Bulgarians with the gospel through street evangelism in the nation’s capital, Sofia, and have seen walls come down and burdened souls finding rest with their heavenly father.
In Zagreb, EI partners with a ministry that is making a difference in the surrounding communities through evangelism, discipleship, education, and church planting. In past years, EI teams have gone home-to-home in Roma villages sharing the Gospel, encouraging believers through Bible studies, as well as assisted and led VBS events for the children. EI teams have also conducted creative arts outreaches in Zagreb’s city squares as well as brought the world’s premier Christian ballet company, Ballet Magnificat, to the city for outreaches.
100 years before Martin Luther sparked the Reformation in Germany, it was already in full swing in Czech Republic. Jan Hus, outspoken critic of anything contrary to Biblical doctrine, became one of the first martyrs of the Evangelical movement in Europe. However, only 19% of the Czechs nowadays claim to even believe in God, while less than 1% have a personal relationship to Him. The bold faith of men like Jan Hus has been almost snuffed out.
But our God is not hopeless. He shouts out to His prodigals, inviting them home. In 2019, EI mobilized five church and university teams to Prague. The teams ministered in Prague’s red light district, public schools, local church, city squares, and more. Famous for its beautiful architecture and cheap beer, Prague has become one of Europe’s hubs for party tourism, attracting students from all over the world. Looking for entertainment, they find themselves drawn to the dances and dramas that EI brings to the streets, seeing and hearing the Good News; many of them for the first time in their life.
As one of the Scandinavian nations, Denmark has a rich history of Vikings, Celts and tribal wars. Soon after becoming a Christian nation in the 10th century, the Danish established a monarchy that has uninterruptedly been in existence for over 1,000 years, making it the oldest monarchy in the world. And while Denmark itself is a rather small nation, it is sovereign over the 50-times larger Greenland.
Aiming to reach the lost in Europe’s capitals, EI has conducted outreaches in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a team of young adults from Florida. Hundreds were impacted, with many coming to salvation. Beyond that, local believers were encouraged to see the fruit borne in their spiritually challenged nation.
Birthplace to the Enlightenment movement in the 18th century, a movement which promoted and eventually launched the separation of state and religion, France has always striven to be free. Free from suppressive regimes, free from foreign control, free from religion. Dismantled by Nazi-Germany during World War II, the proud people of France managed to rise from literal ashes and re-establish themselves economically. However, on their path to liberal extremism they have all but lost and defied their Christian heritage. Research in recent years revealed that 80% of the French people have never read, held,or even seen a Bible.
Since 2017, EI has been bringing teams to Marseille, France — a 2,600 year old port city. EI partners with a local church that is passionate about reaching beyond their four walls to reach the lost, which includes the city’s high population of immigrants. Through street outreaches consisting of creative arts presentations, a portable cafe, face painting, dancing, and balloon making — lives were impacted one act of kindness, one conversation at a time.
In the history of Europe, no period of time has been as universally devastating, and so marked by death and destruction, as the first half of the 20th century. Located in the center of the continent, Germany was deeply involved in both world wars, giving rise to fascism in the 1930s and causing World War II. In the aftermath of war, Germany was split into a Soviet controlled Eastern side and a free Western German side, thereby becoming the focal point of the Cold War, heralding its end when the country reunited in 1989.
Today, Germany has economically risen from its ashes and has become one of the most influential players on the court of global politics. However, it is still a spiritual wasteland. The country that sparked the Reformation and was a forerunner in translating the Bible from Latin into the people’s Native tongue has long since abandoned its spiritual roots and fully embraced secularism. Just over 2% of the population is evangelical Christians, almost marking Germany an unreached nation.
Founded in 2007, EI has established its first base in Germany’s capital, Berlin, reaching its inhabitants through Creative Arts Street Evangelism. Since then, the ministry has spread to about a dozen other cities all over Germany, and established flourishing partnerships to many churches and Christian organizations all over the country. In 2019 alone, EI has mobilized 11 teams from churches and colleges to bring the Good News to the spiritually impoverished of this seemingly rich nation.
Comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and their territories, Great Britain has shaped the the world’s onset of globalism more than any other. During the 20th century however, Britain’s colonies pressed for independence, reducing its sphere of influence. When discussions about Great Britain’s own independence from the EU were brought to the general public via a referendum in 2016, a minuscule majority of 51.9% unsurprisingly voted in favor of severing ties.
At the bow of Britain, as head of state in these past turbulent decades was and is Queen Elizabeth II. She is the oldest monarch in all of history, celebrating her 90th birthday in 2016. Britain’s anthem, “God Save the Queen”, gives homage to their rich royal history – and their Maker. However, while Christianity is still surviving in rural Wales and Scotland, cities like London have become brooding places for liberalism and secularism, labeling faith an archaic concept.
EI’s ministry in Great Britain could not be more diverse. Our ministry has been as varied as sending a team to London for evangelism outreaches during the 2012 Olympic Games, to painting apartments for a drug rehab ministry in Scotland. In recent years, EI has been very engaged in Scotland, specifically in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dumfries. Thanks to our partner church in Dumfries, we have had the privilege to bring teams into a public high school there, sharing testimonies and the Gospel in a very secular environment. In Edinburgh, EI teams have utilized the creative arts to bring the Gospel to the famous “Royal Mile”. Birmingham, England’s second largest city, has been the stage for some spiritually intense ministry, including prison ministry and a partnership with one of the most long-standing homeless ministries of the nation. And in all that diversity, we have one over-arching prayer: God save Great Britain!
Budapest, the Hungarian capital, is known as the “Pearl of the Danube”. The land of goulash and paprika is unique to all of the European nations. The Hungarian language, contrary to its neighboring nations, is neither Latin, Germanic nor Slovak and is considered the second most difficult language in the world. In its long history, Hungary has only had but a few centuries of freedom having been overtaken and ruled by the Turks, Austrians, Germans and Russians. As a result of 45 years of socialism, Hungary is still a largely secular nation.
Hungary is home to EI’s second base of operations and is a strategic part of our European ministry. EI has been mobilizing teams to Hungary since its inception in 2007 and with the help of local partners, EI has brought many teams into the public schools of Budapest and the surrounding region. Through these outreaches and our after-school English programs, we are building relationships with students and are committed to sharing the Gospel and following up with those who have made decisions for Christ. By the end of 2019, EI will have hosted nine teams in Hungary this year, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel in Budapest’s subway stations and busy city squares, leading many Hungarians to salvation. Our Budapest based staff helps facilitate ministry in neighboring nations such as Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine, Croatia and Romania.
Known primarily for St. Patrick’s Day and four-leaf clovers, the Republic of Ireland is also recognized as the Emerald Isle because of it’s green and lush countryside. Ireland remains a largely secular nation, despite its strong Catholic tradition. Recently, the government conceded to pressure from the pro-choice movement, abolishing its laws that protected the rights of the unborn.
EI has sent one team to Ireland, partnering with Liberty Church in the Dublin area. Our primary ministry focus was to addicts, kids and teens in a slum area of the city. Ireland has many economic and social challenges, which contribute to an ever increasing hopelessness. Yet there is no limit to what God can do once a spiritual awakening is ignited upon this emerald island.
The people who brought us pizza and pasta and the world’s greatest exporters of wine, obviously enjoy the finer things in life. By the way, did you know that pasta is a 6,000 year old tradition in Italy?! At the heart of the nation’s capital, Rome, lies the smallest country in the world: the Vatican. Beside being a trove of artifacts, it primarily serves as command center of Catholicism. Consequently, Italians are extremely religious. And while separation of church and state is in effect in Italy, the Catholic church holds immense political and cultural influence, even today.
EI partners with local churches for outreaches and ministry in Parma and its surrounding cities in the North, as well as in Bari in the South. EI teams utilized the creative arts in city squares to spread the Gospel of grace and truth in a salvation-by-works dominated culture. Many lives were impacted as they heard how God wants to have a personal relationship with them. Furthermore, EI teams equipped and encouraged the local Body of Christ through nightly gatherings of worship, prayer, teaching, and more. And in all, we see Jesus set the captives free from the bondage of religion.
Windmills, canals, bikes and world renowned artists such as Van Gogh and Rembrandt make the Netherlands an oasis for art aficionados. Furthermore, its rich cultural and spiritual heritage dates back to Erasmus, the 15th century Catholic reformer, and extends to the Ten Boom Family, who risked their lives to hide and protect Jews during the Holocaust. Sadly, this once vibrant Christian nation has grown spiritually cold and is now estimated to be less than 2% evangelical Christian.
In the Netherlands, EI partners with Victory Outreach Church in Rotterdam. Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe and is the second largest city in the Netherlands making it a perfect location for outreaches. It was a city that was nearly destroyed during World War II, but literally “rose from its ashes” to say it in the words of the Britannica Encyclopedia. We have faith that Rotterdam will arise from the ashes in the spiritual as well and be rebuilt and known as a city flourishing for the kingdom of God. In past outreaches, the people have responded with great receptiveness to the Gospel. The Dutch are friendly and engaging people needing to know that the essence of being a Christ follower is about relationship, not religion. The Netherlands are ripe for revival!
The country of Polka and pierogis (filled dumplings) as well as the world’s oldest restaurant (est. in 1275!), possibly makes it one of the culturally most undervalued nations on our planet. Its tumultuous history reads like a thriller and includes the most extensive underground resistance movement of any of the occupied nations during World War II. Aside from the numerous high impact war coups, the underground movement was a fully developed political body with even its own accreditation system for underground universities in place. 70 years later, despite a period of Communist Russian governance, one of the most influential powers in modern day Poland is Catholicism. Religion and State are still not separated and approximately 88% of the Polish people identify as Catholic.
EI’s ministry in Poland has been extensive, focusing on the cities of Warsaw, Krakow and Łódz. In 2019, EI sent a team of fourteen young adults to partner with local churches in Łódz & Warsaw. While there the team conducted creative arts outreaches in city squares and experienced a remarkable openness among the people. The team also ministered in the local church and helped serve at festivals specifically focused on reaching families and other diverse sects of society. We have learned that despite its Catholic heritage, many Poles today hold secular beliefs and are generally disconnected from the church. To them, the idea of a grace-based relationship with Jesus is an unknown concept, and when confronted with it, we see many searching Poles receive the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
O Transylvania – birthplace of myths and mysteries surrounding the ominous and legendary Count Dracula. Interestingly Dracula, though a figment of fiction, was based on a very real medieval ruler, Vlad III, more infamously known as “the Impaler.” His name says it all. Sadly, he was not even the worst leader of Romanian history. When Communism rose in Europe in the 20th century, Nicolae Ceaușescu implemented the most repressive dictatorship of that time, worse than even Soviet Russia. In 1989, the masses gathered to overthrow Ceaușescu at the palace. The dictator, completely oblivious, commenced to hold a speech about the greatness of socialism. His speech was interrupted by an open revolt among those who had gathered outside. Ceaușescu and his followers took cover in the palace before attempting to flee early the next morning. Within days they were seized, tried, and sentenced to death. Footage of Ceaușescu’s facial expression as the crowd began to boo him out was broadcast globally and became symbolic for the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe at large. Filling the void of this rigorously oppressive system, the vast majority of Romanians has given themselves over to the legalistic traditions of Orthodox Christianity.
Intent on tearing down these walls, EI has been ministering in Romania since our inception in 2007, rendering our annual trip in January our oldest and perhaps most beloved EI tradition. Romania has the largest population of Roma (Gypsy) people in Europe — an ethnic group often despised and looked down upon by modern society. We think Jesus would lovingly call them “the least of these” — and every winter He has led us to reach and assist them in His name. Many Roma families struggle to survive the harsh winter months as they lack the basic necessities such as warm clothing, adequate housing, firewood, and food. Our aim is to love them fully in word and deed, providing humanitarian relief as we go home-to-home to share the Gospel. In our efforts to reach the urban population, we have rented and filled theaters with unbelievers as we presented the Gospel through professional dance — not failing to express it verbally as well before we parted with the crowd. In all of this, we partner with strong local churches and ministries in Brasov and Tarnaveni. Through them as well, doors have been opened for teams to bring the Gospel to students in public schools. It is evident to us that God is on the move in Romania.
Join our Open Trip to Romania next year, January 12th through the 20th. Check out all the details on our Open Trips Page.
Have you ever wondered where your raspberries are from? Chances are they have been imported from Serbia – along with 95% of the world’s raspberry market. About a century ago, in the aftermath of World War I, several European nations united to form the sovereign state of Yugoslavia, a country characterized by tensions due to its multi-ethnic make-up. Then, upon the collapse of Communism in Europe, conflicts erupted in several wars in the 1990’s, causing different regions to break off into independent nations one by one until only Serbia was left. Historically, Serbia has been the birthplace of many political world changers – among them Constantine the Great, the Roman emperor who first declared Christianity an official religion. Furthermore, Serbia’s national anthem, “God of Justice,” reads like a Psalm of David. In light of these, one would expect to find a country full of faith-filled believers…but nothing could be further from the truth. Shockingly, only 0.6% of Serbians are evangelical Christian. Their capital, Belgrade, has been ranked the world’s No. 1 party city in the world by Lonely Planet. Apostasy is at an all time high.
EI has been ministering in Serbia since 2012. Our focus has primarily been in the northern region where we have conducted many evangelism and benevolence based outreaches in Subotica and its surrounding areas. Backed by strong local partners, it has been our joy to bring the message of a grace-filled relationship with Christ to those who have only had a “cultural” connection to Christianity through the Orthodox church. As typical in most Eastern European nations, Serbia has a considerable Roma (Gypsy) population that is characterized by often severe poverty. To them also it has been our privilege to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ and offer humanitarian relief.
In the aftermath of Socialism, the gospel is still nearly unheard. With the vision to see a new generation grow up knowing their identity in Christ, EI has sought and found open doors to public schools, reaching lost sons and daughters by engaging with them directly, sharing the stories of how Jesus gave His life to enter into relationship with them personally.
Spaniards ooze leisure. Similar to the Latino culture, the average native spends approx.16 hours per day sleeping, eating, relaxing, and – partying. From pelting tomatoes to running with bulls, Spain is the home and host of more festivals than any other country in the world. While it was once known for its strong Christian faith, the land of conquistadors and tapas has has all but abandoned its rich heritage. Young Spaniards are leaving the Catholic Church in droves, resulting in a rise of atheism, agnosticism and the occult.
EI has been facilitating ministry in Spain since 2009. Visiting teams have conducted outreaches in Madrid, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela and more. Since 2018, Spain has become a focal point of our efforts. From mobilizing a team from Ballet Magnificat, the world’s premier Christian dance company, to the region of Malaga to street evangelism in Barcelona and Santiago, teams have impacted thousands of lives during their stay. Spain is ready to receive the Gospel again!
Europe’s largest nation, not counting the European territory of Russia, has a stricken past. Once the the first country proudly presenting a democratic constitution in 1710, Ukraine’s freedom deteriorated to becoming a satellite state of Soviet Russia. After the fall of Communism, conflict persisted, climaxing in Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 during Europe’s only inner-continental combat in recent years. Ukrainians predominantly acknowledge the reality of a God Supreme. However, held captive by religion, the primarily Orthodox population knows almost nothing of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
For the past several years, EI has sent teams in December to the Transcarpathia region of Ukraine in partnership with Hungarian and Ukrainian ministries. EI teams have primarily conducted Christmas outreaches to children and youth coming from impoverished backgrounds. Twice now, as many as 300+ children were packed like sardines into a nearby country club hall (owned by the local mafia) as our team shared the true meaning of Christmas through songs, dramas, and a Gospel presentation. Teams have also ministered in orphanages, blessed abandoned children living in shelters, as well as distributed aid in Roma villages. With every step we take in this nation — a nation suffering greatly from corruption, war, and poverty — we pray that His light and hope would be released.
Next year, February 21st-28th 2020, EI will send a team of international believers to Ukraine, ministering to the Roma (gypsy) people in a weeklong outreach. Join the team and learn more on our Open Trips page.
Europe consists of 51 sovereign nations, all of them our heart beats for. While we find many open doors all over Europe, we need more teams to break new ground in all of the nations we haven’t been to yet. Be the first to bring a team of pioneers with EI to any of Europe’s beautiful, lost countries. Contact us to start planning your journey today.