On Saturday 12 March, at Welwyn Evangelical Church in Hertfordshire, the European Mission Fellowship (EMF) held a special farewell and welcome service.
The farewell was to the outgoing director Martin Leech, who later this year will take up a pastorate in Australia.
Those being welcomed were Ian Parry, founding pastor of The Bay Church in Cardiff, who will take Mr Leech’s place, and Steven Bowers, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, who will take up a new post as assistant director of EMF, with responsibility for running the headquarters and administration.
Jan Hábl, EMF missionary in the Czech Republic, attended the service, and said, ‘There are many who have been saved because of the faithful and persistent work of EMF. I am one of them. About 25 years ago, my teenage faith was dying. My mind was troubled with questions like, “How do I know God exists?”, “Why the Bible?”, “What about other religions?” and “Why evil?”
‘The totalitarian regime then would not allow the distribution of Christian literature, so there was no good book around to help me. One Sunday, soon after the regime fell, an interesting man appeared in our little congregation.
‘He was introduced as the director of the EMF. One of the things the EMF provides, he said, is a biblical course where students tackle questions like “How do we know God is real?”, “Is the Bible reliable?” and “What about other religions?”
‘I do not know what brought the director to our little town and congregation, but his arrival changed my life completely. I came to the UK and took the course. It not only saved my faith, but also opened the door to the vast heritage of Christian literature — a treasure of enormous value’.
Mr Hábl added, ‘I am grateful and happy I could be present when Ian Parry and Steven Bowers let themselves be called to this unique and responsible service’.