Supporters of the European Missionary Fellowship (EMF) in the north-west of England gathered at Chorlton Evangelical Church, Manchester, on 8 March, for an afternoon conference.
Walter Johnston, former pastor of Chorlton and a member of EMF’s executive committee, began the occasion by reminding us how the church is to prepare for the appearance of her Saviour.
This is by putting on Christ and by being the place where the doctrine of Christ is taught and lived out, so that Christ will present his church ‘without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless’.
We heard from EMF missionary Volodymyr Kostyshyn, who pastors the House of Grace Church, in Ternopil, West Ukraine, both about his own ministry and about recent political developments in Ukraine.
Mr Kostyshyn said that Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe and, in the light of recent events, is also proving to be a country with many gospel opportunities. He showed a photograph (see picture below) taken during the recent troubles, of people kneeling to pray on the streets of Kiev, asking God to prevent violence and stop corruption.
He said that evangelical churches had erected a prayer tent beside the main stage in Kiev’s Independence Square. This was not only for prayer, but to provide medical help, food and drinks, as well as Christian literature. Mr Kostyshyn said he had never seen this literature taken so freely and eagerly.
As well as regular ministry at the House of Grace, the fellowship also has a ministry to disabled children and their families, which is proving a good opportunity for the gospel.
Two students at EMF’s School in Welwyn — Philip from Nigeria, and Andras from Romania — spoke about their studies and future plans for ministry in their home countries.
Finally, EMF’s director, Martin Leech, stirred us with the challenge of the spiritual needs of Europe. He suggested Europe should no longer be called the ‘Forgotten mission field’, but the ‘Rediscovered mission field’, and ‘Now is a time of opportunity for Europe’.