The 2012 autumn European Missionary Fellowship (EMF) conference was different to previous ones. This is because we invited some of our missionaries who find it difficult to attend EMF’s European field conferences to spend a long weekend at the EMF’s headquarters, Guessens, in Welwyn, Hertfordshire.
Friends from Greece, Switzerland, Belarus and Poland attended. Following the regular EMF prayer meeting at Guessens on 12 October, everyone met to hear brief reports on gospel work in Patra and Piraeus in Greece, and in Sion, Switzerland; and to pray specifically for these works.
Evangelos from Patra spoke of opposition to the gospel in Greece. He publishes and distributes 2000 copies of a bi-monthly newspaper called Times of refreshing and has 120 regular subscribers.
He asked us to pray for his dentist Nikos, with whom he has had conversations about the gospel.
Sophie from Piraeus told us how the church her late husband John pastored is growing under the leadership of the new pastor Paul Dimitriades.
An unconverted policeman and his family are coming to the services and showing real spiritual interest, even though the reason he came in the first place was that the local Greek Orthodox archbishop had asked him to ‘spy’ on the evangelical church.
André and Marianne from Sion shared how the Lord has provided a pastor, in Christophe Demierre, for the fellowship. Although officially retired, they continue to be involved in church life.
Mike Daly, a member of EMF’s executive committee and pastor of Marlow Baptist Church, spoke to us from Psalm 103 on the Friday afternoon. The conference’s public meetings were held in Welwyn Evangelical Church on Saturday, with all the visiting missionaries taking part.
Martin Leech, EMF director, gave a report on the work of the mission, entitled ‘Focusing on the essentials’. In this he said that there can be a lack of focus among evangelicals on what mission really is — evangelism and evangelistic work.
Jörg Müller, principal of EMF’s School of Biblical Studies, spoke on the 2013 biblical studies course. Invitations have been issued to 13 prospective students, roughly six of whom need visas.
Andy Banton, general secretary of the Open Air Mission, closed the Saturday meetings, giving us reasons why we need to hear more gospel preaching in our churches.
Following attendance at local churches on Sunday, Monday was a free day. During the final meeting, Mr Müller spoke from Isaiah 49, reminding us that God will not forget his people.