There are several passages in the Bible that have impacted my life in view of world missions. One of these is found in Romans 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things.” The other is found in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us.” These verses have especially shaped the direction of my life and through this internship have once again pervaded deeply into my thinking.
Europe is not what one may consider an unreached continent. We mentally associate Europe with the Reformation that shook the world and the foundations of the Roman Catholic Church. In our mind’s eye we see quaint churches and deeply religious people. I must admit that such was my own opinion before this internship. Unfortunately such an image is far from the truth. While Europe has been exposed to the Gospel for centuries, it remains even today a bastion for the lies and darkness which Satan so glibly scatters over this world.
Reflecting over the seven weeks spent in Eastern Europe my attention is drawn to a place we visited called Memento Park. Statues from the Soviet times are located there, echoing back from the past the horrors of Communism and a police state. We viewed a documentary film that depicted what it was like to live never knowing from day to day when one might be called in for interrogation or sent off to bleak Siberia for a “crime against the state.” The fear, the terror, and the anxiety is chilling even in simply looking back upon it. What Communism did to Europe has changed the attitude and character of these people drastically. This experience enabled me to understand a little better how they think and how their past affects their lives today.
A visit made to Ukraine with which I closed my internship probably had the most impact on my life and ministry vision. Interacting with the youth and a local Ukrainian named Stopa gave me a window through which to visualize the needs of Eastern Europe. Ukraine especially is a dark place; the Reformation touched very little of Ukraine and eastern Romania which explains why they are still so destitute of the Gospel. What this trip did for me, however, was to restore my focus to the verse in 2 Corinthians quoted above. What this world needs is not more social work, not more business in the name of missions, but individuals who are ambassadors for Christ and the saving message of the Gospel.
~ Shane Walters, Senior in Penn View Bible Institute’s Missions Department