Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day 28 of our 29 Days of Prayer and Giving for Grace Baptist Partnership. Each day we will focus our attention on a particular church planting, church replanting or church revitalisation project in which we have an interest. We trust you will remember these situations in prayer and that you will take advantage of the opportunity to support the spread of the gospel by means of a donation to Grace Baptist Partnership this month. It will also help us if you will share these requests with your friends by forwarding these emails to them.
In recent years I have enjoyed good health – seldom having as much as a cold. There was that one time though – three years back – when a case of food poisoning took me out of commission completely for the better part of a week. Unhappily, this illness coincided with a trip Frances and I had planned to the Black Forest in Germany where I was speaking at a residential conference on church planting. I insisted up until 24 hours before the conference began that I would be well enough to make it. I wasn’t.
With conference participants already gathering in Germany, we had to find someone to take my place fast. “Where is Ryan?” I asked from my sick bed. “He’s in Edlesborough leading a Bible study,” Frances replied. “Call him and tell him I need him to go to Germany tomorrow.” That’s the last thing I remember. He did go
to the conference. He did teach – five times – in my place. But he also met someone. Someone with a heart for Austria.
Now I’ve met people before. People with a burden for this or that. And, to be honest though I’m not cynical, I’m probably more dubious in such situations than most people realise. Ryan, however, was insistent. His new friend was the real deal. He shared not only our theology and ecclesiology but was committed to the same methodology we were pursuing as well. Plus, he lived in England. I warmed to the notion of paying the man a visit but even then I wasn’t convinced. I remember telling Ryan as we got on the train at Liverpool Street station if he was taking me on a wild goose chase he would owe me big time!
Little did I know that at the other end of the train line I would not only meet a brother, I would make a friend. Nigel von Sachsenburg was the real deal. He did have a real burden for Austria. He wasn’t just wanting to talk. He was willing to act. From that day we began thinking and praying of how to best evangelise Austria. In the providence of God, Nigel and his wife met Steve Missios and his wife at a conference in Germany. Steve carried a burden for evangelising Vienna and had gathered a small group of people in his house in the city’s 22nd district.
In December of 2013, we paid them a visit. In 2014, we visited regularly as Steve and a small group of men began to go through our training programme for church planters. We were pleased when Steve and his wife Kathrin were received into membership at Great Ellingham Reformed Baptist Church. We rejoiced when one of the Viennese men , who had come to faith but not been baptised, confessed the Saviour in the waters of baptism. This man has a great desire to grow and perhaps in the future to teach. Our friend David Kelland at Chelmondiston spends time with him regularly via Skype teaching him and discussing theology.
In 2015 a team of volunteers came from the United States via Anchored in Truth Ministries to assist in the work. They encouraged the friends in Vienna greatly. So much so that a return trip is planned for this year. So much has happened in such a short time that we must acknowledge it is the Lord – and the Lord alone – who has done this.
Would you pray for Steve Missios as he continues efforts to evangelise his district of Vienna? Would you pray for the group there which now meets in a rented hall on Sundays and at Steve’s house on a week night? Would you pray for the AIT team as they prepare to come to Vienna this summer? Would you pray that in time a church might be constituted through these efforts in the Austrian capital?
Would you thank God for reminders that we are not indispensable? His work proceeds with or without us.
Praise the Lord.
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership