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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Reaching the Prodigals

By Paul Trementozzi
Jan. 6, 2013

From the beginning of our mission 99 years ago, the Holy Spirit has compelled missionaries to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The leading edge of our mission is evangelism — taking the message of Jesus to those who have never heard.

Whether they live in remote jungle villages, deserts, the islands of the sea, or modern cities filled with skyscrapers, the spiritually lost wait to hear the good news that will save their souls.

Because Europe is filled with beautiful cathedrals, many people don’t think of it as a desperately needy mission field … but it is. Missionaries to Europe have always focused on evangelism because they know that in the shadow of those cathedrals, vast multitudes of people have never had an adequate witness of Jesus Christ.

The AGWM Europe region has recently intensified its focus on evangelism. In the last year the Spirit has spoken to our hearts through one of Jesus’ best-known parables — the Prodigal Son. The relationship between the lost son and his father are reminiscent of today’s Europe and its great need for the Heavenly Father.

The Prodigal Son is not an especially easy character to like. He squandered everything and scorned a father who loved him. Even when he returned home, his reasons seem selfish — he sought a place where he could get what he needed to survive.

But regardless of the Prodigal’s reasons for returning, his father embraced him. The father reached out to his son and joyfully celebrated the young man’s homecoming.

When we consider today’s prodigals, it is not always easy to feel compassion. While many have not had an adequate witness, others have willfully rejected Christ. But we are still responsible to reflect the Father’s heart toward them and reach out to them with grace.

Befriending prodigals is absolutely critical in Europe and around the world. They’ve had enough of people forcing religion down their throats. Simply giving someone a tract might be helpful, but building relationships is a much greater witnessing tool. Europeans know the continent’s history; they understand what people have tried to force-feed them. What they hunger for is genuine relationship. That same hunger is evident throughout the world.

Across Europe today, immigration is at unprecedented levels. Immigrants are flooding in, looking for homes and new lives. The majority of them are coming from unreached areas of the world that are difficult for Americans to enter. Yet when they come to Europe, they become reachable. Missionaries have unprecedented opportunities to share the gospel freely, and they are finding many who are open and receptive to their message.

Other immigrants come into the region already knowing Christ. Many of them find jobs. In the process, they build relationships with Europeans and have a tremendous impact. These immigrants become missionaries as they enter a new culture and share the love of Christ with those around them.

Every believer should consider himself a brother to the world’s prodigals. That brotherly love, empowered by the Father’s love, drives us to reach across chasms created by culture, distance and time. It drives us to seize every opportunity to reach out to people with whom we feel no affinity.

Perhaps the one thing that could have made the Prodigal Son’s father happier was if the elder son had run with him when the lost son returned. As we consider the lost of today’s world, let us be willing to seize opportunities, build friendships and run with the Father.

We believe time is growing short and that we are in the 11th hour of harvest about which Jesus taught in Matthew 20. With more than 4 billion people still lacking an adequate witness of the saving message of Jesus Christ, evangelism remains the leading edge of our mission everywhere in the world. Christ died for everyone, and we are committed to make His message known “so all can hear.”

PAUL TREMENTOZZI is Europe regional director for Assemblies of God World Missions.


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