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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. ...

A Testimony of Grace

By Randy Hurst
Jan. 1, 2012

A pretty young teenager, Lydia was drawn into a romantic relationship with a wealthy young man. When she became pregnant, the young man wanted to “do the right thing,” so they married. But after several years and a second child, the couple divorced and the husband’s family took the children.

Lydia didn’t finish high school, so she used her singing talent in nightclubs and bars. She met and married another man and had another child. Then history repeated itself: Her husband divorced her and took the child with him.

After two failed marriages, three children and nothing to show for it, Lydia returned to the nightclub scene. Eventually, she met and married Bill, a twice-divorced truck driver from York, Pennsylvania. He had several children across the United States, the result of numerous affairs. After Bill and Lydia had a baby girl, they divorced; but later they reconciled, remarried, and soon had a baby boy. They named him Greg.

Though poor, they were able to buy a small piece of land outside Youngstown, Ohio. Their home was an 8- by 15-foot trailer, a small space for a family of five: Bill, Lydia, Greg and his sisters Joyce and Ruth.

Time passed. Lydia, now in her early 40s, was walking along a street one evening when she heard singing from a tent. It drew her in, and she heard the gospel for the first time. She gave her life to Christ and came home that night a totally different person. Greg remembers the radical change in their home life after his mother’s conversion.

When Greg was 13, he and Lydia went to visit his older sister Joyce, who was serving in the Women’s Army Corps at the Army base in Ft. Gordon, Georgia. While he was there he attended a military chapel service where a Billy Graham movie was being shown. That night, he went forward to commit his life to Christ.

Returning to Youngstown, Lydia and Greg attended services in many churches. Lydia kept moving from church to church, but Greg settled into a small Italian Pentecostal church, where he was baptized in the Holy Spirit. He also met his future wife, Sandie Fortunato.

Sandie knew God called her to be a missionary when she was 11 years old. But Greg was unsure of God’s plan for his life. They went separate ways after high school — Sandie to the Assemblies of God’s Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, to prepare for ministry, and Greg to Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, to study political science.

While praying at the altar in church one Sunday evening, Greg sensed God’s call to ministry. As he struggled in prayer, he asked, “Lord, is this really You?” Almost immediately, a message in tongues and interpretation was given by Sandie’s mother. The message confirmed to Greg that the calling was indeed from God. Greg transferred to Central Bible College, and he married Sandie in 1971. Greg graduated in 1973. Sandie graduated from Missouri State University in 1977.

The Mundises’ first ministry was at an outstation in Brown Springs, Missouri. They then interned at Central Assembly of God in Springfield before accepting a position as janitor and youth pastor in Lima, Ohio. In 1974, they were asked to return to Central Assembly where they served as youth pastors until 1978.

In June 1977, a church leader from the Philippines visited Central Assembly. He had just traveled through several European nations. But he spent his entire five-minute testimony talking about the spiritual need in Austria.  Greg says that as he listened, it was as if God was shooting an arrow through his heart. He began to weep as the Spirit of God burdened him with the needs of Austria.

That same day Sandie gave birth to their son, Greg Jr. While Sandie struggled in labor, Greg tried to explain to her that God had called them to Austria. Her response was simple: “After the baby comes!”

The Mundises went to Austria as Assemblies of God missionaries in 1980. They were involved in church planting, media and theological education through International Correspondence Institute. In 1984, Greg was appointed ICI director for Austria.

After Greg and Sandie’s first term, Albert Betschel, a leader of the Pentecostal fellowship in Austria described their ministry this way: “It’s very hard to tell you in words what we in Austria really feel concerning Brother Mundis’ ministry. He is such a wonderful and spiritual man of God, and his ministry during the last four years has been a great blessing. We count Brother Mundis and his family as one of ours. They really have won our hearts and this is true for the whole country. We hope they return to Austria for the next term and we ask that this will happen very soon.”

In 1985, Greg helped bring Christian television to Austria — something unheard of at the time, since the government controlled all TV stations. Over the next six years, media evangelism expanded by way of ICI films, TV programming and live broadcasts. Through these ministries, many people came to Christ. In 1987, Greg and Sandie helped found Vienna Christian Center, a flourishing international church that has grown to over 1,400.

Greg was named area director for Central Europe for AG World Missions in 1991, and served effectively for seven years. When Executive Director of World Missions John Bueno felt led of God to create two separate entities from the existing Eurasia region in 1998, Greg was appointed by the Executive Presbytery to serve as regional director for Europe.

During his first year as regional director, Greg completed his M.A. in intercultural studies from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He later earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Missiology from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in 2006.

Under Greg’s leadership, missionaries in Europe launched initiatives that focused on the region’s needs and opportunities. Early on, Greg gathered missionaries into strategy groups to dream about ministry possibilities. As a result, a threefold strategy was adopted for increasing ministry to cities, campuses and children. Sandie took responsibility for forming Europe’s Children, which reaches thousands of children through drama, Christian education and compassion ministry.

The swelling flood of immigration into Europe from all over the world prompted development of a fourth emphasis six years ago on culturally diverse communities. This strategy networks missionaries, Europeans and immigrants to reach and disciple peoples of non-Christian backgrounds living in Europe. 

In 2009, more than 100 missionaries met in strategic groups and formed 10 networks of ministry groups designed to accelerate the spread of the gospel in Europe.

In the first year after the Europe region was formed, I travelled extensively with Greg to help effectively communicate Europe’s spiritual needs to the U.S. church. One of those trips took place shortly after Greg’s father died. During our time together, Greg pensively shared with me the shock of what he had recently discovered.

 As he was growing up, Greg had always wanted to know about his heritage. He often felt “different,” and people had even made fun of him as a kid because he was taller than everyone else in his family. Greg had asked his mother many times if he’d been adopted, but Lydia always avoided the questions.

Greg’s mother died of cancer Feb. 29, 1996. Wonderfully, all of her children had come to know Christ. Only two years later, Greg’s father passed away. At the funeral, Greg’s sister Joyce revealed some shocking news to him: the man in the coffin was not Greg’s biological father. On her deathbed, Lydia had told the truth to Joyce but made her promise not to tell Greg until Bill died. Finally Greg learned what he had wondered about for so many years.

At first Greg hid his personal emotional struggle from all but a few family members and friends. Over the next two years, he realized he was harboring unforgiveness in his heart toward his mother. He resented Lydia for never telling him the truth, even though he had asked her so many times. Finally Greg expressed what he felt through writing a letter to Lydia, pouring out his heart and asking for forgiveness. That act helped release him from what he felt toward his mother; at last he was free.

From a family with a fractured past and six divorces, Greg is a telling example of how the grace of Jesus Christ breaks the cycle of brokenness, heartache and despair. He and Sandie are devoted to each other and to their children and grandchildren — Hollie and her husband, Jason McClaflin, who serve the Lord with their four children overseas; and Greg Jr., a spinal orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, Lesley, and their four children in California.

Over the years the song “He Giveth More Grace” has become especially meaningful to Greg. He feels that what God has done in his own life and family is reflected in the words of the chorus: “His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power no boundary known unto men; for out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

When Greg was installed as executive director of AG World Missions in a chapel service on Oct. 4, 2011, General Superintendent George Wood asked him to share his personal testimony.

“I am here today because of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ — His grace in our personal lives, His grace in our families,” Greg said. “His grace and love cover a multitude of sins. It covers all the heartaches, the things that we bury and the burdens we bear. His grace is there when we feel isolated. Satan wants to put us in the corner; he wants to isolate us. But the truth is that there is wonderful freedom and forgiveness in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. I urge us all to stand in the grace of God. His love has no limits and His grace has no measure.”

Greg is passionate about sharing that same grace with a lost world. Recently, Greg assembled the World Missions Executive Committee to share our hearts with one another and seek God’s direction. A holy excitement permeated the room as the Spirit profoundly led us and united our hearts anew. We came away from that experience recommitted to marshal every resource and devote our energies to get the saving message of Jesus to those who have never heard. So all can hear, we must proclaim everywhere — especially to unreached peoples in the remotest regions — that God’s grace extends to everyone.

RANDY HURST is communications director for AG World Missions.

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