The Transform outreaches 2018 included several teams in Spain, Portugal and France. Thousands of seeds were sown through distributing the Gospel of Luke in the surrounding St. Fleur area of Central France. Other seeds were sown individually through personal talks while walking the El Camino pilgrim route in Spain. “Do you think this walk can really change a person’s life?” asked a man from Denmark, while walking towards Santiago de Compostela. “I said ‘Yes!’ And that was the opening to share the gospel,” wrote a team member. People from many nations walk this famous Route. As all are walking to the same destination, the team naturally met and re-met the same people again as the days passed.
“God is perfect!”
In the town of Pedrogão, Portugal, children came for three days of holiday club. One of the little ones exclaimed in wonder (in Portuguese) “God is perfect!” when he heard the creation story. Later, a team member dressed up like a colourful clown, thereby attracting many children to the festival held in front of the church in Leira, Portugal.
Not forgotten by God
Long term OMers in La Vera, Spain, rejoiced that their only Transform team member was from Hong Kong and able to share the Gospel in the Mandarin language with many Chinese store keepers. A local Christian who, in the past had spent several years in China, is going to follow up with those interested in learning more. For the small La Vera team of OMers, it was such an encouragement to receive help with the weekly ministry to Spanish and Moroccan children and their parents, as well as distributing invitations to a Bible study. “Even though God seems to be forgotten in the region of La Vera, God has not forgotten La Vera,” concluded OMer Justus*.
The ‘Canada’ team of people from South-East Asia played football with refugees in Lisbon and later taught a ‘One Wish’ workshop for believers and non-believers alike. One of the highlights was sharing testimonies and fellowship over an Indian meal. However, it was not all joy. As the team did not obtain permission to hold a street meeting in Lisbon, they simply fell into natural conversations with people on the street—some of whom appeared to be very interested in knowing about Jesus. Some others knew their Quran very well and challenged their conversations, and some plainly rejected them. These experiences made the team aware of the importance of knowing their Bible well, even have it memorized, in order to be ready to quote specific scriptures according to address particular needs.
Expectations and reality
“I realized that some of my expectations for the week were wrong,” wrote team member Nadia* from Mexico (who joined the Transform conference last year, and an outreach in France this year), “I came to France, expecting to meet superficial people smelling of Chanel perfume, wearing expensive clothes with expensive handbags on their shoulders! Instead, I met a small group of people who were surrendered to the will of God: a group of Christians with warm hearts and a desire to serve in the church. And a second group, much larger, of “non-believing” community that was thirsty for the love of God. This became clear to me as we did “faith surveys” on the streets.”
During the conference, one team cycled 355 kilometers visiting towns with no known evangelical witness, stopping in several locations to pray and bless the area.
Encouraging the local church
Fellowship with the local church was a highlight for the teams, and many local Christians were grateful and impressed that young people from far away would come to their church, their area, to help share the Gospel. One pastor in Portugal had recently been appointed to serve several small churches, and having the Transform team was a great encouragement at the start of his ministry.
An OMer, Pedro Luz from Portugal admitted: “Oh yes, we do get to bed late, but our hearts are full of joy and God, every morning, renews our strength.”
For Pastor Yann in Bruay-la-Buissière, France, it was a busy week; “The OM team really blessed and encouraged us,” he said, “and it was great to hear their testimonies of how God worked in their lives.” Over 75 people came to the concert at the last weekend, which meant a packed full church, and people were touched by the lyrics of the songs. And when the church put on a family carnival, the pastor was thrilled to see all 11 church members working hand-in-hand with the OM team, running the games, serving food and drinks, and generally enabling the activities to go well. Approximately 40 children and their parents (more than 100 people in total) enjoyed a sunny afternoon in the church’s garden! It was a great day and a great way of introducing the church to many people in the community.
The Transform 2018 outreaches are over, but God is still at work in people’s lives. Please pray for lasting fruit and consider joining the next Transform (in Greece, July 2019).
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work in us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or imagine. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
* surname not included for security reasons