Europe is an important mission field. A stronghold for secularization and a front against the fervent spread of Islam, it provides a challenge for the Christian faith.
The Baltic States
Our work in the Baltic States began simultaneously with the onset of the Russian Inland Mission, in 1989. The hunger for God’s word was great among the freedom-seeking Balts, who for so long had suffered under the Soviet occupation. During a journey that Pastor Ulf and Birgitta Ekman made in 1989 together with Carl-Gustaf and Monica Severin and Dr. Lester Sumrall in what was still the Soviet Union, they visited Tallinn in Estonia, among other places.
Visiting the President
In January 1991 the Baltic States underwent some very dramatic days. The people claimed their right of independence from the Soviet occupation, which had lasted since World War II, and the Russians answered by sending in tanks and elite soldiers.
Already during the ’80s, evangelists from Word of Life began travelling to Bulgaria to preach. In 1990 Word of Life held its first conference in Plovdiv, which became the starting point for many of the new churches that soon were planted across the country.
Word of Life began working in Greece by sending evangelists, who travelled across the land to preach in homes of people that they had received contact with during conferences in Greece and Uppsala.
Today there is a well-established, growing Word of Life church in Zagreb, headed by the first international Bible school student that came to Uppsala. After Bible school he was sent back as a missionary to his own country, where he now pastors the church, which is the largest evangelical church in Croatia.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia
Word of Life’s first and most established work in Eastern Europe is in the Czech Republic. All began in 1989 with a church in Prague, and since then the work has expanded greatly. During the spring of 1990, large outdoor meetings were held in Prague, and later that fall a faith conference was arranged with Pastor Ulf Ekman. As a result of this conference, many new churches were planted all over the nation.
The Danube Campaign
In the summer of 1995 Word of Life rented a large boat – a barge – accommodating 250 people, in order to perform a five-week Gospel journey along the Danube River. In Austria, Slovakia, Serbia, Hungary and Romania, the team held meetings, preached the Gospel and spread Christian literature.