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Assignment Europe: Every Language

By John Lundy
CE Europe, Europe, Global, Middle East, Iran

TWR President, Lauren Libby, addresses attendees at our 2022 National Partner Conference for TWR Europe and CAMENA (Central Asia, Middle East, North Africa). [Image by Anna Laura Visser of TWR Europe]
TWR President, Lauren Libby, addresses attendees at our 2022 National Partner Conference for TWR Europe and CAMENA (Central Asia, Middle East, North Africa). [Image by Anna Laura Visser of TWR Europe]

IN CENTRAL EUROPE – The picture of the body as a redeemed people from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9) continues to be underscored during the National Partner Conference for TWR Europe and CAMENA (Central Asia, Middle East, North Africa).

Lauren Libby, president and CEO of TWR tapped into that theme at the beginning of a global update he offered to the crowd of 90-plus on Wednesday.

He first quoted from Isaiah 43:4:

Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.

Then he strolled down the aisle, asking people to read the verse in their heart languages. We heard Isaiah 43:4 in five languages, including Spanish, Arabic and Finnish.

TWR speaks to the world in more than 300 languages. Not nearly that many are found at the conference this week. But with 32 organizations represented from three continents, it’s a broad and eclectic mix of primary languages and dialects.

Multilingual Fellowship

English is the primary language for only a few of us, but it’s the common language of the conference. Translation is provided during sessions for a handful of attendees who speak Russian and aren’t familiar with English. Those for whom English might be a second, third or fourth language display varying degrees of comfort when conversing in English. There are multiple opportunities to hear from and speak with individuals from so many different places.

Each day starts with a time of worship that includes prayer with two or three people around you. This morning, I was praying with people from Sweden, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Presenters during the morning sessions represented Turkey, Romania, Norway and Germany, among others. I had lunch today with the ministry director from Finland.

Lunch on Wednesday was with an Iranian man who describes himself as a Jewish ex-Muslim Christian. I’ll call him John because that’s the name he asked me to use. He works for TWR in a ministry dedicated to bringing Christ to Iran.

With this ministry, John has for a number of years been producing Christian TV programs for distribution in Iran. He can’t go back to Iran, John said, because the government knows who he is.

“Iran knows exactly what I am doing,” John said. “They are following me. … The government of Iran, they know everything.”

When I asked if his life was in danger, even in Europe, John said he doesn’t live in fear but does take precautions. He added with a grin, “I don't want to be in heaven and [hear] God say, ‘What are you doing here? I need you there.’”

Two years ago, TWR asked John if he knew of someone who could lead a Farsi-language ministry. After praying, John decided that he was the best candidate. He now splits his time between this ministry and TWR.

God’s Word for Iran and Beyond

For TWR, John is spearheading Persian World Radio, which is designed to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Persian-speaking world. Persian World Radio has been on the air this year since February, via digital radio, 24/7. By the end of this year, it will be joined by Persian Worship Radio, also a 24-hour network. Under development is Persian Word of God Radio, in which the Bible will be read in all of Iran’s languages, with specific times designated for specific languages.

John’s story starts at age 17 when he abandoned his Muslim faith. Six years later, he went to visit his parents in Europe. They had located there after coming to faith in Christ. John was drawn to Jesus through the love of the Christian community, he said. “It was so different from what I’d known before.”

And there was Jesus himself. “If one person is capable of (forgiving), it’s this guy on the cross,” John said.

Although the Iranian government opposes Christianity, many Iranians are turning to Christ, John said. “The people of Iran are amazing. They are thirsty. “And when they know that Christianity is not a religion [and that instead] it is a relationship, they accept it. Because they are looking for a relationship with God.”

The conference closes after lunch on Friday. It’s a travel day for me, so I won’t be posting a blog. But, God willing, the Assignment Europe blog will return next Monday, from the Faroe Islands.

Images: (middle, right) TWR family members from across Europe and CAMENA take time to come together in prayer during conference activities. [Image by Anna Laura Visser of TWR Europe]

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