Spain (MNN) ― It rarely happens. But due to increasing concerns of an al-Qaeda terror attack against European targets, the United States has issued a travel alert for Americans in Europe. Japan and the United Kingdom also issued their own advisories cautioning their citizens as they use public transportation or visit tourist attractions.
John Niemeyer, missionary with The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), says many Europeans are concerned. "The fact that something could go 'south' so quickly is real, and it is here. The fact that these kinds of terrorist activities are being uncovered is unsettling."
Niemeyer says those unsettled feelings are providing rare evangelistic opportunities. "There is much more openness to talk about spiritual things, to talk about faith and future. But more importantly, to talk about faith in Jesus Christ and being at peace."
Many missionaries say serving in Europe is difficult because sometimes there are few opportunities to share the Gospel. Niemeyer says, "They have gotten over the church. Our prayer is that God would begin or continue to deal with people's hearts and show them that He is alive, He is at work, and He is the Creator."
How have the travel alerts affected outreach in Europe? Niemeyer says, "In terms of our daily activities, it really has had no effect."
Niemeyer is asking Christians to pray for the work of TEAM. "Pray that we would have our spiritual eyes opened and we would see those opportunities and take advantage of them. And pray for safety. Things can happen. You can be at the wrong place at the wrong time."
As terrorism continues to plague the world, sometimes in the name of Islam, Niemeyer says, "Those doors to the Muslim community are opening. And our thought and our desire is to begin working among Muslims here in Europe."