Europe (MNN) — When you think of unreached people, what comes to mind? Poverty-stricken villages isolated from society? Violent, uncivilized tribes too dangerous to interact with?
What about people living in a continent that boasts grandiose churches and where nearly 71% of the population professes to be a Christian?
Many wouldn’t associate the latter with an unchristian society, but if you’re talking about Europe, then that’s exactly the case. Junia, a Gospel worker in Europe with Pioneers USA, recently wrote an article describing Europe as “one of the most unreached continents in the world.”
“Often times we hear people talk about Europe being post-Christian,” Junia says. “I would actually argue that it is post-Christendom, which is a subtle difference; but it’s a pretty profound difference because Christianity, even from its root, was linked in with nationality, but the Gospel option wasn’t preached there.”
The same is true today: many do not even see salvation as a possibility for their life. They view religion not as a choice, but as a part of their humanity inherited at birth.
“I have a friend who is Croatian, and he ended up becoming a born-again believer, and his other Croatian friends were just bewildered,” Junia says. “They didn’t understand how it’s even possible to be Croatian and not be Catholic.”
That’s the main reason Junia is working in Europe. Her goal is to break down people’s false beliefs about religion, then explain their need for salvation. She’s seeing success, but not always quickly.
“It’s usually a chipping away of understanding that faith is not something that you’re born into but it’s something that is a personal choice,” Junia says. “It usually is a process for a lot of people. We see other experiences where it’s a sudden conversion, but most of the time it’s a process of chipping away at things that have been wrongly taught to them from the very beginning.”
Through Pioneers, you too can help Europeans realize their need for salvation. You can go on a mission trip yourself, or support a missionary financially. But most importantly, Junia asks that you pray for and encourage missionaries to Europe, giving them confidence that their work is not unneeded.
“They often get a lot of questions about ‘Why would you go to,’ let’s say, ‘The Czech Republic or to France when you could be going to places like India?'” Junia says. “And we don’t want to recruit anyone away from those types of places, but we want these types of missionaries who feel called to these unreached people as well to be encouraged and to know how important it is.
“There’s a lack of understanding in the missions world as far as the opportunities and the needs in Europe. I heard a quote from a friend of mine who’s actually another person who’s on the field, and he says that there are two places to die of thirst. One is in the desert, and the other is in the ocean…. Europe is the spiritual ocean of the missions world.”