Jaap and Aziza are the Field Directors of Europe for Advancing Native Missions (ANM). When they travel, they have 4 objectives in mind:
1. They vet new ministries to see if they could become ministry partners with ANM.
2. They discover how the native missionaries who are partners are faring and how God uses them to minister.
3. They encourage missionary leaders and identify their needs in the field.
4. They work to find new donor churches to support the small struggling churches.
The added benefit is how God uses them to minister while they perform their duties as Field Directors.
Stories from the Field
Jaap and Aziza told about one native missionary team member whose testimony touched a teen, her mother, and her grandparents. After the encounter, Aziza explained, “We felt so privileged. We were like, ‘Wow, Lord, you knew this girl. You sent us all the way from Ireland (to Bulgaria) on this dirt track. We didn’t even know that there was a village, let alone this girl.’ God brought us on this little dirt road to touch a family.” Jaap added, “We feel so privileged that we are even allowed to be part of it. It grows our faith, too.“
A Touching Testimony
During one particular visit, Aziza and other ladies helped prepare for a shoebox distribution, working alongside Kiril* and Ludmila* in their Muslim home. As they labored, Aziza encouraged one lady to share her testimony with the couple. Aziza said, “She was the perfect one to share at the time because she was telling about her mom dying of cancer. They just looked at her and said, ‘Our son-in-law died of cancer.’” That testimony of shared suffering touched this Muslim couple. The native missionary leader rejoiced, realizing God was working in Kiril and Ludmila’s hearts.
Being the Church
Another time, native missionaries Jaap, Aziza, and Hari went to visit a Roma lady they had met months earlier. She had recently given birth, so Hari offered to dedicate the baby. Aziza explained, “We got the privilege to pray over and dedicate a baby to the Lord.” She shared that it was a privilege to see the Church in action in such a simple way.
On one trip, Jaap and Aziza learned of a young man who was very seriously injured. The native missionaries asked if they could use the undesignated ANM funds they had given him to transport the man to a doctor. Jaap and Aziza were there to offer that provision at just the right time, and those funds saved the man’s life. Clearly, God’s timing is perfect.
An Elderly Woman Persists
Native missionaries Jaap and Aziza see God working and join with Him, not only in Europe but also in their home church in Ireland. They told us of Michelle, who worked in a nursing home. One day, an elderly lady offered her a Bible to read. Although Michelle was uninterested, the woman persisted. After having the Bible for a while, Michelle began to read it during the shutdown. She became so hungry for spiritual things that she could not stop reading. The gift of a Bible seems like such a small thing, but it impacted Michelle’s life in a big way. Now she is growing spiritually and attending Jaap and Aziza’s church.
How to Minister
Aziza encourages other native missionaries to notice what is right in front of them. Instead of focusing on big and flashy ministry, look for little ways you can make a difference. She shared, “You just know that somebody wants to sit there and have a cup of tea and tell you how bad things are and then pray together and be relieved.” She acknowledged that simply saying, “I have been there. I understand. You will get through this,” helps that person.
Jaap summarized how God works in them, “You think, Wow! You (God) do really care about each one of us. And it doesn’t matter where we are. You know where we are.”
Aziza continued, “And you don’t have to come with a clever plan. Your heart has to be ready to receive from the Lord what you can give to them.”
Do you want to help Field Directors encourage native missionaries, supply a Bible or shoebox, or help with a baby dedication? Your gift to support missionaries will enable moments like these and many more to happen for God’s glory.
*Names changed for the protection of missionaries in sensitive areas.