Our little family of four (Tim, Crista, Claire (9) and Graham (5) ) is moving from Ft. Worth, TX to Berlin, Germany to work with a ministry called European Initiative. EI is based in the logistically and spiritually strategic city of Berlin, with plans to expand its bases to other capital cities throughout Europe and the UK over the next several years. EI exists to build up the Church of Jesus in Europe, and to reach the lost. Right now, Europe is the darkest continent on the planet, spiritually speaking.
This video gives staggering statistics (from non-religious sources) on the spiritual condition of Europe.
People in Europe view "church" as a lifeless government entity. Their religion is humanism and they worship themselves; in Germany, education and intellect are worshiped above all else. So, for the small, unsupported churches (averaging 20-30 people in a congregation), the only way they can reach their communities is to go out of their meeting spaces and into the open with the Gospel. EI connects ministry teams from the USA to churches throughout Europe to present the Gospel in many creative ways. Ballet Magnificat recently spent time in Europe partnering with EI and had some spine-tingling moments out in the city squares as they danced for crowds of 200+ passersby. Illusionist, Jim Munroe (the MAZE), came to Berlin and to Brussels where he performed his captivating show. He invited everyone to stay afterward to hear his story...and many, many of the young night club set were introduced to Jesus for the first time. Lots of young people received Jesus after those two events! EI also reaches to the Jewish communities in Europe. Concert pianist, Sam Rotman, a Messianic Jew, partnered with EI to give concerts in Berlin and Poland and share his story of faith in Yeshua. The crowds were so moved by his music and his personal experience with Jesus!
Along with those kinds of performer-type connections, EI also works with churches in the USA to help fan the flame of the Spirit in Europe. Every year, EI hosts teams that come help with all kinds of outreach ministry: compassion/blessing the poor, street evangelism, outdoor concerts and dramas, dance, business conferences, and more. The world's largest Gothic festival is held annually in Leipzig, Germany, and for the past few years, EI has been there with a team of American and German Christians to inject the hope and light of Jesus into the hearts and minds of lost, wandering souls. This is truly a behind-enemy-lines situation. (View powerful video here.)
The need is great in Europe! That is why our family is going. Tim and I went to Berlin with our church for the first time in 2009, and God arrested our hearts on that trip. We both heard God calling us, and we surrendered our lives to serve him in Europe almost four years ago. Since then, we have been in the process of waiting on the Lord and working hard to get our ducks in a row. We have paid off debt, we are about to sell our home, cars and possessions and we are ready to begin our new lives in full-time ministry in Europe.
We really need to make the move this August. Summer is the busiest season for EI with so many teams coming to serve during the warm months when school is on break, and they really need us to get there and dig in. Also, as we transition into a new culture, it is important for our own children to be there for the start of school - we are still securing a spot for them, but regardless of the exact school, it would be harder for them to come in late.
Once we are there, Tim and I will be helping with all the details in coordinating teams that come to Europe from the US, and hosting them once they arrive. We will be investing in personal relationships with pastors all over Europe and finding ways to link arms and bless their families and ministries. Tim will continue to use his photography and I, my writing, to help European Initiative show what is happening over there. We will be more hands on deck helping EI accomplish its directive to build up the church and reach the lost in Europe.
What we need:
EI is a donation-based ministry. Every family on staff is responsible to raise their own support, so we are working hard on that part right now. The Ministry Board sets a salary for us, and we are responsible to raise enough funds through monthly partners to meet that salary requirement. As of today, we are only about 30% funded, and we are looking high and low for people whose hearts are stirred for the spiritual situation in Europe. We cannot do this ministry alone--we are looking for a team to help us advance the Gospel in Europe! EI is a USA 501c3, so all donations are tax-deductible. We need monthly financial partners to invest in God's Kingdom work in Europe.
How you can help:
Pray: Keep up with the Ashworths and EI through the links below and continue to offer prayers on their behalf.
About The Ashworth Family
Tim, 36, is a Californian-turned-Texan. He grew up surfing and climbing mountains and enjoying all things rugged. Crista, 37, is a true-blue Texan girl, minus the boots and the country music. They met in Nashville, TN and were married in the church where they first met. Tim is a commercial photographer by trade: he has worked freelance for most of his career with a recent position for the JCPenney Headquarters in Plano, TX as a Senior Photographer for all their print and internet advertising photography. Crista holds a degree in commercial music from Belmont University in Nashville, TN and has been a worship leader and voice/piano instructor for many years. Recently, she has discovered a love for the written word and has been writing for online magazines Destiny In Bloom, Grace for Moms and will be contributing in the future for Single Matters.