As we consider the challenges of mission work in Europe, it is important to understand that each place has its own unique challenges. No place is an easy place. There always have been many barriers and obstacles to the gospel no matter where men have gone.
Paul said that even the great and effectual open door at Ephesus came with many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:7-9 “For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. 8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
Here are some of the challenges that Paul faced at Ephesus:
- He fought with beasts at Ephesus. 1 Corinthians 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
- Divers were hardened and spoke evil of the way before the multitude, but he stayed for two years and separated the disciples. Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
- He says that they had alot of trouble there and thought they were going to die there. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
Remember that all these adversaries and problems came in a place that Paul called “a great door and effectual.” The question is not will there be challenges, but what challenges will we faced and how will we overcome them with God’s help? Those challenges do not necessarily mean that the door is closed. On the contrary, they might just be the areas in which God is going to prove Himself strong through helping us overcome the challenges.
I personally believe that the doors in Europe are wide open, and we need to not allow the adversaries to the gospel there to keep us from trusting God to do big things.