It's almost midnight and I just returned from an evening at the European Leadership Forum, an equipping conference for national Christian leaders from all over the continent of Europe where Dave has been this past week.
Held at Hotel Gołębiewski in Wisła, Poland, over 700 leaders from 45 nations gathered here to be resourced, mentored, encouraged and challenged in the task of bringing the Gospel to a "post-Christian" continent.
Tonight, Dave had the unique privilege of being the final speaker for the conference.
I arrived a bit early and noticed something familiar being prepared for the evening.
Those packets on the ground are "Look" studies that Dave wrote a few years ago, a simple tool designed to share the Gospel in what he calls "a longer conversation". Each person who arrived for the session tonight, received a packet.
Dave started his talk by having Maruska, our friend and JV teammate in Slovakia, share her testimony by video (she's sick and wasn't able to attend the conference) of using the study to share Jesus with those around her. As always, her testimony was so winsome, genuine and compelling.
"We missed you tonight Maruska, but it was beautiful to hear by video how you're using "Look"!"
Dave then continued on with his talk entitled "Two Views of Europe".
He shared the discouraging news first, about the state of the church across Europe, how seemingly hard the soil is, and that we don't expect much fruit because of that.
"Let's just be faithful, we can't expect Europeans to respond quickly, we'll just hope and pray, watch and wait to see if anything happens." These are the kinds of things that people often say.
But he went on to share a comment recently made by a Polish pastor at a church planting conference who, after hearing about truly hard soil in India, where people are losing their lives for the Gospel , said, "STOP! We do not have hard soil! We have laziness and excuses."
Dave shared from the text in John 4 about what Jesus sees: that the fields are white with harvest!
He brought our friend Jena up front and interviewed him about Exit Tour, the ministry Jena co-leads in the Czech Republic.
Jena shared how last year Exit Tour went to 23 schools in the Czech Republic to share the Gospel. Four students trusted Christ.
This led the team to reevaluate how they were going about "seeing the harvest". They made some changes in how they shared the Gospel, but even more so, in what they expected. Just since January this year, they've been in another 23 schools. And this time, 290 young people have put their faith in Jesus!
Dave concluded with "The harvest is here. We need to stop talking about it and join God in the harvest. Our view may be that it's hard and difficult. But Jesus' view is that it's time to bring in the harvest!"
There are just three imperatives in the John 4 passage: LOOK, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, SEE THE FIELDS ARE WHITE WITH HARVEST.
May there be a wave across Europe of new followers of Jesus Christ who come to know him through the witness of these leaders who heard this message tonight and put it into practice!!
Afterward, I grabbed a picture with another JV teammate, Denisa, who is one of the teachers for the Youth Ministry track that Dave leads at ELF. She, like so many of our JV family, is living this truth out in Slovakia.
May Jesus help all of us to see what he sees, and may we have our eyes and ears open to the harvest that is right in front of us.