As we’ve shared with friends and family about our plans to move abroad, some have asked the question, “Why Sweden?” This is a great question that, for us, was answered over a period of years. It was not as if Heidi and I were sitting at the breakfast table, and over coffee I turned to my wife and said, “Let’s move to Sweden!” In actuality, it was God’s call to leave our home and move to Northern Europe.
We didn’t search for Sweden; we’ve been called there.
It has always been a desire of ours to serve God on the mission field. Having met David Bergmark, the pastor of Immanuel Church in Tranås, Sweden around three years ago, we were hooked by his dream. The dream? Establish a presbytery in a nation without one.
Planting churches in areas of the United States with a high density of churches already existing was never of interest to me. I recall thinking in another situation about a small church in a large Southern city: “If this church eventually shuts it doors, there are at least five good churches within 10 miles that I can immediately think of for the remaining people to attend.” But what about locations where there aren’t gospel-preaching churches around every corner?
Sweden is such a nation. Largely, Christian faith in Sweden is nominal. The Swedish Lutheran church has been influence by outside politics and theological liberalism, which has led to a general distrust of the Church as a whole.
There are some good works going on, though. A renewed interest in Calvinistic thought – influenced by American organizations like the Gospel Coalition – is gaining some traction. Still, there is currently only one Presbyterian and Reformed congregation in the country: Immanuel Church. And from out of this one congregation, we pray that Sweden would become populated with Godly, faithful churches.
Heidi and I have been privileged to visit Tranås twice. I’ve been examined by EPCEW and have been welcomed to begin church planting work in Sweden. I have received a call from the session of Immanuel Church to come as a missionary and move toward developing a sister church. And we are responding to that call.
Ultimately, when considering the question, “Why Sweden?” The answer is fairly simple: we didn’t go looking for Sweden, but God has called us to it. Please pray for us as move toward that call in faithfulness to the God of the entire world – even places where the dim shines lightly.