By Pam Robinson
When we hear about Christian missionaries, most of us imagine them working to spread the Gospel in third-world countries. Missionary Chris Zickmund returned to his home church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Mount Vernon, to highlight the growing need for missionaries in Europe. Zickmund spoke Wednesday evening, Sept. 12, about the call God placed on him and his wife Robyn to a five-year ministry in Namur, Belgium, where they’ve served since July, 2011.
“Our passion and desire is to impact the next generation,” the Zickmunds write in expressing their ministry vision. “It is our calling to share our lives with Belgian youth 15 to 25 years old so that they come to know God is real, relevant and accessible to each and every one of us. Then they can lead and develop future generations that will know who God is and seek to honor Him with their lives.”
Chris Zickmund cites startling statistics to support the need to reach these youth with the Good News. Most youth have never even entered a church.
“Culturally, 80 percent of the population is Catholic. Of that 80 percent, 8 percent or less actually practices Catholicism. Less than 1 percent, actually .7 percent, is Protestant. That’s in a country of 11 million people,” Zickmund states. “We live in Namur, a metropolitan area of around 300,000 people. We live in the old center of the original town, which has about 100,000. In that old town center, there is no Protestant church.”
Their goal is to plant a church in the center of Namur for “an unreached people.” The church will look a lot different, at least for a while, than our houses of worship here. The Zickmunds meet with youth in cafés and reach those youth, not by thumping a Bible, but by modeling Christian principles in their daily walk. In fact, an owner of one café for artists in Namur warned the Zickmunds, “no evangelizing.” Now the owner is one of their greatest supporters, for she sees the couple help the youth find meaning and direction for living.
Chris Zickmund will be speaking through the end of September at U.S. churches, varying in denomination, where he and his wife Robyn have received prayer and financial support for their Belgian mission work. For more information about the Zickmunds’ ministry, readers may contact them at their email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, or may visit the website, www.umw.org, of their sponsoring agency, United World Missions, a non-denominational Christian mission organization. The couple values all prayers.
By Pam Robinson
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