We are so thankful to the Lord for what He is doing in Europe during these days. Although we are happy with the number of Recovery Versions of the New Testament handed out and the number of recipients open for further contact in the past few months, our most impressive realization is that these distributions can be carried out anytime and anywhere there are large public gatherings of people.
In addition to the distributions in the UK, there have also been distributions of French New Testaments in Belgium, France, and Switzerland, German New Testaments in Germany and Switzerland, and English New Testaments in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands. As the saints have risen up to distribute in their own countries, they can testify that the openness for further contact is just as high as it has been in the UK. Distribution in Spanish began this month, and distribution in Portuguese will be conducted in early spring. We expect further distribution in English in many European countries since so many Europeans can also read English very well.
We feel that the Lord has opened up to us a new and fruitful avenue for the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom in Europe, one which can be utilized by any group of saints with a desire to go out in the fellowship and coordination of the Body and contact people.
DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
The London 2012 Olympic Games afforded a tremendous opportunity for the spread of the ministry. Through much fellowship, prayer, and the participation of the Body, it was possible to distribute the Recovery Version to thousands of people from the UK and to many who were visiting England this summer from other parts of the world.
Brother Lee was burdened that we should take this way to bring the truths embodied in the Recovery Version to people:
The Lord has commissioned us with His recovery, and He has surely opened up the New Testament to reveal many dear and precious truths to us. What the Lord needs is for thousands of His dear saints who love Him, who live to Him, and who know nothing but His recovery to take one way. Regardless of whether the saints are from Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, England, Thailand, Indonesia, or the United States, we all bear the same burden, take the same way, and spread the same truths. We dispense the truths embodied in the Recovery Version. We have no other merchandise! If we would be like this, the entire earth will be taken!” (Elders’ Training, Book 8: The Life-pulse of the Lord’s Present Move, p. 114)
Earlier this summer, 100,000 Recovery Versions of the New Testament purchased by Living Stream Ministry, and 100,000 copies of The Basic Elements of the Christian Life, Volume One, made available by Rhema, were assembled into Bible packs for distribution during the Olympics.
From May to September over 900 saints participated in the distribution and practical service. Saints came from 13 countries in Europe: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. Saints also came from thirteen countries outside Europe: Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United States. This was truly a move of the one new man.
One saint testified, “Over the course of the week I truly felt the corporate sense among all the saints that what we were doing was a response to the Lord’s present speaking, and we were merely entering into the coordination of the Body with the Head. Not only were we, the saints doing the distribution, in coordination with one another, but we were also in coordination with the saints all over the world through the prayers in the Body, which afforded the Lord a way to move.”
Distribution during the Olympic Torch Relay
During the two and a half months before the Olympic Games started, over 15,000 Bible packs were distributed throughout the UK and within Greater London. The saints in the UK and those visiting coordinated to meet the Olympic Torch in 32 key cities, including London. There was an unprecedented openness from local British people as well as from other Europeans now living in the UK. More than half of these Bible recipients indicated that they were open for further contact. In almost every city, especially London, we found people who have either been listening to the Life-study of the Bible with Witness Lee radio program, received a Recovery Version of the New Testament and/or Rhema literature, or read other titles by Brother Nee or Brother Lee in the past, showing that the ministry of the age is surely reaching the people of this country.
Distribution during the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Lord’s blessing continued during the Olympics and the Paralympics, with over 55,000 Bible packs
distributed, making a total of over 70,000 English Bible packs distributed from the beginning of the Torch Relay to the end of the Paralympics. Recovery Versions in French, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish were also distributed during the Games and will continue to be available. In London a great response came from distributions in residential areas as well as near Olympic venues. This resulted in reaching a high number of Londoners, and again at least 50% of the recipients were open for further contact.
Testimonies from Saints Serving During Bible Preparation and Distribution
Many saints in the distribution, both local and visiting, testified that the highlight of their time was the
blending together with saints from all over the earth, and the experience of the Lord’s sweet perfecting and blessing in the one accord for His move as people lined up to receive their New Testament.
One brother testified, “Our coordination times were very refreshing each morning as we enjoyed the Lord and received burden and vision from some of the experienced brothers. I feel many of us young people were enlarged and expanded in His expression through touching the Christ in the European saints. This all led up to our going out, which was a time for us to rest in the Father and dispense Christ into whoever was open. It felt so normal to go and speak to people. The outward circumstances did not seem to matter; the prayer and petition of the saints kept us in the river from the throne, speaking the same thing and having the same mind.”
Another saint testified, “One day our team was assigned to a train station where there were very few people because the train had been re-routed. I thought we had the worst day. However the reports showed that the distribution work had a record-breaking day. I realized that the blessing was not on individuals but on the Body, and not due to our efficiency but to our one accord. The Lord had richly blessed the Body regardless of our personal experience. Hallelujah!”
Another sister testified, “My team, distributing in southeast London, handed out more than 5,000 Bibles over the course of the week. Numerous people (even up to 40 in a day) called on the Lord and prayed with us in the middle of a busy street between a tube station and bus stop. One lady was baptized in her home. Many of the Bible recipients were open to be contacted for Bible studies in their homes. All the teams had similar experiences, and we can all testify that this was just the issue of the oneness and coordination in the Body. I was especially touched by particular contacts—two young French girls, a couple interested in Bible studies, an Italian woman wanting to be revived out of religion and a Hungarian man who received the Lord—to see that the Lord is truly moving all over Europe as He is gaining more of our prayers and cooperation to be one with His heart’s desire.”
Follow-up for Bible Studies and Seminars
Our goal in distributing the Recovery Version is to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the whole inhabited earth, and we realize that there is the need to raise up and strengthen the Lord’s testimony in the major cities of every country in Europe. Brother Lee saw that there must be a strong testimony in Europe by the time the Antichrist appears here at the end of the age.
I believe that at the end time, before Antichrist comes, the Lord will shame His enemy by establishing a strong testimony in Europe. I am burdened that we would go to every country in Europe. I now see that the Lord sent His recovery to the United States to gain a number of young people to send to Europe. The greatest need for our labor in the Lord’s recovery today is in Europe. We need to send a good number of young brothers and sisters there.” (The Recovery of Christ in the Present Evil Age, p. 27)
With this in view, our burden is now focused on a thorough follow-up of those who are open for further contact. With more than 30,000 having indicated their interest in seminars and/or Bible studies in their area, we can see the fields are indeed white. We are endeavoring to make contact with each one who gave us a phone number or email address, a process which enables us to find those who are immediately open for further contact.
Many of the responses have been encouraging: “I have been waiting for you to call. I was worried you wouldn’t”; “It feels like I am being recovered to God”; “The Recovery Version is very understandable. You are creating a revival, bringing people back to Christ”; and “What you are doing will bring in the kingdom of God!” One gentleman was reading the Recovery Version when a saint called him. He had recently finished all five chapters of The Basic Elements of the Christian Life, Volume One, and had especially enjoyed reading about the three parts of man. He said that he was now reading through all the footnotes of Matthew. In another follow-up call a lady said that she had already read half the Recovery Version with the footnotes and was really enjoying it.
To care for such ones, the saints throughout the UK have been clustering in their areas at least once a month throughout October, November, and December. Teams of trainees are joining the local saints in the follow-up of these seeking ones. Monthly seminars are being held in each area and cover the history of the translation and interpretation of the Bible, with follow-up seminars based on the chapters of the Basic Elements of the Christian Life, Volume One.
We are also going out to visit these open ones in their homes, inviting them to the saints’ homes, or meeting with them in a public place for a simple Bible study. We are also encouraging the saints to open up their own homes one evening per week so that there would be a pleasant place to bring these contacts for fellowship and to study the Bible together.
Two sisters went to meet a contact at McDonalds during her lunch break and were overjoyed by their
experience as one by one, those around them joined in, some having already received a New Testament during the Olympics. The sister they had gone to meet had been reading the free literature and had been to one of the seminars. She had particularly enjoyed everyone having something to share at the seminar and was soon highlighting the footnotes that the sisters showed her on “each one has.” After a very sweet time with her, enjoying the treasure store in the footnotes, the sisters noticed two other ladies on the other end of the table who were smiling broadly. They were Christians and so happy to see “witnessing” going on. By joining the ladies, the two sisters found out that one of them had received the New Testament during the Olympics. The other was invited to the next seminar to collect her free copy. The two sisters seized the opportunity to share with them the footnotes in Matthew 1, which they both appreciated. One of them was also impressed that she had been reading at home about the Lord praying that the believers would be one and here she was experiencing it. While they were fellowshipping, one of the workers came to clear the table, and they found out that she too had received a free New Testament as well as her two children. Before she went away she collected phone numbers and information about the seminar and Bible studies. The sisters testified,
It was extraordinary. Walking back through Stratford, seeing all those people, we wondered how many others had the New Testament at home and were just waiting for contact. Surely the Lord has opened the windows of heaven and there is much more!
There is still a great need for the saints to come, whether it is for one or two weeks or longer, to join us in caring for these ones by helping with data entry, phone calls, and visiting.
Distribution at 2012 Autumn Freshman Orientations
We continued with distributions on university campuses throughout the UK in September and October, and over 1,500 Bibles were handed out. There has been a gradual shift in the way the Lord is operating on these campuses, a shift towards the students laboring together for their campuses.
Here are comments from two students:
It all started out when a few dozen saints—students, full-time serving ones, and community saints—came to a small bookshop on Pentonville Road to enjoy the Lord together and pray for His move amongst the universities in London…The Lord blesses the oneness, which is brought in by taking the blended way. We are not here just to carry out a successful campus work with structured organizations. We are here to build up the Body of Christ.
Of the students who received Bibles, the few who want further contact seem to be serious about their pursuit of the Lord. At times like these I remember Matthew 22:14, ‘For many are called but few are chosen.’”
DISTRIBUTION IN FRENCH-SPEAKING EUROPE
The Bible distribution in Paris was wonderful. A law was recently passed by the French National Assembly authorizing the free distribution of literature without having to get permission or to give notice. The brothers realized that this was no doubt the Lord’s sovereign arrangement to prepare the situation for the French New Testament Recovery Version distribution throughout France.
In October approximately 2,000 Bibles were distributed in Paris, and we are laboring to take care of the followup. The saints are testifying that the shepherding of these Bible recipients is helping them to be revived. Also in October the saints in Lausanne, Switzerland distributed Bibles for two days and gave out about 150 Bibles. They are also following up on those Bible recipients as well.
In November the saints distributed 60 Bibles in Lyon, 125 Bibles in Lille, and over 200 Bibles in Brussels, Belgium. There have been many encouraging experiences. The saints are entering into the gospel atmosphere and the devil’s kingdom is being shaken all over Europe. We are now endeavoring to follow up on all the dear ones who have received a Recovery Version in every city. May the Lord gain the testimony that He desires in every major city in Europe.
THE SPREAD OF THE RADIO PROGRAM INTO SCANDINAVIA
The radio program, Life-study of the Bible with Witness Lee, is now being broadcast throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Recently, Premier Radio invited us to broadcast the program, in English, in Scandinavia, beginning with Stockholm, Sweden. Nearly all the residents in Scandinavia, especially the young people, read and speak English as well as their native language. Therefore, we have begun a daily broadcast in Stockholm. It may soon spread to the rest of Sweden and into Norway. When the radio program began in London, the church in London had only one district. Today, there are eleven districts, and many of the saints in the districts were gained by first listening to the radio program. It can now be heard by all sixty million residents of the United Kingdom. We expect the Lord to bless this new spreading of the radio program as well. We will endeavor to give a Recovery Version of the New Testament to every respondent to the radio broadcast in Scandinavia.
THE NEED FOR THE PRAYERS AND SUPPORT OF THE BODY
Prayer for the thorough follow-up and the adequate shepherding of these Bible recipients is indeed a Body matter, as has been all the distribution up until now. We are thankful to the Lord that so many were able to participate this summer and are very much encouraged by the positive reports and testimonies. We all have enjoyed the sweetness and oneness that ensues in joining the Lord in His labor. Before this summer, many of us may not have fully believed that the fields are white in Europe, but the Lord in His faithfulness has gone far beyond what we could ask or think. Our brother Witness Lee spoke this and our experience confirms it. The Lord of the harvest has really gone before us, and we are being thrust out to go in His going.
Our prayer is that the Lord may continue to release saints to take care of this great need of the Lord’s recovery in Europe. May we all be encouraged and strengthened corporately to be open and available to receive His fresh speaking and to direct our prayers to be one with Him in His move, and may all those who have received the ministry of the age be brought into the full reality and enjoyment of what the Lord is doing on the earth today!
For information on how to participate in the follow-up of the seeking ones who have received the Recovery Version of the New Testament, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on how to give for the further distribution of the Recovery Version of the New Testament, please contact Living Stream Ministry at: www.lsm.org. For information on how to give for the spread of the Life-study of the Bible with Witness Lee radio broadcast, please contact Lord’s Move to Europe at www.lordsmove.org. For information on events in Europe in 2013, please contact Amana Trust at: www.amanatrust.org.uk.