“Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live” (Proverbs 4:4).
In the mid-nineteenth century, the idea of Jesus’s second coming to this world led a large sector of Adventism’s pioneers to believe that there was no reason to send missionaries outside of the United States to preach the gospel. However, as the years passed, this attitude began to change. Thus, a Polish immigrant living in North America, Michael Belina Czechowski, heard the advent message and requested support from the General Conference to return to Europe and spread the gospel. However, his request was rejected. But that did not discourage him, and he found the resources to travel to the old continent.
That’s how he embarked on May 14, 1864.For fourteen months, Czechowski proclaimed the Second Advent message at Torre Pellice and other places in the valleys of the Waldenses in Piedmont in Italy. As a result, Catherine Revel, the first member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Europe, and Jean David Geymet, the first Adventist colporteur in Italy, came to the faith. Subsequently, the missionary went to Switzerland, Hungary, and Romania. In 1866, he published the first Adventist magazine in Europe, L’ÉvahgileÉternel [The eternal gospel]. The following year he founded the first Adventist church in the old continent, in Tramelan in Switzerland.
The General Conference sent John N. Andrews as the first Adventist missionary to Europe in 1874 to continue the work of Czechowski, who died in Vienna (Austria) on February 27, 1876. Andrews dedicated himself to visiting Adventist believers and confirming their faith, as well as organizing the church to give it a greater projection. The great support of this missionary were his children, Charles and Mary, who gave themselves over to the work of preaching the gospel.In 1867 two other missionaries from the United States traveled to Europe: brothers Augustine C. and Daniel T. Bourdeau.
The following year, John G. Matteson, of Danish origin, arrived in Denmark. The work in Spain took a little longer to get going. brothers Frank Starr and Walter Guy Bond (the latter together with his wife Leola Gerow) were the first Adventist missionaries in Spain in 1903. At first, they faced difficulties, controversies, and persecutions, but they managed to establish the work in the Iberian Peninsula.
Sharing the gospel allows you to see the great miracles God does in people’s lives. Where you live, surely the Lord has a missionary challenge for you. Share with others what God has done for you; your words may prove decisive for the future of those around you.