1. If you could sit and chat for an hour with anyone in the world today, who would you choose? Why?
Right now, the people I would like some time with are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Angelina got my attention by her film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, about the Bosnian war. My Bosnian friends were amazed that an outsider could “get it” so profoundly. Her current film Unbroken has produced a lot of interviews with her in which her spiritual curiosity and their home life as a family have fascinated me. I think God is pursuing both of them with great love, and I’d love to be part of that.
2. Why should Christians in America support missionary efforts in Europe?
Christ promised that “this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and THEN the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). There remain entire nations in Europe, in the New Testament sense of the word “nations,” who have never had the Gospel preached to them. The 4.5 million Tatars of Russia are unreached. So are the 2 million Muslims of Bosnia (Bosniaks). They are not the only ones! These peoples are just beginning to be reached now, in our day, mostly by missionaries from the countries where they live. The indigenous churches who send these missionaries usually lack financial resources to support them. “How will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15). They need our help to be sent.
Let’s do it!
That’s what the ministry I serve with, Advancing Native Missions, is all about—finding missionary-sending groups reaching unreached peoples all over the world and equipping American Christians to serve them, in whatever ways they say they need.
3. You’re stranded on an island with your Bible and three books. What are the three books?
I’m picking three books I’ve started, been fascinated with, but unable to finish due to lack of sustained available time. In the order in which they were written, they are Summa Contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas (all the more relevant as we live today, like he did, in an age where mission to Muslims is the Church’s biggest challenge), War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and Prayer by the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthazar. The last one works as both a guide to serious thinking on the subject and a practical help to pursue prayer—very useful when stuck somewhere for a long time, whether literally or metaphorically “stuck.”
4. Who is that one obscure Christian leader that every believer should know about?
My favorite obscure Christian leader was Ulfilas (4th century A.D.). He was raised as a slave of the Goths (the original tribe, not the modern-day folks). He became the first missionary to them, not only leading them to faith in Christ, but producing an alphabet and written language, then translating the Bible into it for them. He also led them from their ancestral homeland across the Danube to where they could be protected by the Eastern Roman Empire. He loved Christ with all his heart, and he loved the people who had enslaved his family, and poured his life out so they could have the truth of the Scriptures. His work anticipated the pattern for most successful pioneer mission work down to this day.
5. What is the one thing that you’d like to do in 2015 that you’ve never done before?
In 2015 I’d like to see every person I pray for to be healed get healed 100%. I LOVE seeing people get healed supernaturally!
6. What is the greatest lesson that you’re learning as a Granddad?
The greatest lesson I’m learning as a Granddad is that God’s love for us has nothing to do with what we do for Him or how much we do for Him. I’m loving and enjoying my grandchildren just for who they are, as they are. Imagine how much more our heavenly Father loves and enjoys us. When they run to be with me, my heart responds with joy. So does His!
7. What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were in your twenties?
In my twenties I wish I knew how to become aware of God’s presence, His nearness, and how to consistently hear the voice of His Spirit (Isaiah 30:21). I was helped so much in this by Mark Virkler.
Here’s his website: www.cwgministries.org. Here’s a super-short guide. If you want more, check out the website.
1) Get in a quiet place with no distractions.
2) Close your eyes and picture Jesus in your imagination. Either picture Him with you (because He is) or in a scene from the Gospels.
3) Ask Him if He wants to tell you anything, then pay attention to the thoughts and images that begin to flood your mind.
4) Write down what comes. When the flow stops, stop. Then read it and ask: “Is this Biblical? Does it makes sense to me? Does the Holy Spirit in me say ‘yes’ to this?” If you’re really unsure, ask somebody else whom you trust will be both kind and honest to read what you wrote.
GEORGE & LYNN AINSWORTH’S TESTIMONY
George came to faith in 1967 through the ministry of former Senate chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie and was called to the ministry in 1972 while in college. He received the M.Div. degree from Princeton Seminary in 1979 after marrying Lynn, who had been serving as a pastor’s secretary in Virginia.
Lynn first came to Christ as a high school student. The sudden death of her mother caused her to doubt God’s goodness, leading to several turbulent years. She returned to our Savior’s loving arms through the kindness of a friend and the ministry of the local Virginia church where she met George.
One thing they quickly found in common was an interest in and burden for the nations of southeast Europe. This interest was limited to prayer while they raised their three children: John, Joy, and Alyson. George served in a missions ministry and pastored local churches, while Lynn taught Christian school. In 2003, the call to Eastern Europe became insistent, so they taught for 2 and ½ years on the faculty of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Croatia. Returning to America, they served at Grace Church of Fredericksburg until joining the ANM staff family.
The ministry of George and Lynn Ainsworth:
Going to encourage Christ’s servants in Europe and learn what they’re doing
Building relationships between American and European Christians
Teaching pastors and students in Europe. Teaching mission and bringing renewal in American churches.
Pastoring on both sides of the ocean
Discipling the next generation
Prayer and encouraging others to pray
In short, BRIDGING the distance between American believers and churches and the native missionaries of Europe.