1. You have an opportunity to sit down with anyone in the Bible (other than Jesus), who do you choose? What is the first question you’d ask them?
I’d love to talk with Moses. In Exodus 33:18 Moses asked God, “Please show me your glory.” Today we hear a lot about His Glory but I would love to hear firsthand what it was really like. I believe that the coming move of God will be more than a revival, a visitation or an outpouring of His Spirit. Instead He will pour out His Glory.
2. Why should Christians in America support missionary efforts in Europe?
Europe, once the cradle of Christianity, is considered by many today a post-Christian culture. However there’s a growing number of us who consider Western Europe to be a pre-Christian culture because in a post cultural context there remains a trace of what once was. In Western Europe today there are no public traces of true Christianity. Europe is in deep, deep trouble—a battle for its spiritual existence ensues.
A hundred years ago, Europe was the number one missionary sending continent in the world, yet today it is the least evangelized continent on earth (1.7%) according to Operation World 2011. More specifically, the Balkan region of Europe is around 0.8%. Even secular publications, like The Wall Street Journal concluded, “Christianity in Europe has reached a point of no return.” In 2006 The New York Times stated, “Contemporary Europe has become the most godless civilization the world has ever known.” Studies show that 80% of French people have never read, held or seen a Bible. 7 of the 10 top suicide rates are in Europe and most of those are in the Balkans. In Montenegro, a country in the Balkan region, there are only 280 born again believers in the whole country. And I could share more statistics such as these.
While Western Europe has become a godless civilization, for decades Eastern Europe and specifically the Balkan region has been controlled by dead religions and their heretic teachings of Mary and various saint worship. With the influx of the western culture into the capital cities and universities, the young and progressive generation is embracing the western mindset on religion, thus widening the generational gap.
To answer the Why Europe? question, besides the staggering statistics mentioned above, it is very simple. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” America, and the world for that matter, heard the gospel because European missionaries obeyed this simple command. Many European missionaries brought their caskets to the missions field as they knew they would die for the gospel there. Yet they gladly went. We have come full circle. Now it’s the world’s turn to bring the gospel back to Europe.
3. Who has been a significant mentor in your life?
There are several different kinds of mentors. Some from history, others from a distance through their work, yet a few in person. When it comes to history, Moses from the Bible has been a source of inspiration and influence. For many years I held various leadership positions in business, and a leadership expert with a unique style that resonated with me was Pat Lencioni. While living in Texas, we had a precious pastor, Olen Griffing. Without a doubt Pastor Olen had a profound impact on my life through the course of 20 years as my pastor and mentor.
I think of mentors in terms of seasons. Now I’m in a new season of life. I’ve been searching for a woman mentor—and to be quite honest, I am really struggling with this one. My husband Jerry and I currently have a few very wise men whom the Lord has brought into our lives since our move to the region; but I know the Lord will bring someone in my path who will help shape this next season of my life.
4. How do you avoid burnout?
We work in the Balkan region, where the ground is very hard. There are many missionaries who experience burnout and discouragement. This is quite easy to do because the needs are so vast and the spiritual climate suffocating.
One of our core passions is helping the poor and the oppressed. We minister to the poorest of the poor throughout the Balkans, bringing them much needed coats, shoes, and groceries. But most of all we bring the message of Jesus Christ. It is easy to feel that what we do is only a drop in a sea of needs.
I will never forget a frigid January day in 2013. We shipped 4300 pairs of boots and shoes into the Transylvania region of Romania and distributed them in the poorest villages. The temperature? Minus 25ºC (-13ºF). One month later over 100 froze to death in the same area. Could I have done more? Did I make the right decisions in order to reach the most in need? I have to keep God’s vision clear before me. As long as I stay true to that vision to the best of my ability, I have done what God has asked of me.
In general I have to be cautious of burnout, as I tend to drive myself too hard. At the beginning of this year the Lord challenged me to have a Shabbat day of rest. I can’t say that I am there yet, but I am working on it.
5. What is the one thing that your friends and supporters don’t know about you?
The Lord has blessed the work of my hands and most people know me for who I am today. But little know of my upbringing. I grew up in the communist Yugoslavia (today’s Serbia). As a result of communism, my family lost everything. We grew up extremely poor. Imagine a village where there were dirt floors, outhouses, no running water, and children without shoes—that was my childhood! As the youngest of ten children, I watched my parents struggle to give us the best they could. I am so very grateful for the Grace that found me.
6. Where is the Balkan region?
A peninsula, the Balkans consist of 12-13 nations. There is wide disagreement about a few of the countries, but the following is a list we consider to be the Balkan region: Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and European Turkey.
7. What is the vision and mission of European Initiative and how can someone send a team with EI or get involved in other ways?
The vision of European Initiative is to mobilize Christians to ignite a spiritual awakening in Europe. EI mobilizes teams of Christians and respected leaders to partner with European churches and ministries to advance God’s Kingdom in Europe. Teams focus on one or more of EI’s 5 initiatives: evangelism, compassion, teaching, prayer, and Jewish ministry.
If your church or youth group is interested in a dynamic, intense outreach to Europe, check us out. Teams love partnering with us and many come back year after year. Send me an email and we can take it from there.
If you are interested in praying for us or praying with us for the region, please go to the prayer blog (listed in the contact section at the bottom) and sign up.
If you are interested in becoming a financial partner, please go to our donation page (click here).
ZUZANNA LOW’S BIO:
While serving as a missionary in the former Yugoslavia, Jerry Low, met Zuzanna Balint and soon after were married in Subotica, Serbia (then Yugoslavia). Due to the brewing political turmoil in 1988, Jerry and Zuzanna moved to the United States; but their burden for the Balkan countries never left them. Several years ago, Jerry started a weekly prayer blog for the region and maintains it today. Zuzanna has a burden for the poor and the oppressed and has organized several humanitarian mission trips. The Lows have a passion to see the Glory of God invade the Balkans. Since the beginning of 2014 Jerry and Zuzanna serve as the Balkans Base Directors for European Initiative. Through their work with EI, they host many teams that bring the message of Jesus Christ to the streets of major cities. They live in Zagreb, Croatia.
CONNECT WITH ZUZANNA LOW
Website for European Initiative
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