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Amazing, Isn’t It!

by Eric Casteel | Mar 2022 | Heartbeat, HB Europe, HB Sweden

Church leaders standing with area directors

The Free Methodist Church now has work in Sweden! In 2021, the Rev. Valentin Sikitoka launched the church and became the country leader of the Free Methodist Church in Sweden. Rev. Sikitoka is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Amazing, isn’t it— a church in Sweden planted by Congolese!

In August 2021, Area Director Josue Fajardo and I responded to an invitation from Rev. Sikitoka to come to Sweden to see how God is using the Free Methodist Church. We spent the first evening connecting with him and his family. We heard of his work in the Congo and throughout the region of East Africa. Rev. Sikitoka also shared about his time in Nyarugusu in Tanzania. Nyarugusu is one of the world’s largest refugee camps, with a population of about 132,000 (according to UNHCR). His talk of Nyarugusu caught me off guard. About six years ago, I visited Nyarugusu and found many Free Methodist churches meeting in the camp. Everyone had a heartbreaking story. But their stories demonstrated a faith rarely seen — one the Western church desperately needs.

The following day we met with the leadership team of the church in Sweden. We asked, “What is your biggest surprise about your move to Stockholm?” They responded, “We were taught that Europe as a whole was a Christian continent. Where are all of the churches?”

Together we discussed the history of the church in Europe and the realities of a post-Christian Europe. We talked a great deal about how God can lead a generation back to Him and how, throughout the Bible, God used the movement of His people to build His church. They proceeded to share their plans to raise leaders in Sweden and neighboring Norway and Denmark. They are committed to a ministry plan.

On Sunday, we joined their worship service attended by about 60 people and led by a team on fire for the gospel. Rev. Sikitoka is following his call — a call directed by God and driven by a heart for the people in his new home country. Join them in praying for people in Sweden to find purpose and meaning through a relationship with Christ.