As I sit in my office on the first floor of our house in Belfast, and the smells of roasted almonds, cinnamon, and apple crumble coming from the kitchen tell me that Martin is home from one of his many trips. Raised in Vienna, Austria, Martin excels in gourmet cooking, just one of the many talents that he uses to bless those around him. One would be hard-pressed to find a more cultured brother, and his ability to adapt to and fit into new cultures serves him well as he works with communities from Moscow to Poland, from Beirut to Belgium, from Belfast to Uganda.
Having Martin home is a rarity (and a blessing) for the brothers here at 23 Wellington Park. His work as Director for Mission Development in Europe and the Middle East keeps him away for more than half of the year. Martin wears many hats: academic with a PhD in Organizational Studies, mission director, community builder, and teacher. He also is an informal advisor to many in the region who work in Kairos and university outreaches. Through all of these roles, however, Martin boldly and faithfully lives his identity as a Servant of the Word, challenging others to meet and respond to God and showing by his life that the Lord lives.
Martin combines a tangible love for those most immediately around him with a deep concern and care for the sufferings of the world at large. This concern for the needs of others leads Martin to a life of intercession and hope rather than to despair. Many will remember Lenten-Prayer-Watches and 24-hour prayer times that have happened in our communities on his inspiration. He’s regularly the brother who lets us know what’s happening outside our circles, whether it’s renewed racial violence in Africa, or a corrupt election somewhere that has sparked riots, or a natural disaster that has left thousands homeless in southeast Asia. Martin’s heart is broad enough to include the millions suffering around the world in his wider family, yet grounded enough to love his closest neighbors as himself.
As a missionary, Martin travels regularly to Uganda, where he’s involved in building and fostering a connection that has been growing between the Sword of the Spirit and a charismatic community in Kampala named Emmaus. The trips that he’s led there over the last few years have inspired the community in Kampala, and just as significantly, have lit a missionary fire in the hearts of many of the young men and women from the Sword of the Spirit in Europe. Martin’s ability to communicate his zeal for the Lord and mission is made concrete as he balances vision and fervor with reality (putting flesh on fantastic ideas) and asking the all-important question, “Great! Now what do we need to do to make this happen?”
Martin has a great vision for the advancing of God’s kingdom on earth, but he never leaves that vision in a vacuum. He stirs the same vision in others, and then he fearlessly goes about the real work of making that vision a reality.
This article is from our Christmas 2008 Newsletter: View Entire Newsletter (requires Acrobat Reader)