Have you ever wondered how God calls and prepares a man for international work in a foreign land? I recently met a man, Antoine Wiel, who was born and brought up in Europe but has a passion for international work in Africa. I wanted to know why he wanted to evangelize Africa. From our discussion, I realized that the grace of God can indeed turn around someone’s past path of sin and make it a passion for righteousness, when that person is born again and knows the truth.
Here is an excerpt from our discussion:
Q: Tell me more about your background – where you were born and raised? When were you born again? How has the journey of salvation been for you?
A: I was born and raised in Eindhoven, Netherlands, and was raised as a Catholic by my parents. I was first born again (I thought..) in 1993. I was really born again in 2005, after making a real decision, having been lost in this world, living like the world and getting married to my current wife, and after realizing I was really heading to hell. My wife had 4 miscarriages until then. Then I asked God, “Could we please…could have a child?”
And on August 28, 2005, I made a decision for God, was baptized, and God started a work in me that He will finish to the end. About 10 months later, our first daughter, Ellissa, was born. God was leading me out of the darkness into the light. I started out by watching Joel Osteen sermons. God used him to get me interested in the Word of God. However, since then God has been taking me deeper and deeper into the truth of His Word. Through technology, God has used some preachers to disciple me, who include Jacob Prasch (Moriel.org), Paul Washer (Heartcry ministry) and Charles Lawson (Bible Baptist). Every time I have a Biblical question, God does give me the verses in the Bible to look up, and it contains the answer. But sometimes He lets me wait, and then at the right time He shows me the truth, as found in the Bible. I have a hunger for the Word of God, and we can all learn from each other. It has been a long journey, but it was definitely worth it.
Q: How did you know you have been called to international work in Africa?
A: There was a period of my life that I was really lost in this world, and was living like the world. During that season, I had several girlfriends in Africa, and to be honest I am not proud of that period, but God always uses it for good. I absolutely love the African culture and have now also several invitations to be a guest speaker in several countries in Africa.
Q: Have you done any international work in Africa so far?
A: I have connections with several pastors in Africa, and am planning to go there in the not to distant future. I have not had any seminary training, but God has been showing me what is truth and what is not. Many people are misled by false gospels, the Bible also warns of that, in 2 Timothy 4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”
This means some preachers will be telling people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear! This is a battle that we all should fight, waking people up and sharing with them the real Gospel of Christ and the way to salvation, to be saved from hell.
Q: Do you think Africa is the dark continent?
A: Africa is not a dark continent, if you compare it with Europe and the rest of the western “free” world, where many people have fallen for the lies from the pit of hell, such as gay marriages. However, in Africa, I see many people who do understand the basic truth of God, who do not accept everything just to please man and are not afraid to tell the truth. I think Africa is the real light of the world, and God is doing wonderful work of revival there. Many see it as an underdeveloped continent; yet, the people of Africa have more than the people who have a lot of money. Please understand that when you have Christ, you have everything you need. Money can not buy your salvation, and the Bible says that money is the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10.
Q: What role should Africa play in evangelizing the world?
A: I hope and pray that Africa will play a great role in the future of the Church. The people of Africa are hungry for the Word of God, and they are looking for the truth in between the lies they have been presented, mainly from the so called preachers of the prosperity gospel, that is twisting and turning the scriptures and taking them out of context. I am sure that many people who hear the truth in Africa, will make a decision for Christ and will become born again Christians leading to great preachers of the Word of God.
Q: Do you think past and present international work in Africa has succeeded? How can international work in Africa be done differently for a greater impact?
A: We should show the people in Africa the truth, preaching and sharing the true Gospel, that we are saved by the grace of God, and by faith in Christ. Nobody can add to the sacrifice Jesus has done for us. We do not do good works to get saved, we should do good works because we are saved! We should warn people in Africa, and actually in the whole world, that God does not need you rich, and He does not need you wealthy, but He needs you ready to share the Gospel! God needs you to be obedient! In that way we can reach the lost who do not know the true Gospel! I remember a song from Matthew West where he sings: the truth is we are all the orphans! Meaning: the people in this world are lost without God, the Father. It is the duty of the Christians today to show them the truth, preach the Word of God, and tell them why they need Jesus in their lives. In some cases God saves someone immediately, but sometimes it takes weeks and in some cases even years.
Q: What does Africa need urgently at the moment?
A: Africa needs people who will feed the ones who are hungry for the Word of God! They need Christians to disciple the people of God to become preachers of the truth, who will not deviate from the truth that God has shown us. Paul Washer said it this way:
God promises us two things: a cross to die on and eternal life.
Many are afraid to witness to others as they are scared of what they think of them, but it is more important what God thinks about you than what other people think. God is your last judge, other people might judge you in this life, but God’s judgement can either send you to Heaven or hell. Therefore we are judged by God’s standards, not by the people who praise you in this world.