An Interview with Martina Mellwig

by Grace Wu

Editor’s Note: Before the Mellwigs touched down in San Diego, Grace Mao Wu got a hold of Martina and had her share some thoughts about Lighthouse’s big anniversary, their visit to the States and life as missionaries.

How have the Lighthouse missions trips been helpful to the church and to your family?

Of course the main reason Lighthouse and our church got in contact was because of the language. We did one with another church in Ostrava 13 or 14 years ago, and we found it a great opportunity to naturally share the gospel. People over here are very eager to learn other languages since Czech is only spoken here in the Czech Republic. So we were delighted when Peter Smith introduced John Kim to our church 10 years ago. Over all those years looking back there are so many ways Lighthouse has been helpful to us. First of all, as I already mentioned, is the English camp. Through all those years you came over to teach, even if you weren’t teachers. You came to help our church in ministering to the people here in the Czech Republic. You folks came over, spent your free time and vacation time serving the Lord – every single year! This is truly a great encouragement to our people and to the unbelievers as well! You faithfully prepared for the lessons, classes, activities, games, church meetings. You sang, you preached, you shared, you tried hard even with the Czech language. We visited convalescent homes together, did street evangelism, sang in the hospital and so on. You purchased so many good and useful items to our church like the guitar. And most of all you loved us! In the beginning maybe our and also your goal was to serve the Lord and to witness to other people. But I have the feeling that over the years by God’s grace we became true friends with the same mind and the same goal and the same love for the Czech people. We truly appreciate that! Not only have we seen people coming to Christ through the English camps but also been encouraged by your faithfulness and loving spirit!

What are you looking forward to the most about the visit to USA?

First of all we want to thank Lighthouse for their gracious invitation. We had always wanted to come and visit Lighthouse but couldn’t afford it. So again THANK YOU to all of you!

For me, it is a privilege to be with you in your home country. Visiting your church, sharing a bit of your time here, seeing how you live, what your normal life looks like. Being a German missionary in the Czech Republic is already an adventure. But for you coming abroad and serving in another continent must be totally different. You were brought up differently, many quite normal things over here work differently and life’s challenges may be different as well.

Then of course we are delighted to be with the Kim family and have the opportunity to stay with them and spend time together with John, Angela and the girls. They are like family to us (even if we don’t look alike)! The next thing is that we also hope to be of little help to your congregation. We pray that Meinolf’s messages might be an encouragement to your church and that we might have the opportunity to serve your church as well.

And then we are thrilled to meeting all the former team members who had already been over to Ostrava, spending time with them, meeting their families and renewing our friendships. And of course we are looking forward to getting to know all the other people in Lighthouse and getting to know this year’s team members!

What are your thoughts about Lighthouse’s upcoming 10 year anniversary? You have been partnered with us for a long time, so what changes have you seen in the years partnering with Lighthouse?

This is a hard question. Because we had never been here before, we can’t compare things over here how you do them now or handled them ten years ago. For us the main change probably is your tremendously growing number of church members! You have seen by God’s grace coming so many new people to Christ and to church that to us it is truly God’s Hand in this! It is encouraging to see your church grow so quickly and constantly. It is a witness to the world that true Bible believing churches can still be attractive to people and that especially young people are not always necessarily looking for fun . But that true believers even young at age and maybe young in faith are longing for a good foundation of faith. And that people especially nowadays are looking for a church with strong leadership, good Bible teaching and caring fellowship who wants to serve and worship the one and only God.

How did God call you two into missions?

That was not long after we got saved. Meinolf and I had the feeling we could do more for God and maybe something different with our lives. We started with some Bible courses over a period of approximately 2 years. It was when we already had 2 children that Meinolf attended a missions meeting in our home town in Germany where he got the calling from the Lord into missions. And I at once could see God’s guidance in this because Meinolf never did (and does) things so spontaneously! We started to prepare, Bible school and talking to church elders and leaders of mission agencies. And the Lord led us to the right people who gave us good and helpful advice. We got in contact with SEND International which is to this day still our mission agency in combination with the DMG, German Missionary Fellowship. And they actually introduced to us the thought of serving in the Czech Republic. It was truly God’s wise guidance because the more we see ourselves at the place where He wants us to be.

What are important characteristics of being a missionary? What advice would you give to someonewho wants to be a missionary?

Another hard question!

People are different and so are tasks in life. We ourselves, like I shared before, had the calling into missions quite early. We were born again Christians maybe only for a year or so. But by then we at the same time felt quite insufficient, inadequate to be missionaries. As I said we got good and wise advice from our elders or other godly people. We had missions training for almost 4 years. But first of all we started to pray for God’s guidance in our lives and for our future. And at the same time we became involved in ministry in our church and served together with them for a couple of years. I myself can’t imagine anyone becoming a missionary without ministering and serving in his church where he lives, grew up or became a Christian himself. I think it is necessary to first help and serve in the place where you are and where the Lord put you. And then if even others can see your faithfulness, your willingness and your longing to serve the Lord it may come the time to pray for different tasks.

I have been told the Czech language is one of the hardest in the world to learn. Tell me your experiences learning the language.

Yes I have the same feeling; the Czech language must Be the hardest in the world! But by God’s grace even this one is possible to learn! If He calls you here, you’ll make it!

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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