Rocco & Karoline Panepinto
My wife, Karoline, and I have been a married team for over 38 years now. We have six children and currently six grandchildren. I am a U.S. American and my wife is a German citizen. We met and were later married in the city of Wuerzburg where my first church plant was located. Karoline had come to a saving faith in Jesus in the summer before beginning her studies at the university in Wuerzburg and was discipled in our church.
After we were married she joined me for another church plant in the city of Schweinfurt. After this church was firmly established we entrusted it to mature national leadership and we sensed God leading us to start another church in former East Germany – Jena.
Jena is a university city that has had a large influence in the history and secular mindset which is prominent in Germany. For instance, the theory of evolution was introduced to Germany through Jena. Karl Marx received his PhD degree from the university here and Friedrich Nietzsche comes from our neighborhood and left his mark on Jena as well. Our city has the highest percentage of people with PhDs in the country, but the majority don't have a clue when it comes to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many international students come to study here and are shocked by the atheistic mindset which surrounds them and find a spiritual home in our church. We also have a ministry to refugees coming from a Muslim background and Karoline has learned the Persian language to offer simultaneous translation for those who come to our church. We have a very broad spectrum of church members ranging from people with a Ph.D. degree to refugees who never had the opportunity to have formal schooling due to the situation in their war-torn homeland – and yet we are one body, one family in Jesus Christ!
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Jesus is glorified in the most atheist region of Germany
Germany, like most of Western Europe, has a very secular mindset and is often very resistant to the gospel due to the power abuse in the middle ages by the reigning church. Whereas in former West Germany, a nominal adherence to Christianity is usually present in former communist East Germany atheism is predominant.
In fact, nationwide surveys have shown that the state we live in, Thueringen, has the highest percentage in Germany of people professing to be atheists – and the overwhelming majority have never heard a clear presentation of the message of Jesus Christ. That is our calling, to give them this opportunity
1) Pray that the atheistic mindset which was forced upon society here in former East Germany will be broken and that the “eternity in their heart” (Eccl. 3:11) which our Creator placed in each and every person, will be brought to the surface and unleash a hunger to know the truth and meaning in life.
2) We praise God for the ex-Muslims in our church. However, after they receive Jesus as their savior it is vital that a transformation in their thinking also takes place (Rom. 12:2) and the mindset of Islam is replaced by the mind of Christ.
3) In a university city there is always a lot of coming and going. It's a joy to see people we have discipled and mentored assume ministry responsibilities in the church, but then after a few years, they finish their degree and usually get a job position in another city or country, which leaves a gap behind. Pray that these gaps will soon be filled with other faithful people who can teach and disciple others (2. Tim 2:2).
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It is no secret that from the very beginning of the church Christians have taken an active role in being missionaries and sending missionaries. Yet not all are called to be missionaries. (We are all called to make disciples)
Being a missionary is a calling, but have you ever considered that sending missionaries is also a calling? So what is your calling? Are you the missionary or a missionary sender?
All Kontaktmission staff live on support, meaning we believe that God will provide for his mission, through his church.
Please consider joining our sending team by partnering with us in prayer and partnering with us financially.