Radio Interview Transcript

This radio interview originally aired Friday, February 22nd, 2013, on KWVE 107.9 in Orange County, California. Refuge Radio is the radio ministry of Refuge Calvary Chapel in Huntington Beach, California. Jeff was attending this church when God called him to the mission field in Europe.

Outline

Introducing GEM and eDOT

Kris Langham: Welcome to Refuge Radio, my name is Kris Langham. I’m the missions pastor at Refuge. Which means Pastor Bill is out of the studio and I am in the studio with a couple of missionaries. I have with me Jeff and Carrie Gage who are a part of GEM.
Jeff and Carrie say hello.
Jeff Gage Hi!
Carrie Gage Hi there!
Kris Welcome, guys, to the studio. I brought you guys in here to talk about your mission. Something very compelling to me. You’re part of GEM and also part of something called eDOT. Well, what does GEM stand for and what does eDOT stand for?
Jeff, I’ll let you share with us.
Jeff Alright. GEM stands for a ministry called Greater Europe Mission. They’ve been around for about 60 years. Started in part with help from Billy Graham. I’m also a part of eDOT. eDOT is a team within GEM and that stands for electronic Discipleship, Outreach, and Training.
Kris Electronic Discipleship, Outreach, and Training? I’d rather say eDOT. But the heart of it is GEM. That’s the bigger organization. The heart of that is the mission to reach all of Europe. And that’s what you’re a part of. But you are actually engaging in that with technology. Using technology to reach the people of Europe.

Engaging Europe with Christ? (Last Bell Ministry Computer Lab Example)

Kris So Carrie, let me ask you. I saw something on your materials that said this, “Engaging Europe with Christ through Friendship & Technology.” That’s a beautiful thing. I especially like that you’re en-GAGE-ing, which I like, and it fits your name, ‘cause your last name is Gage.
How do you engage Europe with Christ? How do you make that connection using friendship, using technology? You shared with me a story about the Ukraine earlier. Why don’t you share with our radio audience that story?
Carrie OK, great! Well the Ukraine has an unemployment rate of 50% and so it is very hard for kids to get jobs when they’re growing up or becoming adults. And orphans are a problem as well in the Ukraine. And there’s a ministry called Last Bell Ministry.
Kris Last Bell Ministry?
Carrie Last Bell Ministry, which helps these graduate orphans with life skills. And what we’d like to do for them and what eDOT has done in the past is set up computer labs. And what these computer labs do is teach computer skills, they help the kids write their resumes, they provide a community, and a place for them to come and get off the streets. What we’ve found too that is really exciting and just scary too is that the human trafficking issue is just huge because of the unemployment rate and because of alcoholism because of so many orphans in Eastern Europe all together (and around the world) but here in the Ukraine there’s a ministry that is addressing kids on the street. So what we’d like to do is help them get a computer lab as well as other ministries on the field get computer labs to basically give these kids job skills is one of the things that eDOT has done.
Kris So eDOT comes along side another ministry to equip that ministry so that that ministry is doing wonderful things. Last Bell is there in the Ukraine and the orphans they’re reaching, at what age do they graduate as an orphan?
Carrie At 15.
Kris 15 years old? They’re out on the streets? And with 50% unemployment rate their options are few. Last Bell comes along side and wants to provide them with a computer lab, but they don’t have the skills or people to do that so eDOT comes along side. Is that how it works?
Jeff That’s right. They have been creating computer labs. If they do create this one for Last Bell, it will be about the 15th one they’ve created. They’ve created them in places like North Africa all the way over into Ireland or was it Scotland, I can’t remember?
Carrie It was Ireland, and then Moldova is another one.
Jeff Moldova is interesting because in Moldova that is the highest alcoholism rate of any country in the world. And they’ve actually discovered that as a side product, this computer lab is helping to reduce the alcoholism rate in that community because in that community, the computer lab is for the adults and not the kids and farmers come in to check the weather to get better crops and so it has become the only bank. It’s a business so they have to pay for it so they have to moderate their money better which causes them to have less money to spend on alcohol. It is just amazing to see how God can do something so different
Kris and diverse working many ways through this and through all of that, are they receiving Christ? Are they connecting with God? That’s what it’s all about.
Jeff It’s a place of ministry. It becomes a touch point in someone’s life so Jesus can be shared with that person.
Kris So meeting very real needs through technology, coming alongside an already existing ministry that’s doing good work. eDOT is then supplying the needs of that ministry so they can reach more people, and in the midst of meeting their very real human needs, they’re meeting their spiritual needs as well. A very good work!
We are talking with Jeff and Carrie Gage, a part of Greater Europe Mission, a part of a group called eDOT and talking about their story. I want to get into, we’ve talked a little about what you do, but I want to get into some specifics. What is your heart and vision? But first a website for those of you wondering how they can get more information, what’s your website?
Jeff Our website is simple, EngageEurope.com.
Kris EngageEurope.com, you end up with a lot of e’s.
Jeff Yes, a lot of e’s there in the middle, but EngageEurope.com.
Kris EngageEurope.com and a phone number if they want to contact you that way?
Jeff And our phone number is 949-GAGE-012.
Kris Alright, we’ll probably share that before we finish, but Jeff, back to you.

Jeff’s Passion for Online Discipleship (VirtualSmall Groups)

Kris What do you do specifically. What’s your gifting and calling? What do you do in the world of technology? And how does that connect with the world of ministry?
Jeff Well, backing up a little bit. eDOT is essentially at its core a consulting agency. We come alongside other ministries, specifically European ministries, looking for ways we can help use technology to be more effective.
For me, my passion is really discipleship. What I want to do is to find ways to disciple people using technology specifically cell phones. People don’t realize this, but our cell phone usage here in the States, our technology behind them, is dated and the European’s is more than ten years more advanced than ours. And so they’ve become more dependent on their cell phones and that has become a communication place for the Europeans. So that’s become their Mars Hill, so to speak. So I want to find ways to enter into that conversation that they’re already having using technology and cellphones and such to insert Christ and confront people with Jesus in that medium. So my heart is too eventually to make an app, at least one app. You know there are a lot of ideas. If I listed all the ideas that eDOT is involved in, I could overwhelm you easily.
Kris Technology is a big world.
Jeff Yes, it is.
Kris What are you passionate about personally?
Jeff Personally, I want to see Bible study done online. I want to do a small group Bible study with video conferencing on a cell phone. So you can get people from where ever they are in the world all together in one virtual meeting room where they can meet face to face and go over on one part of their screen, on one part of their phone, they can see the faces of the people their talking to, while on the other half of the screen they’ll see the Bible scriptures and questions that they’ve already answered on the other side. So they can have that conversation, kind of like you might have that Bible study like a small group, but let’s create a virtual small group, essentially. And I really believe the technology isn’t there yet, but with things like Google talk, and Google voice, and Skype, the technology is coming that will let us create something like this.
Kris So what you’re talking about is creating a room, a small group Bible study room, but it’s a virtual room. To look at each other face to face, you’re making very real personal connections, but you’re facilitating a Bible-centered time together.

Why Europe?

Jeff The question is Why Europe? And why Europe, well, less than two percent of Europe are actually following Christ. There was a survey given amongst Christians and people claiming to be Christian, would you share your faith with another person? Just giving lip service to that. But that desire exists within only 2% of the Christians in Europe.
Kris Wow! That’s a sign of a dying faith!
Jeff There are over 400 million people in Europe that have never opened a Bible. It’s dead. It’s statistically a dead continent. An unreached continent. Some people even call it “pre-Christian.” They are so far removed from their Christian roots that they’ve become a pre-Christian culture.
Carrie If I could add just one thing in there. They say that now there are more than 50 million Muslims and immigrants are in Europe. So it’s free there. It’s free to share your faith. You won’t get persecuted like you will. There’s a window of opportunity. It’s a great opportunity.
Kris There’s a window to share your faith and there’s also an open door in terms of technology because people open the door of technology in a very personal way and they’re often willing to open their heart in that place that they make for connection.

Jeff’s Background as a Technical Writer and BibleStudy Curriculum Director

Kris Now talking about what you do personally, and your part of this, what are your skills, Jeff, what in technology?
Jeff I have a background in technical writing. I spent 9 years here in Southern California documenting software. You press F1 in an app or program on your computer, and you pull up the help, that’s what I wrote for 9 years. And then God called me to work for another Christian ministry in Colorado Springs where I got to use those skills that God put in me to help create Bible study curriculum.

Whatever You Do (Gospel Geek Squad!)

Kris And Carrie, how ‘bout you? You had quoted a verse to me earlier that I enjoyed earlier from Colossians in terms of doing the things you do. When we look around at ministry, we look at the person in front of us in the pulpit, well that’s ministry and I don’t do that, but there are a lot of aspects to ministry, what was that verse you shared?
Carrie The verse is Colossians 3:23, and it says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.” Jeff and I like to ask people when we share what we’re doing, “What is your whatever?” For us it’s technology, but for some people it may be gardening. Or it may be hospitality. It may be behind the scenes completely, that no one’s ever going to see, but they have a gift, so what is your what is the gift God’s given you, what is your whatever, but do it all for God.
Kris And you’re talking about doing technical writing, so someone might think to himself, I know writing Bible studies for God, but you’re a technical writer, yet God took those skills, very specific skills for you, and put them to work in the ministry.
Jeff Yeah, as a technical writer I prepared documents, I formatted things, I made information clear. And so those skills translated very well into a Bible study realm where you need to make the information clear. You need to ask the right questions when you’re asking a Bible-type question. The importance of formatting and layout and making it so that the information is available is all important.
So when you’re talking about an engineer and they think, “Why does God need an engineer?” Well, an engineer can build a bridge, or something that might be needed in Africa like a well. Computer programmers, Carrie talked about a church that wants to sponsor a computer lab that we talked about at the beginning, well how many times have the people who can swing a hammer or fix a pipe and have been called to places like Haiti or South America. But what about the computer nerd…
Kris We need some IT guys
Jeff The tech nerd
Carrie The geeks!
Jeff The geeks! We need to call the geeks out of their closet and into serving Christ.
Kris Gospel Geek Squad! That’s what we need.
Jeff The Gospel Geek Squad! That’s it!

Jeff’s Calling Testimony

Kris OK, well, where did this start for you? Let’s back up. Let’s back up in time. You didn’t just wake up one day and say…
Jeff I didn’t?
Kris Well, most days… But you didn’t wake up one day and say, “I’m going to be a tech writer and I’m going to serve God.” This all started when you were a teenager. And I’ve heard this story, and it starts back at this church as a part of Refuge before Refuge was Refuge.
Jeff I gave my life to serving Christ at 13 years old. At 15 years old I knew I wanted to be a missionary but didn’t know where God was calling me. I had a long conversation with my parents and at the end of that conversation I went to a concert with friends from my high school youth group at Knott’s Jubilation Christian Concert. This was 1990 or so. 1989, somewhere in there.
Kris I was still a heathen.
Jeff Congratulations! [laughs at his own stupid joke rather geekily]
Kris I went to Knott’s for other things. So you were there listening to some great Christian music and God spoke to you in some way?
Jeff And God spoke to me in the middle of one of the concerts, right smack in the middle of Knott’s Berry Farm and he settled in my heart Europe. He basically said, “I have something for you in Europe.”
At the time I didn’t know what that was, and to be honest I’m not fully sure, but I know it was something to do with the Dutch people and the Netherlands. Because I had done some study on that culture and they have a rich Christian heritage that is completely dead now. And so my heart just breaks for them, but in all of this there’s a pattern of waiting that we’ll talk about here in a bit.

Waiting and Preparation (Joseph and Paul)

Kris And we are catching you mid-stream at this point. God hasn’t fulfilled everything that he said. That was a word that you knew that still stuck with you all of these many many years.
Jeff That was 25 years ago.
Kris And God has held on to that and you’ve held on to what God spoke to you, but you’re not quite there yet, you’re not directly serving the Dutch people necessarily. But you know that God is leading you on that path.
When we look at the Bible here we see so many stories of God giving a word, a dream, a direction, but those things don’t happen right away. There’s always a time of trust and waiting.
Jeff Look at Joseph and the dream he was given as a young man and then how many years later, 20 something years later, he’s finally fulfilling that dream. Then there’s Paul who was called on that road to Damascus and then about 8 years later he was finally called to service by Barnabas and then three years after that he went on his first missionary journey. It wasn’t like, OK, Bam!, now I’m a Christian, now I’m gonna serve. There’s a process that God has for people to hone them, to sharpen them, to prepare them for what God has for them. And that’s what this last 25 years of my life has been, preparation for what he’s called us to do.

Carrie’s Testimony (How we met and how we got here)

Kris And the Lord tells us in I believe its Zechariah, “Do not scorn the days of little things,” but what do you do in the days of those little things?
I want to ask you about that. The time of waiting, which you’ve gone through seasons of waiting and, Carrie, you come into this story as well. You were on the mission field before you ever connected with Jeff and you stepped into that story. Lead us from there into that season of waiting that God had for you.
Carrie Jeff and I met about 16 years ago while I was going to China to teach English for a couple of months. Then after that we got married and we were attracted to each other because we both wanted to be missionaries.
Kris God wove your hearts together with that same purpose.
Carrie Then that was very clear. I was actually on staff at a church here in Long Beach. I grew up in the Lakewood/Long Beach area and I was the children’s director and it was a great experience. And then we prayed and sought the Lord about what we were supposed to do and the Lord said wait and he closed the door. And I had babies and fast forward now 10 years later, the last 10 years have gone by superfast just being a mommy. Two kids.
Kris Say hi to your kids.
Carrie Hi Sophie. Hi Wesley. We love you!
[Laughter]
But we went to Colorado Springs, like Jeff had said, for a ministry that we felt was part of the fulfillment of this call, and we still do feel that way, but it ended prematurely, we felt like at the time, and there were some leadership changes there and, boy, we went through a rough time. A really rough time. And we really had to dig into our Father. Who are you Lord? We trust you. We love you. We came here to serve you, what happened?

The Tree Story (Our Roots are Good)

Kris You told me a story about a tree. Now this is a common story for missionaries. Missionary life is not all go go go, success and fruit. After all we are connected to the vine at all times, but the Father is the gardener who prunes back sometimes.
You shared a story with me about a tree, and God painted a picture with that. Why don’t you share that with everybody the tree story?
Carrie We actually had this tree out in the front of our house, and one winter it actually died. So Jeff cut it down at the top of the stump, hoping that it would sprout from the top. And the neighbors were kind of wondering what he was doing, I think.
Kris How big was the stump?
Jeff It was about 4 feet tall.
[Laughter]
Kris I see. So you had a 4 foot tree sitting there.
Jeff About 4 inches in diameter. It was more of a pole.
Carrie Kids playing in the front yard had to be careful they didn’t run into it.
So we ended up cutting it down even further.
Jeff All the way down to the ground.
Carrie All the way down to the ground and some shoots came up in the Spring. We thought we’d actually have to get the stump up, but since some shoots came
up.
Jeff And now it is a three foot tall tree.
Carrie It turned into a tree and we supported it with a little stick.
Kris So what was the Lord telling you?
Carrie He showed us that our roots were good, but he was doing a new thing.
Kris And he had to cut all the way back. The gardener, our good gardener, sometimes our roots are good, we’re in the vine (John 15) but the Lord was the gardener, and he had to prune all the way back. And now he’s got you in a time of starting to bear fruit again. He’s gottcha at a place where fruit is on the way, but you’re not in Europe yet.

How Can We Kick You Out the Door to Europe?

Kris So here you sit, a life time of missions and preparation. Jeff, a Calvary Chapel Bible College grad, focus on Missions. You’ve been praying for this for a long time. How do we get you there? I think there are some people in the audience who God is speaking to about their whatever. What is your whatever? Whatever God has called you to do, do it with all your heart. If they can be a part of getting you out there, the lost of Europe are sitting and waiting for the gifts God has put in to you.
Jeff, share with us what you’re doing right now, and how we can kick you out the door of the country and get you in to Europe.
Jeff Well my passion is that people join us, not just financially giving. We are asking you to financially participate in what we’re doing, but I want you to do it in such a way that you are what we call an Armor Bearer. Someone like Jonathan’s armor bearer, who when Jonathan went to war against those Philistines, he would knock ‘em down, the armor bearer would come behind and kill them. That’s what we are looking for in armor bearers.
People that are heart and soul with us. I would like you to consider your whatever might be to support a missionary. To support us in this call. So you can do that financially, and after you financially support and become part of our armor bearers, we’ll also ask you to pray for us, which should follow naturally. Also, you will be invited participate through beta testing all the software and things that we’re creating. You can be a part of that. We just released an app for the Droid that you could download, get on your phone and test it out and give us your feedback on how we can make it better. Those are all things that we can do as partners, as armor bearers.
And as we go to Europe the need there is so great. There’s such a demand for the Gospel with less than 2% following Christ with all their hearts. We need to go. There’s just this desperate longing in our hearts. The team, eDOT, that we’re joining (it stands for electronic Discipleship, Outreach, and Training), and they are waiting for my skill set. They need someone the unique skills that God has given me to join that team. Who knows? Maybe you need to contact us about joining the team? I don’t know. We are growing as a team.

Closing (Phone Numbers and Websites)

Jeff So thank you so much for this time.
Kris Thank you guys for being in the audience. Let’s give them the
website again.
Jeff That was EngageEurope.com.
Kris EngageEurope, with the two e’s in the middle, EngageEurope.com.
Jeff And our phone number is 949-GAGE-012. That’s 949-424-3012.
Kris And anything that you find here on Refuge Radio, you can always contact the church at Refuge at 714-891-9495. RefugeFM.com.
But we want to send you to support Jeff and Carrie and what they’re doing. And if you’re out there in the audience and you’re thinking, “It’s the ask for money again. If that’s you, then this isn’t for you. That part of the show is not for you, but I guarantee there are people in the audience to who God is saying your whatever is to participate in this mission and to send Jeff and Carrie out the door and to get them to Europe to reach the people with the gifts God has been working up in you and preparing in you for a long time.
So please join them in prayer. Join them in giving and that’s a very real part of missions. And as you give God sends your heart into the mission field, because where your treasure is there your heart will be also. And that’s why God has us give from here so that our hearts will be out there with you on the mission field and with the lost and with the saved who are out there being equipped.
Thank you for what you are doing in the field and preparing. We’re praying for you now. It is time to say goodbye to our Refuge Radio audience. Have a wonderful drive home.

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