Church planter - Gothenburg, Sweden
Daniel is a native Swede living and ministering in Bergsjön, which is a suburb of Gothenburg. This is an immigrant area with 144 nationalities and many unreached people groups represented. Daniel is passionate to reach out both to immigrants and his fellow Swedes. Daniel is serving as an elder in the church plant, Gothenburg International Baptist Church. (http://gibk.se) His ministry includes preaching and teaching the word of God, evangelism, counselling, and discipling. Daniel helps with overseeing HeartCry’s work in Sweden. He serves as a board member of Reformedia, (http://www.reformedia.se) and works closely with Daniel Lundgren and Ola Nilsson in their translation and publishing work. He is married to his American wife, Hannah. They have three children, Lydia, Markus, and Elizabeth.
Testimony of Conversion
I grew up in a wonderful home with godly parents who raised us well after their understanding. I’m the oldest of 7 kids. As long as I can remember I always believed that Jesus died for my sins and wanted to follow him. I was kind of the perfect kid that went to the “old people's” prayer meetings and was very active in church from a very young age. When I compared myself to my peers I became self-righteous and legalistic, trying to make others behave like me, but I did not compare myself to the One who would reveal that I was just as bad.
In the midst of my folly I started to realize that there were some practices and beliefs in my church that did not match up with the Bible, like the prosperity gospel and emotionalism. This pushed me into a "faith crisis" where I started to question my beliefs. In God’s providence we got a new neighbor who started to share with me and encouraged me to read and search the Scriptures. In all of this searching of the Scriptures I got an awareness of my utter sinfulness and that my only hope was in the wrath-absorbing death of Jesus.
My life was changed and I got an unquenchable thirst for the Bible and a longing to live in holiness. From then on it has been my one passion to live for God and his glory. When I started to discover the Doctrines of Grace it felt like I got converted again, like regeneration. It felt as if I had a jigsaw-puzzle with a few pieces fit together and suddenly the whole puzzle came together or like turning the light on in a dark room.
Daniel’s Call to Ministry
From the end of high school my biggest interest was the Bible. After high school I worked for three years as a printed circuit board engineer and used most of my waking hours when I was not working for studying the Bible. During the weekends I used to travel three hours away to help a small church with evangelism, leading the worship, and occasionally preaching. I just wanted to serve my Lord and Savior.
Then after three years I decided to quit my job and go to Bible College. I went to a small school in Hungary so that I could be involved in evangelism and missions work while I was studying. A lot of people were asking me, “So you’re going to be a pastor?” to which I responded, “I don’t know what I am going to be, but I’m here for one purpose, and that is to get to know God and his Word and to follow him with all my heart.”
During my time in Hungary I took part in a countryside outreach where I started to preach more frequently. My burden for preaching grew, and I knew that it was what I wanted to do with my life. If I was given the opportunity to do anything else in the world, there is nothing else that I would like to do other than what I am doing right now: preaching the Word, shepherding God’s people, and reaching out to the lost.
Daniel's Current Ministry
We are working on planting Gothenburg International Baptist Church in this very diverse and multi-cultural area of Gothenburg. Every week we have a Sunday service with expository preaching and we have two Bible study groups (one in simple Swedish that is more evangelistic and one in normal Swedish). Once a month we have separate Bible studies for men and women.
Our outreaches includes a book table evangelism (where we pass out gospel portions in 60+ languages and share the gospel with people from all the corners of the earth), one-on-one evangelism on the streets, friendship evangelism, internet evangelism, street preaching, etc. In addition to the regular duties of preaching and teaching, I also do a lot of discipleship, counselling, and training.
On top of the church plant, I’m working alongside Daniel and Ola with a non-profit called “Reformedia” which works to translate and publish gospel-centered literature. We also have a webpage called “Evangelie Centrerat” which means “Gospel Centered” (www.evangeliecentrerat.se). We translate articles and subtitled videos into Swedish from HeartCry, Together for the Gospel, Desiring God, 9 Marks etc. We hope to spread the gospel and help Swedish churches and individuals that are seeking to become reformed back to the Bible and the Gospel. I am also leading a project to translate a catechism that is put to music for spreading the gospel into families and to kids (www.songsforsaplings.com).
Finally, I’m connecting likeminded people and taking care of a network for people who appreciate the doctrines of grace in Sweden.
Hannah's Testimony (Daniel's Wife)
I was raised in a strong evangelical family. My father had a job in Saudi Arabia, and we lived there for several years when I was small. I was aware that almost all of the local people around me didn’t understand who Jesus was in the same way that I had been taught, and that idea stuck with me. My childish question was, “How could a whole land not know about this Jesus who I loved?”
We moved back to America where we were always active in seeking to grow in the Lord as a family. We also actively hosted visiting missionaries, and I always admired their heart for the lost and their vastly different lives. I was active in youth group, Sunday school, and whatever was going on at the church. I loved the Lord wholeheartedly.
At the age of 13, I went to a special church service, where they acted out in drama form what happens to those who are saved and those who perish without the Lord. I began to wrestle with the question, “Am I just walking in my family’s footsteps and borrowing ‘their faith,’ or is this truly a relationship just between me and God?” That day I confessed my sins before my family, some elders, and some of my youth group friends, and believed that Christ had forgiven MY sins, and that he was MY savior and Lord. After repenting of my sins, from then on I wanted to follow the Lord with all my heart. After this I can recall that when I sinned, it plagued me and broke my heart in a way that it didn’t before.
Soon after, I was challenged, despite my young age, to read daily in the Scriptures and keep a devotional journal. I’m very thankful that God laid his most solid foundation through His word which I was actively and regularly reading.
Our family took several short term mission trips to London to reach out through street evangelism to Muslims there. I thought of my childhood memories of Saudi Arabia and about the reality of how spiritually barren a whole country could be. I realized that the Arab world is largely spiritually barren and for the most part without the gospel.
After high school, I passed up the opportunity to go to college. Instead I took two years as a missionary – one year in South Africa and the second year in London reaching out to Muslims on the street. My mind was made up now, and I took to my heart this quote: “I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land filled with light.”
I went to Virginia Tech in 2002, headed back out long term to the mission field in 2006, met Daniel on the field in 2007, and now we are living and working in a largely Muslim immigrant area in Sweden. God has very clearly paved each brick in the path of my life for his glory and to equip me for where we are right now. I stand in awe of what he has done, what he is doing, and he will do.