In their 19 years of working in missions, Andrew and Alecia Teeuwen said they see how God provides, intervenes and works miracles. Their mission service of spreading the Gospel of Christ started in 1995 in Albania, an atheistic country where all religion is illegal.
Andrew was born and raised in Indonesia, the son of missionaries Jacques and Ruth Teeuwen. As a teen, he went to boarding school and high school in Netherlands. Alice grew up in Atlanta — her parents are residents of Cleveland.
The two met at Columbia Bible College in South Carolina and married. Both had a vision of missions and have served in southern Europe almost 20 years — Albania, Kosovo and Greece. “We love the work in Greece,” Alecia said.
They have four children: Philip 18, Susannah, 16, Nathanael, 14, and Esther, 12. As Andrew’s parents did when they began as missionaries, the Teeuwens involve their children in mission work, also. Before Philip’s first birthday, they confided, he had been in 10 countries. He has now graduated from high school and the Teeuwens have been in Cleveland during this school year to get him settled to enter Lee University.
On June 20, the family headed back to Greece, where they will be for the next three years.
Sent from First Baptist Church, the Teeuwens are working with the Pioneers, an interdenominational missionary group, whose mission is church planting among unreached groups where people have never had the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Their mission is difficult, since there is ongoing war between Albania and the Serbs, but a church has been planted in northern Albania and Kosovo, an outreach from Albania.
There are more than 500,000 Albanians in Greece, Andrew said, and only 300 believers. “There is not a single Albanian church (to meet in) in Greece, so the people meet and worship in a Greek church.”
“We work with political refugees,” Alecia added, “who come to Greece for economical and political freedom — from Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Congo and North Africa — who end up between a rock and a hard place.”
The people, she said, try to leave and go to other western Europe countries. “We provide food, shelter, clothes and the Scriptures in their language.”
The Teeuwens oversee teams, also, in southern Balkan states for other countries: Greece, Albania, Kosovo and Bulgaria. They “come alongside teams” to mobilize for countries which do not have missionaries ... “unchartered territory.”
Their children were born and schooled in Albania at national schools — going three years at a time — and have been a great assistance in their missionary work, they explained.
“They help in forming relationships with the people,” Alecia said, “and this opens doors for us.”
By being involved with the Cultural Education Center, the Teeuwens have the opportunity to get to know the people and help them practice language skills and learn through game nights and summer camps for youth.
It’s a mission of faith for the Teeuwens. They raise their own support, and through the years, they said, God has provided. It’s a labor of love, they agree, and a person has to be “called” to do it.