Friendship International (FI) is an interdenominational faith mission founded in 1990. Our ministry focuses on the people of Chile, Hungary, Romania, UK and the USA. Our purpose is to assist in meeting their intellectual, physical and spiritual needs. FI is committed to building up the body of Christ by communicating the gospel and by equipping and training Christians in these countries using music, evangelism, discipleship training, seminars and workshops, practical work projects, orphanage ministry, education and camp ministries.
This purpose is pursued by providing mission agencies, churches, individuals and students with strategy, mobilization, training and other services. Our purpose includes establishing local and regional representatives across the United States and in each of the countries where FI has ministry involvement.
We believe in an indigenous ministry in every country of service. It is the intent of Friendship International to work alongside national workers. “And the things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2).
At the end of the year 1989, the world began to change for almost 400 million people, as the former Soviet Union came to a point of total collapse. It all began as the wall which divided East and West Berlin came down, and a few brave citizens of Romania dared to take a stand against the dictatorship of the tyrant president, Nicolae Ceauçescu. The world looked on in amazement as the second most powerful government on earth crumbled in a domino effect from country to country.
Del and Dawn Huff had returned the summer of 1988 from their mission service in Europe, having worked with Janz Team Ministries in German-speaking Europe for over 17 years. As they heard the reports and saw the events of the fall of communism take place, there was no doubt in their minds that this was the hand of the Lord at work. They had been involved in evangelism during those years in Europe, and Del had been traveling in and out of Eastern Europe since 1982. Having personally experienced life before the fall and now realizing that God had prepared the perfect time for millions of people to finally be able to worship in freedom, Del and Dawn prayed about what their part should be in taking the Gospel to the millions of Eastern Europe.
Del had accepted the chair position of the music department in a small Christian college in Haviland, Kansas after returning from Europe, but the Huffs felt the Lord was calling them to be a part in some way in taking the Gospel to Eastern Europe. The summer of 1990, they took the first music group on an evangelistic tour of Hungary and Romania, under the umbrella of another mission organization.
After returning from that tour, the Lord made it clear to Del that the need, the work, the opportunities were nothing less than overwhelming, and the Huffs felt it was the Lord’s leading for them to return to missions, full-time. In 1991, Del left his position at the college and began working on founding a new mission, Friendship International Ministries, Inc. (FI), to take the Good News of Jesus to the hungry souls of Eastern and Central Europe. After forming the non-profit organization in the State of Kansas, the FI board of directors decided to move the headquarters to a more strategic location, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
From that first short-term summer music ministry tour, the ministry has developed into other short-term ministry opportunities as well as long-term ministries in various fields of evangelism, training and education. The mission now has a number of full-time workers serving in the countries of Chile, Hungary and Romania.
As a platform for evangelism in the individual countries and because we realize the value and importance of music in ministry, FI has a vibrant music department which has expanded into multiple music groups: A NEW SONG (ANS)-Hungary, A NEW SONG-Romania, and A NEW SONG-Chile (2 ANS groups, a community choir and A New Song Young, in Chile and Romania), each under the direction of a national music director. Members from each of these groups often travel on tours together in the United States as A NEW SONG International. The first group was formed in Hungary in 1997 under the direction of Nina Stephenson. This department has now grown to multiple groups traveling not only in Chile, Hungary, Romania and the United States but also throughout western Europe: Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, England and Scotland. Our group members come from a variety of church backgrounds and are multilingual. Some of the group members are full-time with FI; others are volunteers for a minimum of one year, which is often extended to service for several years. The groups are available for church services in their respective countries, special events and conferences—mission conferences, youth meetings, evangelistic outreaches, music events—throughout the countries and international travel 2-3 times each year in the United States and upon invitation to other countries.
Friendship International is a relatively young mission. It is still a relatively small mission. But most importantly, it is a “called” mission—“Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Reaching Out to a Needy World.”