Andreas Cucca pastors a small Swedish church and he is a missionary evangelist who reaches out to the nation of Bangladesh. Today he talks about the challenges of pastoring and the joy of evangelism.
Connect on Facebook with Andreas Cucca: https://www.facebook.com/andreascucca
Follow Andreas Cucca: https://www.instagram.com/andreascucca/
Check out the website for Go Out Mission: https://gautmission.org/
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Andreas Cucca pastors a small Swedish church, and he’s a missionary evangelist who reaches out to the nation of Bangladesh. Today. He talks about the challenges of pastoring and the joy of evangelism. Jesus
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:27):
Welcome to the Evangelism Podcast with Dr. Daniel King, where Daniel interviews full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies, and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host, missionary, and evangelist Daniel King.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:52):
Welcome to the Evangelism Podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I’m excited about telling people about Jesus the day I have a very special guest with me, Andreas Cucca. Did I say that right?
Andreas Cucca (01:03):
Yeah. About <laugh> as good as it gets, Andreas Cucca. Yeah.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:07):
All right. So you are a pastor in Sweden, and you also have a great heart for evangelism. Tell me a little bit about all the things that you’re involved in.
Andreas Cucca (01:19):
Well, I’m a local church pastor. And I work with missions among unreached people groups in different countries. But it, my main focus has been Bangladesh for the last 15 years. Besides from pastoring, I’ve been doing different kind of secular jobs, working in church, church planting, and so on. But now I’m a local church pastor since six years and doing missions with my wife and my family several times a year we go out to different mission fields.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:50):
Tell me about the context of the ministry that you’re doing in Sweden. Your, your church is in a small village.
Andreas Cucca (01:59):
Yeah, it’s a small village of 800 people. I mean, 2000 surrounding area where a old Pentecostal church over 100 years old. And I would say when I came, my wife is brought up in that church. I was, I’ve been part of the church for 12, 11, 12 years. I came on board as a pastor six years ago, and I would say we were quite an introverted church and also would say dying church. We didn’t reach people. But little by little we are seeing people coming to the Lord. And we’ve seen a lot of increase in immigrants coming to our church, which is wonderful. So it’s, it’s a small, small village. We win one person at a time. So
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:44):
Talk to me about the challenges of doing evangelism in Sweden. You’re, you’re gifted as an evangelist, and so as an evangelist, you’re always looking for opportunities to, to lead people to Jesus. But the, the ground in Sweden, sometimes it can be very difficult.
Andreas Cucca (03:01):
Yeah. I mean, it is difficult sometimes, but I, I believe that the gospel has power to change anyone in any situation. So our, I would say our mindset as a church is a bigger obstacle than secularism or whatever you can throw at Sweden. I, I think our mindset, we’ve been stoked in a mindset that Swedish people are secular and so on. But I mean, if you just share the gospel, people are open to listen. And I think it’s changed a co Also, after Covid, we seen an increase in interest in, in spiritual matters also. So some years ago, I would say it was harder. I think it’s easy to, to share the gospel if you do it.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (03:42):
And you have a motto that’s on your hat right now, it says, open home, open heart, open heaven. What does that mean?
Andreas Cucca (03:51):
That means it’s from, from our family actually. We, we, we had, we say we want to live, our house should be an open home, home for people to don’t have any home or, or like rootless open hearts towards God. Of course, they would open to what God is saying, but also open to our society and to the people around us. And we believe that God is opened to heaven 2000 years ago when, when he died in the cross, it says that the veil was broken. So we believe that miracles can happen, that people can be changed through the gospel. And since I came on board as a church pastor, this also become our vision for our church as a church should be a home for people who have no home. An open home will feel with people with open heart towards God and our society, and, and that believe in an open head that everyone can be transformed by the gospel of Jesus. So that’s, that’s the main focus. And I believe it, it correlates if you have an open home, if you’re welcoming, if you’re openness towards people, people can come into you know, the presence of Jesus, and then they can experience the open heaven. So I think it, you have to have all parts.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (05:01):
In recent years, many immigrants have come to Sweden. Yeah. And it’s a little bit controversial because SW are very proud of their culture, very proud of their country, their language. And, and now all these people are coming, and, and Sweden has been very welcoming to them. Yeah. But it’s also been a challenge. But talk to me about how your church is responding to the challenge of immigrants and, and then what you’re doing to, to reach out to them and, and, and what God is doing. I
Andreas Cucca (05:31):
Mean, one part is, you know, politics is politics aside as a church, we are always, I mean, the Bible says, you know, we should welcome the immigrants regardless of our politics, political stems, the ones that are coming, we need to embrace. And, and we, we’ve said we want to be in a place for all nations, for all peoples. And, and this open home, I think some, some of our new new suites or immigrants, they have experienced that. They’ve actually said to me with some people from, from Congo came some years ago. They, they, they had 70 people from all over the world, Afghanistan, Congo Syria came to our small village. There was 30 apartments being built for people that arrived and have had a citizen like not a citizenship, but that they could stay in Sweden. And that, that was a controversial thing in our village because a lot of people are outright racist and, and some are very hesitant.
Andreas Cucca (06:31):
So we as a church and, and did a news like the, the local paper in the bigger town in our area did a, like an open home at the posters, you know, and we’re very happy. This is a good thing for our village. And from that, we got some hate mails and so on. But I mean, the people from abroad, they love our church because our church has responded very well. I’m proud of my church members, all church members, younger church members. They’ve embraced the new people coming in. And, and there’s been a change in culture, I would say. So now maybe half of our church is African, and some people come from Afghanistan. Sometimes we’ve seen Muslims come to come to the Lord. We’ve seen secular switch come coming to the Lord and so on. So I’m, I’m, I’m happy to see that there can be life in an old a hundred year old church.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:23):
I think the church needs to recognize the significance of this opportunity that God is giving us before people would have to go to the mission field. Yeah. Now the mission field is coming to us, and we have an opportunity to reach them for Jesus.
Andreas Cucca (07:39):
Yeah. I mean, we did like a big outreach. We handed out like 700 magazines with testimonies, my testimonies as the Don Testimonies about how we met Jesus. And we invited them to a day outside of our church. We had jumping castles for the kids. We had a big kids meeting with about 60 to 80 kids at the most. We about 150 people outside of our church that many of them have never stepped foot in our church. And when we had it out, 200 hamburgers, but most importantly, we shared the gospel testimonies some music known singer, she won like Sweden’s got Talent. She, she is a on fire believers. So she shared her testimony and, and some songs. And then we had a preacher Vanis preached and did Analar call and Free girls from Afghanistan raised their hands and say, We went to Jesus.
Andreas Cucca (08:27):
Their mother got healed in her neck. They’re not, they’re not disciples yet, but they’re leaning in towards, you know, our shared coming sometimes and so on. So, so it was a big, big thing for us. And actually, a Swedish guy just came right into our church from that meeting. He said, Because you were so open, we, I, I want to come because you opened up. You, you, you sent out the magazine, You did it publicly. You, you preached the gospel outside of your church. And during the pandemic, he had read the Bible, and now he’s come to a, a saving faith in Jesus. So every now and then he comes to my office. He works from home. So he comes to my office. Sometimes he has ask questions. And so, so next week we’ll start new course for new believers and, and people that are interested in the gospel.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (09:15):
This testimony of these three Afghan girls really moves me. My parents lived in Kabul, Afghanistan for the last 12 years. And now we have many Afghan refugees that have come to my hometown in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have about 900 that are there. And so we’ve been helping them to get drivers license and to find housing and to have food. We’ve been helping them get in English classes. And even some of them have been given scholarships to some of the different colleges. And, and so we’ve been very involved in helping the Afghans that have come. And at Christmastime, we had 11 Afghans come over to our house for Christmas dinner. Wow. And we sang Christmas carols talked about the Chris, the Christmas story from both the, the Bible and from the Quran, cuz the Quran talks about how Issa was conceived by Miriam. And so at least that gives you a starting point to talk about Jesus. And we gave them all Christmas presents and had a wonderful time with them. And so we have a great heart for the Afghans that are the dispo that are, are now scattered all over the world. All right. You mentioned your testimony in the magazine. Tell me a little bit about your testimony. Yeah,
Andreas Cucca (10:32):
Man. I’m, I’m brought up in secular home in Sweden. I have no relationship with church, so on, so, so much. I had Christian friends, but I mean I was in my, th I was 13, 14. We began to go out partying, drinking some of my friends became criminals, you know, or picking cell phones and, you know, robbing peoples on. And I was on the outskirt outskirts of that gang or whatever. And I felt so empty on the inside, and I began to think about my life and is this everything school weekend, partying than job or university? And the job family, we working, we can, there’s there any, is there not nothing more? And I fell into a deep depression, and I began to think, contemplate about taking my life. And one time I was arguing with my mother because there’s no one that gets on my nerve so much as my mother.
Andreas Cucca (11:26):
I love her to death, but she can really drive me crazy. It’s my, my, my wife, my, my and my wife, my mother <laugh>, my, my brother and my eight year old daughter. They really know how to push the bottles. And my mother did it at the time and <laugh>, and she, I’m not sure what she said, but I said, Do you want me to kill myself? And the words that came out of my mouth, it became like, it just came back to me, and it just became like a cover over my heart and over my mind. And it was like a bondage that just happened there. And after that, I just, it was everything that just contemplated in my mind. And at the same time, I had a friend who invited me to church in the same right time. And he invited, invited me to a Lutheran church first.
Andreas Cucca (12:17):
And they had some friends in the Pentecostal church. They had youth meetings. And there I saw something that I didn’t see in my other friends. I saw light in their eyes, I saw joy, I saw peace. And I began to go to this charismatic Pentecostal church where they raised their hands and is saying about Jesus, talked about Jesus. And it’s weird. It was a weird, weird thing because it was so out of my regular life. It was not nothing that I had seen before, but I felt at peace there. So I continued to go there, and I stopped partying. And then I went to a youth camp. And that night I said to my friend, his name is Gusta, I said, Gusta, we need to get saved. I’m not sure if he was born again or not, but if he was not, he came with me and we prayed a prayer for salvation with our, the youth pastor.
Andreas Cucca (13:05):
And during that prayer I didn’t know what to do with my hands, lift my hands, you know, so many things to do in church <laugh> and, and I was really new, but I, I, I, I just did like this with my hands. And I closed my eyes and he prayed, and I repeated a prayer. And as I repeated, I said, Thank you for forgive. He’s forgive my sins. And thank you that you took, took my sins. And he took my darkness and so on. And as I prayed his prayer and I was closing my eyes, it was like, there was two beams from a big, a big truck just hit the flooding. My face was dark in the room. It was like in, in the evening time. And it was a, but still, it was like a big, big light just flashing in my eyes, even when I was closing my eyes.
Andreas Cucca (13:54):
And it was like a piece that came over me. And, and the, the, the lead on my heart and, and the bondage, you know, in my head just run. He just went away. It washed away in one second. And I stood there for 10 minutes, and I just knew it was not just me and the youth pastor there, Someone was there. And I said to you, Pastor, he was here. And he was like, Yeah, yeah, yeah. I cooled down. And I was like, How can you be cool down if God in heaven is in the room? So from that time, I, I just always filled with peace. A couple of weeks later, I always realized, I am, I am not have done a suicidal faults. From that time, I just began to share about Jesus. I actually, when I came home from the camp, I said to my mother, mother, I’m saved now. And she came, she was really, really touched. Five years later, she got baptized. I actually baptized her in our church. So from that time, it’s only been evangelism for me and to share the gospel because Jesus really, he took me from darkness to lights. And I, I believe he can do it for anyone.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:57):
Amen. What a beautiful testimony. Let’s talk about Bangladesh. You’ve been working there about 15 years now. What have you seen God do in that nation?
Andreas Cucca (15:07):
Well, I’ve seen, I mean, from, I’ve seen people getting their lives, lives transformed. I remember one girl, she’s name, her name is Star. She came to our campaign was maybe 6,000 people there. She saw testimonies of healings. You know, one girl had a cancer tumor that was visible in the back, that just shrunk away. And she saw a lot of these kind of things, and she heard the gospel, and she didn’t receive her healing. So for three days, she was in the, in, in the crowd. And on the way back, you know, that, that message hit her because she prayed, Jesus, why am I not heal? And then she has prayed, Jesus, forgive me of my sins. And at that time, she, she gets so a vision of Jesus hanging on the cross, says, I my daughter, I see you, I forgive you, and I healed you.
Andreas Cucca (15:53):
And then she says, I felt so light on the inside. And, and her knee that was broken got healed. And she, she came back and testified. And I mean, and this is one of thousands, tens of thousands of people have received Jesus. And hundreds of churches has been planted during the years in that movement. We’re working with their church planting movement. In the last years we’ve seen several hundred churches about, now it’s 468 churches at the moment, as statistics days, 468. But I mean, it’s a movement of people receiving Jesus and an openness to the gospel, both Hindus and Muslims.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (16:33):
Talk to me about the strategy of this church planting movement. How does it work?
Andreas Cucca (16:39):
I mean, we have had, we, we, we do campaigns, gospel outreaches, you know, open air campaigns, preaching the gospel, praying for the sake. And, and, and from that, churches are planted. So, for example, if, if they want to plant a church in say, three different places, well, we, we pick a spot in between those places. We do a campaign and we bring people from free different villages or different areas into the campaign. We preach the gospel to them, they see Jesus, and then from then they go back to their villages and they will send out church planters to that places. So every time we do a campaign, we do it in a strategic place. So we can start three to four churches every time. So it’s every time it’s about where do you want to, do they want to start churches and where is it possible to do it? And then we do it. So, so the campaigns is not, it is not, not something we do just for the sake of it. We do it as a, a kickstart for church planting.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (17:42):
And so, over the years that you and ACE, the Association of Campaign Evangelists have been working in Bangladesh, how many campaigns have you done?
Andreas Cucca (17:52):
Well, I’m not sure. I probably in probably 60 plus at least. But I mean, and
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (18:00):
So these are not all in the same place or in the big cities, You’re going town to town, village to village, Yeah.
Andreas Cucca (18:05):
I mean, there can be really, really small places. And I mean, we’re in a small town village and there were about 5,000 in the village. And, and at the campaign we had 5,000 people. So everybody came. And I mean, that’s a
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (18:19):
Good campaign. Yeah. If you get a hundred percent of the population to come, that’s, that’s massive.
Andreas Cucca (18:23):
Yeah. And I mean, in one direction where one moskin, one direction, you want another mo one. So when we came to that village, they said, Are you from Egypt? Because they thought that we were from media people. They been financing mosques there. But a lot of people came to the Lord in that place. It’s called Bury. And there’s other places also we preached outside of Mo quite close to the mosques. And people are happy to receive the gospel. Yeah. But we are both, I mean, mostly in the outskirts, in the in the bush areas, in the, in the, in the smaller villages, not so much in the big cities. It’s first and foremost, it’s harder to do in the bigger towns. And also there are churches in the bigger towns. So we don’t need to do it there. We do it where it’s needed.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (19:12):
So you have a calling on your life to be an evangelist. You’re also serving as a pastor. How do you balance these two different callings and the needs of both?
Andreas Cucca (19:26):
I don’t <laugh> or I think it flows into a ch because before I was the pastor of our church, we actually we were the church missionaries, me and my wife. And I would say that the things I do because I believe in the local church, I’m sent out by my church as the missionary. So everything that I do, I do out from my local church. But of course, you know, time wise, I have to know plan a little bit. So I don’t, I’m not away too much because I need to tend to my ship at home. But I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s manageable. And I think it’s, to be a local church pastor helps me to be a good missionary and to be out in, out, to be a missionary evangelist helps me to become a good pastor because we, we need both. We need to, to do the outreach. We need to take care of people. And I think when I talk to church leaders in, in Bangladesh, for example, I know their struggles. I know how it is to, you know, help people. And when people come with their problems and, you know so I think it, it’s, it’s good. It’s good to be both pastor and evangelists.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (20:40):
That’s wonderful. Well, thank you so much for being on the Evangelism podcast. I really appreciate it.
Andreas Cucca (20:45):
Thank you very much. It’s an honor. And yeah, just wanted to say to, to the, to the people listening that, I mean, if you have a calling on your life, run with it. There are so many people, Bangladeshis Open, and many pe places are open for the gospel. So if you feel encouraged by this, you know, reach out to Daniel and, and, and he will probably help you in the right direction.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (21:12):
Amen. I want to go to Bangladesh now, hearing about all the testimonies of, of what God has done there. It’s, it’s so wonderful. Thank you so much. God
Andreas Cucca (21:20):
Bless you. Thank you, Daniel. Thanks
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (21:22):
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Evangelism Podcast Host (22:41):
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