EFM began in 1905 when Lewis and Viola Glenn went to Egypt. They went as part of the Pentecost Bands, begun within the Free Methodist Church in the late 1800s to involve young people in ministry.
In the 1950s, missionaries working in Egypt felt the Lord directing them toward Eritrea. They established an orphanage that still operates today and in 1951, founded the first high school in the country. From Eritrea the work expanded into Ethiopia. Eritrean students attending university desired to have a church like the one back home.
A couple who had served in Guatemala joined with EFM and returned to Guatemala in the early 1960s. From there the work branched out to Honduras and El Salvador. The churches in Guatemala and Honduras have prospered and grown.
EFM founded a maternity/medical clinic in Honduras in 1976 as well as two radio stations. Both Guatemala and Honduras have been blessed with Bible institutes, which have been instrumental in training pastors. In the 1970s a mission work in Bolivia joined EFM’s ranks.
The fields of Costa Rica and Dominican Republic came to EFM in 2001 as the result of a merger with a small organization called Friends of Missions. In 1991, our missionaries in the Dominican Republic were invited to participate with a U.S. church as they sought to reestablish relations with people whom they had served in Cuba. This has resulted in an outreach into the eastern part of Cuba that has shown great promise.
We have ties with Eritrean refugees in Sudan. The government of Eritrea closed most churches in 2002 and has a reputation for persecution of Christians, and many of our believers have fled to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other nations. In 2002 people from Guatemala formed a congregation in Trenton, New Jersey. This has developed into four other Hispanic congregations in the Northeastern USA.
In 2013, we sent a couple to south Asia, to a country currently closed to missions activity. Our missionaries continue to learn the difficult local language as they prepare to start works for EFM in this largely unreached”10/40″ region of the world.
In 2015, Victory Inner-city Ministries merged with EFM bringing with them a 15 year history of urban outreach and church-planting work. Urbanization is an important trend, and we recognize that we live in an urban world. With millions of people from countries closed to the gospel living in places like Detroit and Los Angeles, the mission field as we have known it is changing; it is coming to the major cities of the United States. The global trend of urbanization means that reaching people anywhere is increasingly going to mean reaching them in urban places.