Emmaline Hart was part of a group from the Jesus Fellowship that visited "Basivilla", a Christian Community in Switzerland last March. She tells Jesus Life about this exciting branch of the Multiply family.
WE THOUGHT that we had come home and everyone had been waiting for us," says Mark Fels on visiting the Jesus Fellowship for the first time in 1991.
This visit was the catalyst which started to burn the vision of Christian community in his heart, so on returning to Switzerland, Mark and his wife Silvia with their young son Joshua invited two single men and a drug addict to embark on a lifestyle of community living in their home.
Through prayer, many other people especially the young were attracted to live this radical life of sharing, so much so that their house became increasingly full. This seemed to go very well with the name of the house at that time - "Perazim" which means breaking through.
Mark and SilviaBy 1994, with 15 people living in as residents, they had a good team. Evangelising on the streets, prayer and worship times was their way of life. The seed had germinated and was flourishing - this was radical Christianity.
However there was a tendency to neglect members in the household, with " a focus on mission rather than relationships - this led Mark and Silvia, eager to build brotherhood, to reach a crunch point and they decided to move out.
Four months later, they received a phone call asking them to move back: they sensed God calling them back to the vision of community.
It was a new launch - and with this new launch came a new name, "Basivilla" (Basi from "Basileia" meaning "kingdom of God," and villa being a "large house").
With a heart for people "on the edge", the team are involved in helping the poor; they also work with kids and host Alpha courses, aware that this is spiritual work for the Lord rather than social work. They now have 17 living in the house.
"We love to live brotherhood," says Silvia - and this is evident by the warm welcome they give and their generous hospitality. Throughout the week, they have many friends outside of the community coming around for meals to have a taste of the lifestyle.
When some members of the Jesus Fellowship, including myself, visited, the team hosted a two-day event at Basivilla about Christian Community. They invited some of the Jesus Fellowship members to share their experiences.
It was a time of tears as many people glimpsed what they had been longing for. For myself I found conviction about how the pioneers of the Jesus Fellowship had laid down their lives to make community so available, and how I should push forward the vision rather than just rely on the strength that we already have.
Basivilla joined the Multiply Network to gain support from other Christians living the same lifestyle of community, to be able to seek advice from the friendships that are built, through communication and short visits. Being a younger and smaller pioneering group, they look to the Jesus Fellowship, with its larger community, as an example of how to make the kingdom of God visible through community.
Ultimately, their vision is "to see Jesus lifted high and to see many people come to faith in Jesus".