France

Outreach in Mornant, France

To plant a church where there is no church we had a bus, a team, a town…and GOD! Ed Buck, AGWM Personnel in France, relates that “In April, we took ‘Ze Bus’ with a team to Mornant, a town in southern France. ‘Ze Bus’ is a bus converted into a café for coffeehouse ministry. The team included an evangelist, a pastor, some local believers, and a missionary (me). And God helped us. Each day began with worship, prayer, and practical training in evangelism. Then we went out by twos into the town to share with anyone who was willing to talk. Some were interested, but had no time, so we invited them to stop by the bus that evening. Each evening, we gathered at ‘Ze Bus’ to share the good news of salvation with those who stopped by, and then we prayed for the people we met and the prayer requests that we received.

On Thursday evening, Saturday evening and Sunday morning, about 30 to 35 people came to an evangelistic service in a rented meeting room. By the end of the week we had faith-building conversations with over 300 people, not counting those who turned away! Half of them requested prayer for serious needs, and many told us we were the first Christians that they had ever met. Light conversations often led quickly to deep discussions about loneliness and our need for God.

Now, about 15 people meet twice a month to study God’s Word. We are praying for this town of Mornant, that the seeds planted will produce a vibrant church.

Buck-ze_bus.jpgTo plant a church where there is no church we had a bus, a team, a town…and GOD! Ed Buck, AGWM Personnel in France, relates that “In April, we took ‘Ze Bus’ with a team to Mornant, a town in southern France. ‘Ze Bus’ is a bus converted into a café for coffeehouse ministry. The team included an evangelist, a pastor, some local believers, and a missionary (me). And God helped us.

Each day began with worship, prayer, and practical training in evangelism. Then we went out by twos into the town to share with anyone who was willing to talk. Some were interested, but had no time, so we invited them to stop by the bus that evening. Each evening, we gathered at ‘Ze Bus’ to share the good news of salvation with those who stopped by, and then we prayed for the people we met and the prayer requests that we received.

Buck-mornant.jpgOn Thursday evening, Saturday evening and Sunday morning, about 30 to 35 people came to an evangelistic service in a rented meeting room. By the end of the week we had faith-building conversations with over 300 people, not counting those who turned away! Half of them requested prayer for serious needs, and many told us we were the first Christians that they had ever met. Light conversations often led quickly to deep discussions about loneliness and our need for God.

Now, about 15 people meet twice a month to study God’s Word. We are praying for this town of Mornant, that the seeds planted will produce a vibrant church.

A Journey to Christ in France

Our team has been journeying with one young man for the past two years. From when he came to a game night wanting nothing to do with religion, to shared moments of laughter in English classes, to frank discussion during an Alpha course, to answering his list of questions from reading through the Bible twice, and to praying with him to surrender to Christ, it has been a long journey. We have loved this young man - before he believed, we invited him to belong to our community. A lot of time was poured into him. He loves games, and that is why he first came. He was a new transfer student on campus. He was lonely and hadn't met anyone yet. He got the flyer to a game night in the mail. He was intimidated at first as there were some Americans that were just learning French, but that helped him get the courage to come to the weekly English class (the fact that they were learners in a language as well as him). From there, he came to our Mexican Fiesta celebration, and started to make friends with someone else in the English class, an Algerian student who was also new on campus. Because they saw each other in English class and hung out every Friday at Cafe Franglais to practice English, they started to become good friends and to become a part of our community. By December, they realized that there were other things going on, spiritual things like the Reverb Thursday night service for students, Refuge Sunday night church, small groups for girls and for guys - all things which they knew were going on because the people in our community were talking about them. But, they felt like these things weren't for them. The Algerian and this guy now were close friends, and hung out outside of our community. The Algerian celebrated Christmas with us, and it was impactful.

In January, we started an alpha course, held during the regular Reverb student meeting, and specifically invited them. It was time for them to understand our faith. So, they both came faithfully, glad to "be a part" for a legitimate reason. In the small group discussion, the Algerian would often side with our faith, because we believed God existed, while this young man, couldn't accept that. But, he was impacted. And he now felt free to come to any spiritual event - and so he did, becoming a regular in church, singing during worship. But he was always an observer, and a respectful questioner. He decided to read through the Bible. He decided to ask God to answer a prayer (it was an impossible one...that a certain girl would like him). He asked lots of questions. He read through the "Case for Christ" in English. He saw the Case for Christ film. He got angry that God didn't answer his prayer. He tried to pull away from the community. He decided to ask God to answer another prayer, that he would feel him. He got frustrated in that as well. He read through the Bible again, slower. Asked tons more questions.

On a skiing trip with our community in February, someone on our team lost her phone. They prayed to find it. They were about to leave, and it got returned. A stranger found the phone in an impossible place. This young man "never felt so happy". He knew inside it was time to believe, that he already really did believe. But he also felt afraid that if he told us all, that we would stop being so concerned with him, stop paying him so much attention/love him less. Finally, he started going to the men's small group. Worried that he needed to get all of his life in order, become pure and clean and perfect so that he could fulfill a lifelong commitment to Jesus, we let him know that was what Jesus wanted to do IN him as they walked together. He gave his heart to Jesus during a small group in April. Now we continue to journey daily with him as he learns how to walk with Christ toward wholeness and abundant life.

Remix 3.jpgOur team has been journeying with one young man for the past two years. From when he came to a game night wanting nothing to do with religion, to shared moments of laughter in English classes, to frank discussion during an Alpha course, to answering his list of questions from reading through the Bible twice, and to praying with him to surrender to Christ, it has been a long journey.

We have loved this young man - before he believed, we invited him to belong to our community. A lot of time was poured into him. He loves games, and that is why he first came. He was a new transfer student on campus. He was lonely and hadn't met anyone yet. He got the flyer to a game night in the mail. He was intimidated at first as there were some Americans that were just learning French, but that helped him get the courage to come to the weekly English class (the fact that they were learners in a language as well as him). refuge4.jpgFrom there, he came to our Mexican Fiesta celebration, and started to make friends with someone else in the English class, an Algerian student who was also new on campus. Because they saw each other in English class and hung out every Friday at Cafe Franglais to practice English, they started to become good friends and to become a part of our community. By December, they realized that there were other things going on, spiritual things like the Reverb Thursday night service for students, Refuge Sunday night church, small groups for girls and for guys - all things which they knew were going on because the people in our community were talking about them. But, they felt like these things weren't for them. The Algerian and this guy now were close friends, and hung out outside of our community. The Algerian celebrated Christmas with us, and it was impactful.

In January, we started an alpha course, held during the regular Reverb student meeting, and specifically invited them. It was time for them to understand our faith. So, they both came faithfully, glad to "be a part" for a legitimate reason. In the small group discussion, the Algerian would often side with our faith, because we believed God existed, while this young man, couldn't accept that. But, he was impacted. And he now felt free to come to any spiritual event - and so he did, becoming a regular in church, singing during worship. But he was always an observer, and a respectful questioner. He decided to read through the Bible. He decided to ask God to answer a prayer (it was an impossible one...that a certain girl would like him). He asked lots of questions. He read through the "Case for Christ" in English. He saw the Case for Christ film. He got angry that God didn't answer his prayer. He tried to pull away from the community. He decided to ask God to answer another prayer, that he would feel him. He got frustrated in that as well. He read through the Bible again, slower. Asked tons more questions.

game night.jpgOn a skiing trip with our community in February, someone on our team lost her phone. They prayed to find it. They were about to leave, and it got returned. A stranger found the phone in an impossible place. This young man "never felt so happy". He knew inside it was time to believe, that he already really did believe. But he also felt afraid that if he told us all, that we would stop being so concerned with him, stop paying him so much attention/love him less. Finally, he started going to the men's small group. Worried that he needed to get all of his life in order, become pure and clean and perfect so that he could fulfill a lifelong commitment to Jesus, we let him know that was what Jesus wanted to do IN him as they walked together. He gave his heart to Jesus during a small group in April. Now we continue to journey daily with him as he learns how to walk with Christ toward wholeness and abundant life.

Convoy of Hope Europe in Calais, France

Convoy of Hope Europe continues to work within the Jungle refugee camp of Calais, France. New police restrictions on the land that the refugees and migrants are allowed to occupy meant a large portion of the Christian community started in the camp needed to be moved. People in the newly restricted sections were given three days to move. With previous construction teams, basic wooden structures had been built to offer families some additional protection against the mud and the elements. Now, there was three days to move them before they would be destroyed. Another team from England mobilized quickly to help, and were able to get all of the residential huts moved. Through some discussion with the authorities, not everything had to be moved. Our team was given permission for the community center and kitchen to remain where they are.

We are unsure of the future of the camp, but we are committed to assisting the people within it for as long as it stands. With winter settled over the area, there remains a significant risk of freezing for those without blankets and warm clothing. Many families huddle together to maintain a sense of warmth, and Convoy of Hope Europe has been working to supply gas heaters and extra gas canisters to additional families that are still arriving daily.

calais-3.jpgConvoy of Hope Europe continues to work within the Jungle refugee camp of Calais, France. New police restrictions on the land that the refugees and migrants are allowed to occupy meant a large portion of the Christian community started in the camp needed to be moved. People in the newly restricted sections were given three days to move. With previous construction teams, basic wooden structures had been built to offer families some additional protection against the mud and the elements. Now, there was three days to move them before they would be destroyed.

Another team from England mobilized quickly to help, and were able to get all of the residential huts moved. Through some discussion with the authorities, not everything had to be moved. Our team was given permission for the community center and kitchen to remain where they are.

We are unsure of the future of the camp, but we are committed to assisting the people within it for as long as it stands. With winter settled over the area, there remains a significant risk of freezing for those without blankets and warm clothing. Many families huddle together to maintain a sense of warmth, and Convoy of Hope Europe has been working to supply gas heaters and extra gas canisters to additional families that are still arriving daily.

Weekend Retreat for Young Professionals in France

The Bridge Paris University and Young Professionals Group, part of the Bridge International Church in Paris, France enjoys periodic weekend retreats in St. Maulvis, France, hosted by a mother and daughter in their summer home. This is a multi-national group; Sheila and her mom are originally from India, Suzanne Spolarich, AGWM Personnel, from the US, and the students come from various nations. This time the countries represented were China, Cameroon, the Congo, France, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria. So many students from so many different nations meet at The Bridge and become brothers and sisters in Christ!

God is at work in these students’ lives: Rita was recently baptized, Emmanuelle has stepped up to leadership in the group, several after recent graduation are looking for full-time work. All of them are becoming disciples of Jesus, desiring to know him better and follow his plan for their lives.

The theme for the Spring 2015 Retreat was "Learning Christian Disciplines." Rachel shared about waiting on God; Sheila stressed the necessity of praising God; Emmanuelle emphasized that without prayer a relationship with the Lord is impossible; Guy challenged everyone to start reading and studying the Bible in order to go further in our relationships with Jesus; and Suzanne taught on the benefits of fasting hand in hand with prayer, especially when we seek to overcome an obstacle to our spiritual growth.

At our last meal together, Suzanne asked each participant to share the one thing that would be implemented as a Christian discipline in their lives. Of course, the answers were varied, some wanting to pursue “waiting on God,” others desiring to “read and study the Bible” more regularly, a few sensing the need to join fasting to prayer in order to move ahead in following Jesus.

There were rich times of praise and prayer together. Delicious meals were prepared by Rachel and Sheila. Fun times playing games and sharing at meal times drew the group closer together in friendship and all grew closer to Jesus.

2015.jpegThe Bridge Paris University and Young Professionals Group, part of the Bridge International Church in Paris, France enjoys periodic weekend retreats in St. Maulvis, France, hosted by a mother and daughter in their summer home.

This is a multi-national group; Sheila and her mom are originally from India, Suzanne Spolarich, AGWM Personnel, from the US, and the students come from various nations. This time the countries represented were China, Cameroon, the Congo, France, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria. So many students from so many different nations meet at The Bridge and become brothers and sisters in Christ!

God is at work in these students’ lives: Rita was recently baptized, Emmanuelle has stepped up to leadership in the group, several after recent graduation are looking for full-time work. All of them are becoming disciples of Jesus, desiring to know him better and follow his plan for their lives.

The theme for the Spring 2015 Retreat was "Learning Christian Disciplines." Rachel shared about waiting on God; Sheila stressed the necessity of praising God; Emmanuelle emphasized that without prayer a relationship with the Lord is impossible; Guy challenged everyone to start reading and studying the Bible in order to go further in our relationships with Jesus; and Suzanne taught on the benefits of fasting hand in hand with prayer, especially when we seek to overcome an obstacle to our spiritual growth.

At our last meal together, Suzanne asked each participant to share the one thing that would be implemented as a Christian discipline in their lives. Of course, the answers were varied, some wanting to pursue “waiting on God,” others desiring to “read and study the Bible” more regularly, a few sensing the need to join fasting to prayer in order to move ahead in following Jesus.

There were rich times of praise and prayer together. Delicious meals were prepared by Rachel and Sheila. Fun times playing games and sharing at meal times drew the group closer together in friendship and all grew closer to Jesus.