We have had to be flexible, constantly seeking what opportunities Jesus is leading us into and what we must avoid.
Here is an overview of our ministry:
Most families in France have no evangelical Christian friends. They may have had a little exposure to the Catholic Church, but not a lot. Many of our friends are atheists. They have never believed in God. About 25 percent of people in our town are Muslim. Most fast during Ramadan and their culture is influenced by Muslim traditions. They believe in God and they value Jesus as a prophet.
Making friends has always been important for us. We have got to know most of our friends through our English classes. We regularly invite people round and we share our lives. Little by little they find out about our Christian faith. We have found that we get on particularly well with many Muslim families. We all believe in God, we care about many of the same issues and we all feel foreign in France!
One of our Muslim friends friends visits us weekly to help Martyn improve his French while Sian teaches his daughter, English. We discuss Christianity and Islam and the importance of Jesus. Our pastor, Lance, has joined us in our discussion and we are planning future debates. We talk with other Muslim friends about our faith. Many Muslims have appreciated the Christian videos that we post on social media.
Prayer: Please pray for our friends and that God would introduce us to more people he wants us to meet.
We organize all sorts of events which are fun and where our guests hear about Jesus. Here are some examples:
- Christmas nativity party for young families. The kids have the opportunity to wear costumes to become the characters.
- Christmas party for English students without parents. This Christmas, 33 kids between the ages of 5 and 14 heard the Christmas message.
- Easter outreach for families for up to 40 people in our home.
- Valentines Day: the story of Valentine and his Christian faith
Thanksgiving party and story of the first Thanksgiving
- Film dinner: The Case for Christ
- Ladies tea
Prayer: Please pray for creativity, boldness and wisdom as we organize events and protection from opposition.
Care home ministry
We visit our local care home every week. Older French people are much more likely to have been brought up believing in God and going to a Catholic Church. Belief in God and familiarity with a few Christian doctrines helps us build on rudimentary faith, teaching and applying the Bible to their lives. About 30 percent of the residents are interested in the Gospel which is so much higher than the general population.
Often we do a simple Bible talk showing pictures on the screen and we sing some worship songs. Other weeks Sian visits patients in their rooms who are too weak to come to the meetings. She has had much opportunity to talk to patients about Jesus and to prepare them for an eternity with him. This is very rewarding work.
Prayer: Please pray for continued access to the home and a positive response from the staff and residents.
Kids and Teen Clubs
Most French families have no concept of vacation Bible school or Sunday school but they value the importance of traditional values and well disciplined children. They are aware that their culture is changing but they want their children to behave with respect, courage and compassion.
We have set up monthly clubs for kids and for teens that promote these values. Each month there is a focus on one specific value demonstrated in the life of a Biblical character. David is a great example of a biblical hero who demonstrates courage and the life of Joseph shows tremendous perseverance and forgiveness. In addition to teaching the Bible story which we help the kids apply to their lives, we play games, do an activity and eat a delicious tea. The clubs have been well received and a number of our English students have attended as well as some other friends.
Please pray that more kids will come and that they will never forget the message that they hear. We emphasize that it is only possible to behave well when we receive help from God. May they seek him!
We are auxiliaires (auxiliary workers) with the chaplaincy service organized by the Federation Protestante de France. We regularly visit a geriatric hospital, Georges Clemenceau. We have had some very positive visits with patients and we have had much opportunity to share our faith. However there are a number of members of staff who are opposed to our visits and make life complicated for us. Recently we have not been allowed to visit the palliative care ward which is so sad as so many people are approaching death without having had the opportunity to hear about Jesus.
Prayer: Please pray for good relations between the Protestant chaplaincy and the staff and the patients.
Production of Christian Media
Martyn is good at design and he has enabled us to produce attractive outreach materials. Most contemporary French people are more likely to consider Christianity online rather than turn up in a strange and unfamiliar church. This Easter Martyn created an Easter card with a Christian message which we distributed locally. It included our web site MaranathaFrance.com and our church’s one. Quite a few people have watched our videos on the site which is encouraging.
We have produced Christian videos, a story, evangelistic flyers and postcards. Many of these are on our French website, MaranathaFrance.com We have produced an attractive book which has core information about Jesus. We have distributed many of these to people who are interested in Christianity and we use it when visiting the care home and the hospital.
Prayer: Please pray for wisdom and creativity for the successful creation of more Christian media and that many people will come to faith as a consequence of what they watch and read.
Serving in our Local Church
We are members of a small Baptist church in a neighboring town, Lieusaint. We attend the weekly prayer meeting and Bible study as well as the Sunday service.
We hosted a women’s tea recently and we are helping to raise money for a church building. The existing building will be demolished soon so it is imperative that we have another place to meet. The mayor has nothing to offer us so ideally we would build a small church.