Greetings from Paris to all our brothers and sisters in Christ. We hope this letter finds you well in His Grace. Here follows our report about June 2018.
Our family is doing very well by God’s grace. June was especially refreshing for my daughters because my mother visited from Brazil. We would appreciate your prayers for our daughter Catarina’s application and approval into Beatriz’s school for next year. We applied last year but she was not accepted because she needs to improve her French in speaking and comprehension.
Following the baptisms that we celebrated in March, we are now preparing five new members candidates to be received in July. Two of them, Christian and Claire, will be received by baptism. We feel very privileged and encouraged to celebrate so many baptisms this year.
We concluded the 13th chapter on our preaching series of Mark’s gospel. It was a great and challenging section that enriched both the congregation and the preacher, since we had to deal with the complexity and glory of eschatology. We then took a break from the Gospel of Mark in order to look at the first part of Exodus for our summer preaching exposition. We try to balance our teaching of the New Testament with a study of the Old Testament during the summer. I am using a wonderful commentary for sermon preparation, which I strongly recommend: “Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory,” by Philip Graham Riken.
On Friday’s meetings for prayer and Bible Studies we started a new course on “Biblical Marriage and Sexuality” using three different books: John MacArthur’s “Different by Design,” John Piper’s “What’s the Difference,” and “God, Marriage, and Family” by Andreas J. Köstenberger and David W. Jones. We were surprised by the interest this subject created among the French. More people than usual came to the meetings. By God’s grace we faithfully addressed many countercultural issues such as biblical complementarianism.
The high point of this last month was the remarkable progress with our training of future elders. For the last two years we have been meeting every week to pray for all the members, plan our church’s life, share devotional reflections, and discuss theological readings. Thus, it was a joyful moment when they preached for the first time in our church. On the last Sunday of March and on the last Sunday of June, Loïc and Nathanael had the opportunity to deliver their first massages. Both of them preached with grace, biblical fidelity, humility and power. God seems to be confirming their calling for eldership.Mayra also acknowledged the progress of the children ministry in recent days as she is preparing three other sisters to help her. This is also very important because it will allow her to attend the preaching more often.
One last testimony worth mentioning is what seems to us an answer to prayer. We have been praying for a while for a better place to meet that would be less expensive, more fit to our present size, and especially, would allow us to meet in the mornings. We received a proposition for a place owned by the “Groupes Bibliques Universitaries” (a missionary agency in France). We went expecting to stay there only during the vacation period in order to save some money, but the place really meets our needs – we can meet on Sunday mornings and evenings for a third of the price of our previous location. This will also allow us to rent an office during the week were I could work and even host the prayer and Bible Study meetings. Please join our prayers as we are waiting for the approval of the owners so we can continue to meet there from September on.
It is always great to have HeartCry visit us in the field. We would like to especially thank HeartCry for the counseling session we had with brother Paul Washer and Holden Barry through Skype. The elder candidates were greatly helped and blessed.