Greetings from France to all our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are thankful to God for you and your prayers and concern for our mission field. We hope this report finds you well in His Grace.
April was a very refreshing month as we could contemplate clearer signs of His faithfulness upon our family and ministry. We are all in good health and are thankful as the Lord is answering many prayers among us and our church.
As we come to our sixth year in this field – known for its sterility and resistance to the gospel – we find ourselves more strengthened and hopeful then ever. As previous years have brought big challenges in our family, this past year has been the biggest test for our ministry thus far. Nevertheless we received conviction and help from the Holy Spirit in our devotional life by a profound sense that persevering and deepening would soon pay off, in spite of what we were seeing throughout the year. God was cleaning the occupied soil and deepening the roots before the tree could experience healthy growth as a church. The beginning of this year (2017) was marked by His peace as 2016 ended with a slight increase in our attendance with 15-20 people.
We started the year with a period of fasting and praying. This time was further enlivened by our weekly prayer meetings and the preaching series we continued through the Gospel of Mark. We are convinced that the Lord moved us to this emphasis on prayer so He also could honor this endeavor by His Grace.
We are encouraged about the consistency and clarity with which our prayers are being answered. We have been receiving at least two new visitors in almost every service. Members are much more engaged, and our music leaders have been substantially fortified. We’re expecting about seven new members to be received into membership soon, and even though none of them are new converts, most of them are very well-gifted and mature – which we’ve also been praying for! Please pray especially for N_____ and L___ – two young French men to be received as new members who show signs of calling for eldership.
As for our ministry work, we continue striving for progress and balance in thorough pastoral care and deep Bible teaching. We try to host one or two dinners per week with members of our church – which is proving to be very fruitful. As most of them are scattered throughout suburbs, it has been a great blessing for us to live in the city center.
I am now preaching a sub-series of five messages on marriage and sexuality based on Mark 10:1-12. This is one of the most polemical and even taboo subjects in France, where one of its main idols is feminism. Surprisingly enough, our online videos have been attracting some visitors. This culture needs a lot of prayer for the recovering of family values and for godly men to be raised up within our churches. On Tuesday nights we have our prayer and Bible study meetings – the subject being the names of God and the doctrine of the Trinity. Every Wednesday night we have our leaders meeting where I meet with S___ (my co-elder), and the two young men mentioned before, where we pray for the members and discuss various aspects of pastoring.
Beyond the reasons mentioned above, April was also very special for the refreshment experienced through the time we spent with family at the Fiel Conference in Lisbon and also the HeartCry conference right after. It was very important for my wife to be able to listen to some very encouraging preaching at the Fiel conference. I was also very renewed and fortified in those intense ten days in both conferences – having fellowship with co-laborers under the teaching of such well-prepared men as Steven Lawson, Anthony Mathenia and Jeremy Walker. It was also very touching to have the Skype meeting with Brother Paul – who both encouraged and inspired all of us at the HeartCry conference. We keep him and his family in our prayers, so our Lord may fully restore his health. It is beautiful and encouraging to see how many churches, with the help of HeartCry, are being faithful, perseverant, and fruitful for the glory of our Lord in some of the darkest places of Europe.
We are thankful to our Lord for all your support and prayers.