About 14 years ago we were caught somewhat by surprise by God moving in our lives and
hearts to move us to France in order to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The general job description did not change, but the people to which we were now
directed was a total surprise.
In my teen years I had often told the Lord that if He wanted me to pastor or be a
missionary I would be glad to do so. In response, Heaven seemed to be silent.
Had God spoken to me earlier on this subject, I think that my preparation would
have been quite different. As it turned out, following God's general written directives and my interest in science, I prepared for a career as a doctor. My thinking was along these lines.people listen to their doctor so why not use this as a platform to communicate the Gospel.
I was totally upended by what seemed to be a clear call to be a proclaimer of the Gospel that came to me in the middle of my Junior year at the University of Kentucky. It occurred when I was with a number of other believers in prayer. This was not the topic that we had been pursuing in the discussions prior to the time of prayer and it took me totally by surprise. Up to this moment I thought that I was following God's will as I prepared for a career in Medicine. This new direction was confirmed in interesting ways from several different
sources. After consulting with other believers, I said, "Lord, I am going to pursue this new direction assuming that it is Your will." Immediately, I had a sense of peace.
In retrospect, I realize that God wanted me to spend time on a public University campus in the field of natural sciences as part of the preparation for what He wanted me to do. God seems to be always using those who are willing in the present while simultaneously preparing them for service in the future. For brevity, we will skip forward through 26 years of preparatory service.
Once again, I was broadsided by this change in direction that God had in store for us.
Within a relatively short period of time and through a number of confirming witnesses we became aware of the great spiritual need of the French people and were moved by a passionate desire to go and make disciples in this nation. A nation where over 50% of the people are
atheist, 10% are Muslim, there is great despair and where all is tainted by general distrust. A nation where the number of believers is a fraction of a percent; one of the most unevangelized countries of the world. This country of 36,000 communities and a population over 60 million has just a few more than 100 Baptist churches with an average size of 30 members. Most of the people in these churches are immigrants. A nation for which I previously had no special interest!
We live and work in a city of 30,000. The only church besides ours is a small Catholic church. There is a synagogue that meets in a house. Our work includes several other communities in a radius of about 1 hour of driving time.
On arrival, we knew no one. God has marvelously intervened to bring people to Himself. Some
of these have since moved away. There are people who were once a part of our congregation who now live in 7 different countries. There are about 35 people who meet in Tournefeuille. Of these, 19 have trusted in the Lord and followed Him in baptism. There are other interested people and believers who participate in Bible studies at other locations. We have meetings for teenagers several times during the year. This is a new area of opportunity. Seventeen young
people were at the last meeting we held.
We have contact with many people who do not participate in meetings and to whom we are
able to witness. We are here to help them come to Christ and our desire is to see many disciples doing the same as God uses us and you in this endeavor.
[written in January 2012]