From heartbreak to healing
How did personal tragedy lead one woman to faith and mission?
Imagine your world totally shattered. That’s exactly how it felt for new BMS World Mission worker Christine Kling when she lost her husband to lung cancer in 2008. After 28 years of building a life together in France, suddenly she saw the foundations crumble. “It was a very tough time,” says Christine. “I was trying to figure out what to do, and how to find some kind of hope during a very dark time.”
She couldn’t have dreamed the journey hope was about to take her on. Or the fact that eight years later she would be a Christian and mission worker in France. How her story all unfolded is quite remarkable.
Her story begins in a time of darkness and the first spark of hope came to her in the form of her supportive manager. The manager was based in Scotland and invited Christine to visit her for a weekend away. It was during that weekend that she fell in love with Scotland and became curious about faith. At the time Christine did not believe in God, but as her manager shared her Christian faith and showed her compassion during a difficult time, something in her began to wonder.
As she became curious about faith, she also wondered how to move forward in life. The answer was to make a big life change. That change would take her back to Scotland for a fresh start. She was able to transfer her job with Hewlett Packard in 2010. Little did she know how much this move would transform her entire life.
Moving to Scotland proved to be the new beginning Christine needed. She was surrounded by new co-workers and Christian friends who showed her friendship and hospitality that surpassed her expectations. In France her relationship with co-workers was strictly in the working environment. In Scotland they would visit Christine at her house outside of work to show her hospitality. Christine was inspired by the love her new Christian friends demonstrated towards her.
“They didn’t try to convert me, they just shared love with me,” says Christine. “I was a complete stranger, yet they had compassion for me.”
This compassion eventually led Christine to take an Alpha course in 2010. It was after that course that Christine decided to become a Christian. “It was a time of healing from the nightmare I had experienced,” says Christine.
God used this transformation to change Christine’s heart. She explored her newfound faith by training at the Scottish Baptist College, travelling to India with a BMS Insight Team and doing a short-term placement in France with the BMS volunteer programme. All of these experiences increased Christine’s passion for mission and eventually set her on her current path, long-term mission work in France.
Christine is heading back to her home country this week, and has exciting new work awaiting her. For the first six months she’ll utilise her skills of project management, IT support and communications as she works with the French Baptist Union. She will also develop an online learning platform for the French Baptist Federation and serve as an assistant minister in a Baptist church in Paris. Christine will be working in many different roles, but she knows her ultimate goal. “I hope that I will pass on the good news of Jesus,” says Christine.
She is excited for the work that awaits her in France, but realises there may be more challenges in the country following the Paris attacks. “I think there will be a sense of fear towards strangers and religion,” says Christine. “But the Christian message can help. It can bring a sense of hope, despite darkness.”
As Christine begins the next chapter of her life doing God’s work in France she will be a beacon of light for the French people and an example of faith’s transforming power.
Pray for Christine as she begins her mission work in France. Pray for focus on her different tasks at work, for her to enjoy meeting new people and the opportunities God sends her way and for continued resilience for her in this new journey.
You can support Christine Kling as an individual through 24:7 Partners as a church through Church Partners.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.