French find faith
God is transforming lives in France, thanks in part to you
Healing, baptisms and people wanting to know more about Jesus – exciting things are happening in the ministry of BMS World Mission church planters Claire-Lise and David Judkins in France.
After 18 months of living in Brive-la-Gaillarde (Brive), the Judkins are starting to see the fruit of the friendships they have formed in the town. They are seeing God move in extraordinary ways and believe the prayers of BMS supporters have played a vital part.
“I’m pretty sure that many of the things we have seen wouldn’t have happened but through prayer, both the prayers that we have committed to locally and also the prayer of BMS supporters,” says David. “I see them equally part of the ministry here.”
There have been three baptisms in the last year and at least two more are being planned. Those who have been baptised are not only growing in their faith but also sharing it and attracting others to know more about Jesus.
Max* became a Christian and was baptised in October 2016 after spending several months reading the Bible and discussing it with David. Since his baptism, he has been sharing his faith with a work colleague called George* who has been having a hard time. David met up with them both and prayed for George who was struggling with neck pain. The prayer helped ease the pain and has led George from being an atheist to wanting to be prayed for more and being open to hearing about God.
Jasmin*, Max’s wife, is not a believer but goes with him to L'eglise autour le table (Church around the table), the meetings Claire-Lise and David lead each Sunday, which explore faith in a non-threatening way over a meal. “She calls it her church and is growing in her understanding of a God she doesn’t believe in,” David says. As the church plans to multiply to two groups, Jasmin has offered to host one group at their house.
Max’s keenness to share his faith has encouraged Claire-Lise and David. “One of the things we want is young disciples making other disciples and not always coming through us,” says David. “It is the beginning of what we want to see.”
Another life changed has been Christophe*. Claire-Lise first met his wife, Eliane*, who was their post lady for a few months, and they had many conversations about faith. They lost touch but then saw each other again at a party and Claire-Lise met Christophe there too. From a Catholic background, Christophe got talking about faith at the party and soon both he and Eliane started to attend Church around the table. Christophe is now planning to be baptised and is also wanting to show his new faith in action. He has started the church’s first social action project, collecting toys for a local charity which works with children from deprived backgrounds.
Becoming a Christian does not guarantee an easier life. Louise*, who was Claire-Lise and David’s first convert in Brive, has been struggling with cancer over the last few months. She has been on a rollercoaster ride of emotions but her faith has remained strong, and the experience has had an impact on her husband Victor, too, who wasn’t a Christian. He has been actively praying for her, and has seen those prayers sometimes miraculously answered, releasing Louise from some of the pain she was feeling while undergoing radiotherapy and now is exploring baptism.
These are just some of the lives being changed by God through the work of Claire-Lise and David. The couple are continuing to learn how best to respond when God transforms lives.
“When God is working in people’s lives, it is beautiful, it is like flowers coming out and it is amazing to see,” says David. “What is scary and challenging, is that it can be much messier than we expect. We are constantly having to re-envision the way we are doing things, to create a structure where people can grow but not feel stifled.”
As well as planning new groups, David has formed a band with two others called the Dizzy Delectables. They performe a launch concert at a local café on Saturday (28 January), singing songs about hope, some of which they have written as well as some cover versions. They hope to do more gigs and through them to make more connections with people open to exploring faith.
Claire-Lise and David are encouraged by what God has been doing, and so are we, but they know there is so much more he wants to do through them in Brive.
“We are seeing these green shoots but there is so much more to do,” says David. “We want to see the dams breaking and God’s power really spreading out across the town. Prayer is required and more of it.”
• Thank God for the ways he is working in Brive through the ministry of Claire-Lise and David. Pray for wisdom and guidance as they aim to reach more people
• Pray for Max, Christophe and Louise and all those at Church around the table as they grow in faith and share Jesus with others in their community. Pray for healing for Louise for her cancer
• Pray for the Dizzy Delectables folk trio as they engage with the people of Brive through music
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.