Stretching My Faith in France

Written by one of our very own Veritas Students!

 

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After three and a half weeks in Paris, France, I can tell you that God has really been stretching my faith.  In the past, I have done ministry in various difficult cultures and even in countries that are closed to the gospel and evangelism.  Coming to France I thought ministry would be easy—no fear of imprisonment or persecution, along with all modern products and facilities for my every need.  After my short time here, however, I can tell you that ministry in France is the hardest I have yet faced.

A couple of times a week I take to the streets with a few other students and we do some street evangelism.  While this time has been a really great learning experience, little fruit has come from it.  Most of the French people have a hardness of hearts, which causes them to turn away from any form of religious conversation.  Just the mention of Jesus’ name will cause seemingly gentle, kind people to gruffly turn their face and walk away.  All my other opportunities to do overseas missions put me in cultures that encouraged religious conversation but here the materialism, consumerism, and atheism seem to reign above such values.  I was beginning to feel disappointed and discouraged by this constant rejection and repulsion of the most important thing in the world. But, of course, God is faithful and has been working in surprising ways.

I am currently taking a French class that takes up 21 hours of my week.  That’s a lot of time!  I am ever so glad for it, though.  I have had numerous, unplanned opportunities to talk with my classmates and share the gospel with other American and even international students.  I met one girl unexpectedly on the metro who turned out to have studied in California for two years.  We exchanged phone numbers, and the gospel was shared with her as well.  On a train coming back from Versailles, I was able to get into a conversation with the couple sitting next me.  They asked what I was doing in France, and the gospel was also given to them.  There’s an international café here where one can meet people from other nations.  I have been able to make many connections there, and I was even able to give one North African man the gospel of John.

These are only a few of the unplanned and unexpected encounters I have had the joy of taking part in.  All of these instances have taught me an incredibly important lesson: I need to be ready. 

As 2nd Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 

This has been my theme verse for the past week (and could apply to the entire trip).  The moments I have seen the most interest in the gospel, and the times I have had the best conversations were the ones I never expected or looked for.  This, obviously, does not give me the right to stop being intentional or seeking out conversations, but it has proved to me that God can use me at all times.  He can work at any moment.  I must be ready in and out season—when I am actively “doing ministry” and when I am passively moving through life.  I want to be ready at all times so that I can be a tool used for God’s good work and glory.

 

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Written by one of our very own Veritas Students!

Want to experience your own Christian Study Abroad? Click here to find information for all our missions programs across the world! 

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