France Mission Update #13

August 8, 2016

 

Hello family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

I hope that all of you had a good weekend.  I am now on the last leg of my mission trip, as I only have 10 days left until I return to the US.  Time has flown by, as I have been busy and have enjoyed every minute of it.  It will be nice, however, to get home to see my family and friends in the United States once again.  I will miss those who I have met, worked with, counseled, formed friendships with, and continued friendships with for many years.  God has done some amazing things and I am glad to see people coming closer to having a personal walk with Jesus, as that is why I am here and why I am called.

 

Friday was a lovely day, as I had the opportunity to go to Versailles to see a close friend I have known for about 13 years.  I love her very much and was happy to see her, her husband, and her miracle baby boy.  I say miracle baby because my friend was told in her twenties that she would never conceive and now here she is 42 with a baby boy.  God is wonderful, isn’t He? We had a pretty good spiritual discussion on Friday.  I will see her once again next week before I return home, so I am hoping to follow up on our discussion from Friday.  Like a couple of my friends in Paris, she knows about the Bible and has read parts of it, but she doesn’t understand what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is like.  I have been working with her on this for years and continue to pray for her.  I think she is closer now to accepting Christ than she ever was, so I know that the seeds that I have planted through the years have helped.  She and her husband will be good parents.  My friend’s husband is a very protective parent already.  He worries quite a bit about the baby, even at the slightest little thing.  From what I have seen in the past, it is usually the mother that panics easily.  In this situation it is the father.  It is very refreshing to see how much both of them love their newborn baby boy.  He is adorable!

 

Saturday I spent time with a friend that I met three years ago.  He lived in Paris at the time but now lives in Barcelona, Spain.  He still has his apartment in Paris because he loves it here and comes often for business.  It was nice to see him again after three years.  We had never gotten a chance to talk about anything spiritual before, so I didn’t have any idea what he would say when the issue came up, especially since he was born in Lebanon and his parents came to France when he was a tween.  I was rather pleased to find out that he considered himself a Christian, as he grew up Catholic.  I was even more pleased when he understood that we evangelicals see Christianity as a relationship with God and not as a religion.  He understood with no difficulty because he had a very close friend growing up whose father was an evangelical pastor.  He seemed to not only understand it but believe in a personal walk with Jesus as well.  That is about as far as we got, but I am very happy with what he told me.  I don’t know whether or not he is saved per se, but I will be following up with him in the future.  I was very happy with how everything went.

 

Yesterday I attended Pastor Parker Windle’s church in a suburb east of Paris.  Parker is an American that I met three years ago when I came to Paris trying to start forming partnerships with missionaries here in France. For those of you who received emails last year, I met with Parker last year while on the Paris part of my mission trip.   Parker is the pastor of Immanuel International Church.  Although its name doesn’t suggest anything Baptist, it is indeed a Baptist church. Parker preaches and does all his other ministries in English, as learning English is something that is important to many people here in France.   I went to visit his church yesterday and enjoyed it very much.  It is a well-established church, and the people I met seem to have a real joy for the Lord.  It was encouraging to me, as there are few evangelical churches in France.  When asked what I was doing here in Paris, I got an opportunity to explain what I have been doing here in France for the last seven and a half weeks.  Everyone was very excited about what God has called me to do.  They also share a burden and love for France and want others to come to know Jesus.  People were especially interested in the counseling aspect of my trip, how God has opened doors for me to help women and how my counseling has taken on a broader aspect this trip, going from just abuse counseling to include other areas of counseling as well.  I will be helping Parker with service next Sunday, so please keep me in your prayers.

 

I am continuing to enjoy my counseling here in Paris.  In Paris I meet with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in cafes and we get coffee or tea and talk with one another for a while.  I enjoy this atmosphere very much, as it is very non-threatening for the women I counsel.  Thank you all again for the prayers you have lifted up on my behalf.  God is working here in France, despite all the resistance.

 

Ilene

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