06/14/16

Paris Prayer Conference Begins

Yesterday attendees arrived for the 2016 Paris Prayer Conference. Last night’s opening banquet gave them an overview of what to expect during the week. This year participants will experience two days of site visits and two days of presentations in Paris along with a day of attending WT France churches on Sunday. Transportation strikes are keeping things interesting, but so far things are off to a good start.

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Today the group traveled north of the city to visit the Gisors church plant in the morning and the work in Méru in the afternoon. Director Jerry Moyer gave an introduction to the work of WT France and the teams in each town described some developments of their work and ways to pray.

These annual meetings always provide an opportunity for reflection on what God has done through the years as in answering our prayers. A second-time participant mentioned being in Gisors in 2007, three years before the project began, praying for God to send workers. In 2011, participants were led by Kevin and Stephanie, the newly arrived church-planting couple launching the project, and they prayed for the start of an Alpha Course and that God would provide homes for new teammates. In 2013, participants met in those homes of the Hamlets and the Shorbs where they heard about how the Alpha courses came together, and they prayed that God would provide a public meeting place for the church. Today, the group met in that church building.

Here are some ways to pray with and for us:

  • Praise God for the 10 participants and 2 interns. Pray that they would persevere in prayer this week as they learn about the state of the church in France.
  • Pray for the many details and logistics of the week: transportation amidst interruptions, speakers, visits, etc.
  • Pray for a growing core group at the church in Gisors. Pray for spiritual growth and maturity. Pray that leaders would be raised up to take on ministry responsibilities.
  • Pray that God would provide a new meeting place for the church in Méru. Pray for spiritual unity as they proceed administrative steps to become a fully established church.
  • Pray for interns Rachel and Kevin in their responsibilities this week. Pray that they would discover ways to serve God in the future.

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05/13/16

Moving Towards the Potter’s House

It’s been nearly three years since the Barrs arrived and launched themselves head-first into an impressive undertaking. They immediately set up a community association for teaching English and art classes to children and adults out of a restored storefront in the village of Chevreuse.

Read more about those beginnings here and here.

Since then, they’ve established a significant presence in town. Their classes have progressively expanded including conversational classes for adults; they’ve begun a monthly film gathering that not only shows classic American movies but also prompts spiritual conversations; they’ve started two different weekly Bible study opportunities; they were able to welcome an intern for a year to help with teaching. Several contacts from these events have become regular attendees at the nearby Magny church. During this time, the Barrs were also able to raise enough support to make the transition from mid-term missionaries to career missionaries, enabling them to stay in France long-term.

With that transition in mind, and never content to stay still for too long, they’ve developed the next phase of their plan. While continuing the art and English classes out of the current location with the help of interns and short-term workers, they’d like to find a larger location that would allow for expansion.

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One primary goal would be finding a space large enough to allow Russell to finally get back to his first love: practicing and teaching pottery. That’s why the name of this next phase will be The Potters House (or Chez le Potier in French). Other activities would also be allowed to grow and expand, allowing more short-term workers to be involved and the outreach to continue in a new community.

At this point in time, two things are happening: recruiting interns and short-term workers to teach English and art while looking for a new location.

If you or someone you know is interested in teaching art and English as a second language, this could be a great opportunity. It is a unique means to interact with a community and share the light and love of Christ with them in a natural way. Get in touch with us for more details.

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05/2/16

Seeds of Hope : New Administrative Assistant is Hired

Seeds of Hope : Support

Most financial supporters aren’t all that eager to hear about the nuts and bolts of the mission and what goes on behind the scenes to make everything run. But the fact of the matter is, when your organization has 30+ members from 3+ countries with only one director in the office, it becomes more and more difficult to do things like distribute salaries, make sure benefits are in order, process financial gifts, coordinate calendars, respond to inquiries about our work, and keep everything moving ahead in order to focus on and achieve our goals.

All of those “boring” but highly necessary tasks are conveniently labeled “administration,” and France is notorious for the amount of “administration” it requires. World Team France is an officially-recognized government-registered association, set up to welcome (ie: employ) French and European members. This is a good thing that allows growth and flexibility, but it also comes with regulations to put and keep in place, and we cannot simply rely on the administration offered by our WT Sending Centres (US, Canada, Australia…)

These tasks typically become a burden on members who must volunteer their time to get the job done. The majority of our accounting, for example, is currently done by our treasurer and full-time church planter, Kevin. This method works, but it also means pulling people away from their ministry roles, people who may or may not be adequately gifted or trained in administration to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

The Seeds of Hope plan includes a section for providing administrative support, so that church planters can focus more fully on their task and so that we as an organization can position ourselves for further growth. This section of the plan includes paying a certified accountant each year to annually verify our work and make sure our donors’ money is being used correctly. This accountant has been working with us for the past several years.

Sylvie lac seeds of hopeThe good news is that we have received enough gifts toward Seeds of Hope in order to hire an administrative assistant one day a week. Let us introduce you to Sylvie, a member of the Magny church. She is French, married to an American, with years of experience in the hotel industry. She will be working at our office and assisting our director, Jerry, in a variety of administrative tasks. Let us assure you that her role will be absolutely vital and a big relief to all of us, especially Jerry! You’ll hear more about her in the days to come.

Your continued gifts toward Seeds of Hope would be used in part to hire her for an increased amount of time up to three days per week. Consider making your gift on the Seeds of Hope page and please contact us with any further questions.

Visit the Seeds of Hope page to understand more about the other sections of the initiative and contact us for the full project document.

03/23/16

Paris team welcomes interns from Germany

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Two weeks ago the team in Paris hosted an internship for some German bible school students. Every other day they got to be together for trainings, meals, prayer & devotions, and outreach. They got to experience “simple church” with the team one Sunday morning (what it looks like when you’re just a handful of people in someone’s living room). And they got to meet several other teammates from the larger team in France at an informal “Apéro,” getting a bigger picture of the different ministries and projects of World Team France.

The goal for these interns was to experience ministry in the city. So each afternoon they were sent out.

  • One day, they used their maps to explore the area praying as they went.
  • The next afternoon, they were given some money and were told to be creative, go and bless people with it. This project was a challenge as they saw how suspicious people are of accepting anything from a stranger, even if it’s a good thing.
  • The other two days together, they gathered information through doing surveys and passing out invitations to an event on Friday night called “Apéro Théo.” It was the first time the Paris team hosted such an event and some valuable lessons were learned (confirming things already suspected) : people in Paris are not likely to come to an event (especially a religious one) if they don’t know someone who’s there. But it remained a good experience for all involved, providing a more accurate reading on the spiritual pulse (of lack thereof) in the neighborhood. Each participant gained more confidence in approaching and talking to people.

The Paris team was so thankful to have had the chance to spend a week with these students. They were a great team and it was a privilege to invest in one another’s lives while loving the people of Paris together.

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01/15/16

PPC 2016: Come pray with us!

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Paris has kind of been in the news lately, huh? Even praying for Paris has been in the spotlight, no?

Here is your opportunity to #PrayforParis in the city itself with us and other French Christians.

The 2016 Paris Prayer Conference will be held June 13 to 20.

Download the informational brochure for your respective country, then somehow get it into the hands of those most likely to be interested!

Download for: USACanadaAustraliaEurope

The Paris Prayer Conference is an annual event organized by World Team France. Participants spend a week hearing directly from French nationals and WT church planters about ministry in the French context along with site visits that provide first-hand experiences. Throughout the week, the focus is praying that God would build his church in a country where less than 1% of the population are Evangelical Christians.

Read about past prayer conferences by clicking here.