05/2/18

New teammate introductions: Nicole

How did you get connected to World Team France?

Having felt called to ministry for a long time, I surrendered to the Lord on my high school graduation day my need to know what was next or where I was headed. But just that summer, (2014 – I know I am a young one) I began feeling called to France.

That Fall I began studying Intercultural Studies/Missiology and Organizational Communications at Cedarville University. Even just during my first few weeks, I felt that France was everywhere in my life. Never being the girl that dreamt of going to Paris, now every single one of my classes was connected to France in some way, and other random Frenchy things were sprinkled into my life—like randomly receiving a French/English Bible in the mail. God was teaching me about the diverse ministry needs in France and ways in which I have both experiences that will lend themselves well to ministry there and ways in which it would be difficult for me. He used all of this to break my heart for the people of France.

One evening while I was with a church group serving refugees, someone asked me the famous college-student question: “What do you want to do after graduation?” So, I shared my heart for ministry and what God had been doing with France. One of the couples then shared that the previous summer they had been to France for a Prayer Conference with World Team.

Having never heard of World Team (WT) before, I was quite surprised when the very next day there was a WT table set up in the student center of my university. I walked right up to the table (normally I would not do so, but I felt that I had an ironic story to share). Sure enough, one of the main reasons they were there was to recruit interns for a short-term trip to France to aid with the Paris Prayer Conference.

I applied right away, and soon the Paris Prayer Conference was on my calendar for the following summer. And throughout this time, God continued working, growing my vision for ministry. I also ended up accepting an internship with another organization to extend my time and experience in Paris.

During the Paris Prayer Conference, I just fell in love with France in a way I would have never imagined. Maybe even more so, I fell in love with the people of France VIE (World Team France). One day during the trip, we devoted a time of prayer to praying for new workers to come and join the team. Some of the missionaries joked with us interns that it was a dangerous thing for us to pray. I joked back—I already know I’m coming back, this prayer is not dangerous. However, it was in that moment that I felt God call me specifically to Paris, which is truly something I never imagined.

After returning from Paris, I spent the following two years working as a Campus Ambassador (somewhat of a recruiting intern) for WT. God used this time to cement my calling and be continuously placing my mind on France. He grew within me a desire to come to France in a way that involves being a church planter while also using practical skills/jobs/school to build relationships with people and contribute to the local community.

So, it just seemed to make sense that I would graduate after my Junior year and head to France to continue my education. I moved to France and joined the team in September 2018 as WT’s first Bi-Vocational Missionary in France.

Describe your current ministry project

As a result of my somewhat divided life, my current ministry looks a bit more multi-faceted than it does for many missionaries. I am in the process of going to language school and improving my French, I’m an English-teaching nanny for a family with 3 kids in the afternoon, I get to participate as somewhat of a part-time missionary on our team in the 15th district of Paris, AND God blessed me with a ministry to other international students at my school when 2 of my friends accepted Christ last October!

What is one area in which you’ve seen God the most at work (either in your life or in your ministry)?

I think the biggest thing that He has been teaching me over the last 4 years of this movement towards France is just truly how BIG He is and how SMALL I am. I am so grateful for how clearly He has called me here—both in things that happened prior to my leaving, and in many things that have happened since my arrival. But all the details of what this looks like have changed so many times throughout this process. My understanding of what I am doing or where I am headed seems to be at a different level each day. As He gifts me with ministry visions, some of them end up happening and others just become stepping stones to where He wants me to be. It’s amazing to me how He truly works through everything and how He can direct and use me as He pleases despite the times that I feel I’ve failed or just simply lost. It’s too true that it’s HIS mission and HIS ministry. And ultimately, that is incredibly encouraging and exciting—never knowing what will happen next. So, I’m learning to let Him be the one to figure it out, and just trying to be in-step with Him, not too far ahead or too far behind.

How can our partners pray for you or your ministry project this year?

In a similar vein, while I have been learning to let Him figure out what is next, I am coming upon a time of lots of big decisions that will have deep effects on my ministry for the next 5 to 10 years. So, prayers for clarity, wisdom, and discernment are welcome as I walk a ground that has truly yet to be travelled in our team and mission. Also, you can PRAISE God with me. I am just about to cross the line of 8 months in France and while there have definitely been difficult moments (or months), I truly cannot believe how incredibly and miraculously God has blessed me and my ministry during my time here. He has already taught me so much and I’m so grateful for this life of insanity I get to live for the sake of the Gospel.

04/26/18

Australian short-term trip: Part 2

During the second week of their visit, we asked the Australian team to help run a day camp for 5-11 year olds, in partnership with the local church in Magny. This was a challenge for them, as most of them do not speak more than a few words of French, and the children did not speak English! The team had spent time before coming to France to put together a range of activities including English lessons, Bible stories, songs, art projects, and sports. With a little translation help from the World Team France members who were involved, the 20 children who attended were able to fully engage in all these activities, and all of them had a fantastic time.

Several of the children asked for another week of camp as they didn’t want it to end! Several members of the Australian team commented on how they were able to make connections with the children despite not speaking the same language. Its was clear that the children responded to the love and care that the team showed them, to their enthusiasm, their energy and their overall willingness to come alongside the children throughout the week.

At the end of the camp, we hosted a barbecue to which we invited the families of the children who had attended during the week, as well as the families who had hosted the team during their time in Magny. During the barbecue, the children sang the songs that they had learnt, showed off the artwork they had made, and told the stories that they had learnt about Jesus. It was wonderful to hear these children, some of whom had just heard about Jesus for the first time, sharing gospel stories with their parents!

The Australian team have now finished their time with us, and most of them are taking advantage of being in Europe to take some well-earned vacation time. Pray for them as they reflect on their time with World Team France, especially for those who are considering long-term missions in Europe.

~ article by Rachel

04/20/18

Australian short-term trip: Part 1

For the past two weeks, World Team France has been hosting an awesome team from Sydney Missionary and Bible College in Australia. This post will share some of the highlights from their first week in France. Stay tuned to see what happened in week 2 and how their trip wrapped up!

Some of the ministry activities they did alongside the Paris team included;

  • Hosting a ping-pong tournament at a local park
  • Playing ultimate Frisbee with the goal of meeting people
  • Attending a ladies bible study
  • Helping prepare and lead a homeless outreach to serve the community, and
  • Participating in an evangelism outreach at a local university

Then they traveled 40 minutes south where they;

  • Attended a World Team France monthly meeting
  • Visited Russell & Carol and prayed for their ministry
  • Stayed with French host families, and
  • Worshipped in a French church

As you can see, week 1 was full of great ministry, here are some highlights from the team:

“One night in Paris we went out to talk and pray with homeless people, then went to the Eiffel tower which was lit up and sparkling. I found this contrast between the best and worst of Paris really interesting, between the beautiful image that Paris portrays of itself and the hard reality that many people are living. This was also reflected in the difference between the beautiful buildings of the Catholic church, such as Sacré Coeur, and the reality that many people’s lives are empty and dark as they don’t know Jesus.” — Julian

“We joined a women’s Bible study group in Paris, and I found it very interesting to see a group of women who didn’t believe in Jesus passionately discussing the Bible. God is at work in their lives whether they realize it or not.” — Rebekah

“It’s been profound to see how important hospitality is here. Meeting around a meal and sharing life is important to the culture of the French and it opens up many doors to sharing our lives, and the hope that we have in Christ, with the French.” — James“During outreach at a Paris university, it was great to meet two French girls who were interested in talking about Jesus and were happy for us to pray for them.” — Caroline

“The university outreach was a great opportunity to meet with French Christians who had come to do evangelism. We had the opportunity together to share the gospel with a young man who described himself as being ‘at a crossroads’. This showed me that there are people who are ready and waiting for someone to talk to them about Jesus; the Spirit has already been doing something in their lives and leads us to them at the right time. And to do this together with a French Christian was wonderful.” — Pierre

“It was so encouraging to worship together with French brothers and sisters here in France. Even though we don’t speak the same language, we knew we were worshipping the same God”. — Renee“One of the key things that has struck us about World Team is the way they value prayer. We met with Russell and Carol today, who teach English and art as a way to connect with the community. For their first 2 years in France, Russell spent every morning walking around their community and praying for the people who lived in each house. One morning Russell saw the bridge and bricked-up door in the photo. God showed him that the wall is like France—previously open but now closed off. We are praying with Russell for open doors, for walls and barriers to come down, so that people will be able to hear and receive the good news of Jesus” — Ben and Ali 

04/5/18

World Team France celebrates Easter

The Association Protestante Evangélique de la Vallée (APEV) celebrated a baptism on Easter Sunday morning.

Andrea has been coming to the church for several years, along with her husband Roland, after they met Russell and Carol Barr and began studying the Bible with them. Andrea had invited around 30 guests to the service, most of whom are not believers. She shared her testimony of how the Lord has worked in her life, and through the worship and the sermon each of the guests heard the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. After the service the church shared a meal together, and many of the guests also stayed to eat. During the conversations over dinner a number of guests spoke of how touched they had been by the welcome, the message, and by the joy that was clear and visible in the lives of the church members as we celebrated Christ’s victory over death.

The church in Meru got creative for their Easter Sunday celebration, with a dramatic piece performed by the children in the church (watch the video).

Accompanied by a song proclaiming ‘Holy Holy Holy, the almighty Savior, who was and is and is to come’, the group of children silently acted out scenes from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, showing a familiar story in a powerful new way. The children had worked very hard on the piece and did a fantastic job! Visitors from the local towns came to hear the good news, including a family whose daughter took part in the drama. Following the service there was time for conversations over drinks, and the kids had fun taking part in an Easter egg hunt!

The ‘Église sans murs’ (or Church without walls) celebrated Easter in their local park in the 15th district of Paris.

They welcomed around 25 people with smiles on their faces and fresh croissants and coffee. While the parents enjoyed their coffee, the kids geared up for an Easter egg hunt by decorating their bags and scoping out where good hiding spots may be. Before the hunt could begin, Augustin and Kim took a few minutes to share the story of the resurrection and its significance. They thanked God for what He did for us, thanked everyone for coming out to celebrate Easter with the church and the kids began their Easter egg hunt. It was a great time together and the church celebrated that several families and individuals heard the message that Jesus died and rose for them.

And last but certainly not least, all of World Team France is rejoicing that three people who attended an Easter celebration with our Solid Roc church in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior this weekend! Please pray for these individuals as they grow more and more in their faith.

02/1/18

From France to down under: A word from the France field director

France Field Director

Jerry and Carolyn (while still in Paris)

The director of our France team, Jerry, and his wonderful wife Carolyn, have taken on a special new assignment that we’d like to share with you. They have accepted the task of serving part-time in Australia with the goal of recruiting more Australians to join the mission work with World Team around the world. For decades, World Team has had a sending center in Australia, but in order for World Team’s presence to continue there, we need more Australian missionary colleagues. So our international director, David (along with several other very wise people) asked Jerry and Carolyn if they were up for the task and if God could be leading them towards this. Which they are and He is!

So let’s hear from Jerry and Carolyn about this new assignment…

What will your job look like in Australia?

In it’s initial stage our job is to promote World Team in Bible Colleges, Seminaries, Churches and to other mission agencies. We want to let people know of the great opportunities that exist to serve with World Team around the world. We will be meeting with many friends and mission colleagues with an eye to creating partnerships to further the work of the Gospel. As we meet with students and other mission minded people we will have two main questions. What is your missionary passion? How can we help you in fulfilling that passion? Later we also want to advise the Board of World Team Australia on putting in place a process that will take someone from the point of saying, “I am interested in one of the World Team projects” and accompany that person all the way to the mission field. We will need to see volunteers recruited to help in this process as well as seek the resources of partnering missions.

What excited you most about this new challenge?

I am so excited about the possibility of new people joining the mission of God to bring the Gospel to people around the world who are trying to find their way spiritually. I pray so often that the Lord will send new people to work with us and there just always seem to be more needs than people to fill them. I am also excited because though there are some fine mission agencies in Australia doing some extraordinary mobilization I really believe that World Team fills a needed niche. We focus specifically on people who want to engage in mission but also want to be developed as they work on teams and are mentored by experienced disciple makers.

How long of an assignment will this be?

We have a maximum engagement of three years. My plan is that we can do the main part in the next two years and that 2020 will be a transitional time.

And what would success look like to you in 3 years (or even beyond)?

Success would be simply a dozen or so potential missionaries going through a clearly defined process to join a World Team project somewhere.

Does this mean you are no longer the France field Director?

Absolutely not! France Field Director is my only job title right now. I don’t expect to remain France Field Director forever and we have several very capable people on our team who could take over the job at any time if needed. But for now, I still am passionately committed to the team and the project in France. I would not have taken on the assignment in Australia if it meant me leaving my job in France.

Lastly, how can our ministry partners pray for you both during this time?

  1. The best things come from unforeseen meetings and encounters with people. These are things the Lord works out in advance. Pray that we may grab these opportunities.
  2. The leadership abilities of so many members of our France Team are growing every day. Pray that we may be a good support to them even from afar.
  3. Carolyn and I are sharing the leadership load for both France and Australia. Pray that we would continue to complement each others abilities.
  4. We are far from our two boys who are just launching out into adult life. Pray that they will recognize the presence of the God and Father who leads them.