Apr 12, 2013

French Mission Trip Return Report


Bonjour!

As some of you know, I got back from France recently. I know you've already heard some of this before but I really wanted to consolidate all my thoughts, reflections and journal things into a more cohesive letter so you can have a quick and somewhat comprehensive update about what happened in Grenoble, especially in regards to the college students, both Christian and Muslim.

With that ...

Highlights include:

-Meeting Christians from all over the world: Mali, Germany, Argentina, the US, Hungary, Venezuela, and of course, France. It was wonderful to pray with and for them, sing worship songs with them, eat with them, encourage them and be encouraged by them, and learn about their stories and backgrounds and the challenges they face.

-We did a total of 4 performances
A brief one before the music workshop on campus
As part of a talent show at an Italian pizzeria
A concert at an Algerian Muslim owned cafe
We also did a set for a group of students after the food distribution
Prayer walk event

-We also had a great rehearsal/jam session with 2 other artists (1 French, 1 Argentinian) at the missionary home. And the Muslims invited us back the next day for a free 5-course lunch and after we did an impromptu freestyle with them.

-We led a workshop with a group of Christian college students
Here we taught some young French Christian artists how to better use their gifts. later that night we actually did a joint concert with them. I'm told many of the churches sort of squash new talent and don't really give these artists a chance to express themselves in a Christian context so these artists feel discouraged. We're trying to help rectify this.

During our first prayer walk, we reached out and encouraged one French guy. He is 31 and has only been saved for 3 years - so sincere. I gave him a CD and he got all close to me and almost seemed as if he wanted to cry.

-Some key people we talked to that we want to continue to pray for:

- : A Muslim who is an ethnic Berber, speaks 4 languages, and stopped following Islam for 2 years to examine Christianity ( for example, he read through the whole Bible and even quoted Scripture by word to me during our conversation). However, now he is more dedicated to ever to Islam. We had an in-depth conversation about these things and exchanged e-mails. The missionary knows him and likes hike a lot but is sad about his current path.

-: Relatively typical French male college student who left the church 2 years ago and when I asked him if he was "IN CHRIST" he kept saying it was complicated. Said he has doubts and Christianity is too hard to live out. Apparently he comes from a legalistic background and never felt like part of the church community. Also doesn't think the church does enough for the poor and ... the earth. We spoke for an hour after the event and although he was very calloused and closed off, we had a good back and forth about what salvation by grace and faith through Jesus really means. We looked at how important being saved really is, especially in light of God's holy character and perfect standard. One good thing is he became interested in reading some French apologetic/ theological works I recommended to him. And one more is that their Is a pastors daughter there who cares for his soul and is praying for him.

-: Muslim man from Algeria who owns a cafe. He is a leader and became very open to us, whereas before he was stoic with us and the missionaries. He is married with a young daughter and he loves American hip hop. I am sending him some Gospel rap via his e-mail and Facebook which he has given me. He also has two employees who were open to us and need the Lord bad.

-THE ARTISTS: the Students who can play an instrument, sing, or rap aren't usually encouraged in France in the church for a variety of reasons. The ones we spoke with seemed to feel really held down and were so uncertain of their gift's purpose.

For example, there was one gal there who played piano and sang only privately because her church said we don't do that here. She had never publicly done music before the talent show event we were part of. Same thing for young Physics PHD student from Mali, Africa. He did sort of a French rap-chant piece for the first time in his life with us! He said sometimes when he prayed he felt God would give him some lyrics and he would praise God with them but he would never do it with others because when he got converted he thought rap was jus evil.

There are a few others but I don't know their stories as well except for one gal who said this was the first time she had ever talked about the arts and her Christian faith together and her ideas were starting to form now. The missionary told this this was a groundbreaking experience for them.

-The other people who really need prayer are the missionaries themselves! there are about 5-6 more.


MINI-JOURNAL ENTRIES

SATURDAY MARCH 9
We flew all day and underwent an 8 hour time zone difference.

SUNDAY MARCH 10
We arrived in Paris and drove to Grenoble.

MONDAY MARCH 11
I am totally recovered as of this morning and moving along. We met lots of wonderful French and even German Christians as well as some non Christian French folks.

Today we handed out flyers on the campus for 2-3 hours, ate then did a prayer walk/ tour of the city. Tonight we practice with the drummer for our music.

TUESDAY MARCH 12
We are tired from a non-stop schedule every day and there are emotional ups and downs but overall, I'm thrilled and excited, wishing I could come back next year already!Things have been pretty amazing on this trip. It seems like God gives us favor wherever we go.

The Christians here all are so sweet and really want to learn English and feel bad when they can't use it but almost all of them know a bit of English and often other languages, such as Spanish and German! The church here is very small and most people could really care less. I'm told that it takes great courage for the average younger French person just to say that they may still believe in God.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 13
Yesterday went incredible (serious) and tonight we rap at a N African/Algerian bar - secular/Muslim, so we'll see how it goes.

Today we did a (second) prayer walk in the bad part of town. I was told its a NO GO ZONE, meaning the police won't go there unless they are in riot gear.

THURSDAY MARCH 14
I think People's prayer really made a difference.

FRIDAY MARCH 15
We are in Paris now.

SATURDAY MARCH 16
Flew from Paris to Philly for 8 hours, had a 4 hour layover and then flew 5 more hours to Phoenix.

BELOW ARE SOME PICS FROM OUR STROLL IN DOWNTOWN PARIS AT NIGHT ...


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