Marseille, France is blessed with a growing neighborhood church led by two Dauner generations. Teaching in their year-long, full-time intensive discipleship program, Christians on Mission (CEM), as well as teaching in local catholic parishes which are no longer served by resident priests are two of Max’s primary focuses. In addition to her full time public school teaching position, Prisca guides CEM outings, is a Bible camp counselor, teaches Bible to children twice a week, acts as principle teacher for the “Club Cool” children’s outreach, and is a world class English translator. Both Max & Prisca are integral to the Marseille chorus which is a successful community outreach.
With a Master’s of Divinity degree, Philippe has served as the Fuveau Chapelle full-time pulpit minister since 2005. French born and raised, Philippe effectively connects with the Marseille community. Dolores is the churchsecretary and director of their annual two week summer camp held at the Bonnefoi Mountain Retreat Center serving children throughout Europe. Philippe and Dolores serve a key role inmentoring Marseille youth and are active in the one-year Christians on Mission internship they both attended as students are also discovering the joys of sharing the gospel with other parents at the kindergarten across the street from church.
A campfire for Jesus
Here’s a story that is rare enough that it deserves my sharing it with you. You often read in these newsletters about the particular atheistic/post-christian worldview of the majority of French people.F rank, just proved us open hearts still exist. He is a fifty-year old neighbor that just showed up in church one day to pray with us, sharing how close he was to despair. "I’ve only one more possible solution for my life, and that’s God. So I’m giving Him a fair chance, and have taken off a couple of weeks to search for Him. If He doesn’t answer, I have nowhere else to go." He decided to come to church, and our CEM daily prayer time, and took a week-long camping trip to find time with God and ask him all the questions he had.
There are ups and downs, but during the past two months we have seen his life radically change as he is more and more convinced God listens to him and loves him. As of today, I have no idea what his final decision will be, and you are invited to pray with me for him. I did want to share his story, though, because he has had an unexpected impact on our church. He decided to take the men’s group with him for a bivouac and invite us to pray with him and share our life and faith story around a campfire. This got us all sharing about our difficulties, past and present, and our hopes in Jesus, which surely help him, but also the younger generation of men in various stages of life and faith experiences.
There were many great things done with and for Jesus these past weeks, easter concerts (with 120 visitors!), Bible seminars (I taught a 6 hour seminar on the book of Exodus in Geneva, Switzerland), and a two week mission for CEM in Albania and the refuge camps in Greece (with Hellenic ministries, in Athens). Yet meeting someone off the street, who has been our neighbor for 15 years, and whose sincere search for God made our paths cross, is one of the great unexpected joys of our ministries.
I can’t say I camp outside much. But I did appreciate how doing so with my brothers brought us closer to God, and therefore closer to each other. I won’t surprise you if I tell you a second trip is already planned.