Finding love again
The testimony of Gabriel, a young Romanian man who has recently found Christ again at a Baptist church in Lyons
BMS mission workers John and Sue Wilson have been living and working in France since 1988.
Having responded to God's call to 'go', John and Sue went to France as part of the mission partnership between British and French Baptists.
They work at Lyons Baptist Church and have seen the church grow and develop both numerically and spiritually. The church now has a second congregation, continues to play a key role in the life of the city and maintains a ministry to the poor.
Here John recounts the testimony of Gabriel, a young Romanian man who has recently found Christ again:
Just over two years ago our church decided to experiment with an evening service every six weeks called ‘culte concert’ (concert service), where we welcome new people to the church, open with a prayer and reading, then the majority of the time is given over to a concert with a closing meditation or brief talk.
The concert services have had various styles from folk, rock, reggae to classical music; we’ve had a poetry or ‘slam’ evening and are planning a sketch artist. On one occasion a duo ‘Grain de sel’ (grain of salt) closed with a song which said “it’s time to stand up, don’t put it off till tomorrow”.
A young man called Gabriel had come to church at the invitation of a friend and knew that it was time for him to make a decision for Christ. The next day we met together and he told me his story.
His Romanian parents were from a traditional Orthodox family and had joined an evangelical church when he was ten years old. At first he had enjoyed going to church and hearing the stories in Sunday school but, as a teenager, he began to find it boring and ended up spending more time at the local bar than school.
Many times he would come home late at night, half drunk and when he was 16 he ran away from home, causing his parents a lot of grief. In his early 20s he decided to come and work in France, fell in love with a girl and ended up staying. Life was not always easy and he had a lot of professional and personal worries.
One day when things had gone particularly badly for him, a Romanian Christian visiting our church asked him to come along and straightaway he rediscovered the warmth and welcome he had known all those years ago.
He began to attend regularly but was aware of all the hurt and pain he had caused his parents, family and friends. That is how he came to respond to the gospel message at our concert service and how he prayed with me on 13 November 2009 to give his life to Christ.
At his recent baptism he said, “That day I took the decision to follow Christ. I understood that by his death on the cross Jesus had rescued me and that today he accepts me as holy by his grace. I have decided to give my whole life to him. The weight I carried on my shoulders is now carried by him.”
Gabriel knows that life will continue to have its struggles and problems but now he can face them with the peace and confidence that God has given him.