French Find Faith

French Find Faith

Healing, baptisms and people wanting to know more about Jesus – exciting things are happening in the ministry of BMS World Mission church planters Claire-Lise and David Judkins in France.

BMS church planter David Judkins leads a game at Church around the Table in Brive, France
BMS church planter David Judkins leads a game at Church Around the Table in Brive, France

After 18 months of living in Brive-la-Gaillarde (Brive), the Judkins are starting to see the fruit of the friendships they have formed in the town. They are seeing God move in extraordinary ways and believe the prayers of BMS supporters have played a vital part.

“I’m pretty sure that many of the things we have seen wouldn’t have happened but through prayer, both the prayers that we have committed to locally and also the prayer of BMS supporters,” says David. “I see them equally part of the ministry here.”

There have been three baptisms in the last year and at least two more are being planned. Those who have been baptised are not only growing in their faith but also sharing it and attracting others to know more about Jesus.

In this short video, Claire-Lise shares about the challenges of being a church planter in hyper-secular France and tells the story of one woman whose life has been transformed by the gospel.

Max* became a Christian and was baptised in October 2016 after spending several months reading the Bible and discussing it with David. Since his baptism, he has been sharing his faith with a work colleague called George* who has been having a hard time. David met up with them both and prayed for George who was struggling with neck pain. The prayer helped ease the pain and has led George from being an atheist to wanting to be prayed for more and being open to hearing about God.

Jasmin*, Max’s wife, is not a believer but goes with him to L’eglise autour le table (Church Around the Table), the meetings Claire-Lise and David lead each Sunday, which explore faith in a non-threatening way over a meal. “She calls it her church and is growing in her understanding of a God she doesn’t believe in,” David says. As the church plans to multiply to two groups, Jasmin has offered to host one group at their house.

Max’s keenness to share his faith has encouraged Claire-Lise and David. “One of the things we want is young disciples making other disciples and not always coming through us,” says David. “It is the beginning of what we want to see.”

Another life changed has been Christophe*. Claire-Lise first met his wife, Eliane*, who was their post lady for a few months, and they had many conversations about faith. They lost touch but then saw each other again at a party and Claire-Lise met Christophe there too. From a Catholic background, Christophe got talking about faith at the party and soon both he and Eliane started to attend Church Around the Table. Christophe is now planning to be baptised and is also wanting to show his new faith in action. He has started the church’s first social action project, collecting toys for a local charity which works with children from deprived backgrounds.

Becoming a Christian does not guarantee an easier life. Louise*, who was Claire-Lise and David’s first convert in Brive, has been struggling with cancer over the last few months. She has been on a rollercoaster ride of emotions but her faith has remained strong, and the experience has had an impact on her husband Victor*, too, who wasn’t a Christian. He has been actively praying for her, and has seen those prayers sometimes miraculously answered, releasing Louise from some of the pain she was feeling while undergoing radiotherapy. Victor is now exploring baptism.

These are just some of the lives being changed by God through the work of Claire-Lise and David. The couple are continuing to learn how best to respond when God transforms lives.

“When God is working in people’s lives, it is beautiful, it is like flowers coming out and it is amazing to see,” says David. “What is scary and challenging, is that it can be much messier than we expect. We are constantly having to re-envision the way we are doing things, to create a structure where people can grow but not feel stifled.”

Many of the things we have seen wouldn’t have happened but through prayer

Church gathering round a table
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As well as planning new groups, David has formed a band with two of his church planting team. The band is called the Dizzy Delectables and they have been performing locally, singing songs about hope, some of which they have written as well as some cover versions. They hope to do more gigs and through them to make more connections with people open to exploring faith.

Claire-Lise and David are encouraged by what God has been doing, and so are we, but they know there is so much more he wants to do through them in Brive.

“We are seeing these green shoots but there is so much more to do,” says David. “We want to see the dams breaking and God’s power really spreading out across the town. Prayer is required and more of it.”

*Names changed

Pray for the church in Brive

• Thank God for the ways he is working in Brive through the ministry of Claire-Lise and David. Pray for wisdom and guidance as they aim to reach more people

• Pray for Max, Christophe and Louise and all those at Church Around the Table as they grow in faith and share Jesus with others in their community.

• Pray for the Dizzy Delectables folk trio as they engage with the people of Brive through music.

Six aspiring Christian leaders get baptised in the Amazon

Video:

Six aspiring Christian leaders get baptised in the Amazon

Watch this video to see the beautiful moment when a group of Peruvian Christians get baptised in the River Marañón, in Peru’s Amazon rainforest.

Have you ever glimpsed a pink dolphin jump out of a river? Or dipped your toe in the muddy-brown water that is its home? Have you ever peeked through the trees to watch, in the tropical heat, six Christians submerge themselves in Amazonian water (alongside the dolphins and a fair few piranhas) as a witness and symbol of their faith in Christ?

If you haven’t, now is your chance.

Watch this video to find out what led these Peruvians to get baptised, and to see the special moment when they take the plunge.

I have come back to my faith and I really want to serve God. That is why I got baptised.

Llino and Leysey are two Christians who live in isolated river communities in the Amazon rainforest – communities accessible only by boat. BMS World Mission has been supporting them, and other Christians and pastors like them, through our Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre.

At the centre, Christian leaders and future leaders get to learn basic theology and how to share the gospel. They also learn ways to practically help their communities develop.

Llino is one of six Christians who recently got baptised in Peru's Amazon
Llino is one of six Christians who recently got baptised in Peru's Amazon

“When I first came I was a bit reserved and I didn’t relate very well to the other pastors,” says Llino. “But with time I have become more open and able to talk. All of the teaching I have received here has been really useful.”

The centre also exists to help these Christians – who have never had any theological training and very little Christian community – grow in their own faith and get to know Jesus and his heart for them better. For Llino, Leysey and the other Christians who got baptised, the centre has been a huge catalyst in their journey of faith.

Leysey says that the centre has helped her grow in her faith
Leysey says that the centre has helped her grow in her faith

“I have come back to my faith and I really want to serve God,” says Leysey. “That is why I got baptised.”

Each course runs over the period of a year, and involves six residential training weeks. The trainee pastors receive scholarships to attend. Llino is really excited by what he has been learning at the centre.

“I feel like I am being prepared to be a leader not only in my church but also in my community,” says Llino. “I am very happy that my learning here is preparing me for leadership roles in the future.”

Our work in Peru’s Amazon is just one example of the way we are working to grow God’s Church and support his children around the world. Please pray that Llino, Leysey and the other Christians we are serving in Peru would remain strong in their faith and would be a powerful witness in their communities.

Thank you.

“I feel like I am being prepared to be a leader not only in my church but also in my community.”

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Meet and laugh with Laura-Lee Lovering, the BMS worker who’s helping to head up the amazing work at the centre, by watching this video.