The most inspiring young people you’ll meet all year: Action Team Tour 2019

Action Team Tour 2019:

The most inspiring young people you’ll meet all year

Get young people from your church passionate about mission!
Bring them to the Action Team Tour 2019

There’s no stopping them! They’ve brought people to Jesus in Peru, they’ve inspired children in Mozambique, they’ve even moved people to meet Christ in Buddhist parts of Thailand. And now our seven amazing teams of young people are coming to a church near you – it’s the great Action Team Tour of 2019!
Inspire your  young people to go on their own Christian gap year.

Team Peru – Bethan, Becky, Katie and Marika
Team Peru – Bethan, Becky, Katie and Marika
BMS Action Teams: a Christian gap year jam-packed with adventure.
  • Open to 18 to 23-year-olds
  • A month’s training, followed by six months serving overseas
  • Two months in the UK visiting churches on tour

We can say with absolute certainty that lives across the world have been transformed through Action Teams this year. Team Mozambique has taught vital English skills to local children. Team Kolkata has supported projects helping women find employment. Team France has shown how to live out faith boldly in a secular nation. Every single one of these young Christians has leapt out of their comfort zone.

And they’ve been used by God to leave an eternal legacy.

In inner-city Peru, where drug addiction, homelessness and poverty are rife, three people gave their lives to Christ after the Peru Action Team spent a morning on the streets sharing the good news! And in rural Thailand, BMS worker Wit Boondeekhun has amazing news: against all odds, in an almost entirely Buddhist village, a young woman called Prang has come to know Jesus. How did she become interested? Through a friendship with the Thailand Action Team!

Wow – talk about transformation! Could you see the young people in your fellowship doing great things like this? Anyone can hear these inspiring stories from our 2019 Action Teams, by catching them on tour.

Team Thailand – Anna, Jonny, Keziah and Paul
Team Thailand – Keziah, Jonny, Anna and Paul

Action Teams are hopping on trains, cars and buses to visit churches from Aberdeen to Torquay, from 22 April to 17 June 2019. They’ll spend a week with each church, sharing stories of their time overseas, and no doubt eating great food and drinking plenty of tea along the way. Sounds superb, doesn’t it?!

And the best part is, you can get involved! We’d LOVE for you (and the young people from your church) to have a chance to meet these amazing young people, so we’ve listed the tour dates for each team below. Contact the nearest church to you, and take your youth group along to hear them speak.

Don’t miss your chance to meet the teams, and prepare yourself to be inspired!

Tour dates

Team France wearing purple action teams sweatshirts

Team France - Jonny, Esther, Caitlin, and Tafadzwa

22-29 Apr,  Macduff Parish Church, Macduff

29 Apr-6 May,  Peterhead Baptist Church, Peterhead

6-15 May,  Gerrard Street Baptist Church, Aberdeen

20-27 May,  Alive Church, Lincoln

30 May-6 Jun,  Folkestone Baptist Church, Folkestone

6-13 Jun,  Maidstone Baptist Church, Maidstone

13-20 Jun,  Apostolic Faith Mission, Southend

Team Dehli - Amy, Cody, Hannah and Orla

Team Delhi - Orla, Amy, Hannah, and Cody

22-29 Apr,  Tabernacle Baptist Church, Penarth

29 Apr-6 May,  St Leonards, Eynsham

6-13 May,  Catterline Community Church, Catterline, Stonehaven

13-20 May,  Cornton Baptist Church, Cornton, Stirling

20-27 May,  Pollok Baptist Church, Glasgow

30 May-6 Jun,  Portishead Methodist Church, Portishead

6-13 Jun,  Upton Vale Baptist Church, Torquay

13-17 Jun,  Bromsgrove Baptist Church, Bromsgrove

Team Kolkata

Team Kolkata - Erin, Emily and Cameron

22-29 Apr,  Lincoln Baptist Church, Lincoln

29 Apr-6 May,  Hendon Baptist Church, London

6-13 May,  South Harrow Baptist Church, South Harrow

13-20 May,  New Malden Baptist Church, New Malden

20-27 May,  Oundle Baptist Church, Oundle

30 May-6 Jun,  Evesham Baptist Church, Evesham

6-13 Jun,  Fuller Baptist Church, Kettering

13-20 Jun, Bilston Baptist Church,  Bilston, Birmingham

Team Mozambique – Alex, Andrew, Jack and Rebekah

Team Mozambique - Jack, Rebekah, Alex and Andrew

22-29 Apr,  Bervie Parish Church, Inverbervie

29 Apr-6 May,  Galashiels Baptist Church, Galashiels

6-13 May,  St Thomas’ Church, Edinburgh

13-20 May,  Viewfield Baptist Church, Dunfermline

20-27 May,  Broughty Ferry Baptist Church, Dundee

30 May-6 Jun,  Rayleigh Baptist Church, Rayleigh

6-13 Jun,  Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford

13-20 Jun,  Yeovil Community Church, Yeovil

Team Peru – Bethan, Becky, Katie and Marika

Team Peru – Bethan, Becky, Marika and Katie

22-29 Apr, Disley Baptist Church, Disley

29 Apr-6 May,  Ebenezer BC, Scarborough

6-13 May, Catterline Community Church, Catterline, Stonehaven

13-20 May, Moortown Baptist Church, Leeds

20-27 May,  Christ Church, Fulwood, Sheffield

30 May-6 Jun, Teignmouth Baptist Church, Teignmouth

6-13 Jun,  Dawlish Christian Fellowship, Dawlish

13-20 Jun, Highfield Church, Southampton

Team Thailand – Anna, Jonny, Keziah and Paul

Team Thailand – Keziah, Jonny, Anna and Paul

22-29 Apr,  Windsor Baptist Church, Belfast

29 Apr-6 May,  Weymouth Baptist Church, Weymouth

6-13 May,  Kilmington Baptist Church, Kilmington

13-20 May,  Nailsea Baptist Church, Nailsea

20-27 May, Oakhall Church, Caterham

30 May-6 Jun,  St Helens Baptist Church, St Helens

6-13 Jun,  Hazel Grove Baptist Church, Stockport

13-20 Jun,  Shrewsbury Baptist Church, Shrewsbury

Team Kosovo - Hermione, Niamh, Jeff and Sarah (pseudonyms)

22-29 Apr,  Stirling Baptist Church, Stirling

29 Apr-6 May,  Cemetery Rd Baptist Church, Sheffield

6-15 May,  Delves Community Church, Walsall

20-27 May,  St Swithins / Dunholme St Chads,  Lincoln

30 May-6 Jun,  Ashford Baptist Church, Ashford

6-13 Jun,  The Hub, Upper Beeding

13-20 Jun,  Leigh Park Baptist Church, Havant

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Time for action: the latest blogs from our Action Teams

Pictures from recent Action Team blogs

Time for action:

the latest blogs from our Action Teams

Read the latest blogs from our Action Teams to see what they’ve been up to so far during their time overseas!

From teaching English to local children to navigating their way through a different way of life, our Action Teams are already making an impact on the people they’re serving. We’ve created a list of their recent blogs posts for you, so you can catch up on all they’ve been up to!

1. Team Thailand

The Action Team in Thailand have dinner with their supervisors
Team Thailand experience some local cuisine with their supervisors, Helen and Wit Boondeekhun

From the bustling city of Chiang Mai to the rural village of Wang Daeng, Anna, Jonny, Keziah and Paul are experiencing the full variety of life in Thailand. Read their latest blog post to find out how they’ve been connecting with their new neighbours and dealing with the consequences of praying for rain! And while you’re there, check out Jonny’s vlogs – we think they’re great! It’s all great inspiration for prayer!

2. Team Delhi

Imagine having to completely adapt to a new way of life in a matter of weeks. That’s what you have to do when you’re part of an Action Team – and it’s no different for Amy, Cody, Hannah and Orla! In their latest blog post, they’ve created a list of unusual things you might spot in Delhi, from locals armed with selfie sticks to cows in the middle of the road! Take a look at their blog to see how they’re adapting to life in Delhi, how you can pray for them, and what it’s really like to live in such a fascinating city.

The Action Team in Delhi take a selfie in a tuk tuk
Team Delhi practice their selfie-taking skills to try and fit in with local people!

3. Team Mozambique

Visa problems aren’t ideal for your first two months overseas, but they didn’t stop Alex, Andrew, Jack and Rebekah, from serving the local community. From teaching English at the local Christian school, Rei dos Reis, to running a bible study for local children, they’re already a real asset to their new neighbours. Thank you for praying for their visa situation and praise God for the privilege of serving in Mozambique.

Experience a graduation ceremony from Rei dos Reis school!

4. Team Kolkata

The Action Team in Kolkata let off a lantern
Team Kolkata experiencing all the lights of Diwali

All Action Teams lead busy, rewarding lives, and Cameron, Emily and Erin in Kolkata, India, are no different! They’ve been teaching English to children at a local Christian school, as well as helping them put on their Christmas play and getting involved with an organisation that helps women living in slums to find employment. Head to their blog to read all about it and see some pictures of the wonderful children they’re teaching. Be inspired to pray for them when you do!

5. Team Peru

Perued

(verb)

To have your plans change at any moment without warning; something Becky, Bethan, Katie and Marika experience a lot! They’ve still managed to get stuck in at a local Christian School, teaching English and battling it out at the school Olympics! Have a look at their blog to get a better idea of what life is like for them and how you can offer prayer support.

The Action Team in Peru take a selfie while competing in a school sports day
Team Peru competing with Bethel Christian School at their Olympics

6. Team France

The Action Team in Francetake a selfie in front of the Louvre
Read Team France's blog to find out what it's like to be on an Action Team!

Ever wanted to find out what makes an Action Team tick? Now you can! Caitlin Esther, Jonny and Tafadzwa answered your questions about what they’ve been up to in their latest blog post. Give it a read and see if your question was answered! And even if it wasn’t, you’ll get a look at what it’s like to be part of an Action Team – and some prayer points too!

We love hearing about what our Action Teams have been up to, and how they’re helping transform lives all over the world. If you want to stay up to date with everything our Action Teams are doing overseas, like their Facebook page, or follow them on Instagram. Check them out today and be sure to leave them some encouraging comments!

If you’re interested in joining an Action Team yourself, or know someone who would be, click here find out more!

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Lessons from a secular state: four ideas to help your church

Lessons from a secular state:

four ideas to help your church

The Church in France has long faced hostility. After decades of hard work, one BMS couple is seeing people begin to open their hearts to Christ.

John and Sue Wilson have been serving in France with BMS World Mission for 30 years. When they first arrived, they were treated with hostile suspicion. But after years of dedicating their lives to the Church across France, they are seeing fruit, and more people than ever before are coming to Christ. Here’s how John and Sue’s experience in France could help you and your church engage more people.

People worship in a church
The Wilsons committed themselves to using these four ideas in every aspect of their work. Now, their church is bigger than ever before.

1. Pray

It may seem obvious, but we so often forget. Praying about your situation and struggles is one of the most powerful strategies for growing and engaging your church. “Through the people who pray regularly, we have constant support and encouragement,” says John. “Without them, we couldn’t be here.”
Could you create a prayer network that is regularly praying for your church? The benefits could be breathtaking.

Through the people who pray regularly, we have constant support and encouragement

2. Learn to trust

It’s not unusual for churches in France to be investigated by the Government. So, it’s natural that, when a woman who worked for the French Government rang up the Wilsons’ church, they were suspicious. “She had bought a Bible in a shop and didn’t understand it,” says John. “So, she contacted me at the church and asked if she could come to our Bible study.” She could have been spying on the church. John could have turned her away. But he didn’t. Next year, she’s planning to be baptised.
It’s easy to distrust new people, even if you don’t realise you’re doing it. By making a conscious decision to open your heart to new people at your church, you can create a space that is safe and welcoming for all.

It’s really difficult to keep time with them because they spend ages afterwards just chatting together and talking about things

3. Understand the needs of new Christians

For new Christians, getting more involved in church can be a daunting prospect. It’s easy to be put off by people who are confident in their faith. John and Sue saw this happening in their church and decided to do something about it. “The existing Bible study is more for mature Christians,” says Sue. “People who have just come to faith don’t feel able to ask what they might consider obvious questions.” The Wilsons set up another Bible study group specifically for new Christians to explore their faith. And they’re seeing real results!
“It’s really difficult to keep time with them because they spend ages afterwards just chatting together and talking about things,” Sue says. They even ask for homework!
Why not set up a group in your church that specifically makes space for new Christians? It’s a great way to ensure that they have a safe space to ask questions without feeling alienated from the rest of the church.

4. Be patient

John and Sue have seen powerful changes in France. But they’ve been working there for 30 years. Don’t lose heart when you don’t see results straight away. It might take a while to see a real difference in how people are engaging at your church. But keep attempting for God and expecting from him. It might take months, it might take years, but if we humble ourselves, pray and make space for God to work, he will be faithful. Just ask John and Sue!

Please pray for:
1. The Wilsons, that they continue their work in France with the same determination and enthusiasm that they have for the last 30 years.
2. French people who may find it difficult to profess their faith due to France being a secular state—that God would encourage them and empower them with love.
3. BMS mission workers Christine Kling, Claire-Lise and David Judkins and Philip and Rosemary Halliday, who, like the Wilsons, are currently working to strengthen the Church in France.
4. UK churches who might be struggling to engage members of their church family.

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Pray for Europe: the oppressed, poor and politicians need help

Pray for Europe:

the oppressed, poor and politicians need help

Atheists, people living as slaves and the future of the UK can all be helped by you today. Please read on as we focus our prayers on Europe and its people.

Let’s start with that thing you are probably fed up with: Brexit

Whatever your position on Brexit, it’s clear that prayer is needed. So, let’s leave our personal views to one side, the barbs we’ve heard and possibly spoken, and pray for healing and a way through all the confusion.

• Pray for families and friendship groups with positions that clash. Pray that Brexit would not divide them, and that opinions would be listened to.

• Pray for an end to bitterness, personal attacks and recrimination. Pray that the starting point for discussion is respect.

• Pray for God’s will to be done. Pray that he would guide political leaders into creating a better, fairer, more peaceful Europe. One that he wants for all his children.

• Pray for God’s continuing provision and opportunities for BMS World Mission’s work in Europe, and a political landscape going forward that is conducive to building his kingdom.

Pray for those trapped in modern slavery in the UK

You might have unknowingly passed a slave today. There are thousands of people being exploited in the UK as you read this –perhaps washing a car, tarmacking a drive, or painting a shopper’s nails in a salon. They’re working exceptionally hard for long hours, being paid a pittance and their health and safety are often disregarded. But you, your friends and your church can show them that they’re not ignored. You can show them that they are loved, and they’re loved by the one who loves you.

• Pray for freedom for the captives and that God would use his Church to break the chains of oppression.

• Pray that those who are trapped in modern slavery would sense Jesus’ presence in their lives; that they would draw strength from him, and know that he is with them.

An illustration of a man washing a car with Help written about it
A victim of modern slavery might have washed your car, paved your driveway, or painted your nails.

• Pray for those who are exploiting people. Pray they too would have an encounter with Jesus, one that transforms them into people who stand up for the oppressed instead of imprisoning them.

• Give thanks for Dan Pratt who BMS is helping to raise awareness of modern slavery and to help churches across the UK to fight it. Pray too for energy and wisdom for Dan and his team as they confront the darkness of slavery with the light of Christ.

Know the signs of modern slavery? Hear from Dan Pratt on what you should look out for

Pray for secularist France

You no doubt know that France is a hyper-secular nation, and that our Christian brothers and sisters face personal and official hostility in openly showing their faith. And yet, people are coming to faith in France. It’s happening because Jesus wants to reach everyone. And it’s happening because of the support you’re giving to BMS church planters. Let’s give them some extra help today.

• Pray for our BMS colleagues in France. Pray for a powerful sense of conviction in their work, and for Holy Spirit-touched conversations, with believers and non-believers.

• Pray for those who turn to the occult for answers to medical and spiritual suffering. Pray they would know the healing power that only Jesus can give. Pray for those who have turned their back on God and do not believe in the truth of his love for them. Pray that they would have an encounter with him so powerful they would want to share their experience with others.

Two men and a woman stand on a stage with microphones and instruments
Young people are finding faith in France. Together, we can help more people come to know Jesus.

Pray also for the Netherlands, Albania, and Kosovo

• Pray for BMS workers David and Dorothy McMillan in Amsterdam. Pray that they would continue to build strong relationships with their non-Christian neighbours, and that people would come to know Christ through them.

• Pray for children from Roma and Egyptian communities in Albania who face poverty and hardship. Pray they would be nourished with food and learning, and that they have hope of a better future.

• BMS is supporting mission in Albania by teaching the children of mission workers at GDQ International Christian School. Pray that the teachers would continue to be faithful in prayer and in seeking God’s direction. Pray, too, for the finances for building work and for a sense of unity during this exciting time for the school.

Two girls sit at a table, drawing pictures on pieces of paper
You can help children in Albania know what it feels like to have a happy, fulfilling education.

• Give thanks for BMS work in Albania. The BMS-supported team of five Albanian workers and three British workers at Tek Ura (a BMS-founded NGO) has set up a community centre in one of the poorest and most marginalised communities in Europe. Through their flourishing health, social inclusion and education ministries, God has provided thousands of opportunities to be a blessing – and even a baptism to celebrate!

• Pray for reconciliation for communities in Kosovo that remain divided by past conflict. Pray too for BMS workers Robert* and Rose* as they build relationships in the country through teaching children. Pray for more children to attend their classes and that Robert and Rose would shine the light and love of God into the children’s lives.

Just before you leave, we have one more important request. To get more people praying, please share this article with your friends. It really does make a difference, so thank you. For daily prayer updates, please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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* Names changed to protect identities

The kingdom builders: meet six BMS workers giving it all for Christ

The kingdom builders:

meet six BMS workers giving it all for Christ

Today, they’ll face everything from apathy and suspicion to persecution. Yet nothing will stop these BMS World Mission workers sharing Jesus’ love in hostile, remote and hard-to-reach communities.

The couple opening minds in a secular nation

Names: Samuel Duval and Valérie Duval-Poujol

Location: Mus, southern France

The challenge: serving in a country where evangelical Christians are almost non-existent, the Muslim community is the largest in Europe, and secularism is a hallmark of national identity.

The ministry: Facebook. YouTube. Email. And also in the church they planted. Pastor Samuel Duval and theologian Valérie Duval-Poujol embrace every way possible to tell people about their faith. People from across France are sending them questions about the Bible and Jesus, reaching out for answers. BMS workers Samuel and Valérie are listening, engaging, and telling them about Jesus.

A man wearing glasses and in a jacket and wearing a waistcoat, stands next to a woman with glasses and wearing a light blue shirt
Church planters Samuel Duval and Valérie Duval-Poujol embrace traditional and modern means to communicate their faith.

“The one thing that French people have is that they are thinkers,” says Samuel. “The French Baptists are just a few, but we have a massive impact with theology. When someone is a Christian in France, he can’t just be a regular Christian, he is a strong Christian.”

The youth worker using football and music to share his love for Jesus

Name: Ajarn Tah

Location: northern Thailand

The challenge: alcoholism and drug taking are destroying lives in the Thai Buddhist village where youth worker Ajarn Tah works. BMS workers Helen and Wit Boondeekhun brought him in to try and stop young people from drifting into addiction.

The ministry: starting a football team takes hard work, patience and, critically, players. Tah managed to form his team of ten to 13-year-olds in just one afternoon. Clearly the recruits knew what to do as they not only won their first match, they did so 6-1! And more than just the beautiful game, young people are hearing about a meaningful life. Before each match, the entire team goes to a local church to sing Christian songs, play games and hear a short message.

A woman in a white t-shirt stands next to a man in a white t-shirt in a forest.
Football ministry is helping Ajarn Tah, pictured here with his wife Ajarn Baeng, connect with young people in a village in northern Thailand.

Tah’s work in the village of Wang Daeng also sees him teaching guitar to pupils at the village school, using Christian songs to share his passion for Jesus.

The multi-tasker who's all about bringing new light

Name: Isaiah Thembo

Location: Kasese District, western Uganda

The challenge: helping people turn their lives around when they’ve dropped out of school and have no qualifications, money or hope.

The ministry: teaching skills like tailoring, carpentry, mechanics and hairdressing at a BMS-supported training centre.

“People have businesses now,” says project manager, Isaiah. “And that means they can earn money, rent a house, and send a child to school.”

A man wearing a smart suit and tie stands in front of trees, smiling at the camer
BMS worker Isaiah Thembo is supporting projects in western Uganda that help bring people out of poverty.

And Isaiah has not only helped to turn lives around at the skills centre. He’s also helped to install solar powered lighting in churches in western Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains, where communities have no electricity. People use the churches to read and study because they have light, instead of burning kerosene lanterns which produce a toxic smoke.

“These projects are connecting the community to God,” says Isaiah. “They are helping people, and transforming hundreds of lives.”

Watch: this is the difference your support has made to a mountain village

The pastor who takes on the Amazon to connect with believers

Name: Pastor Luis Alvarado Dolly

Location: the Peruvian Amazon

The challenge: reaching rural communities accessible only by boat or through dense rainforest where Christians are very isolated. There’s also the very real threat of being bitten by mosquitoes, tarantulas and snakes.

The ministry: providing theological and leadership training to rural pastors who have never received it. Pastor Luis visits river and jungle pastors, inviting them to stay at the BMS-supported Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre where they get biblical training and lessons in how to care for their land.

Pastor Luis Alvarado Dolly looks at a camera
Pastor Luis is strengthening pastors in rural Peruvian communities.

Combining a relentless passion for the gospel with a brilliant smile and a heart for the poor, Pastor Luis is inspiring Christians to be stronger, better leaders in their communities.

The woman resisting persecution to help people find Jesus

Name: Gillian Francis

Location: Kolkata, India

The challenge: working in communities where Christians are persecuted, threatened, imprisoned, and killed. Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist groups attack Christians, angry that people are believing the gospel and accepting Jesus into in their lives.

The ministry: Gillian helps lead a huge church planting movement in villages in West Bengal by overseeing the critical and complex administrative work that’s needed. With her support, tens of thousands of people have heard about Jesus for the first time, giving their hearts to him and opening their homes to become places of worship and transformation.

A woman wearing a grey top and holding a microphone sings
Gillian Francis is playing a key role in helping house churches to flourish in West Bengal, India.
Partner with us in mission

We’re so proud to call Samuel, Valérie, Tah, Pastor Luis, Gillian, and Isaiah our colleagues. All this work can only happen with your help. If you commit to giving regularly to BMS, you can help us to plan ahead and meet the needs, both spiritual and physical, of people who would otherwise have little hope.

Become a 24:7 Partner today and commit, at whatever level you can, to stand with us every day in mission. You will also be standing with Samuel, Valérie, Tah, Luis, Gillian and Isaiah.

Release from addiction, safe pregnancy and our very latest prayer requests

Release from addiction, safe pregnancy and our very latest prayer requests

We believe God intervenes when we pray. Would you please pray for these people today?

A pregnant mission worker recovering from a terrifying health scare. Villagers enslaved by addiction. And a family facing the demands of moving countries. These are real people who need an outpouring of love and prayer, and they need it from all of us today.

Lois and her unborn baby

A few weeks ago, BMS World Mission worker Lois Ovenden, based in Gulu, Uganda, was rushed to hospital, suffering extreme pain under her ribs. The fears for her health were magnified by the fact that she was 19 weeks pregnant at the time. The doctors couldn’t work out what was wrong and transferred Lois to Kampala, 200 miles away from her two young children.

After days of worry and pain, Lois was told she had pericarditis (inflammation of the fluid lining around the heart). The condition is treatable and shouldn’t affect her baby, and Lois is back home now with her husband, Joe, and their children, Connie and Reuben. Praise God! Please pray for Lois and the family.

A woman and a man, and a boy and a girl, smile at the camera, with the girl holding a cat
Pray today for Joe and Lois Ovenden, and their children Connie and Reuben.

• Pray for Lois’ swift return to full health and for the health of her unborn baby. Pray there would be no complications from the medical scare.

• Pray that God provides an assistant to support Lois in her speech therapy work with children and that the right person comes forward today.

• Give thanks for the Ovendens’ BMS colleagues, Linda and Tim Darby , who looked after Connie and Reuben while Joe was at Lois’ bedside. Pray for a blessing over them, and their children, Joshua, Annabelle and Elsa.

A village shackled by addiction

Alcohol addiction is ruining lives in the village of Wang Daeng, in northern Thailand, where BMS church planters Helen and Wit Boondeekhun work in what is largely a Thai Buddhist community. But alcohol isn’t the only problem. A highly addictive drug called yaba – a toxic mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine that leads to aggressiveness and paranoia – also has its destructive grip on the village.

• Pray that Got* breaks free from alcoholism, and that his wife, Suree*, returns to the Bible study where Wit has been supporting her.

• Pray for wisdom for Helen and Wit as they try to start a group for people who want to liberate themselves from addiction. Pray that people would be open to receiving help and to hearing about the gospel.

A village road is covered with tarmac. There are shops on one side, and trees on the other.
Stand alongside BMS church planters Helen and Wit Boondeekhun as they tell people about Jesus in the village of Wang Daeng, in northern Thailand.

Politicians, women in Nepal, and many of you

• Pray for continued peace in Mozambique following the recent death of opposition leader, Afonso Dhlakama. Pray that his successor and politicians across Mozambique will promote unity.

• Pray for the women who are being helped at a gynaecology outreach service in Jajarkot, west Nepal, this week. Pray their surgeries would go as planned, and there would be no complications afterwards. Give thanks for all the personnel at the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) who are helping them, and for BMS worker Chris Drew who is working with INF.

• Pray for all those attending the Baptist Assembly in Peterborough this Saturday (12 May). Pray for safe journeys for us all, and for a day of joy and community.

• Pray that Ann*, a worker at a BMS-supported home for children with disabilities in Thailand, opens her heart today to Jesus. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work a transformation in her life.

Our brothers and sisters in France

Christians in a nation as secular as France can sometimes feel like they’re on their own. We can change this.

BMS mission worker Christine Kling gives a sermon in France
Pray for BMS worker Christine Kling, who is telling people in France about Jesus.

• Pray for the 400 people at the three-day French Baptist Assembly that starts in Lyon today (10 May). Pray for a great sense of unity and fellowship, and for inspired worship and teaching, and that every logistical issue would be overcome.

• Pray that people who have never stepped into a church before will hear about the Saturday evening services about to start at the Baptist church in Gif-sur-Yvette, near Paris. Pray the services would help BMS worker Christine Kling connect with people who do not attend church.

• Pray for the couples who have come to the end of a marriage course in Brive-la-Gaillarde south west France. Pray thanks for their deepening relationship with God, and pray their marriages continue to become stronger.

• Pray that God will guide BMS Action Team staff as they choose the right person to fill the final space on the next France team.

A family facing a stressful move

Arthur and Louise Brown have been BMS workers for years in Beirut and are coming to the UK with their children, and it’s all very stressful as moving can be. Please pray for the whole family, for Arthur in his role as Regional Leader for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and particularly these things:

• Pray for energy for Louise who must complete her dissertation this week if she’s to graduate before leaving for the UK.

• Pray for Arthur and Louise’s daughter Jessica as she sits her IGCSEs. Pray Jessica would get the rest she needs during her exams.

• Pray for the family to feel God’s presence as they face the emotional and logistical demands of moving countries.

A woman in a grey dress and a man in a green t-shirt stand on a terrace with the countryside behind them.
Please pray for Arthur and Louise Brown who are preparing for a big move to the UK.

We’ve one more request, but it’s a really important one. Please share this article with your friends, family and church before you do anything else.

For daily prayer updates, please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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* Names changed to protect identities

Women around the world need you to pray

Women around the world need you to pray

Freeing women from the sex trade. Giving women a voice in Afghanistan. Equipping women to start their own businesses. These are just some of the ways that BMS World Mission is working to empower women around the world. And to thrive, these women and these projects need your prayers.

Empowering women to set up businesses in Guinea

Guinea, where Caroline and Victor are empowering women by setting up self-help groups.

Women in Guinea are underprivileged, often not having the same standard of living as men in society. BMS workers Caroline* and Victor* are helping these women to set up self-help groups, where around 20 women come together each Sunday to save money corporately, which can then be loaned to members of the group. This then lets women borrow money to set up small businesses, so they can provide for their families and the community around them.

Caroline and Victor’s prayer requests:

– Pray for the woman who is borrowing £80 every two months to finance a restaurant, so she can continue to provide for her family and those around her. Pray for success.

– We’re looking for four stakeholders to form a committee, who will then provide training so more self-help groups can be established. Pray that we would find the right people for the job.

Freeing women from the sex trade in Thailand

Paul and Sarah Brown are reaching out to survivors of sex trafficking and women who’ve been sexually exploited in Bangkok, Thailand. They’re empowering these women by teaching them how to make jewellery and cakes, as well as giving them opportunities to receive business training.

Their prayer requests:

– Pray for ways we can support, empower and enable women who are survivors of trafficking.

– Pray that more traffickers will be brought to justice and that Bangkok’s local authorities will become better equipped to find them.

Paul and Sarah Brown, who free women from sex trafficking.

Giving women a voice in Afghanistan

Women in Afghanistan often don’t have a say in what goes on in their village, where men are generally the key decision makers.

Afghanistan, where our team give a voice to women by setting up women's councils.

BMS partners in Afghanistan are working to change this by creating a women’s council in every village they work in. Making sure that the council is representative of all women in the village, it regularly meets alongside a men’s council which often already exists. This allows women to have a say in important decisions that will affect them, like where the water pipelines and latrines should be built.

BMS workers Catherine* and Rory* are part of our team in Afghanistan.

Their prayer requests:

– Pray for women-headed households in these villages, where men are away working and send money back when they can. Food shortages are predicted this year, and these families will be the ones hit the hardest.

– Give thanks for the local female staff that work with us in Afghanistan – they’re amazing role models. They are showing that women can work and empower people.

Empowering women in France

It’s dangerous to be a homeless woman in France, as many face abuse or are at risk of being forced into prostitution. Christine Kling, alongside a group of volunteers, set up a day shelter for these women. It gives homeless women a place to stay, rest and eat a meal, and it’s a place of dignity and respect.

As a pastor, Christine also wants to see more women in France step into Christian leadership. Through training and mentoring, more women are becoming confident in their gifts and calling.

Christine’s prayer requests:

– The homeless shelter requires many volunteers to keep it running. Give thanks for the people currently volunteering, and pray for new volunteers to come forward to join the project.

Christine Kling, a pastor of a church near Paris.

– Pray that more women in the new generation of Christians in France will feel confident and supported in their calling as pastors.

Providing employment for survivors of sex trafficking in India

Kolkata, where we work to provide employment for women wanting to leave the sex trade.

Thousands of women from rural villages in India have been trafficked into Kolkata to work in the red light district. BMS works alongside local partners offering employment to those wanting to leave the sex trade. The women also receive training – including learning how to read and write – as well as one-to-one counselling.

Prayer requests:

– Pray for the health and safety of foreign staff in India, as they do what they can to help empower women in challenging conditions.

– Pray for wisdom and guidance as our partners look to create a further 200 jobs over the next three to four years for women wanting to leave the sex trade.

– Pray for BMS volunteers Annette and Ron Salmon as they work alongside vulnerable women in India.

We have many more workers and partners who are involved in empowering women. From projects in Uganda and Mozambique that work to educate women on their legal rights, to workers in Nepal who provide teacher training, leading to better education for girls. Please continue to pray for our workers all over the world as they help women see their God-given value. Let us know you’re praying by hitting the big blue button!

*Names changed to protect identity

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The pastor, the passion and the escaped slave

The pastor, the passion and the escaped slave

A woman tricked into slavery and locked in a house escapes her prison by climbing through a window. She runs for her freedom. Years later, she steps into the room in the picture above and shares her story with a BMS World Mission worker passionate about showing people the love of Jesus. That love means other stories are being heard.

The homeless women who visit the day shelter in Massy, near Paris, are first offered a cup of tea and a biscuit. That’s what most of us want after a hard day. But we already have what the women get next: warm clothes, something more substantial to eat, and a person to talk to.

BMS mission worker Christine Kling often has the privilege of being that person. Christine helped set the centre up early last year, prompted by and partnering with the pastor of the local Reformed church. Some of the women who come are young, pregnant and alone. All are deprived of rest.

“There are not many places for them,” says Christine, who is the pastor of the Baptist church in nearby Gif-sur-Yvette. “As a woman, you think, ‘I have to do something’.”

The essence of the gospel message is to welcome the foreigner. We have to lead the way.

BMS mission worker Christine Kling gives a sermon in France
Pray for BMS worker Christine Kling, who is telling people in France about Jesus.

Some of the women reveal glimpses of what they’re going through. The stories are of extreme poverty, of living outside the securities of shelter and nourishment. One story is particularly harrowing. A woman, now in her 50s, arrived in France many years ago, travelling on the promise of a job, of income she’d never enjoyed up to that point. What she’d actually been led into was slavery.

She was locked in a house, forced to work as a cleaner, and given no bed to sleep on, just a chair. One day she managed to escape through a window and was taken in by a family – and worked for them as a domestic servant for ten years. She married, but was soon abused by her husband and had to escape again. This is how she ended up on the streets; homeless, unable to read or write, and needing someone who cared. Her story is the story of many women who visit the shelter. Most are asylum seekers with no friends or family to help them. This is where the Church steps in to help.

“The essence of the gospel is to welcome the foreigner,” says Christine. “We have to lead the way.”

Pray for Christine and the women
  • Pray for God to use Christine and for the Holy Spirit to guide her to make every encounter rich with Christ’s love.
  • Pray for God’s blessing on the women who use the shelter.
  • Pray the shelter would have all the resources it needs to help the women.
  • Pray for wisdom for all the volunteers who serve these vulnerable people. Many of the women who use the shelter will get moved on to another place before they can visit again. Pray that they would know how to show the kindness and compassion they need.

“Some of these women are from a Muslim background, some could be Christian,” says Christine. “The idea is more about conversation, about healing, about taking care of the most vulnerable in our society.

“If they ask for prayer we will pray for them. Through that, perhaps they will become a Christian, but the point is about hospitality, it’s about kindness… everything after that is in God’s hands.”

Without your gifts, Christine wouldn’t have been there to show kindness to the woman who escaped slavery. By supporting BMS, you stood alongside her, and helped her to feel valued and loved, even if only for a few hours. Please remember her in your prayers and when you give. Think of the love in the room she stepped into and how others so desperately need to feel that love today.

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Top 5 stories of 2017

Looking back:

Top 5 stories of 2017

Last year was filled with inspirational stories of lives being transformed through your giving. Here are our top five most-read articles from 2017.

Students being baptised in barrels. Young French Christians finding community. Nepali children excelling at school. These are just a few of the incredible things your gifts and prayers have made possible this year, through BMS World Mission. There were so many stories to choose from, but only five could top our news story charts! We hope you’ll be inspired as you look back at what we achieved together in 2017.

1. Big thinking for little minds

Children in Nepal are benefiting from Annie Brown's teacher training programme.

Millions of children in Nepal are getting the opportunity of a better education, thanks to your support for BMS worker Annie Brown.

With her teacher training programme being adopted by the Nepali Government, every teacher of students aged between five and 13 in all government schools will have the chance to receive Annie’s training. They’ll be better-equipped to teach, and Nepal’s children will face brighter futures!

2. Pray for our new mission workers

James and Ruth Neve, who are preparing to move to India to work with us.

Tucked away in our centre in Birmingham, new BMS mission workers are busy preparing for overseas service. For them, it’s daunting, but also exciting, as they get ready to serve God abroad in different ways. From a family heading to Nepal to help with disaster relief, to a couple heading to Albania to teach children of mission workers, there are plenty of things we can be praying for.

Loads of you loved catching up with our new mission workers’ prayer requests, making this our second most popular story last year.

Pray for them today by clicking the link below.

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3. 5 ways you're fighting violence against women

We're working in Uganda to help primary schools devise and implement child protection policies.

For thousands of vulnerable women and girls around the world, gender based violence is a daily part of life. But, thanks to your support, BMS is taking a stand against it. From helping girls know their rights, to freeing women from prostitution, you’re helping to empower women and prevent trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Find out more by reading the story.

4. Baptised in a barrel in Phnom Penh

Students are meeting Jesus in Cambodia! We loved witnessing the amazing moment when Srei got baptised in a barrel and by our stats it looked like you did too. Read about how she and Chan came to find God at a BMS-supported Christian hostel in Phnom Penh, and how, thanks to your support, more and more people are finding Jesus.

5. Feeding of the 400

You’re helping to build Christian community in France – where young Christians often feel isolated and lonely.

Connexion 2017, an event put on by BMS worker Sue Wilson and her team, helped young French Christians realise they’re not alone. Watch the video above to find out about what it meant to the people who were there, and click the link below to read how you’re helping bring young French Christians together.

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Thank you for supporting us in 2017. Your gifts have helped people find God, and have transformed countless lives. With your continued support, we can’t wait to start doing even more in 2018!

Other great stories made possible by you

Five stores aren’t enough to sum-up how much you did last year. So here are a few extra ones we’d love you to read too.

  1. Meet the inspiring Mozambican Christians you’re supporting: they’re bringing justice to abused women and teaching communities their rights.
  2. From witch doctor to church planter: the story of a witch doctor who found God, and then started planting churches.
  3. Baptist church brings light in Uganda: one simple action is raising money, helping people’s lungs and introducing people to Jesus.
  4. Refugees are like you and me: BMS worker Ann MacFarlane has seen God at work in the lives of refugees in Italy.
  5. This is what a life transformed looks like: meet Joshua. You helped give him a reason to smile.

Our workers need your prayers right now

Got a moment to pray? Great! Our workers need your prayers right now

Courage, safety and an improved hospital generator all feature in the latest prayer requests our mission workers have sent us. Please read on and pray with us for lives to be transformed.

Annie Brown

Annie is a teacher trainer working in Nepal with the Kathmandu International Study Centre’s Education Quality Improvement Programme (KISC EQUIP).

Annie’s prayer requests

• Pray for a Nepali teacher friend in Lamjung District who recently got baptised, that he continues to grow in his new Christian faith and is encouraged and protected when making visits back to his Hindu family.

• After ten years of prayer we have recruited a new Christian female EQUIP teacher trainer. Pray that Santona settles into her new work.

Please pray for revelation and a life-changing encounter with Jesus

Paul and Sarah Brown

Paul and Sarah are working in Bangkok, reaching out to women who have been sexually exploited or are survivors of sex trafficking. Sarah runs the Freedom Bakery project.

Paul and Sarah’s prayer requests

• Pray for the continued enthusiasm and purpose of the women who work in the Freedom Bakery. They have grown in amazing confidence, and have even begun teaching other women!

• Pray that the women will not be fearful, but will remain confident.

Women working on cupcakes at the Freedom Bakery in Bangkok, Thailand.
Please pray for the courageous women working at the Freedom Bakery in Bangkok, Thailand.

LINDA AND TIM DARBY

Linda and Tim are working in Gulu, northern Uganda. Tim is an environmental consultant and Linda has a legal background.

Linda and Tim Darby have asked for your prayers.
Linda and Tim Darby are working in Uganda and would love for you to pray for them.

Linda and Tim’s prayer requests

• Pray for the direction of the agricultural development work which is up for renewal early next year.

• Pray for the appointment of a Child Protection Policy Trainer to help protect children in schools.

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Claire-Lise and David Judkins

David and Claire-Lise Judkins, pictured here with their children Joshua, Nathan, Samuel and Ben, are asking for your prayers.
David and Claire-Lise Judkins, pictured here with their children Joshua, Nathan, Samuel and Ben, are asking for your prayers.

Claire-Lise and David work in Brive-la-Gaillarde, south west France, with a long-term vision to see a church-planting network take root.

Claire-Lise and David’s prayer requests

• Pray for a couple of ladies who are part of our fellowship, but haven’t yet taken the step of following Christ. Please pray for revelation and a life-changing encounter with Jesus.

• Pray that God may lead our young disciples to ‘people of peace’ who are open.

CLAIRE BEDFORD

Claire is a pharmacist working near Chad’s capital, where she’s continuing the development of the pharmacy service at Guinebor II Hospital.

Claire’s prayer requests

• Pray for the mission workers at the hospital who will be in Chad this Christmas. Pray they would be able to experience peace and joy at this time of year, despite being far from family and friends.

• Pray the hospital would have all the resources it needs to function well.

Pray that we would continue to grow together as a family to be more like Christ.

Andy and Jenny Saunders

Andy and Jenny are serving in Kathmandu, Nepal. Jenny is a trained counsellor and uses her skills to train Nepali counsellors. Andy is a Baptist minister and has been teaching at a Bible college.

Andy and Jenny’s prayer requests

• Pray for energy and good health for Jenny, so that effective research into mental health in Nepal would bring lasting change.

• Pray for Andy, who is really enjoying his teaching. Pray for patience and good working practices at Nepal Baptist Bible College (NBBC).

Rory* and Catherine*

Rory and Catherine are working in health and development in Afghanistan.

Rory and Catherine’s prayer requests

• Pray for friends and colleagues to pick up on the joy and hope that this season brings us.

• Pray for chances to talk about what real peace is.

Andrea and Mark Hotchkin

Andrea and Mark are surgeons in Chad. Earlier this year they moved from Guinebor II Hospital to the north of Chad to continue their mission.

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Mother and child in the mountains of Afghanistan
Please pray for our work in Afghanistan.

Andrea and Mark’s prayer requests

• Please pray for developing relationships with the new team of nurses and technicians at the regional hospital as we start working there full-time.

• Pray for the arrival of a technician from the capital N’Djamena (1,700km across the Sahara desert) as the hospital generator is weak, meaning equipment such as the X-ray machine can’t be used.

Christine Kling

Christine is the pastor of the Baptist church in Gif-sur-Yvette, near Paris.

Christine’s prayer requests

• Pray for the work in Gif, that through different events we will connect with new people.

• Pray for the new people who have started to join the church, that we will be a source of encouragement and support in their journey with God.

Christine Kling is the pastor of the Baptist church in Gif-sur-Yvette, near Paris
Christine Kling has asked for prayers of "encouragement and support".

Simon and Wendy Hall

Simon and Wendy serve in Nepal with KISC EQUIP. They met while teaching in Kathmandu and now work in Lamjung.

Simon and Wendy’s prayer requests

• Pray for a meeting coming up with the district education officer where I (Simon) hope to influence how he allocates and spends a significant amount of Government money on ICT labs/equipment in schools.

• Pray that we would continue to grow together as a family to be more like Christ.

Simon and Wendy, in the mountains of Nepal.
Simon and Wendy Hall would love you to pray for their family.

Mary*

Mary is using her skills in palliative care in Tunisia.

Mary’s prayer requests

• Pray for each person who is far from loved ones to feel, as well as know, they are part of a worldwide family over Christmas.

• Pray for people in places where 25 December is an ordinary day, that each of us will remember the original Christmas seemed to be an ordinary day too, when in fact our extraordinary God put on flesh.

Daniel and Regiane Clark

Every day I am overwhelmed by the support I know I have behind me from those so faithful in prayer.

Daniel uses his experience and theological training to teach at the Baptist Seminary in Lima, Peru, while Regiane works with low-income communities.

Daniel and Regiane’s prayer requests

• Pray for the ministry of the Baptist Seminary, especially as there is a shortage of pastors in the Baptist Convention.

• Pray as we seek to support the Social Action Department of the Baptist Convention in providing relief and community development resources in Piura.

David and Dorothy McMillan

David is Interim Director at the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTSC) in Amsterdam, while Dorothy serves as Managing Editor of the centre’s two academic journals.

David and Dorothy’s prayer requests

• Pray for David as he carries out the role of Interim Director until a new director is appointed.

• Pray for our 40 plus students across the world as they balance family, ministry and study responsibilities.

Pray for people in places where 25 December is an ordinary day

Angus and Helen Douglas

Angus and Helen, together with their children Caleb, Charis and Esther, moved to Nepal in 2012. Angus is overseeing the development of a new KISC school site.

Angus and Helen’s prayer request

• Pray for the current challenges of the new site to be resolved, for safety for the construction workers and for some additional funds to complete the project.

Angus and Helen Douglas and their children
Angus and Helen would like you to pray for the development of the KISC school building project.

Kathryn Smith

Kathryn moved to Thailand earlier this year and will be using her nursing skills in Chiang Mai.

Kathryn’s prayer request

• Pray for help with learning the language and culture of Thailand. Being able to speak the language helps connect on a deeper level with the people around you.

Judy Cook

Judy, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, founded and manages Hope Home, a home for children with disabilities.

Judy’s prayer requests

• Pray for energy and patience during the busy times at the Church of Christ in Thailand’s Aids Ministry and at Hope Home.

• Pray for new staff to join the team at Hope Home with a heart to serve special children and their families. Pray too for the staff to come to know our Lord and Saviour for themselves.

Judy Cook based in Chiang Mai, Thailand founded and manages Hope Home
Judy Cook has asked for prayers for "energy and patience".

Laura-Lee Lovering

(more…)

Feeding of the 400

France:

Feeding of the 400

In secular France it’s hard to be a Christian. BMS World Mission is bringing young people together, helping them find community and spiritual nourishment. But the country still needs our prayers.

Around 400 young Christians descended upon the city of Poitiers, 150 miles north of Bordeaux, this weekend, ready to worship God at an event called Connexion 2017. For many, this was the largest gathering of Christians they had ever been a part of. Young people from all over France were here to praise God and grow in their faith. One girl came completely on her own, and many others came in groups of only five. There was laughter. There were tears. But most of all, there was a sense of family. A sense of belonging.

Lead speaker teaching at Connexion 2017

It’s lonely to be a Christian in France. In one of the most secular countries in the world, it’s difficult for people to find others who share their faith. “Young people are often the only ones in the classroom who are Christians,” says Benjamin, a 20-something French man. “With an event like this, we know we are not alone and we can worship the Lord together.” Connexion creates a safe place for Christians to express their love for Christ, without fear of mockery, and gain spiritual sustenance for when they return home.

Sue Wilson, a BMS worker in Paris, has run Connexion since 2015 with a small group of volunteers as part of her work with the French Baptist Federation. It’s really important, she says, that young people meet up with each other. “Often churches have small youth groups, so an event like this lets Christians connect with one another and worship God.” Through your support for BMS, this weekend you helped to show young French Christians that they are not alone.

Sue Wilson giving an update and a flavour of what it was like to be at Connexion 2017.

In Britain, youth festivals are common, with a wide variety to choose from. In France, this is not the case. Events like these are rare. A weekend like Connexion inspires, empowers and encourages young Baptists in France. It lets them find community and helps them learn more about what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

A youth group
BMS workers Rosemary Halliday and Christine Kling with some of the youth group from Massy

The 400 young Christians at Connexion this weekend shows there is hope for Christianity in secular France. But the country needs our prayers.

Pray for the youth in France, that as they gather at events like these, they would be impacted and inspired.

Pray for boldness for French Christians to share the gospel despite hostility.

Pray for church plants across the nation, for wisdom, creativity and open doors.

And pray for more people to be transformed by the love of Jesus.

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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.