I hope you are doing well, and that those of you living in the "polar vortex" aka the midwest are starting to see the hope of spring arriving! I am doing very well - as busy as ever! It seems like, despite my hopes to the contrary, I will be writing more like 1-2 posts a month rather than 3-4. Better something than nothing, and better late than never! Sorry if this post ends up being very long and chatty, it's just that so much has happened in the last month since I've written! I'll do my best to synthesize :)
There are so many exciting things happening in our movement and in my personal ministry right now - it has been such a blessed and encouraging month full of "God sightings" as we see the ways He is present and working here. One of these things was the City 360 - a type of reciprocal movement evaluation where staff and students from one city come to another city to interview people who are involved in that movement, and compile together a list of encouraging things that God is doing as well as a few points of advice to help them continue moving forward. It was a crazy, hectic, and very rewarding experience for all who were involved in the 3-way exchange between Toulouse, Montpellier, and Lyon (Agapé's southern cities) over the course of 6 days. For more information about the 360 and its impact on our students, check out my monthly newsletter.
In addition to the City 360, March has marked the beginning of our pioneering effort of "groupes découvertes" (discovery Bible studies designed to present the basics of the Gospel to non-Christian or newly Christian students). We are using an Agapé France resource recommended to us by the national director Francis and his wife Marie-Carmen when they came to visit us back in February, and we are really excited to put it into place and see the Lord use this tool to impact students. So far, my teammates are leading two discovery groups, and there are enough students showing interest that we may be forming a third one soon. It has already been a huge encouragement to us to see some of our long-time friends, and some newer friends, who are spiritually seeking really engaging and taking the Bible study seriously. Please pray for our friends Adam, Capucine, Ourada, and Justine who are currently part of a group, for Leila, Ural, and Aline who will hopefully be forming a new group soon, and for Amandine (one of our student leaders who is coming with her friend Capucine) and my teammates as they prepare and lead these studies. Pray that the Lord continues to reveal Himself to them through their study of the Gospel of John, and that they come to know Him personally through these small groups.
This past Friday we hosted a short-film outreach night, and were able to see God moving in incredible ways through the people that came. I was the "point person" for the evening, and was able to use the advice and input of my partner Hannah with Jesus Film Media (check out their work and their films at http://jesusfilmmedia.org/) as well as one of our students Daniel who is studying cinema to help plan out the films we would use, as well as in which order to show them. I also reached out to two of our involved students - Anne Elizabeth and Emmanuelle - to act as M.C.s for the event. It was exciting for me to be able to use my resources and partnership with JFM, but even more exciting to make the extra effort to involve our students. Daniel had really great insights to share, and the girls did a fantastic job of making people feel comfortable and directing the evening. I was so proud of them! In addition to the planning going well, it was really encouraging to see which friends the Lord moved to join us, and His sovereignty in organizing our groups and directing the conversation. Each of my teammates (and several of our Christian students who came) were able to share our own testimonies and the Gospel around our tables using the questions sparked by the films. God really provided for us, and it was amazing to feel His presence with us.
On a more personal note, March also meant a special visitor for me - my dear friend from Marquette, Brittany! She came for a week and we were able to do a great mixture of sight-seeing, catching up, and experiencing & sharing my life here in France together. She was able to meet students, come on campus with me, come to my church, and meet my teammates. It was a lot of fun and a huge blessing to have her here to see and better understand my world. It was also a great vacation for me to travel with her, and I was able to spend my birthday in Paris and have dinner with my dear teammate and roommate from last year, Kate.
Brittany and I on the Corum overlooking my lovely city of Montpellier
Outside of Carcassonne - a beautiful, medieval, walled city near Montpellier
The lovely back of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
My dear friend the Iron Lady - looking as beautiful as I remembered!
All in all, March has been very full, and I am eagerly anticipating all that God will continue to do the rest of this semester! Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support - I am so thankful for you!
A la prochaine! / Until next time!