(France 2012-2013) #3 – First Impressions of the Battlefield

Random French Fact: French males generally don’t know how to tie ties (or probably bowties for that matter) 😛

Random Hospital Fact: French medical students doing ECGs in the hospital is about the equivalent of Australian medical students taking blood from patients and doing cannulas.

Random fun things: There’s so much cheese!!! There are many talented musicians here and I’m so privileged to be able to jam along with them!

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What I really want to share 🙂

I’ve only been in France for 1 week, but the Lord is already revealing many things and I’m really excited to journey these couple of months in France with Him! He’s the Alpha and Omega, and the firstborn from the dead!

1. The spiritual atmosphere in France

  • It was only the 2nd day in Lille when I got the opportunity to ask someone what they thought about the spiritual atmosphere in France. Had a bit of cultural learning to do as well. In France, you’re either catholic or protestant (which is everything else that sisn’t catholic). If you are neither, you’re a cult (this is in relation to Christians). I had gotten a bit stuck explaining this earlier in the day when I tried to explain I’m “non-denomination” then later, “maybe closer to Baptist” – neither were useful so I’m now saying “Je crois a Jesus Christ” (I believe in Jesus).
  • A couple of people have told me that the youth in France are rarely seen in the churches and those who go don’t tend to tell other people about this. The conversation topic is barely raised and you could study with another Christian for a whole year without knowing they also know the Lord. Apparently it has been like this for over 20 years. Having said that, at least for me this past week, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to tell people about my relationship with Christ, to hear beautiful testimonies of God’s work in the lives of my brothers and sisters, and even to discuss the bible, questions about God, other things and pray with people. The Lord has brought about more situations to speak about who He is than I thought would occur in this first week!
  • In the midst of all this, I’ve seen small groups of faithful people who have devoted their lives to the Lord. People who live with a 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 attitude – who live in the world, but not of it, who pour their lives out for others but are being continuously filled with strength and life from Christ. I’m watching this happen practically, and learning even more about this passage!
  • I’ve particularly enjoyed hearing the testimonies of people here in Lille – the way in which the Lord has worked in them and through them, stories of transformed and restored lives! Yesterday, I randomly bumped into a friend at the train station and after doing some exploring, we visited another friend. This man, older in years, smiled enthusiastically as he told me again and again in French how death is not the end, and how it is neccessary to spend all of your life, not just the end of it, in intimate relationship with Jesus! It was such a blessing to witness of the light, love and life of our Lord Jesus exploding from out of this man’s heart!

2. God’s work in this country and His heart for the people

  •  I’ve still got alot of learn, but as I was asking the Lord about what it’s like here in France, I felt He lead me to Revelation 2:12-17. That the church of France is like the Church of Pergamum which lives in a difficult culture but whom God calls to lives uncompromising, and holy lives. That the church of France be strengthened to stand fast in the statutes and love of Christ.
  • I also felt to pray from Ephesians 1:15-22, and Isaiah 55:10-11 (please do read them! I just wasn’t sure how to include all the text on here!)
  • I’ve seen the Lord work in so many people here already, and through various situations. I see Him at work everywhere, even when people put things down to chance/coincidence and I know that France is in the hand of our great God. Here in France, God is raising up an army of people who will know him intimately and have personal encounter with Him that they would stand firm and testify for His glory.

3. The blessing of student ministry

  • I personally have never really had alot to do with the international student ministry in Australia. My parents used to be very involved and Jerry often share his testimonies from that season in his life. However, I myself have never really ventured too close of various reasons.
  • However, being in France as an international student has really opened my eyes to see the blessing of student ministry and the ways in which the Lord is working in this area. I guess that being in a foreign country, I’ve suddenly been put on the other side and it’s a real blessing to receive and to be brought into fellowship and friendship with my brothers and sisters in France! [1 John 4:12] – “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
  • I feel like I’ve had alot of rest time – to be blessed by the Lord, and through other people, and to have time to go real deep in His word, and to search the depths of His heart. What an exciting season to be in! The Lord is good!!

Will keep you all updated! Love and blessings, Kristen 🙂


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