THE HALLS' NEWSLETTER November 2021
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for any thing that pleases
him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that
he will give us what we ask for.” 1 John 5.14,15.
Life has sure changed over the past year or two, non? Enough said. We are thinking of you all whether in N.Z. or elsewhere. Recently we looked back at our records since beginning our time in France in 2002. We were amazed to see so much answered prayer. Surely this is thanks to our good friends in N.Z. and the U.K.
This July we sought God's guidance for a personal “what next” given the present, rather perplexing period we are living in. The result has been two-fold:
1. A gentle nudge from the Lord to change churches from the Evangelique Libre where we have attended for several years. Jeff (Jean- Francois) Comba ably caters for many aspects of church life there with a variety of teaching programmes . We shall still visit there from time to time to see everybody.
Our “new” church is named L'Eglise Espoir et Vie (Hope and Life Church). We have met Joseph Maille the pastor there many times over some years. We feel settled about involving ourselves in this church because of its earnest prayer life. Of particular interest to us is the weekly gospel service along with excellent child and youth programmes. i.e.somewhere we can direct the families we are ministering to as we don't want to try and fulfil the function of a formal church.
2. A prompting in prayer to terminate our regular all-day-long Saturday programme with its bigger worship and ministry meeting. This “sits” better for us in an uncertain COVID world. Less planning and preparation for this means we have more time for small groups and evangelism with hospitality, visitation, discipling and personal ministry. We feel it is important to put time into those people who really desire to live their lives for God. We encourage and instruct these ones in what the Bible says about listening to the leading of God, the Holy Spirit. In rationalistic society people often don't recognise the voice of God and like the prophet Samuel when he was young we need to learn how to recognise God's voice. We have been really encouraged recently by 2 people in particular who have stepped out in the area of helping direct worship and leading a small group.
As you can see we still have a call to pioneer small groups in Angouleme and we say this because many of the people who come to Mieux Vivre are from villages surrounding Angouleme where there is absolutely no protestant church and no regular catholic church either. They need time to enter church especially a protestant one. (Let us not forget that France is a republic). So....friendship evangelism and ministering to small groups is still absolutely necessary. Our call is not to large teams but to small groups/teams with much intercession to go along with it. With that in mind, here are some of the things we have done very recently:
– visited, at Ivan's behest, St Medade near Bordeaux for a full day to discuss with church leaders there how to go forward after a church split. (People need to be able to express their hurts with others outside the situation). We shall all be meeting again soon for further strategy in God - 9 of us.
– continued to pray with Rajae and her French husband. Emmanuel.
John has set a date for himself and Emmanuel (when he returns from his next National Police bout in Paris, in a couple of weeks) to further discuss the meaning of becoming a committed Christian). Thanks be to the Lord!
– encouraged a Ukrainian family of 5 to go to church. They have worshipped several times with us. Vlad (Vladislav) works here fulltime in 3D movies. He and his family of five are incredible musicians. They were asked to leave the Adventist church in Ukraine over doctrinal issues. They are still feeling very hurt. Please pray that they will engage again in a good church.
– invited ten muslims to a halal dinner of chicken. We witnessed and prayed with them afterwards.
– spent time with a christian couple who is grieving with their daughter who is now involved with court procedures and personal counselling after being raped.
– supported Benjamin a 30 year old man who has returned to Angouleme for a short post-graduate course in his particular field of cartoon animation. Benjamin was referred to us by a Christian Pastor in Rennes. Since Benjamin has become a Christian he has struggled with malign attacks in the night, and is now in the psychological/medical system. It is God's grace that he managed this course. A week ago he returned to Rennes but is unable to work at present. This brings us to a a serious prayer point. Benjamin's uncle is a healer and is very close to Ben's (professed agnostic) family all of whom have consulted this uncle several times. Many French people see healers ; often young children are taken to these healers. As 60% of France's population still resides in villages this tradition still persists. Many families have a set of tarot cards. This is considered normal. It is still true that there are ten times plus more practitioners of the occult here than Christian ministers. This includes practitioners resident here from other francophone countries such as Haiti, Central and North Africa etc.
Please PRAY for us, and our christian colleagues are by God's grace, also addressing this area. These things come forth often by nothing but prayer (and fasting). On the bright side we have seen some people set free and thanks to the wonderful death and resurrection of Jesus the glory of the Lord's presence is here with us. We have so many times been buoyed up by Jesus.
Take courage friends and thanks for your interest in all that we do.
Love to you all.
John and Sue - Youth with a Mission
sent out by Southside Vineyard Church