In Global Stories

We were driving by a field when the Lord told me
to stop and take the picture you see here.

As you look, you’ll see that the grain is abundant
and ready to be harvested. You’ll also notice a few
bright red poppies scattered across the edge of the
field. The Lord showed me that this field illustrates
the reality of the world today and the urgent need
for the Church to respond.

Jesus described the world as ripe grain fields that would be lost unless His people acted to harvest them. On the other hand, poppies* represent those who offer themselves sacrificially for the purpose of providing life to others. Jesus invited us to discipleship with these statements: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it” (Mark 8:34-35 NLT)

In other words, Jesus invites us to set aside our priorities, preferences, and privileges and pick up God’s redemptive plan, making it our own. In His words: “Lose your life for My sake and for the sake of the Good News.” Our world is full of fields waiting for “poppies.” Some poppies are believers who carry the Cross by praying fiercely and relentlessly for unreached ethnic groups. Some poppies give sacrificially to send pioneer missionaries to those fields. Other poppies sow abundant seeds of the Gospel in their own culture and treat neighbours from unreached groups as divine opportunities. And because thousands of fields (ethnic groups) still have no access to the Gospel, they need poppies who are disciples willing to give up their lives to take Jesus to them. What does mobilization do? It reminds the Church of her mission in the world, it helps us grasp the true state of the harvest, and it raises up poppies for the most neglected fields.

* In Commonwealth countries, artificial poppies are worn on lapels or placed on veteran’s graves on Nov 11, Remembrance Day, in honour of those who pay the ultimate price.

Unfinished Business

In 2008, we hosted Brigitte Bienaimé (“beloved” in French) in an Alpha Course in our home. She became a wonderful friend but never showed any evidence of faith in Jesus. We maintained sporadic contact via Facebook over the years, but when we returned to France last September, Brigitte came immediately to welcome us.

Next, Brigitte came to a house church with us and the lights suddenly came on! Over the following months, she took another Alpha course, attended a Bible study for new believers, and started to prepare for baptism in spite of opposition from her kids and family. It was stunning. One Sunday in April, we had lunch at Brigitte’s. It was a great time of memories and laughter, but at one point her eyes glazed over. Brigitte had been diabetic since the age of 5, so we asked if she was OK. Her blood sugar had been up and down in recent days, but she said she could manage it. We left after dessert and prayer.

One week later, Brigitte went to be with Jesus at the age of 57. Brigitte’s story illustrates God’s staggering patience and perseverance. We hadn’t seen the seed germinate in Brigitte before we left France in 2010, but when we returned to France 13 years later, we watched the seed explode into growth and beautiful fruit!

More Unfinished Business

Bruce had the privilege of baptizing David. His parents had briefly attended the Lens Baptist church some 40 years ago, but after they left, he didn’t step foot in an evangelical church again until last fall. It happened when he walked out of his grandmother’s funeral mass and drove over to the Lens church in search of peace and joy. God got hold of him in a big way! Again, what an example of God’s patience and perseverance! A seed was planted in David when he was 13, but it took 40 years to germinate!

May: We represented France at the Simply Mobilizing Europe forum in Helsinki. It was encouraging to share, strategize, and pray with leaders from across Europe. One high point was meeting two men from Kosovo. They were Muslims 15 years ago, but today they’re stirring and equipping Kosovan churches to reach out to groups with little or no access to the Gospel.

June: We hosted a couple of leaders in Simply Mobilizing International for several days, giving us an opportunity to discuss the work in France. Then we met with a group of Kairos Course alumni in Paris to encourage them in how God wants to use them to impact world evangelism.

We completed a course called The Unfinished Story in a local church. The comments at the end were: “This really confronted my worldview” and “God is giving me a new perspective on immigrants and refugees.”

Pray for:

  • The Holy Spirit to draw many participants, especially mission leaders to the Kairos Course we want to organize in October
  • The Lord’s direction as we present mobilization to denominational leaders and Bible Training Centers
  • Open doors for Interface, a workshop to help pastors desire and develop missional churches

Bruce & Lauren