[Pour la version française de ce post, cliquez ici.]
Look at this photo of a loaf of bread:
Mmmm, looks yummy! How is it possible to make a loaf like this, with a crisp, crunchy crust and a soft, open and slightly chewy inside, absolutely full of flavour? It must be very difficult.
Here is the map** of our project area:
Within the green line live 248,000 people in 456 villages and small towns. How is it possible to reach all of these people with the good news of Jesus Christ, to give all of them the opportunity to become His true disciples? It must be very difficult.
Here is something Chris has been learning about baking delicious bread like the loaf in the photo: it doesn’t have to be difficult, but he needs to be patient.
So, to make a loaf like this, normally we think that the dough has to be kneaded well. That is hard work, very hard work. And how do we know when it’s kneaded enough and not too much? It’s complicated! Maybe we need some special machinery like they use in a bakery? Or maybe there are some special added ingredients?
Well, Chris recently discovered that to make bread like this you don’t actually have to knead it at all. That’s right: not a single second of kneading! You mix flour, yeast, salt and water and then leave the mix… for a long time: 14 hours. After 14 hours you simply shape the loaf, let it rise for half an hour and bake it. The only special thing is to bake it in what we call in France a cocotte (in the UK a cast-iron casserole, in the USA a Dutch oven). It really is simple. But you must be patient: the 14 hours of waiting does all the work that the difficult kneading would usually do.
What about reaching our project area of 456 villages and small towns with the good news? Here is something God has been teaching us: it doesn’t have to be difficult, but we need to be patient.
Normally we would think that we would need a number of teams of evangelists: 10 or even 20 teams, each one comprising specialists in various types of evangelistic work. We would need to organise lots of evangelistic events, so we’d need to hire meeting halls (often difficult in France for Christian events), find at least one and possibly several famous speakers, get musical teams, make videos, print and deliver lots of publicity… and more, and more. Phew! So many people, such a lot of money, so much difficulty!
But we have discovered that God is reaching areas like ours all around the world with the good news using just a handful of very ordinary Christians and next to no money. God has been doing this for many years now with an incredibly simple approach called Disciple Making Movements (DMM). No need for big teams, famous speakers or lots of publicity. No need for lots of money. But we do need to be patient: it’s the Holy Spirit who does the work, using very ordinary but obedient Christians. God reaches large numbers of people and big areas through multiplication (as described in a previous post). We have to be patient and faithful during the preparation time, the slow time, so that God can then move in the multiplication time, when things will be growing so fast we will find it hard to believe!
Please keep praying with us, that God would give us patience and help us to trust in what He is doing. We are convinced that DMM is what God wants to use to reach rural France. He is already using DMM in other parts of France: we recently had the joy of sharing in three online conference sessions over Zoom with over 50 people involved in DMM in France, nearly all French Christians, many of them younger people.
The Holy Spirit is never in lockdown, He is always working in the hearts and minds and lives of the people of the Plateau Picard. There is a great harvest in our project area, which we will reap when it is ready, when it is ripe, in God’s time.
We hope to be able to return to prayer walking and meeting people in villages from 15 December when the lockdown travel restrictions are due to end. We are so looking forward to this!
Please pray for the people of the Plateau Picard and for this project. God is good, He loves each one of the 248,000 people and is at work as you pray, as we pray.
** Map: geoportail.gouv.fr