Pioneer Projects includes various ministries where, in partnership with churches or denominations in some of the least-reached areas of France, we aim to plant new churches and revitalise others that are in need of a boost. Here is some news from our different teams:
Gaëtan Caro, Brittany team leader until October 31, 2020. Audrey Medina joined the team in November 2019.
From July 2019 we have been working alongside a church in Lorient to try to establish a partnership. The aim was to set up an OM team that could work long-term with this church, to help it grow towards becoming a vibrant community of Jesus followers in the Lorient area, as well as working towards a church plant in another town. By the beginning of September, this local church was able to put together a permanent church council and decide how to work. The council decided to prioritise internal restructuring. Once this is completed, they will be ready to establish a missionary project that will lead to a long-term partnership. The lockdown really shifted the gears of Operation Lighthouse. Just as a reminder, “Operation Lighthouse” is a project that sends an OM team to people, couples and families from a local church to carry out a mission project, with the main aim of helping keen but isolated Christians who shine in the darkness of their environment, like a lighthouse on a rock, guiding ships to shore. We had a request from a youth group in Brest, and with their help, we were able to adapt the teaching programme to put it online. Thus “Operation Lighthouse: Youth edition” was born, along with a dedicated website platform. The meetings were done on Skype or Zoom and spread over six sessions. The youth group in Laval also quickly became interested in tapping into the resources. We’ve also published a booklet for Operation Lighthouse, designed for isolated households in the least-reached areas, helping them to better understand our aims, approach, programme and the content of our teachings. Pray for Brittany!
Jan and Marie Coetzer are a pastoral couple delegated by OM France to work in the Evangelical Protestant Church of Castelnaudary (UEEL) , where they have been since 2019. This little church has around thirty members, of whom more than half are elderly. The Coetzers also represent OM France in other churches in the South of France.
Like many other churches, we could have been disrupted by the health crisis. However, God allowed the internet to exist, and thanks to this technology, attendance at services, Bible studies and meetings has more than tripled! Today our services and prayer meetings take place in person and online, which allows more people to attend. We dedicate a lot of time to pray for the meetings and to prepare for them, and we know that God is faithful. Three people are currently preparing for their baptisms after accepting the Lord as their saviour. Marie’s women’s ministry is bearing fruit and Jesus is working wonders transforming lives. We are praying for these people who are searching for God’s peace. We have several young people in the church, and we want to be like Jesus for them and encourage them to continue their walk with him. We are praying for one or two people to come and help us in this ministry at Castelnaudary. We are keeping in contact with the refugees in Toulouse. They are continuing to grow spiritually and publicly engage with the Lord. We are praying for those who are still waiting for a permit to stay in France. Please pray that our little church will be a place where people meet the Lord. Pray with us that the Holy Spirit descends powerfully on the church and that the people around us find salvation.
Brent and Carol Ann work for a little church in Bruay-La-Buissière . Their work is mainly focused on connections inside and outside the church. Brent is also responsible for short-term missions for OM international.
Covid 19 stopped us from being able to meet people as we were before. The lockdown was difficult for us to live with, but also for the members of the church, because it had to close for all ministry for four months. Brent was also disappointed that the annual GO conference (a training conference for all future OM team members) had to take place online and all short-term missions were cancelled until January 2021. Texts, calls and video conferences therefore became the norm. We were delighted to be able to stay in contact with almost everybody. In June, it was great to reopen the church doors for a live service. Looking forward, we are keenly aware of our need for God’s wisdom as well as the prayers of God’s people. As Covid-19 rages on, we realise the need to adapt all aspects of ministry. The following weekly ministries have restarted, all with appropriate sanitary protocols in place: singing in the community choir, French courses for immigrants, English club, home visits to the elderly of the congregation and Sunday Services. Other ministries, however, such as the creative workshops, children’s work (Sunday School), the Alpha course and weekly prayer meetings and Bible studies, are being discussed regarding the best way to safely move forward. The ladies in the creative workshop are really looking forward to restarting. We are looking at a combination of physical and virtual meetings Huge changes are not always easy. Pray that we will be open to new ideas and new ways of continuing to fulfil God’s calling in our lives.