In this past month or so, we've had several reasons to thank God. Here's just a few:
First of all, just before Christmas, we participated in Madeleine's baptism. Like many from her home island of Guadeloupe, Madeleine comes from a family whose Catholicism is more of a cultural practice than a faith-based walk with God. Approximately 4 years ago, she moved to Brussels to study nursing. About 2 years ago, she was confronted with a life crisis when her mother passed away. This loss came at her like a wave shaking the foundations of her life. She began to seek some answers, even attending some Church of Scientology meetings thinking she might find something there. Fortunately, her roommate Audrey, a leader in SFC Brussels, saw what was happening and began to both warn her of the dangers of this cult and tell her of the love of Jesus for her. Audrey's friendship and sharing, as well as that of other Christian friends, began to establish some pillars to which she could hold on to. Soon after, they invited her to an SFC Belgium retreat. During the retreat, a pastor gave a prophecy which spoke directly to Madeleine's situation. She sensed the love that this God, whom she had been hearing about, was now speaking to her personally. Soon after, Madeleine committed her life to the saving care of the Lord Jesus, and began to build her life on the rock that does not yield. We arrived in Brussels several months after Madeleine's conversion, and we have been honored to be a part of Jesus' loving construction of her new life. The questions of if, when, and how she should be baptized were not easy for her to work through, but ultimately she decided that she must obey Jesus, despite some opposition from her family. Throughout this school year, even though she is no longer a student and works long hours as a nurse, Madeleine has continued to be faithfully involved with SFC by serving at our large group meetings and helping lead a small group.
Following The Master's Plans
As I'm typing this, Amanda is on the subway making a one hour trek across the city to teach a class called Discipleship by Design. Last night, I finished teaching a group of 4 students at 9:30 p.m. and as soon as Amanda gets home from her class, I'll be starting tonight with another group of 2 young seminary students. Ministering in an urban setting with multiple campuses, and a bi-lingual group of students with crazy schedules mixes life up sometimes. The bottom line is that 13 students have signed up to be trained in the work of leading other students into the Kingdom life, what Jesus called making disciples. In an era in which we have 35 year-old adolescents devoting their lives to 24-hour entertainment, it's encouraging to find students who will take the call of God seriously like this, and put in the time and work to grow in their effectiveness. We're thankful for the chance to help equip them. Now if we could just get them all to show up at the same place at the same time. :-)
Our ultimate goal in teaching these student is to see the growth of a community, a people who will represent Jesus here in Brussels. In a very real sense, all of you who support us financially and pray for us are also a part, albeit unseen sometimes, of this growing community. We are so thankful that you are with us, and we hope that you too can give thanks for Madeleine's story and these 13 growing students. Que Dieu vous bénisse! Blessings!