This will be a two part Paris blog post. The first (this one) being all about the mission work that we did while there and the second will be of the sites that we saw and random things that happened while there.
I hope you are ready for this...
While in Paris we worked with a group of IMB missionaries who have been working/living in Pairs for about 10 years. They work with and have a passion for the NAME (North African and Middle Eastern) people of Paris.
Our days started out by getting up around six-ish because we had to be ready to go by 7:15. We would have a devotion as a group before leaving the hotel, then head to the church around 7:45. After a bus or RER and a metro ride we would walk a few blocks to the church (we did a lot of walking). We would have a bible study lead by the missionary, learn about what we would doing that day and then head out . We would either have lunch depending on what time we finished or we would go right to ministry work.
Much of our ministry work consisted of passing out tracts, hoping someone would stop and want to talk about it (which happened a lot more than I thought) or doing surveys. Here's how the surveys worked: we would stop someone walking by, tell them that we were working with a Christian organization that was seeking to learn about what kinds of needs (social, economic, spiritual) existed in that area. It really was a great way to start a conversation, because we all have needs. In conversing with them (through a translator), we would try and steer the conversation toward spiritual things.
Many of the people we spoke with understood Jesus to be a prophet, but really didn't know much else about him. Typically when we talk about people who have never heard the gospel, we often think about remote parts of the world or third world countries, but it was amazing to see how many had never clearly heard the gospel in Paris - and not just a few, but the majority of the people that we talked to.
We did not see any people put their faith in Christ during our trip, but many seeds were planted. I would say that this trip was a great successes. I know that many of the people we told we were going to Paris (and maybe even you!) thought that we would do a little mission work and a lot of site-seeing and touristy things. Well, I am sorry but you are wrong! Justin and I have talked about the week we spent in Paris almost everyday. It was by far the hardest mission trip I have ever been on. Justin said that it was harder then the 8 weeks he spent in Burkina Faso, West Africa. People all over the world are lost. It does not matter if you are in a remote village in Africa or in the streets of Paris - Satan does not want people coming to know the Lord and Savior of the world and he is alive and committed to make that not happen. I leaned the true meaning of being filled with the Spirit EVERYDAY. When Satan is working against you things can be very difficult. He is always trying to tempt you to believe lies . But when you are a child of God, you have the power to overcome him through Christ in you.
Paris is a very dark place full of people who not only do not trust in Christ, but simply do not know the truth about all he has done. The Lord taught me many things during my week in Paris that I hope to never forget. He taught me that I have freedom in Him, that He is the God of the nations, that there are people all over the world who have not heard the gospel, and so many other things.
I know this post was definitely a little heavy, but I tell you everything because it was the best experience I have had doing mission work. It was hard, but it was so worth it!