Friday, June 6, 2008


appoint \ə-ˈpȯint\ v. 1 a: to fix or set officially b: to name officially c: archaic : arrange
Today, following a fairly extensive telephone interview, GEM appointed us to be missionaries to France. Typically GEM appoints missionaries during a Candidate Orientation, but because our orientation date was postponed until the fall, they offered to appoint us through this alternative method. We will still attend a Candidate Orientation later this year, but in the meantime we can begin the Partnership Development (read: fundraising) process. Lest you all have the sudden urge move and leave no forwarding address, please be assured that more than anything, we need your love, prayers, and emotional support. We know that our call to France will also require the generous financial support of individuals, families, and churches; however, we have faith that God will prompt those who are called to give. He is in charge, He is the provider, and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. The next steps seem challenging, scary, and a little out of our comfort zone. I would be completely daunted by the tasks ahead were it not for that still small voice that I hear behind me saying "This is the way, walk in it."

The specific details of our assignment in France are still being formulated, but at this point it seems as if we are being led to commit initially to four years in France. I guess this gives a double meaning to our Four For France blog name--four Williamsons for four years! We will spend our first year in full time language school, and then we will probably be charged with helping to build up one or two individual churches in France so that those local congregations become passionate and effective at reaching their communities for Christ.

Now some facts about France!

  • One of the world's most cultured and sophisticated nations, it nevertheless is spiritually barren. Intellectualism, rationalism, widespread involvement in the occult, individualism, and only a nodding acquaintance with Catholicism have proved to be barriers to presenting the Gospel to this needy, but hardened, country.

  • There is profound ignorance of the Gospel. Many suburbs of Paris and other cities are without an established witness--that is to say, there are entire cities without even one Evangelical Christian congregation. The Catholic Church has still a strong cultural and spiritual influence, but the majority of the population has deserted the Church.

  • There are also large numbers of unreached minorities in France, such as the Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian communities, Jews (France has the 4th largest Jewish community in the world, and the largest in Europe), North Africans (almost entirely Muslim), the Berbers, Black Africans, Indo-Chinese refugees, and Turkish, Iranian, and Afghan communities.

  • Only 2% of the French people identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. These believers are scattered and split up among more than 120 Protestant denominations and nearly 3,000 congregations. There is little unity among Christians, and they suffer from spiritual bondages, fear of witnessing, indifference, marriage with unbelievers, and church divisions.

  • Only 5% of the French people own a Bible.
Please pray for the people of France, and for opportunities for the Gospel to be heard and take root in the hearts of many!

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16

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