Part Three: In France as it is in Heaven
Seeking to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus has been my life’s greatest pursuit. Going into college I wanted to fall more in love with Jesus. And this summer full of disappointments has been a testament to the reality that my first and foremost purpose is to love and worship God and love others.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39
No life-calling is greater than loving God and loving others. But I still was wondering how I could do that during a time when I was stuck at home, during a global pandemic?! But the Lord graciously brought me to my knees. He humbled me, but also reminded me that while I was bringing all my worries and disappointments to Him, I could also petition for the people and places in Europe that were close to my heart. Even praying at 10:02 a.m. every day was becoming a part of my daily worship. Praying that God would send more laborers into his harvest. Praying God’s Kingdom come here on earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10).
Though my summer in France was canceled, God has still been at work. Tom Appel, a missionary in Northern France, and his ministry team have had to adjust during this season. But they have seen tremendous growth and interest in God both in their community and church family. Even neighbors who’ve never shown interest before are starting to ask questions. Their church meets twice a week over Zoom with simple yet more intimate times of prayer and Bible reading. They’ve also had a picnic church, allowing people to come together at parks, enjoying food and community. Another part of the ministry in Normandy is a food truck ministry called SOS Chai, which has just started up again these past few weeks. During this time, they have opened up their church building to bring refugees in and help them with English class, visas, and other needs. During this time of division and isolation, God has given strength and unity, continuing to bring the people of Europe closer to himself.
Though this season has brought unexpected opportunities for the gospel to go forth, it has not come without difficulties. There is need for more ministry team members, fundraising financial support, and quality time for a young missionary family. Tom Appel said in a recent Ten2 session, “Worship is the engine room for everything else we do…” As musicians, both Tom and his wife Joanna have built a foundation on serving and loving God first. And so, from that place of worship, they are able to go and love their neighbors as well.
Prayer is a beautiful part of worship. We commune with our heavenly Father, and go deeper in our relationship with God. So, join me in praying for Tom and Joanna Appel, their family and ministry, and for the country of France. But most of all, pray the Luke 10:2 prayer with all of us here at GEM. This is our heart’s cry for Europe, and across the world: God’s Kingdom come here on earth!
“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
– Clarissa Harvey, Ten2 2020 Participant & Storyteller