I (Ardis Nelson, member of the CR leader team at PLCC) arrived safely in France after 26 hours of travel by planes, trains, and automobiles. My travel included a whirlwind layover in Paris where I was able to attend mass and pray in Notre Dame. I am 40 miles outside of Grenoble in the French Alps, staying with my American missionary partner, Marvin Klein, and his wife, Lisa until Thursday, October 2.
After a few days of fighting jet lag, I am feeling more normal and ready to serve God here in France. So far my mission work has mainly been getting my testimony ready for sharing at the Klein’s church in Grenoble. I’ve given my testimony many times over the ten years I’ve been in recovery, but this time the editing process was much harder. That’s because it needed to be edited for the European religious culture and cut down in length to allow time for translation. Thankfully that task is now prayerfully completed.
On Sunday, Marvin and I shared briefly from the pulpit at his church about the Celebrate Recovery meeting where I will speak later this week. That was my first experience with being translated into a foreign language. I alternated my speaking with Marvin’s French translation. It was a good chance for me to have a dry-run for sharing my full testimony on Wednesday night. I met the woman who will be translating for me at church as well.
Live testimonies are very rare at this CR meeting. The teaser seemed to be well received. The pastor put in some good words for the program, inviting women to attend this special event and endorsing the program. The congregation then prayed for the Spanish CR seminar we are teaching in Madrid, and over our team.
Other than the physical sharing of my testimony in a few days, the main mission work here in France is completing the teaching materials and preparing our presentations for Spain.
I’ve been getting quite an education in the culture and the religious climate here too. Grenoble is a metropolitan area of half a million people, about the size of Tacoma, Washington (for readers back home). Out of that population there are only about 2,000-3,000 Protestants scattered in a dozen churches. Although Catholicism is still the denomination that most people identity themselves with, only about 5% of the population ever attends mass. Islam is the fastest growing religion in France, by way of immigration and birth rate.
We’ve gone on a few outings into the mountains in our ‘off’ hours and strolled through some of the small villages. Each one has a church and steeple that stands out from the distance, but they are virtually closed. The church is owned by the local city hall. The schedule on the door of the church speaks volumes highlighting which days mass will be held. There is one priest who rotates the mass schedule between the many villages in the area. It is a sad sign of the times and condition of religion in France.
That is why this mission is so important, and why the time is now. People are turning their backs on religion and burdening themselves more and more with the effects of their hurts, habits, and hang-ups. CR brings Jesus into the healing process and restores what was lost, and what He intends for our lives to be.
Please pray for this country—for a spiritual revival, and that Celebrate Recovery will be a tool to bring healing and hope to more and more people here.
One day at a time. One moment at a time. This week that moment is on Wednesday night in Grenoble, France, as I share my testimony.
Thanks for your partnership on this mission of faith.
Contributed by a leader at CelebrateRecoveryOnThePlateau.org