Despise not small beginnings

By July 27, 2011

France (MNN) — A breakthrough for the Gospel occurred in Southern France as the Luis Palau Evangelical Association (LPEA) finished their Marseille Provence Festival earlier this month.

The government officials of Marseille and the surrounding areas not only allowed this Gospel outreach on their beaches, they actually sponsored it. The unity of government support and Christian ministry has never happened in France.

Colin James with LPEA explains, "France is a country that has interesting laws and a mindset. And that mindset is that churches stay where they are. You can preach the Gospel, you can do whatever you want, but you really can't invite anybody to make a decision."

Mayors from all over the area invited Luis Palau to a special reception in City Hall. There, Roland Blum, Mayor Adjoint of Marseille, said to Palau, "We need your spirit. We need your message. We look forward to what you have to say to our city."

So followed the historic event of public venues in France being used for evangelistic outreach–something unheard of before. Through this outreach, Luis Palau and his team partnered with 30 different churches and 3,000 active believers to proclaim the message of Christ.

On the beaches of Plage du Prado, 16,000 people were reached with the Gospel, and 400 committed their lives to Christ.

While this number may not seem very significant, it needs to be considered that out of the 1.5 million people in France, there are only 4,000 active believers. 400 new commitments to follow Christ are 10 percent of the current church members in France.

James states, "We really felt like we poked a hole, so to speak, in a mindset or a fortress if you will, that really seemed to open the door for the Holy Spirit to really move in a powerful way. And so we kept thinking, ‘Despise not small beginnings.'"

Since the close of their festival, the Luis Palau team worked with 1 Meme Coeur–the organization responsible for inviting them to Marseille–to counsel on the process of follow-ups with new believers.

Three weeks after the festival's official end date of June 2, 1 Meme Coeur held a "comeback meeting" on the beach for anybody who made a decision to follow Christ. They are currently working with new believers to integrate them into a church body.

"This is historic for us in Provence. Never have we seen such open doors or had so many opportunities to openly share the Gospel," says Gilbert Leonian, chairman of 1 Meme Couer.

Please pray that the redeeming message of the Gospel would continue to spread in the wake of the festival. Pray for those who recently accepted Christ to transition smoothly into a welcoming body of believers and experience growth.

"It's not over," promises James. "It's just the beginning."

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