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Marseille, France, Mission Work
by John Paul and Ruby Lee Hundley
18 June 2001

John Paul and Ruby Lee Hundley       As we vigorously prepare to return to France, we felt it good to give you an overview of the exciting things that are taking place in what seemed an all but dead mission work in the entire country of France a few years ago.

      We at West-Ark are involved with the congregation in Marseille that was started by Guy Hutchinson, Craig Young, and Max Dauner. Guy and Craig are fairly young in their thirties, but the Hundleys were involved with Max years ago when they were in French work full time. Over the years Max married a French wife and like the Hundleys have raised their families, several of which continue in French mission work.

      With not much financial assistance these three young men have started a Bible School adjacent to the church facilities that has a very different concept from most schools started by our brethren. In the past we have focused on "preacher training."

      The problem has been that based on the American church model there have been no congregations to preach to, and it is very difficult for one family to go into a modern secular city and plant a church all alone with only the help of campaigns in the summer. Taking a hard look, it was observed that the most lasting congregations were those that simply were meeting in homes and had managed to keep their faith going after the big projects pulled out and went home. Based on this, the Marseille church started a training school for church leaders--both men and women, as the women had been the most effective in holding congregations together, especially in Lille, France.

      Church leadership training lasts one year, with preacher training lasting two years if the need arises. The greatest reponse has been for leadership with the students returning to their jobs and professions after one year. No American money has been involved as they raise support from family, friends, and congregations. They come from French-speaking countries everywhere; so far: Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Tanzania, Togo, Guadalupe, and of course France. Strong training is given in dedication to Jesus Christ, Bible, family relationships, and Christian service. With the strong emphasis given to the Christian family, it is not surprising that some have married fellow students and enrolled in local universities or found jobs in Marseille. The outreach has come from the service teaching and practice

      A missionary journey is undertaken to a third-world country each year as a group. This year they went to Togo in French-speaking Africa.

      They are good singers or are trained to be, and they form a choral group and make tours of churches to sing. This enables us to preach in Catholic churches, and they are glad to have us, as their attendance is low, except when good accapela singers come to town. This helps us to take advantage of a unique situation in France. The average age of their priests is 68, and due to the secularism in the country, no replacements are training. God is working.

      Do you know that last year 12,000 Catholics were immersed into Christ upon their confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that many more were immersed the year before? YES, YES, YES, I know they are still in the Catholic church, but isn't it wonderful that people are finding God's will regardless of where they are? That is how the restoration movement started. The Campbells, Stones, and Smiths were searching in other churches, and the next time you looked there were New Testament churches. When the Catholic priests die off and our young men who are now thirty-something have the confidence of the people as they have slowly taught them without being antagonistic, GUESS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN? It boggles the mind.

      This is where we are. John Paul teaches Old Testament in the school and Ruby Lee teaches the women and children in the various programs of the congregation. God bless you for your encouragement, prayers and support.

Date: Sat, 9 Mar 2002 05:21:18 EST
Subject: French Work

Dear Church Family,

The days roll by rapidly for us here. This is a good place to spend your active retirement years. We are back in language school now and are enjoying it very much. They placed me in an advanced class with much more interesting studies. I learned to debate the abortion issue last week. I learned a whole new medical vocabulary and gave a pretty good accounting of myself when it was my turn to climb on the soap box. They even offered me a job teaching English, but I can't do that under the terms of my Visa. Anyway, I have a job working for God. We are making lots of good contacts in the language school, however. Ruby Lee is enjoying her studies also, and is rapidly becoming fluent.

Success story with the church work: When I first started working over here a year ago I mentioned spending several hours talking on the street with K____ and his friends. They were Algerian refugees fleeing political persecution and seeking freedom. They told some hair raising tales of their battles and escape. They were all Muslims, Berbers by tribe. They spoke Cadille as native and French. K____ managed to get his new wife out after I talked with him and he started coming to church while I was back over there. Today K____ is a Christian, has a good job as an auto mechanic, has a nice apartment, a car, and most important of all he and D____ are the proud parents of a new baby girl. They had nothing but their clothes when they escaped. The church had a shower for them last week. For a long time I thought his wife didn't like me because I had introduced K____ to Christianity. That wasn't it. She just hadn't learned to speak French yet. She smiles and talks up a storm now. The baby has fat cheeks. Talk to someone on the street. You never know what will happen.

We are looking into going to Toulouse and encouraging the three families who meet there. We are getting to Strousbourg next to encourage the small church there.

Harmony Bible Camp Harmony Bible Camp The biggest thing I want to say this time is that we have completed raising the purchase money for the Bible camp I mentioned last time. We are starting next to raise the fix up funds. I will head up the fix up because of my long years in property fix up. I am reluctant, but I am amazed that God fixed it that I show up in this place at this time with my experience. I thought we were going out of the fix up business, but here we go again. This time for God. I am astonished and humbled that $40,000 of the purchase came from French speaking churches. They really, really want this camp. Therefore, I must do what I can. We got it way under the asking price. We will start work in three months after closing. Think about coming over and helping us you skilled workmen and women. You can stay at the camp.

John Paul and Ruby Lee

Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 12:17:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Renewal of French work

Dear church Family,

Well I got here and have been very busy getting reinstalled into things. Our new students arrived this week and we took them into the mountains for orientation week.

Some are second year students and I will have the responsibility of setting them up in advanced courses and working with them on individual Christian service projects. We are getting good news from last year's class, that they are taking hold in their former congregations, teaching classes, and starting midweek classes, and midweek prayer meetings in homes. It is very difficult to get European churches to meet more than once on Sunday, but these kids are doing what they have been taught. Our missionary journey this year will be to Madagascar in January. I didn't even know they spoke French there.

My work this year will be teaching about eight hours per trimester in Old Testament and working with the second year students in advanced studies. For the church, I will teach Bible Studies in homes across the city on Thursday afternoons, greet visitors and study with them as needed. We have many walk ins every week from the design of our new Chapelle de Fuveau. I will fill in preaching when the regulars are on trips of which they take a lot.

My health is good. I just about have my strength back. And have lost a little weight from walking everywhere. These kids will run the pounds off of you trying to keep up with them. I will go to the clinic here after November 22, my three month point, for my next PSA test. Lord willing it will be down. Pray for this. We may come home for the Christmas holidays and some of January if the tickets are cheap. They usually are at that time.

I'm sorry to just now be getting this off, but I just got on line today. My new computer didn't log on and I had to keep taking it back downtown, which was no small feat on the metro. Please let me hear from you. Note my new e-mail address. Please, someone print this out and give it to my father as he doesn't do e-mail.

Togo, West Africa Togo, West Africa

I will send some pictures of last year's mission trip to Togo, West Africa, [see above] and of the presentation of the new students to the congregation, and they presented me also with the faculty. It feels good to be teaching on a faculty again, especially in the Lord's work. These kids really want to be here as they raise all their money from savings, family, congregations, or anyone they can beg it from.

The Lord bless you for bearing with me in my illness and helping us get here. Pray that it doesn't come back. Ruby Lee should arrive November 1st, as she is in Canada visiting her aged mother. They have a place for her teaching children when she gets here.

John Paul

  Link to  Catéchèse de Dieu {in French}

  Link to  Brussels Church of Christ {in English & French}

  Read  Exciting Possibilities for the Gospel in Europe

  Look at  Photos from Marseille, France

  Link to  West-Ark Church of Christ Home Page

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