Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We thank God daily for your faithful support. Thanks also to each of you who from time to time send a card or write a letter to encourage us.
The month of July news begins with the baptism of Samuel, the young man that I mentioned in my last letter. He is the son of Vietnamese parents. His mother was the first to be saved in her family who were Buddhist. She was saved during the Vietnam War and escaped in an overloaded boat that eventually was rescued. There is a church of Vietnamese people that meets on the opposite side from us of the Toulouse metropolitan area. It is made up of people who were saved through missionary work in Vietnam and their children. Their entire service is in the Vietnamese language.
Because Samuel had gone to this church with his parents when he was a boy, he wanted to get baptized in front of them as well as our congregation. So, we made arrangements to have a joint service with them and use their baptistry. The pastor asked me to preach before I baptized Samuel. The sermon was in French and the rest of the service was in Vietnamese. This Vietnamese church shares a building with two other churches, one French, one Korean. The building is marked with bullet holes. You may remember the terrorist who killed a number of people in Toulouse last year including several paratroopers and a number of children leaving their Jewish school. He lived just across a one lane street from this church building. When the police tried to arrest him he barricaded himself in and eventually came out firing. He was killed in the shoot out and it left marks on the church building.
I don’t know what language we will speak in the New Jerusalem, but we won’t need buildings, we will all understand each other, there will be no bullet marks or war or terrorists, and we will enjoy the Lord and each other forever! Doesn’t that make what we do the most exciting promising thing that can be done?
So, you continue giving and witnessing where you are. We continue giving and witnessing here. God makes it all happen and enables us to participate. Every place is different and in different places we are at different stages in the process of plowing, sowing, cultivating, watering and reaping. But God receives glory in all of this. This was so clear to me as I read the June Mission Sheet letters. The Radfords and Tates deal with challenges that are partly the result of colonization and God is helping them learn how to be more effective. Mike Creiglow mentioned a city of 8,000 with one Adventist Church and four kinds of Pentecostal churches besides the Catholic Church. Tournefeuille, the city where our primary work is located has a population of 30,000. Besides us there is the poorly attended Catholic Church and a Synagogue that meets in a house. We deal with result of forced falsely called “Christian religion” that spread by the sword and kept kings in power. It is like planting seed in granite. But, our Lord Jesus has chosen us, disciples (not just pastors and missionaries), to be the light of world and the salt of the earth. He uses our life’s witness and our words to make more disciples who in turn will make other disciples. It has been happening for 2000 years and will continue until our Eternal King manifests Himself.
After our last youth meeting at the end of June, the mother of one of the participants requested the schedule for the coming School Year youth meetings so that they could put it on their calendar and not let anything get in the way of the daughter attending. This young lady is Abigail’s friend. Abigail, who was baptized less than two years ago has brought several friends to youth meetings and church services. This is how it works, friends bringing friends.
Last Sunday, a young married man who comes regularly to church services told about his progression in spiritual matters. He, along with many here, was an atheist. His parents were atheist, his brother and sister are atheist. His parents both died before he became a teenager. I asked him, “What did God use to change your mind?” He answered, “My wife and her way of living and Joachim.” He said, “Joachim started out like me, he didn’t believe, but he examined the truth and became a believer and he didn’t go crazy.” Joachim was the first person that was baptized here. This is why we keep plowing the granite!
Thanks for being used by God to contribute so that we can let Light of Jesus shine through us here.
Your fellow servants in Christ,
John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France