April 1, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today is known in the USA as April fools day. It reminds me of what martyr missionary Jim Elliot wrote in his journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” This may well reflect what Matthew Henry repeated about his father who was a kind and charitable man, “He is no fool who parts with that which he cannot keep, when he is sure to be recompensed with that which he cannot lose.” It certainly comes from the teachings of our Lord and Savior who told his disciples, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” This is what we all should be doing with the lives, time and wealth of all kinds that God gives us.
We never know exactly how God is going to use our investments. The “preacher” in Ecclesiastes concludes, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. . .In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” So, I will tell you about one of the fields where we are sowing seed and why we are encouraged by what we see.
About 10 years ago, Douceline, a young lady believer whom we had met when we first came to France called us. She had taken her first job in the town of Mazere where there was no congregation of believers of any kind. Away from other believers she was very discouraged. She was born the year her parents trusted the Lord. Both of her parents were previously atheist. Since we had some weekday evenings open, we decided that it would be a good investment into her life to have Bible study with her in her apartment one evening per week after work. After about 2 years of weekly round trip drives of 2 and ½ hours and a couple of hours in Bible study each week, Douceline seemed to have a change in outlook. She began to see herself as God’s agent in this town.
About this time she met a lady through her work at the city library who was nominally Catholic and whose oldest child was to start catechism classes. Douceline suggested that Judy could teach them about Jesus from the Bible. The lady thought that would be a good idea and dropped the kids off at the apartment an hour before our Bible study. Judy had children’s Bible classes with them for an hour each week before our adult Bible study. Douceline started inviting people she met; a few came and very few returned. But, we have continued. For several years we took a guy with us from our area who was a new believer. He now has two Bible studies in Toulouse each week and has led others to the Lord that he is discipling. He is a pastoral leader in his church.
Patricia, the mother of the two children Judy taught, never came to the Bible study but Douceline is now having evangelistic Bible studies with her. Douceline is quite a missionary and is witnessing to several other people on a regular basis who do not come to the Bible study. We have probably had 50 people come do this Bible study over the years. A widow lady in her early 70s who comes has trusted the Lord. She is the only believer in her extended family. She daily watches and witnesses to her 9 year old granddaughter whose parents are atheist. One newly married couple young believers participates, she is a school teacher and he is a carpenter. A lady about 60 comes who is a nursing assistant in a senior citizens home is the only believer in her extended family. A young man who has come is reading his Bible and seeking. Douceline’s parents participate and are reaching out to several others. This has opened the door with their older daughter and her family. The children from this family are enthusiastic participants in our Youth meetings. We are supposed to have a new participant next week at the Bible study in Mazere. There are believers, there are disciples, there are missionaries because your support enables us to be available here and because we believed God wanted us to invest part of our lives into a discouraged believer.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” The completion of this story and millions of other like it will be experienced in heaven…our Fathers house!
May God bless you. Thanks for investing in this part of the world.
Investing in France,
John and Judy
John and Judy Hatcher
4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France