Missionary Update: John Mark & Judy Hatcher in France [September 2013]

Missionaries John Mark and Judy Hatcher have been serving the Lord in Tournefeuille, France since 1999. They define their ministry as “disciple-making.”

September 2, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Lord has blessed us with an encouraging month in our regular Sunday meetings and Bible studies. We have Bible studies that meet every day of the week except Saturday. God uses your regular giving to meet our physical needs and your prayers contribute to the fruitfulness of the our ministry in France. We thank God daily for you.

I am spending time individually each week with a couple of young single men who have trusted the Lord and been baptized here. One is a 30 year old software engineer and the other is 24 old who has no special training, no job at present and lives with his parents. Making disciples is more than just preaching and church meeting activities. It requires investing a lot of time helping believers put into practice what our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded. It involves teaching how to study God’s Word and applying it to daily life, challenging, encouraging and praying. Our Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul lived daily with those they were helping to become disciples of Christ.

One of the young men with whom John Mark meets for discipleship.

Even though we are 60 years old, we are still learning. I will give you one example of how this sometimes happens. Recently we were invited to a military ceremony by our neighbor across the street. He was turning over the command of the regional military logistical services and moving on to a different assignment. After the military pomp and circumstances, we were invited to share a meal with the others present. Most of these were military personnel and their families. Hughes, the commander and neighbor who invited us, introduced us to Nicholas, a fellow officer, with whom we spent a considerable amount of time in conversation. Because so many people here are atheist, I had tried to emphasize God’s power, love and grace by mentioning when appropriate that we are blessed in some specific way. About the third time I said something like that in this conversation, Nicholas interjected, “I like the fact that you say ‘blessed’. We usually say, ‘I was lucky’.” Happily, I thought, “He’s getting it.” Then he added, “Because it is not just luck, our hard work is rewarded.” I tried to explain, “No, I mean we receive many blessings we do not deserve.” But, he insisted, “No, you should not be ashamed to admit that your hard work is rewarded.” I am not sure that I ever did really get across to him the reality of God’s grace, but I did make a mental note about how this particular phrase does not mean the same thing to others around me here as it does to me.

So, Hughes and his family moved away and we are anticipating the arrival of the new owners of this house across the street from us hoping to share the gospel with them. Of the 5 houses immediately across the street from us, 4 are having a change of occupancy in the next couple of months. Our field is constantly changing and this gives us added opportunities to demonstrate and present the Good News of Jesus Christ.

One of the ladies who is moving from across the street to a neighboring city with her husband declared herself to be an atheist when they moved in 9 years ago. We have spent a lot of time with them and had innumerable opportunities to share the gospel. She has come to only one special service, if my memory serves me right. But, she now believes that God exists and that He has intervened personally in her life. Last week she volunteered to us that even after they move she is planning on coming over from the neighboring town to our Sunday meetings.

And, so, we keep sowing and you keep helping us. Thanks!

Blessed by God and realizing it in France,
John and Judy Hatcher

4, rue d’Aspin
31170 Tournefeuille, France

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