(I’m in the process of raising support and have quite the ways to go yet, I have only about three more weeks, am running out of names, and have about another 20,000 to raise out of the 43,000 to be able to go!! So I’m posting the letter here, please help out if you can! leave a comment and I’ll get a hold of you or email me or something)
In the past year the Lord has taken me on quite a journey from France to Asia and now preparing for a return trip to Toulouse, France. Its been an amazing time of watching the Lord provide, and seeing His message bear fruit no matter where I am, at school in Wisconsin or traveling to do mission work. Ive been accepted to go on a year long STINT (Short Term INTernational) mission this upcoming year with Campus Crusade for Christ to help the newly started college student ministry to the 120,000 students in Toulouse, France. I, along with nine other Americans, will comprise the team which will be the fourth to live and minister in this city helping the students there discover the amazing truth of who Christ is.
For the college students in Toulouse there are very few opportunities to encounter spiritual conversations or biblical truth. With thousands of students attending school in the city it is a very generous statement to say that 1% of the students may attend church on a regular basis or have a personal relationship with Christ. This is what burdened my heart to lead me to Toulouse, they are growing up in what is termed an officially un-reached people group. That means that the Christians who live with them dont have the resources to be able to reach out to those around them. This is where our team comes in, by being willing to go there God is able to use us to fill that void. Coming over with resources and time to devote to relationships with students, we pray, will help turn the spiritual tide in France back for Christ.
With a cultural history so rich with Christianity, what changed to cause such widespread disbelief? While there is no concise answer, there are a few major events which have helped things reach the point it is at today. At the conclusion of the French Revolution they decided to abolish the Church and Religion from the government all together (contrary to our freedom of religion). While that did not end the faith of the French two hundred years ago, it started a slow progression towards the secular state they currently rest in. As children slowly started to question their parents faith and belief in Christ there was no one to then teach or share the truths of scripture with them. While in America we are able to take ethics and philosophy or religion courses in public high schools, the only thing students in France learn is from their history classes. Being in the middle of the crusades, inquisition, catholic/protestant wars, and other conflicts revolving around religions, students form the opinion that there are no good aspects to religion. There is no voice to bring reason to these lessons, and slowly the culture is becoming increasingly secular.
The Lord has not forgotten them, and His love for them is the same. He has chosen to send us to reach out to the students there, and to be some of (if not the first) Christian friends the students have ever had. It is through these friendships that Christ starts to become a reality to the students in Toulouse, for the first time seeing and witnessing the role that God plays in our daily lives, and the difference that comes from that. These relationships will challenge students to ask questions about the role of God in their own lives and to seek out who God is, letting the Holy Spirit reveal Himself more and more to them (for when you seek you shall find, and when the door is opened He shall enter). Then we are able to be there to help them understand how to open up their hearts and lives to a relationship with Christ.
That is just the beginning of what our role is this next year. We will be spending a lot of time in one-on-one discipleship and small group bible studies to help build up the students in their understanding of God, helping to feed and nourish their spiritual appetites so that their faith can grow and see Jesus in a new light so they can experience His love for them in a new way. Then to send the students to do something with what they have learned. If it is attending a retreat or a conference with other Christians, we will have something to be able to send them to a couple times during the year. This is where it starts to get really exciting, to allow the students to start doing more and more of what we are there for, to turn the ministry over to the very students we are reaching out to. That French students will once again be reaching out to other French students and take ownership of the movement.
Ultimately the partnership Campus Crusade has in the city of Toulouse will close and it will be a time to rejoice, as it will mean students have stepped up and are completely leading the ministry on their own (with minimal American support)! While that turnover will not likely occur within the year of my STINT, it is coming up soon and is what we are striving and trusting the Lord for. Since the beginning of the year three students have already trusted their lives to Christ, while no French students had in the prior two and a half years since the first team arrived there. What has made the difference here, and everywhere is prayer. This is where your support starts to come into view.
While I am able to go over and spend a year with the students it is prayer that will change the lives of students in Toulouse. We are able to meet them and find out what is keeping them from trusting their life to Christ and then share that with our supporters back here in the states. Our prayers will change the lives of students in Toulouse. Those requests and a monthly update will be sent out around the first of the month with periodic prayer requests as they come up throughout our trip.
Second is the financial support. Campus Crusade has no central fund to pay salaries. Every employee is required to raise financial support to cover their living and ministry expenses for the duration of their ministry. The cost for the year is just shy of $43,000, or broken down to $2,650 of monthly support and $11,200 in one-time support mostly incurred during the first month (travel, settling in, and a three week language school). I am required to raise all the support for my year of ministry by August 1st before leaving the end of August. As I am preparing to embark on this year with the Lord overseas in Toulouse, I am asking if you would become a part of my ministry team at $100 a month or some other amount? All gifts are tax deductible. Please contact me with any questions or to just hear some more about the ministry! My cell phone is a great way to reach me, or via email at paul.prins at uscm.org.
Please use the enclosed envelope to mail me the first check (made out to Campus Crusade for Christ), along with your email address to receive my updates from France, and I will ensure that it is set aside for me by Campus Crusade before it is mailed in to be processed. Shortly after your first gift is processed you will receive a receipt with a return envelope, hang on to that envelope if you are making monthly donations and return it with the bottom of the receipt at the time of your next monthly donation.
Keep letting God bless you,