As I pen this new letter in May 2020, I would like to share some of the wonderful things God is doing in France:)
Contrary to what Charles Dickens presents, i find that with God, “Though it be the worst of times, it will be the BEST of times” (readapted from “Tale of TWO cities”)
Through the whole process, God has given us a new growth within ourselves, within our families, within our city and within our nation !
This year started on a sombre note, as the whole of France, in fact the whole world came under the attack of COVID19. We are thankful of God’s protection over France in spite of the death toll (as of 10 May 2020: 139,063 contaminated, 26380 deaths ) as it could have been even worst.
This world changing event, it’s magnitude depassing all imagination has brought ALL commercial activities to a stop. The gouvernment of France has stopped ALL religious events since last March 2020.
This has led ElimParis, like all the churches around the world to become more creative in our meetings, worship, prayer and encouragement methods.
Thanks to a group of leaders and volunteers God has added to the church, we are able to present facebook /youtube live streaming church. Ptr John now has the opportunity to preach over youtube streaming, as well as to share daily meditation devotionals for all weekdays with members and friends on line. We truly thank God as the number of people watching and following the church during this time is three times the normal church membership! PTL!
New gifts and talents were discovered as members began to come in to serve as a church family, Barbara taking care of our on line updates,
Pascal doing youtube tutorials to help our elderly members connect by zoom for church prayer and study groups.
Bro Xiangyu, our church worship leader cum treasurer, Rebecca and myself came in to start doing online worship with his family for our Sunday services 🙂 Whether it is by real-time music or pre-recorded keyboard sequencing, we are learning new ways to worship HIM, for HE deserves it!
God opened the door for John to be able to join the team of counsellors for the national french Protestant hotline to care and follow families in difficuly and in need during this time of COVID19 in France.
Ptr John continues to visit patients, with a special authorisation from the French hospital in partnership with the protestant federation, to circulate freely during the COVID19 period. Thank God that in spite of the lock down, God’s love and compassion is not limited nor locked! At this moment, John and his volunteer team provides prayer cards for families and patients by placing them in the chapel of the various hospitals.
Ptr John has been assigned to assst and run the ZOOM meetings for all the Paris regional chaplaincy meetings, as well as zoom meetings of various chaplaincy teams in the Paris region. Thank God for His grace to learn new skill sets to “FIT INTO” new needs in the ministry in the new “normality” of life in France.
Ptr John was invited by the in-charge of the Chinese pastoral fellowship in France, to expose the needs and avenues to receive spiritual help by telephone during the Covid19 period. Thank God for using HIS new technologies to meet the needs of churches at this trying time.
John and Rebecca are benefitting from this time of “home-stay” work environment to reach individual members to accompany them to new growth, through discipleship courses and online counselling as well.
We thank God for a unique time to spend with our church members to grow together through discipling online. Most people who used to be too distant due to work are now able to “meet” more to learn the Bible.
We thank God for Nelly, who has started to join our virtual church services from NIME in the South of France, who is now having personal Bible counselling with Ptrs Rebecca and John.
We thank God for Bernard, a staunch catholic all his life, who is now faithfully following the church services with his wife and receving online discipling with Ptr John.
We thank God as well for Sister Adèle who shared :
“I was following the Sunday service online on April 19 when I felt pain in my lower back. The pain was so acute that I had to lay down on the couch. Lord was faithful as after continuing to pray and join the meeting, praying “Lord I want to continuing standing and not lying down”, the pain disappeared permanantly.” Adèle
A french contact Francoise who said :
“please ask the pastor to continue sending the daily meditations. This is what we (I) need is this particular time. Thank you Lord for the daily devotion-meditations of Elim”. Françoise. C
Here is the testimony of Barbara (un-altered) :
1/ In what context I met Elim church?
It was in September I met a friend of a friend. Then over time he told me about his church, that it was like a family, that
the pastors were too cool, etc…
But it was difficult for me to go to his church and resume all Christian activity. Because I had made a cross on Catholicism two years ago, I was baptized, I made the second sacrament which was the communion, and at the time when I had to prepare for the 3rd sacrament which is confirmation, many events happened in my life, and I was finally very disappointed by the Church, the people, the life …
So for two years I wandered, I was lost and I finally found refuge in Buddhism … which gave me hope for another life, much better than the current one.
And finally, I accepted this friend’s invitation to attend the Christmas service, and that’s how it all started….
2/ About containment ?
I don’t know how I would have done in this period of coronavirus … I would have been lost, in panic, very alone, I might have done things very serious …
But thanks to God, I have met brothers and sisters in Christ, who accompany me and teach me the word of God, hear from me and pray for me.
While confinement lasts 1 month or 6 months, I ‘m not afraid thanks to God and Elim Church !
3/ Donations/gifts of God developed during this period of crisis ?
Truth be told, I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary … I just continued what I did best. My philosophy is “I have no gifts, no networks, so I have to work hard to be successful in life”. I’m a digital communication student, so I just tried to make myself the most useful for the Elim Church.
Katherine received a call from her friend, Myriam D. who has been cut off from church life for years in the French Alpes:
“She thanked me for sending her the devotion meditation of ELIM that has encouraged her in her faith a lot”.
Bernard thank God for helping him start to depend on Jesus, more than the saints he used to kiss every night before sleeping. This is a tremendous step forward for this family, as Sis Lily, his wife has been praying for this day. Today, he writes out the lesson and Bible verses before every single discipleship lesson with Ptr John. Thank God for a period of transformation in spite of the difficulties today.
New (renewed) thankfulness to GOD:
For us as a church in Paris, what started out as a time of uncertainty and great test has become a time for us in Paris to think about the goodness of God, like the song says ” Think about His love ” , inspired from Ps 103:
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8-12) (link)
Going through this time has caused us to become more resilient and STRONGER as a church family:)
We thank you for your prayers and looking forward to connecting with you through:
whatsapp: +33 6 25464258
facebook and youtube: eglise elim paris
Blog of john and Rebecca in France: johnlimkc.wordpress.com
Love from Paris,
John and Rebecca LIM ( ElimParis )
- Continued wisdom and strength upon John and Rebecca as they lead the church with the leaders.
- God’s provision for the continued organisation of compassion and hospital visits
- For God to raise up members as Jesus disciples to shine for HIM in a time of “bleakness” in Europe.
- For God to touch hearts and lives in the difficult time in France.