Je veux mieux connaître Jésus
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Php 3:10-11)
I thank God for granting sister Veronique and myself privilege to participate in 2010 Francophone Summer Bible Conference. I thank God for blessing the conference abundantly with the theme “To Know Christ Better” (in French : “Mieux connaître Jésus”). There were 17 delegates – 3 and 5 each from Heidelberg and Cologne, Germany, 2 from Romania, 5 from Belgium, 2 from Montreal, Canada and total around 70 attendants for the conference.
On Friday evening, Shepherdess Éné Leppik delivered the opening message on Philippians 3:10,11. She showed on the screen the survey that she made by the internet, asking people about their life goals. There were many different answers such as living for parents or for themselves, for establishment of a family, pleasure-seeking, and so on. It was interesting to see 27% of people honestly answered that they did not know what their life goals were. S. Éné confessed that she lived for herself to go ahead of others. So she was a fast runner and she worked very hard. Now she prayed to know the mystery of Jesus’ grace and encouraged us to have a clear life goal to know Jesus and to know Jesus better through the conference.
Right after, S. Thierry Clio delivered the first main message on John 10:1-11. He proclaimed through his message that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and he gives us life in abundance. Without Jesus, he went astray despite his parents’ attention and love and he became lustful, fatalistic, and meaningless. In Jesus, he could find meaning and purpose in life and enjoy abundant life in Jesus. And he prayed for each one of us to hear the voice of our good shepherd Jesus through conference messages and have his life in abundance.
On the second day, Abraham Choi, the third son of M. Marc Choi, served the morning devotion message on Mark 12:1-12 “The Parable of the Tenants.” He was moved by God’s patience and unconditional love shown to us by sending his one and only son Jesus for wretched sinners.
The third main message was delivered by Mark Choi Jr., with the title, “The Suffering Servant of God,” based on Isaiah 53:1-12. This message seemed difficult to deliver for a young messenger like Mark Jr. But with power and spirit, and with a lot of screen presentations and his unique motion and humor, he proclaimed the meaning of Jesus’ suffering. I heard that his own suffering and persecution from his peers during teenage years and his recent decision to go to Nigeria as a missionary helped him to be a powerful messenger of God’s word.
On Saturday night, we had five beautiful life testimony speakers. They were Angela Liu, Veronique, Kyoung Chan Lee, Virgile Le Quentrec, and Catherine Weecxsteen. S. Angela shared her loneliness, and repented of her lust and immoral life in China. She probably has to go back to China. But, by holding onto Rahab’s faith, she is praying to stay in Paris, and grow in faith and world mission vision. S. Veronique shared that meeting Jesus was a light shown upon her dark life of seeking human love. French coworkers said that they were encouraged to hear S. Veronique’s spiritual growth in 2 years and her clear decision to preach the gospel on campus to grow as a shepherdess. Kyoung Chan is staying six more months in Paris as an exchange student. Through the conference, he was renewed in his attitude to seek God and be trained spiritually to be a shepherd. Virgil is s, Sarah Nicolle’s sheep and came back after 3 years to the ministry. His parents were divorced when he was 12 and he saw his friend die of cancer at the age of 23. He wants now to keep 1:1 and find clear life meaning and purpose in God. Shepherdess Catherine is from Cologne, and she came in wheel chair for the conference. However, she shared her life testimony standing and shared her past life of extreme loneliness and anthrop phobia due to her sickness. From her youth, despite her family’s opposition, she had spiritual desire to seek God. In Germany, she began 1:1, but remained isolated. But slowly God helped her to come out of her solitude and to have fellowship with brothers and sisters in God. In her testimony, she shared her prayer topic to serve 3 Bible students in Germany.
For the last night of the conference, Paris coworkers and second gens prepared a drama on the agony of John Calvin. It showed Calvin’s spiritual struggle to defend the gospel against many enemies throughout his lifetime and as he lay dying, he was looking back to the past, which was sometimes leading him to Satan’s accusation and to assurance by many French Christian brethren. The drama was played in the chapel with the medieval age background, and so it looked very real and each played their roles very sincerely.
On the third day, S. Angelo Nogara gave us morning message on the faith of the gentile woman based on the passage Mark 7:24-30. S. Angelo was moved by the woman’s mother’s heart for her daughter, which overcame the obstacles in coming to Jesus and humbling herself despite Jesus’ humiliating words. Angelo confessed his lack of love for French students due to his Italian origin. And he prayed to love and serve French students with the love of God and to be a good shepherd and Bible teacher for them.
S. Liivar Leppik served Sunday message “the Resurrection of Jesus Christ” on Matthew 28;1-20. With his wife S. Éné Leppik, they were growing together as powerful disciples of Jesus and messengers. S. Bruno Aussant closed the conference saying that his message is an opening message for us who are going back to our mission fields with new hear and spirit. Based on Rev. 7:13, 14, he encouraged us to have living hope in the Kingdom of God holding on to Jesus’ blood and glory in his original image.
Personally, I was moved by S. Angelo’s message. He said that when we have humble heart and faith, we can think positively even in the worst situation. With such faith and heart, the gentile woman answered that she was a dog. But she did not feel humiliated. She could probably think that she was like a small cute Chihuahua before the Creator God. When I have the eyes of faith, I can see the world with meaning and God’s will and see people with God’s love and compassion instead of fearful and human eyes. Jesus’ suffering and humbleness enable me to take rejections from students and difficulties for campus mission as opportunities to experience faith and know Jesus better. Through short trip to Boston and New York the previous week and through this trip to France, God helped to turn my eyes from what I have been doing in a daily basis and from Montreal ministry and to look around to see how God is working in different places with different people with his words and spirit. I was very much encouraged by the work of God going on from a missionary struggling alone in the mission field and to big chapters like New York and Paris. Through this, God has renewed my sense of mission and privilege to serve one corner of God’s church as a whole in Montreal, God encouraged me to love his flock in Montreal campuses and preach the gospel with new heart and spirit. I pray I may be a joyful and faithful gospel worker with faith and humble heart to see many good and positive things in the God-given mission field. I pray I may know Jesus better through life of faith and mission.
One word : I want to know Jesus better.