The day the meetings began I sent a last minute reminder asking you to pray. I thank God for those of you who did. Satan did not take our efforts lying down. In putting up posters, there was some open opposition from the Muslims. One man tried to grab a handful of the posters from a team member to destroy them. He (the Muslim) took his cigarette lighter and set one of the posters on fire saying, "This Bill Thomas is cursed and will burn in hell." Of greater concern was what he said next. "Colombes is a Muslim city!" This same thing is being said by some Muslims in other cities, as more and more mosques are being built and that with the help of the government. In the vicinity of the Baptist Church there are more Mosques than churches.
Another attack form the enemy: on the first day of the meetings, Philippe, the six and a half year old grandson of one of the workers came within an hour of dying from an asthma attack. Philippe is a brave child who does not hesitate to stand up for his faith in the face of his Muslim classmates. When they talk about Mohammed, Philippe tells them that Jesus Christ is the savior.
The nine- member local church evangelism team worked hard. Although the church as a whole was "all for the campaign," not everyone was fully committed in the areas of prayer and of bringing their unsaved friends.
Friday evening, the church was filled with some 90 people in attendance. Nazireat, a dance hip-hop group made up of local teenagers performed. It was a time of shaking with the shakers! A praise group, Hosanna then took over. At the invitation, eight or nine people came forward. While some were being counselled, I had the pastor to join me in praying for those who were sick or afflicted. (On Sunday, a lady who had been suffering from terrible back and leg pain, testified that God had touched her on Friday. A man named Jacques who came on two crutches was prayed for on Friday. On Sunday he told me that he had begun to feel strength in his legs. He had begun to use one crutch.
The Saturday program was in two parts: At 4:30 PM Nazireat was on stage again. Only five people in the group were committed believers. One of the deacons, Jean-Marie Doma gave a short message. After a pause (with refreshments) we began the evening service. And what a turn-around it was. Again the church was full; at the invitation some 25 people streamed forward. I became concerned that the six or seven counselors would be overwhelmed. And they were! Most of those who came were young people, many from the group Nazireat. Needless to say, the group leader was well pleased. There were also first time visitors who also came forward for salvation. I had to call for more counselors. The church just had not expected so much. Everyone had a response card filled out and was given a New Testament. Afterwards, the team leader, Nathalys said to me," We now have a lot of follow up work to do." I replied, "I warned you." That night in the hotel I dreamed I was still preaching!
On Sunday there were two morning services. After the first one, Nathalys said to me, "Bill , give an invitation after the next service." That was all I needed to hear. Nothing moves me like preaching for a public verdict. About 40 people crowded towards the front and in the aisles to recommit themselves to Christ and to a life of holiness; It was awesome. TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY.
On the train back to Strasbourg, I was thinking how marvellous it could have been if we had had a larger venue and the wholehearted involvement of the nearby local churches. Still, I thank God for what he accomplished for his glory. Again thank you for your prayers of intercession. Keep on praying for Colombes. The battle goes on!!!
July 7-12: Marion and I will be in Prague for a time of fellowship with other missionaries. Pray for safe travel and open doors in Eastern Europe;
July 16-27: I will be in Iloilo, Philippines for the spiritual emphasis week at the Philippines Christian University. The weather will be hot. Pray that God will strengthen me and will grant great blessings among the students and faculty.
Sept 1-5: Kampala Uganda. Next Generation Alliance and Africa Renewal Ministry are hosting a large conference for leaders from Central and East Africa called Arise, Reaching Central and East Africa. I am counting on your prayer and help for my involvement.
Thank you for caring and for sharing in this ministry.