TC’s MEI students visit MB Mission workers in Paris

MEI’s Cohort 4 met daily with business owners and missionaries from around Paris and Caen, many who fund ministry with their business ventures

MEI trip participants (left to right), Jeremiah Jones, Kit Berry, Anastasia Beavers, Rick Bartlett, Edie Doane, David Wahlstedt, Mesfin Abraham, Michelle Wheeler-Wegner and Jeremy Hamilton, visited MB Mission workers in Paris for 10 days, learning about ministry in the "City of Lights."

Paris is often referred to as the “The City of Lights,” as it was one of the first cities to have electricity. It ignites awe and inspiration in the soul of nearly every visitor. Her grandeur, exquisite architecture and ancient history serve to cultivate passion and creativity in the hearts of innovators worldwide.

Having walked her diverse streets, there is no question as to why Mennonite Brethren missionaries have chosen Paris as an ideal place to serve and impart Christ to the world. Paris is now home to 215 of the world’s 250 countries and sits as the second most diverse city on Earth, second only to Los Angeles.

There is also no doubt that the Ministry Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MEI) Cohort 4 team from Tabor Wichita was immensely blessed to have spent our 10 days abroad in Paris, as it is the home of the world’s oldest business school and a hub for entrepreneurs. Ironically, “entrepreneur” is an old French term for “undertaker,” meaning those willing to take on the needs around them and to create and make.

Some such entrepreneurs are MB missionaries Craig and Fabi Jost, along with their children Josiah, and Megan. They spend their days and evenings ministering in the market, language schools, their home church and ministry center.

While passing out ministry tracks seems like an outdated tool to many modern Christians, this is exactly what is working in Paris. The refugees who have migrated or fled to Paris seeking sanctuary smiled gratefully as we offered them the reading materials. Many of them stopping to chat and listened to what Craig, so fluently, had to say. The track is titled “Vivre Ensemble” or “Living Together” and highlights the need for unity among people and the way to true and full unity through the salvation of Christ Jesus.

I witnessed people from all walks of life, including traditional French, Muslim modern millennial and even a woman from Madagascar, stop to take a look or smile in agreement with us. There is no limit to the reach of Christ from the platform the Josts and all missionaries have in France.

“We have given out thousands of New Testaments and 10,000-plus Jesus films,” says Craig Jost.

Their work in the ministry center, called “Centre D’amitie” or “Friendship Center,” includes French lessons for illiterate Muslim women, ESL classes, meetings and small group meetings, as well as kid clubs. They specifically ask that we continue to pray that their home church of 10 to 15 continues.

Other than our time spent with the Josts, MEI’s Cohort 4 met daily with business owners and missionaries from around Paris and the city of Caen, France. Many of these people use business as a means for funding their work. In fact, the business is their work and mission base. Examples include apartment rentals, cafe/church plants, campsite/church plants, retreat centers such as Bethanie in Lisieux France and restaurants.

We also spent a day with at the HES MBS college in Paris, the oldest business school in the world and the number one in Europe. We met with young entrepreneurs from several countries and witnessed their dreams coming to life. You may recognize some of the businesses this school shares its center with: Facebook, Amazon and L’Oreal.

Our time spent with the many business-minded missionaries around France has instilled in our team a depth of vision I can only express as vast and immeasurable. If we boarded our plane to France nearsighted, we landed back in the USA with God-glasses Google would envy. The sky’s the limit to what we now know we can do.

“The number one thing I learned and will apply to my ministry/work is how important it is to be a consistent presence,” says Jeremiah Jones, a student in MEI Cohort 4. “Many of the ministries we interacted with on this trip would station themselves in the same market areas for years, establishing relationships by simply being present. Once these relationships were established, they were able to start sharing the gospel to those with open ears. In this new season of ministry, I recognize that I need to simply be present and allow his presence to work in and through me. King Jesus obviously understood the importance of presence as well.”

Paris truly is the city of lights, not so much for her sparkling electric glory but rather for the beauty that comes from God’s lights shining brightly, to the entire world, from her perch. Not even an evening view from the Eiffel Tower can compare to the sight of God’s children shimmering to the lost, darkened and hungry world. Please continue to pray for the workers onsite in France and for MEI’s Cohort 4 as we come to till and serve our own good soil.

The Tabor College MEI program, directed by Rick Bartlett, includes a 10- to 12-day international travel experience that involves learning about culture and entrepreneurial projects in different contexts. In addition to France, students have visited Thailand, Colombia and Turkey.



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