Small Group Bible Study

I spent this past week in Marseille, again working with my colleagues there. The Novicks will be leaving for their furlough in six weeks, and their major focus is on wrapping up both their personal business, as well as any ongoing projects at the office. We were able to go through a lot of the furniture and office supplies, determining what is worth moving and what will be given away or sold by a local women’s ministry group.

Over the past four months, I have gotten increasingly close to our Arabic speaking colleague Weléli. From the moment we met, I felt a bond with her, a real connection. Her husband Charles is a joker, and whenever we talk, we take turns saying smart-aleck things to each other. They are leaders in their church and have a small-group Bible studies on Tuesday nights. Last month, they invited me to speak at the Bible study the next time I was in town, which happened to be this week.

They live 45 minutes away from Marseille, so its quite a trip. Since I took the train this time (see last blog entry), I just rode home with Weléli and spent the afternoon at their home, and afterwards the Novicks picked me up. Six people were at the Bible study: one woman who is a baby Christian, one mature Christian lady and her husband, who is unsaved (and usually snores loudly on the couch all during the weekly study!), a North African woman who is married to a Muslim, and my friends, who usually lead the discussion. I spoke for about 20 minutes, making it my first real sermon in French, before leading the questions/discussion for another 15 minutes. We had a time of prayer afterward, and then one of the ladies stayed for a while to talk about a personal situation in her life.

When I was in language school, I would prepare meticulously for everything I did, writing out a text to read off, word for word (to avoid mistakes). But I don’t think that’s the best way to communicate with an audience! I prefer to speak extemporaneously, with an outline and a few notes. That’s the way I would do it in English, and I feel like I should be able to do the same thing in French, if I am calling myself “fluent.” This week gave me exactly that experience and I was really thankful that the Lord provided the opportunity to share my heart with some brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of France.

Thanks for your continued prayer for my Marseille colleagues, who are still in the process of packing and moving. For those of you who have moved, you know how stressful that time can be. Please keep our projects in your prayers, as summer approaches.
Ariel Rainey