Friday, November 30, 2012

A Little Child Reaches out to Algerian Drug Dealers in France

Daniel Rhys has spent the last 18 years building an e-Learning business of which he is a managing partner. In 2006, he created Christ-based online abstinence training to address the HIV epidemic in Africa. In 2011, Daniel moved his family to France for three months to share Christ with the Muslim population.

He received a call from an old friend and spiritual mentor. He told me he’d joined forces with Greater Europe Mission to reach the growing numbers of Muslims in Europe with the gospel.  The friend finished the conversation by saying, “And I want you to bring your family to France next summer for ten weeks to work with Muslims in our pilot city.”

Daniel tells what happened...

"The next summer found our little family in a city in northern France. We quickly encountered places that frankly scared us! Our children, Virginia, seven, and Samuel, six, not only got to see us cry out to God, they also participated with us.

"The Lord led us to a small park where Algerian immigrants hung out. They gathered in small or large groups, many of them selling drugs to earn money. We visited the park regularly and I tried everything I could think of to break through the barriers and connect with these men. After three completely unsuccessful weeks, I turned my eyes heavenward and told God I was out of ideas. I said I’d come to the park every day and pray for these men, but if he wanted anything else to happen, he was going to have to do it. God in his goodness and grace seemed to say, “Ok. Now that you understand our roles, let’s get started.”

"Five minutes later a police van careened up the center sidewalk of the park. It screeched to a halt and gun-wielding officers poured out. As if a bomb had dropped on the park, drug dealers began running in every direction. Confused and surprised, I looked around and noticed that the groups were now gone, leaving lone individuals in a few places. Wow, I had just finished asking God to do this! He opened the door for us and now our job was to step through.

"I walked over and sat next to a man. He couldn’t speak English, but I soon learned his name was Habib. He came through Spain on his way to France and spoke Spanish.

Hearing “Spanish,” my son ran over and preceded to go through every Spanish word he had learned in kindergarten the year before. As Samuel spoke, I could see Habib’s eyes soften and grow warmer.

"When we arrived the next day, I saw Habib standing in his normal group and gave him a smile and a nod. Suddenly, Samuel broke from our group and made a beeline for Habib with arms stretched out wide. Habib bent down and received a hug that seemed to melt his heart. We were now “in.” Habib introduced us to his friend Karim. Karim spoke a fair amount of English and listened to my testimony. He wanted to understand more so he took me to Mohammed, who owned a small snack shop on the edge of the park. Mohammed spoke perfect English and we were soon spending hours together talking about Jesus.

"I didn’t know it at the time, but every drug dealer in the park would come into Mohammed’s snack shop to get drinks during the day. Before long we knew everyone in the park. And by the time we left France, we couldn’t walk through the park without men coming to us to talk and asking us for prayer.

"God grew our faith in ways I couldn’t have guessed. He also showed us that our children were not just along to learn. They were there to be used by God to open doors and build bridges to the hearts of many. Their faith began to blossom as Jesus went from an academic pursuit to being the living creator of the universe who heard them when they prayed and then answered their prayers in so many ways."

(selections from Daniel Rhys, And a Little Child Shall Lead Them, One Family's Journey on Mission in Europe, Mission Frontiers, Issue 34:6, Nov/Dec 2012)

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