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In France, everyone eats crepes on Groundhog Day, but if you ask them why, no one knows the answer. It’s kind of like how we hold Easter egg hunts in the US…no one knows why we hide plastic eggs filled with candy at Easter—it’s just something we do.
Encompass global workers, Rob and Nichole have been serving in France for 20 years, and as a result, they’ve learned a lot about French culture, crepes, and Groundhog Day. And it turns out that Groundhog Day (February 2nd) actually has Christian roots. Since learning this, they’ve been using this tradition as an excuse to gather people together on that holiday, eat crepes, and teach them about Jesus.
They’ve been doing something similar on Thanksgiving, too. Because it’s an American holiday, French people don’t typically celebrate it unless they have American friends who invite them to. So this past Thanksgiving, Rob and Nichole hosted a huge potluck and had about 50 people show up who don’t yet know Jesus. They also invited a handful of Christians who talked about what they were thankful for while weaving in bits of their testimonies. As these Christians lead the conversation in a spiritual direction, Rob and Nichole were glad to see the others follow suit and start opening up about spiritual things as well.
As a post-Christian society, France is actually only 1.5% evangelical. With China being 6% Christian, Rob and Nichole say, “You’re more likely to run into a Jesus-follower in China.” So their outreach strategy is to foster genuine connections at these kinds of holiday gatherings and see who expresses interest in spiritual things. Once they identify people who are spiritually open, they build trust with them and go deeper.
As they were intentionally hanging out with one such seeker on a bridge one night, they asked him, “Do you ever think about your soul?” That opened the door to hours of spiritual conversations.
Rob and Nichole have plans to host a Christmas outreach where they hope to build connections with more French seekers. And they are planning more for next year centered around the 2024 Olympics which will be held in Paris. Pray for God to continue using their efforts to bring people to Himself, and consider partnering with their ministry.