France (MNN) — As a developed nation, France seems like it would be teeming with Christians. In reality, church attendance in France is among the lowest in the world. According to Operation World, more than 300 towns and cities with a population of over 10,000 people have no evangelical presence.
“Less than 2% of the population [has] a relationship with Jesus,” says missionary Andrew Howell. “The French, in general, don’t have much use for the Church or see its relevance.”
With help from The Mission Society, Andrew and his wife, Margaret, are reaching the French for Christ.
Originally from Alabama, the couple spends a portion of each year serving in family ministry with Famille Je t’Aime. After encountering a lot of resistance to straightforward outreach methods such as Bible studies, the Howells took a different approach to ministry.
“Our approach [is] to meet a felt need–where marriages are in difficulty, like many places in the world,” shares Andrew. “By addressing those issues, we had an open door to give churches the opportunity to reach out into their communities.”
Twice a month, Andrew and Margaret hold seminars centered on some aspect of family counseling: marriage, parenting, dealing with teenagers, communication, etc. Communities are invited to the attend the event, whether it’s a one-day or weekend conference.
“Sometimes we’d have folks arrive who would say, ‘Well, I’m not a believer. Can I come?’ and our response was always, ‘The Truth of Scripture applies to anyone, whether they believe or not,'” Andrew says.
The couple addresses community needs through teachings and counseling that are based on Scripture. They also incorporate prayer into seminars and individual meetings.
“We’re very clear that the principles we propose come straight out of the Bible,” he notes.
As Andrew and Margaret meet one-on-one with French families and couples, questions arise that lead to opportunities. The Howells are often asked, “Why is there a difference in the way you relate?” and “What is it that makes your marriage different from ours?”
“And, it would open doors for us to talk about the importance of that relationship with Jesus,” Andrew explains.
The best way to help their work is simple. “Pray. Pray for opportunities. Pray for people’s hearts to be open and receptive to the Gospel.”
You can help them with practical ministry needs here.
If you’d like to read more stories about how God is working in France, visit this page.