Checkpoint Autumn 2022: In joy and pain
Posted on: 18th February 2022
CMS missionaries Daniel and Kate Morris have had many years of experience in discipling students in France. Here Kate paints a picture of one such discipling relationship, with its joys and challenges.
Daniel and I have lived and worked in France for almost 10 years alongside the Groupes Bibliques Universitaires (GBU, the University Bible Groups).
Théa*, a student we now work with, heard the gospel over many years from her aunt. As a teenager she decided to put her trust in Jesus. But her early experience
as a believer was lonely. Théa lived in a small town with no Bible-based church,
no Christian friends, and with no-one to disciple her locally.
Thankfully, the next year she moved to Lille where she encountered many more believers. Here Théa joined our local GBU group, which is how we met.
Beginning university brings so many changes, particularly when the student has moved away from home for the first time, as Théa did. She was enthusiastic to meet with others and start working out how to live as a Christian. Her GBU Bible study group was key for her as she learnt to dig into the Bible to discover God’s revelation. We have often met at our home as well, enjoying dinner and sharing life together. Théa’s joy in the gospel and relief in the grace of God was and is contagious! ‘Discipling’ in this context means that we have met with her, prayed with her, trained her, encouraged her, and challenged her, just as she has encouraged and challenged us. This has continued.
Challenges along the way
As she has grown in her faith, Théa has been saddened to discover some difficult changes she would need to make as a Christian. She is utterly convinced of the gospel and unswervingly committed to following God’s way of living, yet breaking from the past has been painful.
At first it was hard for Théa to share her struggles with others. But gradually she began to see that God had given her, through his people in the GBU and elsewhere, a community to support and disciple one another through just such challenges. It was a huge relief for her to share her burden with the group and accept their love and support through the process of change: the heartache, the stumbles, the doubts, the fears, the joys, and the successes. The GBU group continues to be crucial for her in working out the Christian life. As Christians we need others, and we are needed by others—these interdependent relationships are a responsibility and an honour.
Théa is striving to walk God’s way and he is giving her enormous strength by his Spirit. It’s a deep joy to disciple her and to see God at work for his glory, just as he is at work in us.
*Name changed for privacy reasons.
The Christian walk is not always easy. Give thanks to God for his work in Théa’s life, and for the ministry of Daniel and Kate Morris and the GBU in encouraging people to hear God’s word and live his way.
Read more online
Read more stories of discipling students with the GBU in France, and about the ministry of CMS missionaries Josh and Susannah Apieczonek here.