If you want to learn how to speak french comme un Québécois, this project is for you !
The Ecclesia Church does not lack in missionary initiatives and projects! The Fleur de Lys French language learning program and the Café communautaire are two inspiring projects that deserve to be presented. In an interview conducted by Jonathan Clermont, church planter Jacob Mathieu explains the vision that supports these two missionary initiatives.
The main goal of the language school is to teach French to mainly English-speaking missionaries, in order to prepare them for the work to which the Lord has called them. After their training, some of them will go as far as North Africa, where French is widely spoken. Others will remain in Québec and serve among its people. In any case, theses missionaries need to learn French in order to communicate the grace of the Gospel.
French is the heart’s language for Francophones. In Québec, our ancestors fought verbally and often physically to ensure that this language survived English invaders. Against all odds and by the grace of God, French poetry can still be read and the language is spoken by the majority of Quebecers.
Leaving their families, friends and past lives, missionaries must adapt to serve God in a place where the language is not their own. Matthew 28 commands us to make disciples of all nations and approach all ethnic groups without distinction. If a missionary wishes to touch the heart of a people through the Gospel, he must do so in the language they love and understand. Spirituality and the needs of the soul are best expressed in the native language of the person being addressed. A missionary who cannot properly understand the language of his adopted country will not be able to freely explain the thoughts of his heart or the nuances of the Gospel. Authenticity between two people struggling to understand each other will be limited as the conversation will focus on words, rather than needs. When a stranger makes the effort to learn, their attempt is often perceived as a sign of love, affection and respect.
“If a missionary wishes to touch the heart of a people through the Gospel, he must do so in the language they love and understand.”
In the city of Saint-Jérôme, 97% of its population is French-speaking and the vast majority understand very little English. This language school was therefore the perfect place to bear fruit. This program not only allows several families to learn the language, but also provides an opportunity of service for Church members.
The Swam family chose to learn French, a language completely unknown to them, to go on missions in Chad in Central Africa. This couple and their three children came from Ontario and trained for one year. Although Québec and Ontario are bordering provinces, the change was a real shock for them, due to important cultural differences despite the short distance from their Ontario home. The family joined a church connection group and soon invited people, at least two of whom were unbelievers. This missionary initiative allowed one person to hear the message of the Gospel and begin a spiritual journey in the Ecclesia Church. The Swam family’s few French words introduced this person to studying the Bible.
This missionary family now lives in Chad. For many, they are testimonies by their way of following Jesus and abandoning everything for the mission. The Saint-Jérôme Church prays for them faithfully follows the developments of their new adventure.
Café Communautaire project
Finally, a brand new Café Communautaire project is slowly taking shape. Coffee, cream and food will soon be served to the city’s underprivileged population, including students and low-income families. The Church wishes to offer an accessible space at a low price. Christians from the Church can volunteer by working, serving coffee and sharing the Good News with the people God will send to sit in the café. This mission-oriented meeting place is located in the same building as the Church and is where the missionaries of the Fleur de Lys school will also serve. The project is progressing well, but a manager has not yet been found. The Church is praying and invites you pray that they may find the person the Lord has already designated for this role.
Giving a cup of coffee to a person in need will temporarily soothe his soul. Talking to him about Christ’s ineffable love – in French – will certainly have an eternal impact, by the grace of God.