CMS student workers Paul and Sandra reflect on the importance of student ministry and recount some stories about students convicted by Christ.
Recently, a student from Latin America had lunch with us. She had arrived in the south of France last September and, although she is from a religious family, she is not a disciple in Christ. Not yet anyway. She began reading the Bible during her time in France.
She couldn't believe it herself: she was starting to read the Bible to find out about God in one of the most atheistic countries in the world. “How ironic” she said, as she shrugged her shoulders and raised her eyebrows. “God is surprising and works in surprising ways.” This is what she had heard when she attended one of our church services: her first time in a church.
Over 50% of French people between 18 and 25 years identify themselves as atheists. But behind this percentage, there are thousands of individuals asking the tough questions about life: who amI? Where am I going? What am I here for? Or even more simply: why am I alive?
Jesus is the answer to all these questions. On the university campuses around France, the Association des Groupes Bibliques Universitaires de France (GBU) urges Christian students to be missionaries on their campus.
Christians invite other students to come and read the Bible, to understand the Scriptures and in this way, come to know Christ. Students are being challenged. Some are finding life-changing answers and no longer identify themselves as atheists. They are now disciples of Jesus Christ.
This is the story of Magali.
My name is Magali and I’m 26 years old.
My brother came home one day and proclaimed he was an atheist. I said I was too and the matter was settled.
I was born in a Catholic family. We didn’t really go to church and we never talked about God. I went to a Catholic school. I was seven years old the first time I heard about Jesus, but I didn’t understand much. All that I understood was that he was a good person, people were mean to him and that they killed him.
It wasn’t enough to build a solid faith on. As the years went by and I started to open my eyes on the world we were living in - the wars, the brokenness, the pain - I started to question the existence of God. My friends were living difficult things at home: divorce, addiction, domestic violence. I was seeing so much pain around me; I couldn’t understand how God could create a world like this.
All my teen and young adult years were about rejecting God, believing Christians were hateful and that they were people who judged others.
I spent most of those years unhappy. I didn’t really understand the world around me. All that my friends wanted to do was to party, have boyfriends or girlfriends and I didn’t care about any of that. I wanted more. I wanted more to life. I spent a lot of time thinking about the world, and why things were the way they were.
I moved to Strasbourg to finish my studies. Not much had changed; I still had this pain in my heart without really knowing why.
After discovering that a music band I really liked was singing about God, I decided to read the New Testament.
One night, I prayed and asked God to show me where I could meet young people who believed in Him and wanted to live for Him.
The day after, I found a flyer under my door inviting me to a Bible study. It was the GBU of Strasbourg. I started to make friends and meet people who really cared about me. They helped me to find a church and I started hearing the Gospel. I became a Christian after a few months in that church and I started to find the answers to all the questions I had. God started to heal my heart.
The GBU helped me to grow in my faith, in my understanding of God by reading the Bible. I came to the Bible studies almost every week for a few years and then I started leading the English Bible Study group for the GBU.
After working for a year after my masters, I decided to take a year to serve God. So this year, I’m being trained in a church in London. I’m learning theology and how to teach the Bible to children. I’m learning so much about ministry and serving God.
Thousands of French students are asking the tough questions about life. Magali found the answer: Jesus.