Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Dear Friends and Family, 

As you probably know, I (Mark) am attending Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in Los Angeles, with the intention of serving in full-time ministry when I graduate in 2020 with a Master of Divinity.  As Jenny and I have prayed about God’s long-term call, we feel that He could be directing us to the mission field.  A big question though is: where?  Interestingly, we have been connected to some missionaries in France who do teaching, church planting, and outreach ministry in the Alsace region of eastern France.  With that said, we are excited to announce that we will be going on a short-term mission trip to France this summer from July 9 to August 12.  During this trip, we will see and participate in a wide range of ministries run by missionaries that operate through a mission organization called World Venture.

The need for short and long-term mission work in the Alsace region of France is significant.  Although this area was one of the early centers of the protestant reformation, today it is almost entirely secular.  Many people refer to this region, and France in general, as “post-Christian.”  That is in part because only 0.5% of the Alsatian people, and only 0.9% of the French people generally, are evangelical Christians.  More specifically, the Alsace region’s largest city, Strasbourg, has an evangelical church in only five of its 15 neighborhoods.  As a result, Strasbourg provides a unique setting for mission work, not just because of the limited Christian presence, but also because of its incredibly diverse population.  Strasbourg, one of the capitals of the European Union, is the seat of many European institutions, like the European Court of Human Rights and the Parliament of the European Union.  Strasbourg is also home to the second largest university in France and maintains a total population that is about one-third Muslim, in large part due to the influx of refugees.  The opportunities to share the gospel, plant churches, and do outreach in the community are limitless.

God has called our family—all five of us—to serve in France this summer as short-term missionaries.  Because God calls all Christians to play a part in His mission (e.g., Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 10:14-15; Acts 1:8), we would like to give you an opportunity to participate in this work with us.  There are two ways you can help.  First, you can commit to praying for us and our trip.  Specifically, you can pray that God (1) causes us to depend on His enabling power as we serve in France, (2) enables us to communicate with and serve the French people in a way that is culturally appropriate and God glorifying, and (3) helps us discern whether France is where He is calling us to serve on a long-term basis in the future.  Second, you can support us financially by making a tax-deductible donation in our name to our mission organization, World Venture (by clicking on the “donate now” box located on the right side of the blog).  Any financial contribution you make helps our mission trip become a reality.  We would ask that you pray about supporting us in at least one of these two ways. We would so appreciate it! You can follow our journey here on the blog (www.ambitionformission.com).  We look forward to seeing the ways God will work—both in our lives and in the lives of the people we minister to—during our time in France.

Love, Mark and Jenny Jackson

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