This weekend I have been the speaker on a GBU houseparty. The GBU or Groupes Bibliques Universitaires are the equivalent of the CUs in Britain.
This was a regional weekend for the GBU of Bordeaux, Toulouse and Pau, an area bigger than Wales and having more than a quarter of a million students. The region is served by one staff-worker, Julie. I was amazed at how hard she works and her enthusiasm for the student work ! At the same time she is as tired and over-stretched as you would imagine. In addition to this, because her financial support is insufficient she's told that she ought to work part-time. Please pray. I suggested that she consider linking to a mission and widening her support-base in the UK.
Meanwhile on the weekend there were some 40 folk, happy students, being
encouraged to share the gospel with their friends by reading Luke and
Acts with them, being challenged to pray for their friends and to see
the gospel flourish in Universities. Some super lads from Cameroon. Some
fine French kids. Chinese folk throwing in their contribution. A bunch
of German Erasmus students. The potential is enormous. Enormous.
There were also some 'old lads', people in their twenties and thirties who are no longer studying and not working, just not finding their way in life. One young chap dazzled me with the groups he attends - Bethel-REM, Charisma Ministries, Assemblies of God, Sacre Coeur, the Brethren, the Seventh Day Adventists. That was all in one week. "Why don't you ever come to us?" I asked, before realising that this was a stupid question on many, many levels. He's also part of the Witness Lee 'One Church' movement, so I introduced him to a friend who's part of the Brother Dong "Local Church" movement, recently thrown out of the "One Church" movement for insisting on publishing Brother Dong's own books.
Life gets complicated, don't it.
We have been in the premises of a church in Maubourguet, a small town
in the Hautes-Pyrenees. The church has the most wonderful buildings with
a paddock, a courtyard, lots of bedrooms, a big meeting room, a good
kitchen, two and a half hours' drive from. Bordeaux and under 10 euros
per head per night.
Was this what it was like in the UK in the
1930s? Small groups in the universities ? Folks battling with the errors
of their day ?
The weekend went well and it was great to be amongst the youngsters, three messages, the first a quick scamper through Acts drawing principles from how we see Jesus building his church in Acts, then looking closer at Philip and the eunuch and the huge potential of one-to-one ministry, then on Sunday morning Acts 16, different folk, different experiences, same gospel, same Lord.