‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.’ Romans 8:1-2
Greetings from Louvain-la-Neuve! What strange times we’re living through! Who would have said in early March that all normal church activities and most of normal life would have to be cancelled because of a global pandemic? What good news it is to know that God is in control, that he is good, and that his plans can never be thwarted. And how wonderful it is to know the truths of Romans 8, that in the face of death, the believer in Christ can know with assurance that we will not be condemned because Christ was condemned in our place to give us eternal life!
Here is some of the latest news and prayer points for the church plant in Louvain-la-Neuve. Thank you so much for your partnership with us in the gospel!
We don’t currently know anyone in Louvain-la-Neuve who has lost relatives because of the coronavirus (although we do know some in our mother church in Brussels for whom that is the case). So, although nationally it is a very hard time, locally, those we know don’t seem to be overly worried. Parents’ groups on WhatsApp have mostly been filled with cute photos of children or humorous lockdown videos. Please join us as we pray that God would cause locals here in LLN to realise their fragility and their mortality and that this might lead to chances to proclaim Christ once lockdown is over. Pray for friendships with neighbours to grow. We’re praying that the joy after lockdown would lead to chances to invite them to our house to share food and for us to be bold to announce the good news to them.
Friendships with school parents have suffered during the lockdown. We are in text contact with some of them but not many. We sent a short Easter party video to Lola and Caleb’s classmates and parents in which we explained the gospel through the Easter story. We also shared Easter evangelistic talks and testimonies in French on social media and WhatsApp. It’s looking unlikely that Lola (6) and Caleb (3) will return to school before September. Please pray for us to make the most of friendships we do have and for others to rebuild in the post-lockdown phase.
We’re grateful to God for the technology which allows one-to-one bible study to keep going. In between looking after the children, Lizzie has been meeting with Lou Clark and a local lady, K, for bible study in Colossians and with M, a French girl, in Romans. Pray for Lizzie as she prepares for those and that God will use his word to grow her and the other ladies in the gospel. Robbie is still meeting with G, a Chilean PhD student at the university here. Pray for his conversion. Robbie also meets with G, a French young worker in the town. Pray for growth in maturity in Christ for him.
We’re very grateful to have more time as a family and are enjoying the less busy weekends in this season. Lizzie’s doing school for the children during the week and they mostly enjoy it! Please pray for energy, joy and patience for Lizzie as she keeps going with that. Also pray for our bible times as a family, that the children would engage with God’s word and understand and believe the gospel. Pray for us as we teach joyful obedience to our children, that God will give us patience, grace and perseverance when they don’t want to obey.
In a strange way, we have been able to meet with our core team and others interested in the project more often than we would have done without the lockdown. We have kept going with our bible studies on Wednesday nights. We have also been running a small prayer gathering on Friday nights to encourage each other as we pray to our heavenly Father together. Please pray for us as we seek to shepherd folks through this season in a way that glorifies God and that lessons learned in Genesis 1-11 about our Creator, humanity, our world and our desperate need of a Saviour would stay with us and change us.
Recently, we had the great encouragement that a Belgian couple for whom we (and you) have been praying for for a long time have agreed to commit to the church plant starting in September! We’re very grateful to God for this answer to prayer! Another girl, C, would love to move here and do her PGCE in the town next year whilst being a member of the plant but the university has been slow getting back to her. Pray that she would hear back soon and that she would been able to join us and serve next year. Despite these encouragements, we are still a small team and would love for others to join us – ask that God will send others who we will be able to serve with at the church plant.
Obviously, none of us know what the next few months hold, but we’re planning and praying to be able to start weekly Sunday meetings from September. We still haven’t found a venue that we could use each week. We have a couple of options and would love to make the most of the next few weeks to explore all avenues in the town. Please pray that God would provide and that an easily accessible venue with room for Sunday School can be found in the town.
Pray that in the run-up to September (and beyond) we would depend on God’s strength. Ask that in the years to come, through his grace, there would be a healthy gospel-centred church planted in Louvain-la-Neuve. Pray that it will make disciples of students and locals together for the glory of God and the good of the worldwide harvest.
Thank you very much for your prayers!
Robbie, Lizzie, Lola, Caleb and Mia
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