Earlier this Spring I had the amazing opportunity of traveling to Europe with a friend for eleven days. It was a dream come true. Although it’s incredibly hard to pick a favorite, I think it was beautiful Switzerland with farmlands and rolling hills all around me, and the majestic alps soaring high above me. There are simply no words to describe this magnificent display of our Creator God. It took my breath away. (Or maybe that was just the high altitude.)
I plan to post some pictures soon of this trip, but as an “intro,” I want to share something God taught me. I was given a glimpse into how the Lord is stirring the hearts of French-speaking women in Europe through the passion and prayers of one woman in the French-Swiss valley of Motiers, Switzerland.
Meet Mary Anne
It was only day one of my time with this new friend and already it was readily apparent that Mary Anne Piaget was deeply in love with Someone who had captured her heart. You can see it in her face and hear it in her voice. Mary Anne is passionate about telling others about Jesus. Her personality is not that of a public speaker or evangelist, she’s just that excited about her God.
What would inspire an introvert of few words to boldly share her faith? Perhaps the better question is, what could keep a redeemed sinner from bubbling over with joy at the goodness of her God? This is the God who brought her out of darkness and into His marvelous light when she was a young married woman from Canada, recently transplanted into Switzerland. This is the God who was with her as she endured years of a difficult marriage to an abusive unbeliever. This is the God who invaded the heart of her husband and radically changed him into a loving man of God.
These and other life experiences are what God used to shape and grow her into who she is today. He instilled in her a passion to share the love she was given, to tell of the hope that is within her, and to pray for revival and renewal for her country.
“We need You, God, so much,” she prayed with me. “We cry out to You and humble ourselves and ask You for mercy for our countries and our people.”
A Heart Full of Passion
I first met Mary Anne a year or so earlier on her visit to the National Ministry Center in Michigan, where Revive Our Hearts is based. Mary Anne learned of Revive Our Hearts in 2011 through a friend and attended her first True Woman conference the following year. She was mesmerized by the abundance of Christian resources and teaching available in English, which is so lacking in the French language.
It was at this event in 2012 that Mary Anne heard testimonies from Laura Gonzalez and Patricia Saladin of how God was moving in the Dominican Republic to form what is now our Spanish ministry, Aviva Nuestros Corazones. Her heart leapt inside her at the prospect of God doing in Europe what He did in the Dominican.
“I just so praise our Lord for what He’s accomplishing through women like Laura and Patricia,” she commented on a 2013 transcript on our webpage. “My heart bursts with the same passion for the French-speaking world.”
She longed to be a part of such a movement in her own country, but knew the task was too great to accomplish alone. She began to pray, believing God to call other women in Switzerland and Europe to join her in carrying out this mission.
She went on to say, “I just can’t wait to see how our Lord is going to bring about a French website. I really feel that this burning desire in my heart is His and I’m just a tiny puzzle piece.”
Progress toward this dream has been slow going, but she remains hopeful. There are few women in her area who equally share her burden, but those who do are just as passionate about praying for revival, and hope to someday soon see Revive Our Hearts in the French language become a reality. In Europe, there is mostly a feminist mindset among women, even within the church, with influences from rationalism and humanism. There’s no concept of biblical womanhood, and no Christian radio station or women’s ministry of any kind.
Light in the Darkness
After seeing Switzerland and other parts of Europe for myself, I came away with a much greater compassion for our lost sisters across the pond. It’s one thing to read statistics and hear about the spiritual darkness which pervades most of Europe. It’s another to actually walk the streets with these people. To see where they live. To hear their native tongue so foreign to my own ears. To see in their eyes the emptiness inside.
Despite the spiritual condition of Europe, God is at work. He hasn’t forgotten the plight of the women over there who are suppressed in darkness, but is faithfully wooing hearts into the kingdom through faithful servants such as Mary Anne.
So what can we who are so far away do for the lost in Europe and all around the world? Matthew 9 provides us with an example of what Jesus did when for a people in need:
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Matt. 9:35-38)
Working backwards through the text, we see a number of calls to action.
- We can pray. We know the need is great. The harvest is plentiful. (vv. 37-38) Are you earnestly praying to the Lord of the harvest to provide laborers in His fields? How can you help lift up in prayer our missionaries and other ambassadors of Christ and share their burden for the lost?
- We can show compassion. It was compassion that prompted Jesus to instruct His disciples to pray for laborers. He saw the crowds “were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” and He had compassion on them. (v. 36) Do you ignore the plight of the poor, the widow, the orphan, the needy? (see also James 1:27) How might God choose to use you if you let Him?
- We can proclaim the gospel. Jesus did this with His words by teaching the people. But He also lived out the gospel with His actions when He healed and comforted the afflicted. (v. 35) How are you using both your words and actions to proclaim the gospel?
- We can go. “Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages.” (v. 35) Sometimes God calls us to go to a foreign country to fulfill the great commission. But He calls us all of us to serve right where are, close to home. (Matt. 28:16-20) What has God called you to do in your own country, neighborhood, or home?
Let’s remember our French-speaking sisters in Europe who are desperately searching for hope and peace. Let’s remember women like Mary Anne who are faithfully loving their neighbors as themselves. And let’s remember all of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and lift them up in prayer.