CHURCH PLANTING UPDATE

Église protestante de la Cambre

Greetings from Brussels!

This bulletin contains some reflections and 
news about the planting of Église
protestante de la Cambre in Brussels as well
as prayer topics scattered through the text.
We hope that you will enjoy reading it!
Confessing the name of Jesus

“To a! who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” —John 1:12

It is a privilege and a tremendous joy to witness firsthand God calling someone and bringing about a
new birth. The gospel truly is God’s power unto salvation and we give Him glory for the stories of two
ladies who confessed the name of Jesus during the last months.

Geneviève


Geneviève, who used to be Esther and Olivier’s neighbor, and who has been an atheist her whole life (with absolutely no contact with Christianity), attended our church for a few months two years ago, but then stopped coming. In December she called Esther to tell her about her many problems and Esther told her the enemy was keeping her from finding God, and that if she wanted help, she should say: “Jesus, help me!” She agreed and did so on the spot! The next Sunday she came to our church, and was relieved when Olivier told her: “Jesus is stronger than Satan.” During the service she told us: “I felt like Jesus was in front of me, and I was opening up my heart to him” (she had never heard about “accepting Jesus in one’s heart”).  She ate with Olivier and Esther at noon, and Olivier led her in a prayer for the forgiveness of her sins, accepting Jesus in her life and deciding to follow him. Her first words were: “thank you God!” Since then she is meeting with them every two weeks to read the Bible, pray and learn more about Jesus.

Please pray

Gene’s circumstances (family/health/finances) are extremely difficult. Please pray with us that she will hang on to Jesus in the middle of her suffering and that he will give her peace and joy. Pray that her faith will grow, and that Jesus will help her find solutions.

 

Shima


Matthew met Shima randomly in a café  nearby our church building. She is a scientist working as a researcher at the University of Brussels and of Iranian origins. It was obvious that God was at work in her heart as she was eagerly asking questions about religions and the meaning of life. Her spiritual quest had already taken her from Islam to a number of different religions and philosophies. A near-death experience that had happened to her a few years ago had enhanced her thirst for meaning and freedom.  She was emotionally overwhelmed when Matthew told her about Jesus  because he was not the first one to do so. “I keep on coming across this Jesus these last months,” she said.  After a number of conversations, we gave her a copy of John’s Gospel and she wrote to us: “I feel Jesus Christ is the one I was looking for. I started reading the Bible last night and I found these statements profoundly moving.  Jesus is real.  I believe in him. [She quoted a number of texts from the first and tenth chapters of John’s Gospel.] It means the road to my liberation is to leave all and become children of God! It’s like a transcendental relationship I was looking for and I have never experienced in my life. In Islam God is holy, you cannot be his child! You are there to please him. In Jesus I am in a empowered position I can be sure that God loves me no matter what and I’m free of fears. It’s very shocking.” Jesus has kept crossing her path since then in a number of ways.

Please pray

For Shima’s protection as she painfully realizes that her numerous spiritual quests of the past have led her to be in touch with dangerous powers. People involved with black magic have recently tried to overpower her soon after her confession. Pray also for guidance and wisdom. Her research projects at the university are based on premises that are directly opposed to her new faith and she is going through a tough time at work because she has already quitted working on a number of things.

Jam ‘n’ Joy(n)

Our missional communities have launched a monthly social event that occurs on the first Friday of the month at our church’s Pavilion (name: “Jam ‘n’ Joy(n)”). It is a Jam night with a potluck dinner.

The church’s neighborhood, Ixelles, is the cultural center of Brussels and home to many artists. The last edition gathered about 50 people of all horizons, about half of which were not Christians. Many are surprised by the diversity of people attending the event and can’t make any sense out of it. It is indeed rare to see such a mix: many nationalities represented, young professionals, artists, single mums, poor and rich people, families with kids, students, workers for the European institutions, all eating and enjoying live music together. The
number of meaningful conversations over the course of this evening is very high and connections with our community are established.

Please pray

For the next Jam ‘n’ Joy(n) events,  on the 7th of March, the 5th of May and the 2nd of June.

Missional Communities

One of the most encouraging developments of the last six months concerns our missional communities. A number of people have committed themselves to investing time and energy in order to establish missional neighborhood groups. These community groups focus on fellowship, mutual care, discipleship, evangelism and local involvement in the community. We are in the process of strengthening and equipping the leaders of our six groups, some of which are already well developed while some others have just started. It is exciting to see new communities emerging in different neighborhoods. This is also a great opportunity in terms of developing future elders for the church, as the shepherding of those communities is partly similar to the role of elders.

Please pray

For each one of these community groups leaders (see the pictures below), that their community groups may be contexts for efficient discipleship and evangelism. That some of those groups would eventually grow into new local churches.

Worship Venues

On the move


The Pavilion in which we worship on Sundays has been an incredible tool for the last two years. Unfortunately, we have discovered that our church won’t be able to worship there any longer because the building does not
meet adequate standards of fire safety. Our goal is to rent worship venues somewhere else starting from September.

We would love to keep on using the Pavilion as a headquarter for our community activities and offices, but it is not possible for us to manage the Pavilion on our own and someone else would have to oversee and support a new project of ministry center in the building.

Please pray For God’s guidance and providence as we look for practical solutions in terms of
infrastructures.

Baptisms

Two people got baptized last February and it was a great celebration. They wanted their baptism to occur outdoor and finding an appropriate place in our urban context happened to be challenging. But the abbey next to our church’s street (La Cambre Abbey) has a nice pond in its park and it provided a nice even if epic context for the baptisms.

Please pray
For Emma and Marc who got baptized. May the Lord strengthen them and help them bear much fruits for His
glory.

Church Planters News

✦ Olivier and Esther have witnessed a strong increase in evangelistic opportunities in their neighborhood South of Brussels during the last six months and have had a growing sense that the Lord is calling them to focus on making disciples in their own town. We are rejoicing to see this new work’s opportunities. 2017 will be a year of transition for them as they will officially leave their responsibilities as church planters of Eglise protestante de la Cambre in December 2017. Please pray for God’s guidance and providence in terms of financial support during this transition. Pray for Esther who is applying for a number of positions as a research fellow.

✦ It is a pretty intense but very good semester for Matthieu and Christella. Their family has grown with the arrival of their second child, Ismaël, on the 10th of January, a month earlier than expected and three days after having moved into a new apartment. Christella is well on her way to validate the remaining credits of her first year of the master degree in Law at the University of Brussels. Between family, studies and church planting, Matthieu and Christella are kept busy but very grateful to God for the many blessings this semester is bringing. Pray that the Lord will increase their passion and give them much strength for the ministry at Eglise protestante de la Cambre.

Praying for Evangelism

Many people around us are interested in the things of the faith, but four of them currently stand out as they are actively exploring the Gospel.

Please pray for
✦ Anne, teacher in secondary school, who is struggling to raise her kids on her own and is trying to put the pieces of a spiritual puzzle together. Pray that our church community might be supporting her and witnessing powerfully.

✦ Alessandro, a young Muslim man living next to the church building. Matthieu is regularly discussing with him about the reliability of the Gospel’s accounts and the Quran. Pray that God might open his heart to His true Word.

✦ Frédéric, a young engineer who reads the bible regularly with Olivier and Esther and earnestly desires to know God. Pray that God will give him a real and lively faith in Jesus.

✦ John, working as a doorman for a casino, recently said that he believes for the first time in his life that there is a God. In his words, he now wants “to know who is this sir, Jesus”. He is reading Luke’s Gospel with Matthieu and is involved with one of our missional communities. Pray that he might receive the Word and be saved.

Contact Information


If you would like to visit us one day, just let us know! We would be delighted to welcome you, take you
on a tour of our beautiful city and show you our ministry context.

Olivier Engels


E-mail: oli.engels@icloud.com
Phone: +32 477 85 09 17

Matthieu Klass


E-mail: matthieu.klass@gmail.com
Phone: +32 479 43 40 47