Since 2006, God has used LYDIA International and their partnership with a local evangelical church to minister to children and families in the southern port city of Marseille, France. In the neighborhood named “Les Crottes” (which politely translates as “Doggie doo-doo”), most of the families live in extreme poverty and many parents cannot read nor write. Illiteracy has condemned these families to the repeating cycle of being outcasts from society as well as being unable to improve their living situation.
Weekly Gospel Clubs
Each week we welcome the neighborhood children to a Gospel Club. There is a Bible lesson as well as songs, a craft or game, and a snack. During the early years, most of the children did not speak French nor did they attend school. Since these children didn’t know the days of the week and they had no concept of time, they were found often standing outside the church door from morning to afternoon hoping it was a club day. When the kids saw a familiar person they would call out the fragmented sentence, “When club?” The answer was usually given both orally and by the showing of fingers to help them understand. Currently there are several children that faithfully attend the club whose parents attended clubs many years ago.
Realizing that the children needed more academic help, tutoring sessions became available. Volunteers worked with the children either individually or in small groups to help them learn letters, basic math skills, and to practice the French language by learning simple phrases and vocabulary words. One eight-year-old boy sat in front of the door and waited over two hours to have his turn doing math. After an hour of math activities, he pleaded with us to let him stay longer.
In the past decade there have been some exciting things happening. Despite the language difficulties, many children are able to understand that God loves them. Each year we have seen groups of children ask Jesus to forgive them and wash their hearts clean. What a joy to see their lives changing as God’s love transforms their hearts!
The 2017-2018 school year was the first year that these kids stayed in school for the entire academic year. What a wonderful answer to prayer! The children continue to learn, and they are catching up academically. They are now able to have discussions in French, read posters on the door, and they can now discuss and answer questions about the club’s Bible lesson. It is not unusual to see children waiting outside the door for their turn to have a tutoring session. These children want to learn. In 2018, one mom participated in tutoring sessions along with her children because she wanted to learn to read too.
Prayer is Crucial
God answers prayers. We need and appreciate your prayer support! Will you pause and pray right now that God will continue to show His love to these children and families and to make disciples in this neighborhood?
French philosopher Blaise Pascal’s prayer echoes the cry of our hearts, “Lord, help us to do great things as though they were small since we do them with Your power, and small things as though they were great, since we do them in Your name.”
For Financial Support
Tax-deductible gifts may be mailed to:
LYDIA Home Association
4300 W. Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60641-2525
Please mark “France” on the memo line of the check or money order.
To email the team in Marseille, or to receive email update letters, click here