Here’s our latest report! Hope you are encouraged!

Hey guys! We are about to finish week 7!!!! of quarantine. One more week of full quarantine to go, but in the meantime, want to update you all!  Greetings to all! Wow! It’s been 7 weeks of confinement now for us here in France. One more week to go till things slowly start to open back up, though we won’t be able to have full church services until June!?! We have been having services online, but boy do we miss physically assembling with the saints. It seems like forever ago, but it was on March 1st that I preached my first sermon in French here in Marseille! Still, we are grateful for the means that we have to communicate, and hope that this email can also encourage you in these challenging times!  We miss our ministry at the retirement center. They have been hit by COVID-19. Please keep them in prayers.  We had a very encouraging trip to Germany in February, this time for the Advanced Bible Study Series. The lessons were top notch and the fellowship very encouraging.  Right before the confinement lockdown hit us, we were blessed to have a visit from Brittney’s Aunt Becky! So good to have family visit us!  It is incredible how much progress the kids have made in their French. Hannah is entirely fluent at this point, and Carys and Jonathan are able to communicate in French as well.  February and March saw the Chretiens en Mission group make several trips that were incredible. I was able to have the opportunity to go back to Africa to visit the Muslim nation of xxxxxx. Due to the large North African community here, we had a flight that was less than $100!  Into xxxxxx Xxxxxxx is a Muslim nation. For this reason, you must be very careful to not mention this trip on any form of social media or public website. We met with “long term Christian workers” who could get kicked out of the country based on a post on Facebook. We met with Christians who meet secretly in their homes, knowing they might end up in prison for their faith. We hoped to encourage yet were instead encouraged by their courage.  I did have the opportunity to preach in xxxxxx, but it was at a gathering for foreigners only. There were police outside for two reasons: first to protect the Christians from Islamic extremists, and secondly to prevent Muslims from coming in and hearing the preaching. The topic I was assigned was Romans 13. It was challenging to imagine long term ministry in such a restrictive country.  This was an incredible trip. Some of the most encouraging people we met I did not take photos of for their safety’s sake, but I ask you to pray for this Muslim country and for the few there who are seeking to know Christ and to share this that they may be protected and guided in their search for the truth and in their life with Christ. Pray that from here in Marseille, God’s word can go forth into this and other Muslim majority countries. Already this is happening, as a former CEM student is a long-term Christian worker in xxxxxx even now.  We had a great team on this trip, but one of the most incredible things was having Khaled and Djedjiga with us on the trip. They are Muslim-background Christians from here in Marseille who are from North Africa originally. Their understanding of the culture, religious background, and multiple languages (Arabic and Berber or Kabyle) opened so many doors and made instant connections. It drove home how reaching people in Marseille can impact the broader Muslim world. They would also prove invaluable on the next trip, which a week later was to Greece. Khaled actually prevented a robbery of the group because he could understand a group of Algerians making plans and appealed to them as his countrymen!  Paul wrote his letter to the church in Thessaloniki almost 2000 years ago, and last month Brittney and the other CEM students, along with Jackson, Rania, Greg, Katie, Esther, Khaled and Djediga got to visit this city on their trip to Greece. This, along with our trip to Germany and my trip to xxxxxx, was our 3rd international trip in just one month. It was a very encouraging and eye-opening trip.  Greece has been the European landing point for over 1 million refugees, mostly fleeing the violence in Syria which has gone on now for over 9 years. There are presently tens of thousands of refugees waiting on their status in Greece, with over half of them being women and children. One of the primary focuses of the trip to Greece was to help those who are helping these people, reaching them with the love of Christ. It is a significant opportunity for the Gospel, as many have been disillusioned with Islam and seeking something better. Brittney and the group were able to minister to many, though we must also be discreet in sharing photos. Some of the refugee camps are breeding grounds for Islamic extremism, and becoming a Christian can put a refugee living in the camps in considerable danger.  On these trips, there were no baptisms or quick conversions. Reaching people with Muslim backgrounds, like reaching the secularized agnostic French takes years of consistency and devotion. These trips drove home the importance of patience and perseverance, if lives are going to be truly changed, if there are going to be more Khaled and Djedjigas. In February, Brittney made a cake to help share in celebrating Katie and Greg’s 30 years in Marseille, and it was very uplifting to see some of the fruit of their patient persistence. We pray God can use us similarly.  Thank you all for reading this far, for your prayers and continued support. We pray for you and for the great turmoil in the world at this time. May God continue to use you to spread the good virus of faith, to save people’s eternal souls! Love, the Hostetters

A WONDERFUL WINTER!

Hostetter’s December-January Update!

 
 
Greetings all! We hope you all are doing well, especially considering the global pandemic that has paralyzed the world! We are stuck inside for the next two weeks as France has been quarantined, and that has changed how we will minister, do our classes and live our life of love here. We are learning to do things online, and to reach people from our homes. On the upside, we now have time to catch up with some stuff we’ve wanted to do but haven’t had time to stop and focus on… such as sharing updates with you all! Our December and January were great! Here’s a few highlights, from CEM exams, to Christmas programs, a trip to Ghana, meals together, baptism and more! Whew! Don’t forget even in these tough times, God is truly good!
 
The Hospitable Hostetters
One thing that we have really found to be a great way to build relationships here in France is to eat together. France has a strong culture of spending time together at the table. Look at this table:

Missions in France is a long-term effort… to build relationships with people, to show our true love and concern for people over time, and through this, we have a footing on which to share faith with others. We have really been convicted about the importance of hospitality and sharing meals together, for many powerful conversations happen around the table. 1 Peter 4:7-11 demonstrates how it is one of the powerful methods of serving one another.
The Christmas program of the church was a huge evangelistic outreach! There were close to 200 people present for the nativity play and the concert. Our kids were blessed to be able to be part of this program.
Hannah was a prophet and wise “man”, Jonathan was a shepherd and Carys an angel. I had the opportunity to be part of the choir. The news of Jesus’ incarnation was powerfully shared with many outside of the church!
One tremendous blessing we had in December was the opportunity to visit Ghana for Christmas! We are so grateful to a friend who helped pay for tickets so we could be there at the same time as all of Jeremiah’s sisters. Our kids really were blessed to spend time with their fellow missionary cousins.
I learned to preach and share the gospel in Ghana. It was an honor to be able to preach and teach several times while there. The church in Kumasi has done much to send people out, even when it has come at a cost to their own growth.
 
Probably the greatest moment of January was to see Dylan and Marvin give their lives to Christ in the waters of baptism. Dylan’s muslim father was there to witness his baptism. He comes from a very tough neighborhood, but has chosen to make his residence in heaven. Marvin’s grandmother died the week before his baptism, but this meant that many of his family had come to town for the funeral and ended up coming to his baptism. He took the opportunity to proclaim his faith and hope to his family. It was incredibly encouraging and powerful. We are honored to be their family in Christ.
It’s hard to summarize two months packed with ministry in a few paragraphs, but we are blessed and grateful that God has put us here and provided us with many different opportunities to minister. Being stuck at home has been already a challenge, as we miss our English class, our visits to the nursing home, our meals together, and our work with the church, but we are grateful to live in this age of modern technology when we can do video classes, and stay in touch with all of you. We will continue to pray for you all during these tough times in the coming weeks and months, and hope that the knowledge that God’s kingdom continues to spread here in France and that the message of hope and eternal life continues to be shared. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. You help make this possible! Next week, maybe when you all are stuck home like us, ha ha, we hope to also send an update on a number of missionary trips we got to take the last 6 weeks. Until then, Au Revoir, et Que Dieu Vous Bénissez.
Email Us!

Hostetterministries@yahoo.com