'We've seen God moving impossible mountains for us already'
Youth With A Mission is a global movement of Christians from many cultures, age groups, and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world. Alice Baxter reports on exciting developments in Paris
Staff and students of YMAM Paris Connect, January 2019
It was the last day of September 2017, and we were on the road at dawn. A convoy of three, one truck and two cars, with 12 of us making the move, from Biarritz, a coastal town in the south of France, to Paris, the nation’s capital of 12 million.
A few months before we had sensed God say to be in Paris by October first. This seemed an impossible task; to find accommodation for 12, in one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world, with finances to get there and stay there, all within a couple of months. We booked our truck before any accommodation was finalised, in faith that God had a plan.
And he did! We woke up in our first rental apartment, with a one month contract, on the first of October.
I look back now at faith steps like these and see that God has been leading us this way from the beginning.
I am part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Paris Connect. We are an international, missional training community, living and working together in Paris, with a call to know God and make him known. We have a specific heart to reach Europe and the nations in the 10/40 window*. Our desire is to share with them the Good News of Jesus, through training, evangelism and mercy ministries.
Every three months we run Discipleship Training Schools (DTSs), sending teams of young people into these nations, with a simple plan - hear God and do it. We have a vision to grow into a University of the Nations campus, where we run a myriad of training programs and ministries.
With this large vision, our small team set out for Paris. We secured further accommodation for the months of November and December. This gave us time to find a home for the soon to be 40 of us, with our first DTS starting on January 7, 2018 (pictured, right). We sent out countless rental applications without success. Phone calls and meetings, house visits and emails, all to no avail. Real estate agents were nervous of working with an association, and many others simply stated that it would not be possible.
At this point we could have easily given up, but together we held onto God’s promises and vision for us.
Late in December 2017 the breakthrough came. On the 28th we found a large house just east of Paris listed to host 10 people. We boldly asked the owner if he would be willing to rent it for three months, and if we could house 30 people while paying one third of the advertised price. To our astonishment, he said yes! We signed a contract on New Year's Eve and moved in the next day. Our God made a way for us!
This gave us three more months to search for something more permanent. After a total of 232 denied requests, and much prayer and persistence, we found our base. A three-year contract on a warehouse, in the Parisian suburb of Aubervilliers. At the beginning of April 2018 we moved in, ready for God’s growing vision to flourish. Within six weeks on this site, we signed three more, three year contracts on other properties within the area, and now have the capacity to accommodate over 80 people. What was said to be impossible became our reality!
I am privileged to be part of a community who seek out God’s will, and hold fast to it no matter what. It has led us on some surprising adventures.
In September 2018, as we welcomed in our second year, we sensed it would be a year of establishing, and someone would offer to sell us land.
Although an unexpected step forward so early in our journey, we were eager to see how God would fulfill this word. Less than two months later in November, the owner of the warehouse with the three year lease asked if we would like to purchase the property, together with the warehouse next door! (pictured)
Now, 10 months later after many meetings with lawyers, bankers, architects and town planners, we have signed an agreement to purchase the property. However, we need to raise 2.5 million euros before we can acquire the land and warehouses.
An impossible project, some may say. But we've seen God moving impossible mountains for us already. I have been fully persuaded that God has the power to do what he has promised (Romans 4:21). I look forward to seeing how God will bring another impossibility into reality.
To hear more about the YWAM Paris Connect journey and to see how you can partner with us, head to www.ywamparisconnect.com/property-project/
* 10/40 is a term coined by Christian missionary strategist and Partners International CEO Luis Bush in 1990 to refer to regions of the eastern hemisphere, plus the European and African part of the western hemisphere, located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator. It's where the majority of the world’s unreached people groups live
Alice Baxter, 31, is a Melbourne-born Australian who has been serving with YWAM France since 2015. Alice is supported in Paris, prayerfully and financially, by three Baptists churches in Australia - Hawthorn West Baptist Church, Concord Baptist Church and Hobart Baptist Church