From a Pioneers in Europe Field Worker in France
If I said the words “Madonna and Lourdes” you might start thinking about the controversial singer and her daughter. But did you know that Lourdes is a town in France that is captivated by worship of The Madonna, the mother of Jesus?
Lourdes is a Catholic town with a population of around 15,000 people. It hosts almost six million pilgrims every year, who come seeking the Virgin Mary for healing. It was here in Lourdes in 1858 that fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous saw apparitions of a lady who declared herself to be the Immaculate Conception. Nearly 800 years before, the region had been given to the authority of the Virgin Mary. Today the town is filled with hotels and religious souvenir shops for pilgrims, and the entire economy of Lourdes is dependent on the business of Mary-worship.
There hasn't been a Protestant church in Lourdes for more than 35 years. In 2015, a Pioneers team moved into town. The team is led by Australian Pioneers worker Lauren, and they have been labouring through prayer and relationship building over many years towards the goal the Lord placed on their hearts: that Jesus would be worshipped by a body of believers in Lourdes. This has required a battle in the heavenly realms, as they are facing an opposition that is felt, but often unseen. But praise God, greater is he that is in us! We are excited to share that on the 10th December 2016 the new evangelical church was launched in Lourdes with a Christmas gathering. Official services will begin in 2017.
Please pray for the new church in Lourdes, as they establish a light in the darkness. They will be coming across much opposition, so pray that their faith will stay strong and that they would be led by God's wisdom. Pray too for another worker, Hannah, as she prepares to join the team. She will be gathering a support network to pray for her and support her financially.