Paris has always been called the ‘City of Light’, and its beauty attracts visitors from all over the world. Thousands of people walk along the streets of this grand city every year, passing historic landmarks and perusing through high-end shops. However, not everyone experiences Paris in the same way. For some, Paris is a place of daily struggle. To the homeless in Paris a hard bench or the cold street is home. On empty stomachs they face each day in desperate need of shelter and food.
Madeline is a young woman from California, USA. She went for three months to France, where she helped the OM Team with various jobs. Literacy classes, being part of the communication department and serving meals to the homeless were part of her program. As she looks back on her immense memories, she has one evening on her mind.
During her time in France, she had the opportunity to help at an association called Mission évangélique parmi les sans-logis (Evangelical mission among the homeless) with Celine Léchot, another OM France team member. This organisation provides daily meals and a story of hope to those facing some horrible conditions. “One of the unique aspects of this association is the passion for sharing God’s word with those arriving for a hot meal,” said Madeline. “Before each meal a Bible story is shared. As we listen and observe we can see those who are interested in the story and others who are impatient.”
While serving the meal, the team gets to have interactions with the guests. “One lady specifically loves to talk to Celine,” said Madeline. “You can see the trust building in their relationship. Celine has had the opportunity to take her for a hot chocolate a couple of times now and it has been a great encouragement in this sweet woman’s life.”
“Keep your smiles!” said one man to Madeline and the other team members as he left one night. “Even now I am struck by these words. This man lives in a bleak situation, in a situation that seems hopeless, yet he chose to notice joy. He was thankful for a simple smile, and in return I was thankful to him for reminding me to appreciate the little things.”
God is doing an amazing work within the lives of the homeless in Paris, according to Madeline. Each evening the ‘preacher’ will talk to individuals and ask if he can write down their name so he may pray for them. Some are not interested but others eagerly share their needs. “This ministry is thriving as those who are hurting meet those who care,” said Madeline. “Most importantly they can hear of Jesus’ love and the relationship they may experience in Him, they only need to call on His name.”
OM France would appreciate your prayers for this association and for the homeless people who hear about the gospel there.