Does an official retirement from the ministry mean the end of that ministry? Not so for the King who calls to serve him. His Word-Commandment renews, reconstructs and re-dedicates to himself every "inch" over which he claims absolute do-minion. In time, and out of time, while "officially active" or "officially retired," we remain his witnesses.
In addition to the Armenian language outreach, it is still my privilege to be involved in the French ministry. Therefore I would like to share with you news from various fields. Our "mission is still alive and well." The past two years have been eventful. Due to some "administrative oddities," we were requested to eliminate our original name (I had created it). Therefore, our work now bears the title of REFORMED FAITH AND LIFE (Foi et Vieréformées, in French). But the vision has not been altered, nor has the zeal weakened; we hope that your interest and prayers on our behalf also remain unchanged. We have decided to carry it on uncompromisingly in times such as ours, when almost all branches of the church, Reformed not excluded, experience theological, ecclesiastical, ethical, and cultural turmoil. Confusion blurs the sight, syncretism becomes the rule, preaching of the Gospel is relativized, and often mission work is carried on as a soulless business. Therefore it is our God-given responsibility to keep close to the Biblical agenda.
Our son Eric (a candidate to the ministry and assigned successor of ours) has recently obtained — with honors — his degrees in French literature and in theology in South Africa. During a recent African trip we made together, he realized on the ground the necessity and urgency of the work in which his Dad had been involved. Together, we established the AFRICAN REFORMED ALLIANCE (A.R.A.). In this body, including several of the Reformed Confessing Churches, the French broadcast ministry has been established, and is a vital MUST for developing Reformed Christianity in Africa. According to reports and letters received, new congregations join existing Reformed denominations, on the basis of a genuinely Reformed confession and with a Biblical church discipline in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Burundi, and (amazingly, if we consider the political situation) in the former Zaire and elsewhere. When mail is normally running, we take advantage of sending with no delays our urgently requested publications. Several of these Reformed churches have established their own Bible schools to train future ministers or "lay" leaders. Of course, they use our books. Four former Zairian students having concluded their theological training are now back to home, ready to work in the vast field. Meeting them recently in South Africa, I realized how serious and solid their determination was to follow the paths opened by the French Broadcast and Literature ministry. The opportunity was also offered to me to express my deepest gratitude to the Reformed churches in South Africa whose genuine missionary concern and Reformed convictions had enabled these young people to receive their training. Had the conditions been normal, more Reformed churches, such as in Togo, or elsewhere, would also start training church leaders.
Sylvestre C. is a Burundi young minister. He and his family escaped certain death, fleeing first to Tanzania, then reaching Kenya. Our ministry has taken him into charge and we are looking for the possibility to introduce him into a theological school. Despite the utmost despairing conditions which have been theirs for more than three years, the family is not giving up the hope to serve the Lord in the newly constituted Reformed church in Burundi. Will you please mention Sylestre and his family, the church in Burundi, in your prayers?
After recent political changes, Haiti is experiencing a real religious boom that has resulted in he reception of hundreds of letters from the W. I. island. Here our radio programs are broadcast, publications distributed and training and disciplining both ministers and lay, and our T.V. programs coveted. Please remember Haiti in your prayers also.
You may wonder what is happening in Europe. Like Americans, Europeans are anxiously looking forward to January 1999, when the newly coined EURO will start circulating as a common currency. Our mission is to invite Europeans to look up, to the Lord of their Salvation, in whom is their only permanent hope for a solid reconstruction in all respects. Our recorded messages are still being broadcast on many local stations. Letters requesting either cassettes or the written text, are, as before, received regularly. Some of you may be ignorant of the fact that, in addition to the "Roman Catholic"church, there are some twenty independent "Catholic"churches. A correspondent of ours, now a minister in an evangelical church, writes to tell how much he is benefiting from the study of our publications. Guess what was his former hierarchical position before his conversion: an archbishop of one of those independent churches! Our literature, more than fifty titles, on doctrinal, theological, ethical, evangelistic subjects and content, has been widely distributed during the past thirty years. When finances allow, we print new titles for disciplining and training purposes. DIDASKALIA is the correspondence course; its advanced level only has been maintained, mainly for lack of financial resources. Some 25 students benefit from it.
I could have added thousands of other details, signaling the necessity of this ministry. Before closing, allow me to remind you that to carry it on, we will need your substantial financial support. A joint missionary plan is being elaborated by several Reformed churches, convinced of the MUST of it. Would you please become our partner?
Friends, the Lord takes our limited means and small talents to use them for his glory and the furthering of his Kingdom. REFORMED FAITH AND LIFE relies on his promises and your active participation. A young African minister, one of our converts, was recently writing: "Moses, be not be discouraged. There are Aarons praying for you while you are leading the battle."Well, Aaron-Moses, Moses-Aaron, I am happy to share with you the above lines about this outreach. We believe that we have no right to give it up, even when outward conditions may not seem to be the most favorable.
P. S.- your contributions may be sent to RFL; mention the French Ministry:
Reformed Faith and Life
12233 S. 70th Ave.
Palos Heights, IL 60463