We are Jeff and Sonia Stewart!
In 2017, after hearing the Lord call us to France during the week of fasting and prayer at Coastline in 2015, we moved along with our children, Josephine and Asher, to France. After working with the Calvary Chapel Bible college in Paris for a year with Stevie and Chelsea Ekkelkamp, we were all sent out to plant a church in Vernon, France. That church will be celebrating 3 years this June! Called, Eglise Trouveé, (French for “Found Church,”) the church has recently merged with a body of believers who have been without a pastor for 12 years. It has been a miraculous movement of God’s Spirit, and we are constantly amazed. God has answered our prayers in abundance, faithfully providing us with meeting places, bringing salvation, baptisms, and disciples.
The Lord is doing a new work here, which is what we felt very strongly when we left America. We were entering a season of new wine skins. Often it is challenging and stretching to go forward in the new avenues He is calling us to. But He is faithful to equip those He calls. The work is truly the Lord’s. The responsibility is on him, and the glory is all His!
The church merger has brought us an entire group of mature believers who are extremely engaged in the ministry. We always say, it’s like we’ve adopted an entire church of leaders. Right now we are in the process of encouraging everyone to walk in their calling, while making sure that everything is centered on Christ. There’s a real organic growth in every aspect of the church, including organization. We have an active children’s ministry, that is deciding on a curriculum so the kids will have a thorough and consistent understanding of God’s word. We have a Jr. High age group forming, a young adult group, and we are waiting until we can restart women’s bible study and men’s bible study. We have a full worship team, deacons are being decided on in the next few weeks, and elders. We have a group of Spanish speakers, and so Jeff is learning Spanish for the Spanish bible study that is going to start soon. This walk with Jesus is always an adventure!
We had to change location when the covid restrictions were enacted. So, while we used to be in the center of town, we are now a 30 min drive in the country at a retreat center. While it is stunningly beautiful, we were worried our church members wouldn’t be able to make the drive, since some of them don’t have licenses. But, just like Coastline, people will drive to hear the good news. They formed carpools and make the sacrifice each week to come and worship Jesus together with their new brothers and sisters.
Another amazing thing, the Lord has done an extraordinary work in healing the hearts of those in the other church who were injured and offended by one another. We spend a lot of time praying, seeking, and waiting on the Lord. We find that communication, humility and patience have been absolutely essential in this new phase. And of course, love. We pray when we find our frustrations popping up, Lord give us Your heart for this situation, this person, this trial. Help us to love them the way You do. God is so faithful to help us and fill us with Him when we are humble and ask Him for help.
Life isn’t perfect. We watch with heartbreak when people choose sin and destruction. But this is the life as believers. We pray and continue and praise Him with all creation.
God bless you all richly for your prayers and support. We will all cast crowns for this work when we see Him. Praise God for what is doing here and at Coastline. We love you all and miss you so dearly! You are our family and we long to be with you again!