God Lifts Discouragement

Taylor’s Story
Les Navigateurs, France

As an American serving with The Navigators in France (Les Navigateurs), I am frequently asked about my work—I engage university students in Bible discussions. Usually my “job” doesn’t make sense to people and at times I get discouraged.

On a recent visit to Finland, I went to a well-known church in Helsinki that holds a service called “Thomasmesse.” It’s a service for those who are doubting or discouraged—like Thomas the disciple.

The service was completely in Finnish, so I had some trouble following the flow. But at one point I realized they were inviting people to ask for prayer. I summoned up the courage to share my struggles and found a man who spoke English. I briefly explained that I was a missionary in France and I did weekly Bible studies with students, but I was discouraged in my work.

He cut me off and shook my hand. “I am so glad God put you in France,” he said. “I became a believer during student Bible studies here in Finland led by The Navigators.”

I was flabbergasted. When I had requested prayer, I hadn’t mentioned that I worked with The Navigators. And I knew that The Navigators had not been active in Finland for many years, so I was surprised to hear him mention our ministry. It was inexplicable that he would specifically talk about The Navigators!

I told him that I worked with The Navigators in France. Amazed, he immediately began to point out all the people in the church doing full-time ministry who were discipled by The Navigators two decades ago. Then he prayed with me, asking God to encourage me and bring fruit.

After we prayed, he left me with these words: “Your work is very important,” he said. “Reaching individual students with the Gospel is essential. In 20 or 30 years there will be people all over France following Jesus and doing ministry because of what you are doing!”

Clearly my meeting with this man was God-sent. His words and prayers put courage back in me. I don’t even know his name, but I know that he lifted my head to see the long-term impact of ministry. God is truly faithful!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

  • Praise God for the faithfulness of Taylor and those serving with The Navigators around the world.
  • Pray that students in France who are invited to read the Bible will encounter Jesus and want to follow Him.
  • Pray that those who follow Jesus will invest in the next generation of disciples, so that the more can come to know and serve Jesus.

Comments:

  1. Brilliant article Taylor! You have already been an encouragement to so many young French people, keep up the good work!! Really glad to see France on the weekly!

    1. Stan, my wife and I worked alongside students with the Navs at UMass from 1995-2008. The Lord is still answering prayers for New England. Please pray for the Nav work at UMass and if you get a chance encourage the staff there with your story.

  2. wonderful, moving story. Keep up the good work. I shall donate next time I am asked.Ihave in the past but skipped last time…… God bless. My son was in Navigators few yrs. back while in US Navy. (I don’t use credit card, only check, US mail.

  3. What a great testimony and a reminder that even if we cannot always see the harvest from the seeds we plant, God is faithful to provide farmers along the way to complete His work. What an encouragement!

  4. I was greatly encouraged to read this very honest testimony of both discouragement and God-ordained encouragement. God bless you richly for doing His work in France with the Navigators. The long-term fruit, 20-30 years later, is something we have to trust to God by faith. In the meantime, we need the continual encouragement of fellow beilevers to continue in the work. So glad you found some of God’s people there in Finland and that you spoke up to ask for prayer.

  5. Dear Taylor,
    Thank you for your continued work in Paris…..even though France is a “hard” place. I have been in France and Switz. for 60 years, (30 with l’Abri Fellowship in Switz._) . and understand you. Don’t ever think you are wasting your time….It is the Lord’s “time” and it is His Spirit that “works”. I am now doing Bible studies with 2 women who came to the French l’Abri Christmas parties in the 70ies, then married, then divorced and returned to their little mountain village….and through reading their daily “Bonne Semence”, our talks and the Bible, both became believers on their own….I have many cups of coffee and tea with ladies in the village, with whom I share the Truths, who knew me as well back in the 70ies ( when l’Abri was in Thollon) and so it is a LONG road for these dear French folk so don’t get discouraged. Obviously the Lord has called you to France and thank you and Him for this privilege….
    Juanita Elwood

  6. I appreciate what you do for the Lord, Brother. We live for Him and the day will come when you receive the fruits of your labor of love. I wonder how many precious stones you’ll have in Heaven. May the Lord direct you, lead you, encourage you and gift you with the perfection of Christ.

  7. I accepted Christ 48 years ago as a result of a Navigator ministry in San Diego. Thank God for the “young” people who took the time to encourage me. My life was absolutely affected by the road less taken. I have made many mistakes in my life. However, I owe much to those who stayed the course and led me to Christ. Without the sacrifices of many Navigators I would be lost.

  8. Every day we have “divine encounters” with others, often never knowing how God will work. I had such an encounter in college, sharing the Gospel with a young man in the Student Union. Ten years later I encountered him again. He was a pastor who had been convicted by God’s Spirit during our earlier meeting. He had been running from a commitment that he had made to enter the ministry. Our meeting motivated him to enroll in seminary and become a pastor.

  9. Thank you for this. So often I think in terms of 6 months or a year. But our Lord sees our work under him in terms of decades…can I believe thus moment could impact a life in 20-, 30-, 40 years? Trusting what I have to a timeless God.

  10. I was discipled by the Navigators at Colorado State University from 1971-1973. I had just rededicated my life to Christ when I was introduced to the Navigators. It was there I was discipled and trained to follow the Lord. The fellowship was just what I needed because I Iost my friends by becoming a believer. I still, after all these years feel so grateful to the Lord for the Navigators
    being on campus at the time I so needed fellowship and teaching. God bless you for your stedfast devotion to your calling. Your story is a beautiful testimony on how God so loves us and cares how we feel. Thank you for sharing your story and honesty and thank you for continuing to be there for those who need direction as I did, 45 years ago!

  11. I have a heart for the French and wish I was there with you as I was on a road to be a missionary many years ago in France before I got married. They need Jesus and their government and society has tried to shut him off. Please keep up the good fight. One soul saved for God will bring along many others into his fold. Keep your eyes on Jesus!

  12. I was introduced to Christ and accepted Him 52 years ago as a freshman at the Univ. of MD thanks to someone in the Nav ministry sharing Christ with me. I have now been on Nav staff for 44 years, you never know how God may use you but you can have confidence that He will according to His promises! Sam

  13. Taylor, when I read stories such as this one, it gives me goose bumps and reminds me of just how powerful our Great God is…..always know that even in your moments of discouragement, there is someone in Texas praying for you and thankful for your ministry. Blessings in HIM…….

  14. God moves in mysterious ways and isn’t it wonderful how he accomplishes his purpose? He is always with us, even though we get discouraged at times, he will find a way to lift us up.

  15. My heart skipped a beat when I read that you minister to university students in FR. You see, our 21-yr-old daughter is attending the La Sorbonne University is Paris and running from God. Until she left home just over two years ago, she was the sweetest Christian. There are so few Christian connections in Paris, and I pray every day that God will in His mercy bring her to such. Thank you for being God’s Presence in such a place. I know it is hard for you, so I will pray for you as well.

  16. 1 Cor. 15:58
    Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

  17. Thank you for your service to our Lord. Navigators is a wonderful organization and you are a real asset. May God bless you, wrap His loving arms around you and encourage you.

  18. Another testimony to the long arm of God’s mercy: Back in the 60’s or 70’s, Fred, one of Grandpa’s nephews came to the Lord in Europe (Belgium or Netherlands) through the work of the Navigators. Fred’s zeal for the Lord went with him when he returned home to California. A brother-in-law, Dean, was fed up with things at home in Colorado and ‘ran away’ to California to be a hippie. When Dean had car trouble so far from home, he called on Fred for help. Fred fixed his car and powerfully shared the gospel with Dean, who soon repented. Dean headed back home to Colorado a changed man. It was only a matter of time before Dean had shared the gospel with each brother and his parents. One by one they came to Christ and the family was redirected to God’s ways (some sooner, some later)…all the fruit of the work of the Navigators. We praise God for Fred’s bold, persistent witness, for Dean’s loving testimony, for the part Navigators had in turning one family to the light. We have been blessed for generations to come.

  19. Please don’t give up. We plant the seeds and others may water them, but God causes the growth. When we plant a seed we aren’t certain if it will germinate and bloom but we do so anyway in faith that life will come. You may not see it. Someone else may actually bring the person to Christ later in life but you planted seeds that started the process or watered seeds that someone else planted, that will bring a positive end result. Remember that God will reward your faithfulness and diligence.

  20. Thanks Taylor! I spent 18 years reading the Bible with French students in the 80’s and 90’s. I felt those same struggles again that you wrote so well about. Acts 18:9-11 was a special promise to me during that time. Blessings brother.

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