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Patient Persistence
A Lifelong Ministry in France
By Gail Huffman
After gradu-
ating from
Te n n e s s e e
Temple University in 1969 and travel-
ing on deputation, we (Bob and Gail
Huffman) and our two little girls ar-
rived in France with the desire to share
Christ’s love with the French and estab-
lish a work in the place God had chosen
for us. After settling in the Paris sub-
urbs, our first concern was learning the
language. We registered at the Alliance
Francaise and began studying a half day
each: Bob in the morning—me in the af-
ternoon, allowing one of us to stay with
our younger child, age two. Our six-
year-old began first grade in the public
school and learned to speak French flu-
ently in four months. The schools were
quite good, and we realized our children
would be a main source for making per-
sonal contacts. In addition to classes, we
had a private tutor who helped us im-
mensely. During this time, we offered
free conversational English gatherings
and had a few young people come. Later
a Bible Club for the neighborhood chil-
dren was added.

When scouting the area, we discovered
a complete new cite (city) being built on
the outskirts of a neighboring town with
apartments for over 20,000 people. A
new train station, post office, and police
station, along with banks and businesses,
were projected but no churches. We
rented an apartment and began making
contacts through English classes and a
Bible Club. We also shared our burden
with the pastor of the French church we
attended, and he gave us the name and
Number 3, 2015
address of a Christian family who had
moved into that area. With their six girls
the Bible Club flourished and we soon
began Sunday morning services in our
living room.

The guardian of our 20-floor building
learned we were having meetings for the
public in our apartment and informed us
that this was not acceptable. The choice
was to stop the meetings or move out.

We found a house to rent in a nearby
neighborhood. The garage became
our chapel. For five years we made
acquaintance with neighbors, showed
films, put up Gospel posters, distributed
tracts, and held meetings. The Lord
blessed and in addition to two families
who knew the Lord, we saw several teens
come to Christ, be baptized, and become
faithful. The attendance was around 50
on Sunday mornings.

Just before our second furlough, the
owner told us he would need his house
back in three months. We asked for an
extension of two months and left as
planned. We cut our time in the States
and upon returning moved out, put our
furniture in storage, and stayed with
friends until we found an old dilapidated
house for rent. There was nothing else
available that would hold our family of
six, accommodate another missionary
family going to Africa, and be large
enough for continuing our meetings. On
Sunday mornings we pushed the table
back and set up chairs in the dining
room for services.

The move left some without transporta-
tion so we purchased a van to pick them