3 mission minutes with... Jane Smith

By Bethan Walker | 15 October 2012

French flag

Jane Smith (real named changed to protect identity) is a Stewardship recipient and has been living and working as a missionary for 42 years. Although retired, Jane still works in the mission field with Messianic Jews in the South East of France. We catch up with over coffee while she’s making a quick visit back to the UK and quiz her about her life as a missionary.

Jane – tell us what you do in one sentence?

I live and work in the South East of France. My task is to reach Jewish people with the good news.

How did you become a missionary?

I originally trained as a teacher and then went on to teach in a London Secondary School for one year. Soon after that, during September 1969, I joined what was formerly known as the Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel. Six months later, aged 23, I travelled to the South East of France as a missionary for the first time. It was when I was a student that the Lord called me to missionary work. I had a burden for France before then but originally thought the missionary work was for other people and not for me.

What’s it like to be a missionary in the world today?

Many things have changed in France over the years. From my door-to-door work I’ve found that people have become increasingly isolated from others. They can easily hide behind their intercoms and answerphones. On the other hand, French society has been shaken up and there are more people who are willing to have somebody come to see them. People realise that life isn’t as easy as they used to think it was. There are more people who are more open to sharing their problems, ask questions and to see answers to prayers whereas before, all they would think about it the next meal or doing the housework.

What’s it like working in France?

The area of France where I work is very diverse and not typically French. A lot of people there have come from elsewhere and it’s a lot easier to reach them that the typical French man or woman. In France, a lot of the French themselves are hardened with regards to talking about God.

Although France is historically a Catholic country, a lot of the people are atheist or agnostic. However, when you go into a Jewish or Arab home there is a sense that God is there and that there is a God. Even if they don’t believe in him they think they should. Where I work in the South East of France there are many openings which there may not be in parts of rural France.

What has been your greatest challenge?

I would say that when you are a missionary worker, you have one challenge after another but one of the biggest challenges that I face is working with a people who don’t want to believe in Jesus. Also it can be very challenging to keep up the contacts and friendships that you make. It can be hard as well to tell the truth when people ask you questions without offending or putting your foot in it. For example, people often ask me “you want to convert me don’t you”; it can be difficult to know what the best thing is to say.

How can readers keep in touch/support you?

If you would like to contact Jane, or find out more information of how to support her, please click here to send Stewardship an email in the first instance.

Are you a mission worker supported by Stewardship? Got a story to share? If you'd like to be featured on our '3 mission minutes...' series, we'd love to hear from you. Click here to fill in our online form.

Posted by Bethan Walker

Bethan is a marketing and communications executive at Stewardship. Bethan has worked in marketing for seven years and now enjoys working in the not-for-profit sector having previously worked in Professional Services. 

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