Reaching the City of Lights

By Melanie Leonard, Miami

This summer Ariel Currieo has been experiencing one of Cru’s summer projects desiring to “learn what it means to walk by the Spirit.” She is spending six weeks in France where the project with be spending most of their time on the university campus in Paris building relationships with Parisian students.

Her journey to Paris began while vacationing in this city in 2009. She remembers God using her heart to develop a burden for this city. “I remember being heartbroken touring church after church in Europe, buildings that are almost exclusively viewed as historical tourist attractions. While in Paris, it was as if I could sense the darkness, even in the “city of lights”; I walked the city in which 67% of people claim to be Christian, yet almost none know the truth about who Jesus is, and only 0.33% claim to have a relationship with Him.”

“Over a half million students attend college here to become global leaders and most will never meet a Christian while in college. These students are truly a part of one of the great “unreached” people groups of the 21st Century, but I know that nothing is impossible for God and He will change lives in Paris.”

“The Spirit is on the move. He is wrecking our worlds, and magnifying His glory and the beauty of His grace at work in us. This sanctifying process has been very tangible in my life as I have been here in Paris. God has humbled me and continues to do this day-by-day and moment-by-moment.

I met a Japanese student who has been living in France for about 4 years during her university studies. Even meeting her was clearly God’s doing. We were talking to a girl at lunch that day when the Japanese student came up and joined us. We talked with both of them about their backgrounds, their lives, their beliefs, what we believe about God, and how our lives have been transformed by Him. The team has gotten to spend time with her almost every day since we met.

“I can see God tearing down walls and opening her eyes to see Him for who He is more & more with each conversation we have. On Saturday we invited our friends to come hang out at the park for a picnic in the afternoon, as we do each week, the Holy Spirit once again moved. As she was looking at a tiny white wildflower in her hand, she told me that as she looks at the variety in plants, trees, and people she thinks that there must be a God who created all these things. A girl who didn’t believe in any god two weeks ago is now exploring who this “God” may be, asking questions, reading the Bible, and meeting up with us again & again.”

It was so exciting to see what happened during our final week in Paris. She trusted her life to Christ! God is continuing to work in her life and see her through her journey as His daughter.

It is a hard but beautiful thing to learn that I am not needed in this work God is doing but that He gives me the opportunity to be a broken vessel redeemed only through Him.”

By Ariel Currieo