France covers a geographical area slightly smaller than the state of Texas, yet serves as home to nearly 61 million people compared to Texas’s 23½ million.
Though at least 50 percent of present-day French still classify themselves under the umbrella of Catholicism, a recent survey has categorized only 8 percent as “practicing” (attending mass at least once per month). The traditions of Catholicism and its “saints” are ever-present, but the country’s population is becoming increasingly secular. Only 2 percent claim the designation “Protestant” (compared to 30 percent in Europe generally), a label which includes Lutherans, Pentecostals, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Evangelicals of all stripes. There are three times as many Muslims as Protestants in the nation. A 1995 commission on cult activities led to the labeling of several Protestant groups as cults, though generally they have been classified as “non-dangerous.”
Scroll down to see our missionaries in France.
Tim & Ruth Bixby
Tim and Ruth were both born into Christian families, and both accepted Christ as Savior at an early age. Both also graduated from homeschools before attending college. Tim was born in the Central African Republic where his parents were missionaries. Several years later the family moved to the field of Bordeaux, France, where Tim’s folks continue to minister. Ruth grew up outside of Raleigh, NC.
Tim received a Bachelor of Arts in Bible in 2000 and a Master of Arts in Bible from the BJU Seminary in 2003. Ruth earned a Bachelor of Arts in Print Journalism in 1998 and a Master of Music in Church Music in 2000. Tim was the pastor of Cleveland Park Bible Church for 5 years before becoming a missionary to France. They moved to France in June 2009.
You can find out more about the Bixbys and their ministry at HopeForFrance.org.
Tim and Ruth have four children: Micaiah, Miriam, Zacharie, and Gabriel.
Michael & Liz Cole
Michael and Liz both made professions of faith at the age of 5 years old. However, while working at Northland Camp in Wisconsin, Liz realized her doubts of salvation were well founded. It was then that she truly put her trust in Christ.
Raised in Georgia and North Carolina, Michael returned to the city of his birth, Greenville, SC, to attend college. He and Liz, who is from Indiana, met during graduate studies at Bob Jones University and were married in 2003. They joined Cleveland Park Bible Church in Spartanburg, SC, where they became a vital part of the ministry.
Michael earned a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Missions in 1999, a Master of Arts in Theology in 2001, and completed his PhD in Theology in 2008. Liz received a Bachelor of Science in English Education in 2000 from Maranatha Baptist Bible College and a Master of Science in Biblical Counseling from BJU in 2002.
The Coles moved to France to begin their ministry there in December 2011.
You can find out more about the Coles and their ministry at HopeForFrance.org.
The Coles have four children: Viviane, Adeline, Mathieu, and Thomas.
It was while ministering together at Cleveland Park Bible Church that the Bixbys and Coles began discussing the possibility of forming a mission team to serve in France. In June 2007, EMU accepted these two families into the mission. Their first phase of missionary ministry was to raise the needed support. When they first moved to France, the Bixbys and Coles lived in Bordeaux, a large university town in the south of France. There they spent most of their first term learning the language and culture as they ministered with Tim’s parents, veteran missionaries in France. The Bixbys and Coles are now living in separate cities outside of Paris working toward establishing a new church and its accompanying ministries.
(pictured at right with the pastor and his wife of their sending church, Cleveland Park Bible Church)