Trent serves with the national technology team for Agapé France. His team is addressing the critical needs of finances and communications for our missionaries in France. Secondly, the team collaborates with Agapé in the U.K. to bring these solutions to over a thousand missionaries and volunteers throughout Europe. Thirdly, the team hosts several evangelical websites that reach over 30 French-speaking countries. A path is being cleared for the Gospel to go forth more broadly and effectively by a small group of geeks.
Tara has always focused on evangelism and discipleship with college students. The French are best at reaching the French. Now as a new mom, her primary ministry is to Lydia. She plans to continue many relationships with students as she is transitioning from Campus Ministry to Women's Ministry. That works well since some of her disciples will transition from campus too. She will also have the opportunity to minister to young French mothers, of whom 1 in 4 are raising children alone. Please pray for opportunities to come alongside these women!
Lydia and Rachel joined us in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Their present occupations include eating, sleeping and charming the neighbors. We pray that they will one day receive Jesus’ sacrifice for sin and walk with Him. Other missionary kids in France serve as a vision for us. They are fluent in the language and not seen as foreigners, so they fit the idea of “French reaching French.” We pray that God will use our children in this way, too, bringing the Gospel to more French families!
As a kid, my attitude toward God could have been expressed like this: "I believe in Jesus, now let me live my life and slide into Heaven." I wanted to live for me. In high school, however, I became more involved with my youth group at church in La Crosse, WI. Through missions trips and working at Arrowhead Bible Camp, I found that I really enjoyed being used for God's eternal purpose. But I still wanted to do things my way. In college, I found tremendous opportunities to serve God with my technical skills (or dumb luck when skill failed). But I really questioned the idea that God would want to use something I truly enjoyed for His purposes. That all changed when I talked to Steve, a director in Cru. He told me that IT (Information Technology) was one of the greatest ministry needs- both in our region and worldwide. I was sold. I jumped tracks and studied Computer Networking and Security Technology, with full intent to let God use me the way He made me.
So my story really comes down to this: I wanted to live for me, my way. Then I wanted to live for God, but still my way. Now all I want is to live for God, and do it His way. I find more fulfillment in His plans than I ever did in any of mine.
The biggest turning-point in my life happened at age 17 as I got to know Jesus as my Savior. I was shocked to discover that God saves us by His grace rather than our own works (Eph. 2:8-9). I then moved from Platteville to Madison, WI, for college, and I immediately noticed Cru at the UW. Surprisingly, they were the largest student group on campus! My friends were going to the Christmas conference in Minneapolis that year, so I went too. The speakers were missionaries from around the world who told numerous stories about what God was doing. My eyes widened as I learned that there are millions of people who have never heard the name of Jesus. One speaker expressed the need for laborers in France. Though it's a developed nation, they are considered "unreached." God was whispering, "You've studied French for 5 years, you've been there, and now you know Me. Will you go, Tara?" I almost fainted. Me?! I couldn't believe that God had been equipping me for so long, but He's smart like that.
So I went to France in the summer of '05 and began treating Jesus as Lord. I wanted to be fully-obedient. And He blessed me. For example, I met a student who had had a dream about Jesus the night before! One student wanted to read a Bible, but there were no Christian stores in the city, so we provided a French Bible for her. The nation is less than 2% Christian, and most people have literally never heard anything about the Good News. The visible churches were museums, and it's taboo among French to talk about God, much less religion. But we weren't French, and they all had spiritual questions bottled up inside. So we were the safest people that many French students got to talk with, and that was quite rewarding! I feel very called to work with college students wherever He places us-- they are so ripe for the harvest!
We are currently serving in Rennes, France to do our part in fulfilling the Great Commission. Most missions organizations consider the French to be an "unreached people-group." It is one of the most spiritually-dead places on earth, and they certainly don't know it.
- In 1950, 80% of French people regularly attended church. Today it is 5%.
- Less than 1% are evangelical believers in France.
- By contrast, 41% of Americans regularly attend church and 23% are evangelical believers.
- Most French have never met a practicing Christian.
- France consumes more antidepressants than any other country in the world.
- There are more full-time practitioners of the occult in France than there are Christian workers.
- 60% of French people would be willing to have a spiritual conversation with someone they trust.
Cru exists to help fulfill the Great Commission by reaching people with the Gospel, building believers up in their faith, and sending them out to reach others in the power of the Holy Spirit. We also help the body of Christ to do evangelism and discipleship. In France we are known as Agapé, and the mission and vision remain the same. We want everyone to know someone who truly follows Jesus Christ. What do we believe that means? Here is a quick Gospel message.
To learn more about the minstries, you can check out their web sites.
cru.org for our English speaking friends
agapefrance.org pour nos amis français
Unless specified, Trent is being quoted. Trent dominates this list, but as of Dec '11, Tara finally has one!
"Your name, your name, your name has not left the search path." -Feb. '08 (Eight months into marriage, Tara decided to write these puppies down!)
(a conversation with awake Tara, who's not sure if Trent's sleeping) "the buckets" 'hmm?' "the buckets" 'buckets?' "yes, buckets" (Tara plays along...) 'what about the buckets?' "there are some." 'what's in them?' "nothing." 'nothing?' "yes." 'what's around them?' "SHHHHHH!!!!!" -March '08
"You live with one fragmishlomyer." (spelling is uncertain) -April '08
"She is big and friendly, America lady." - June '08 (Tara roars with laughter!)
"But first I have to get the stuff off there so they can log in." -July '08
"Hold on, I'm on the phone with my ancestors." -Aug. '08
"I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know what I'm looking at-- some website." -Aug. '08
Tara is reading aloud from 2 Chronicles, "Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai..." .. a list of men. Trent, falling asleep, decides that these men need to go somewhere, but he's not sure if they'll all fit in the vehicle, so he says aloud, "Depends on what kind of truck it is!" - Sept. '08
"Literacy is the next milestone." -Nov. '08
"I'm going, I'm going to get up- I'm going, going. I'm getting ready, I'm getting ready, ready- dance dance dance." -Feb '09
"Yup. Sure. Something about my frequent flier." -Sept. '09
"I'm not telling you. You don't even have it on your card." -Jan '10
Trent slowly laughs... "Trip-wire." Tara says, 'what's a trip wire?' "If someone trips over it, you know they've been there." 'do you have a trip wire?' Trent extends his arm and flat hand, then makes a smooth line gesture over the bed. Tara starts laughing, then trips on her way to write this down. - Feb '10
"Que esta la problema? What's the problem?" -yes, he translated for himself -March '10
Trent rubs Tara's head and says, "I like you 64 times." -April '10
"When we went...nothing, just more verb tenses." -July '10 in Rennes, France
"How we all doin? How is errr'body? We all good!" -July '10 in Paris, France
"The dream is a set-up. Whose dream is it anyway?" -July '10 after watching the movie 'Inception'
Trent gently lays his head on my feet and says, "Half is doing the job; half is doing I.T." (Information Technology) -Aug '10
"Am I below the sink right now?" - Sept '10
"He's not the first person.. people keep sending attachments to each other." -Oct '10
"Thanks for coming tonight." -Nov. '10 after we hosted a costume party
"I live right across the street..." "From what?" "..from the volcano guy." -Nov '10
"The poison." "The what?!" "Just kidding. The poison apple, Snow White. Just don't tell anyone cause then it wouldn't be a secret. Are you writing this down?" -Dec. '10
"Go make boxen. We will make boxen for the oxen." -Jan '11
"I wouldn't go shuffling the stick around, Dad." -March '11
"You can watch them. It's only if it's on the computer." -March '11
Trent grabs Tara's hand, flattens it, bonks his nose with it, giggles, and says, "Kinda!" -May '11
TARA'S FIRST SLEEP QUOTE!!! "Can you close the ceiling door, please?... It's me and your friends." "What?" says Trent. "There are tiny trees to wash." (We had just found our Christmas tree that day, which was actually a large sappy branch. The ceiling door is a mystery.) -Dec. '11
"You can't really get in there to decorate until you've decided to go all the way." -Nov '12
"How can I help you out? Sha-whoopsy daisy." -Feb '13
"What now?" "What do you think?" "I dunno, just waiting for more people to come." "For what?" "Before we execute the raid." -March '13
"You are absolutely amazing. Do you know that?" "Aww, thanks honey. What's so amazing?" "Everyone wants to see a 'U' but you give 'em a 'I'." "Hmm, you're sleeping, aren't you?" "No... maybe." -Nov '13
"I'm looking for the dollar bill signs." -Feb '14
Trent turns off the alarm clock.Tara: "Do you want to turn off the toys?"Trent: "What toys?"Tara: "The ones over there, they play follow the yellow brick road"Trent: "What?"Tara: "You squeeze the hand. It has gel in it and you squeeze it."Trent: "What?"Tara: "Huh?"Trent: "What are you talking about?"Tara: "I just had a dream about it." -March '14
Trent wakes Tara, takes out his earplugs and says while nodding "I'm at peace though." -March '14
"What is this? Are there drugs or something? I already checked them all out, but otherwise..." -April "14
"Yeah yeah ive had a few." "A few what?" "Tight situation." -April '14
Tara: "Oh my gosh Trent!"Trent: "What?!"Tara: "Tree."Trent: "Yeah?"Tara: "There's a tree in here." -June '14
"Congratulations! You are the first customer tonight, and that makes you a winner." -June '14
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I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.