I’m Susan. I am Scottish but grew up in the South of France for 12 years. I studied at Napier University in Edinburgh. After graduating in 2013, I took part in “Relay”, a theology and discipleship programme, with UCCF: the Christian Unions. Since September 2014, I have been working alongside the GBU (CU equivalent) in Paris. Last May (2019), I got married to a Parisian.
UCCF: the Christian Unions are part of a worldwide organisation called IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) which is present in over 170 countries with around 500,000 students! In the UK, it is known under the Christian Unions and in France, it is called GBU: Groupes Bibliques Universitaires.
The vision of IFES is to see “students built into communities of disciples, transformed by the gospel and impacting the university, the church and society for the glory of Christ”.
My work has different aspects; as well as training & discipling Christian volunteers (Relay Homestart), I have the privilege of encouraging and building up both international and French students to be missionaries on their campuses through Bible studies, training seminars and personal contact. Since 2016, a team of us have also been pioneering International Student Ministry within the GBU (iConnect) across the city.
There are approximately 60,000 international students in Paris alone! This makes things quite challenging. We hope to make a small difference in the lives of a few internationals living away from home, whether that be helping them integrate into the French culture or getting to know the locals. Living abroad can be quite stressful and isolating! We hope to give these students friendship, support and also an opportunity to hear about the gospel of Jesus.
Anne Dryburgh has been a mission worker in Flemish-speaking Belgium with Echoes International since the ‘90s. She lives in the beautiful town of Bruges and attends a church in the village of Rekkem.
Anne seeks to help people come to faith in the Lord Jesus. Most of her time is spent with women, helping them to know the Lord and his help through difficulties in their lives. Usually she meets with women who are struggling with depression, trauma, have experienced abuse in their lives, or are fighting addictions.
She has written a book for helping women who are in emotionally abusive marriages. Debilitated and Diminished: Help for Women in Emotionally Abusive Marriages. It is written for those who are seeking to help Christian women who are being emotionally abused by their husbands. It provides a definition of emotional abuse, describes the behaviours involved and the effects of these behaviours upon the victim. A biblical approach for helping these women is proposed that looks at human nature, marital roles, and what it means for her to live in Christ. Suggestions are given as to how the church can be a support to the emotionally abused woman.
In addition to this, Anne works with The Addiction Connection, by supervising women who are training to help people fighting addictions. As part of Fallen Soldiers March she gives biblical counselling and is working with a team to produce a curriculum for helping veterans as they return to civilian life. She also works with Overseas Instruction in Counselling, teaching women in Europe about how to practically use the Bible when helping others.
In recent months, she has been assisting people in South Africa to help set up Biblical Counselling there and also works with the Biblical Counselling Coalition by writing blogs, coordinating their European network, and organising their three-monthly women’s conference call.
I have enjoyed a full year through in Edinburgh, between my studies at Edinburgh Theological Seminary and my work at Bruntsfield Evangelical.
This year I have been studying Hebrew and Scottish Church History from the Reformation up until the 20th Century. They are very different subjects, with different challenges but both are really rewarding to study. Hebrew, to give us a better understanding of the Old Testament and be able to teach and preach it better. Scottish Church History serves to show us God’s faithfulness through the ages and helps us to understand our own circumstances and situation better and encourages us to rise to the challenges we face as a church today for the benefit of our nation and its people.
Bruntsfield is the place at the moment where the rubber of my studies hits the road and I get to put it into practice. I have had the privilege of preaching a few times this year on Matthew and on the question: ‘What does God expect from me in this life?’ and I am looking forward to more opportunities in the year to come. Week to week and day to day I am involved in the youth work and leading that ministry which is massively rewarding being able to meet with a group of school kids each week and being able to share God’s word with them and try and help them apply it to their lives and see how relevant the Lord Jesus and Christianity is, despite what they hear to the contrary. I meet with a couple of students and study with them, both are young Christians so that is a great privilege to come alongside these young guys and help them mature in faith and grow as Christians in such a challenging context.
Your ongoing prayers and support are much appreciated.