Encouraging the Faith of Believers in France

France has a concerning shortage of healthy, operating churches. With only about 1% of France’s population truly following Jesus, finding a supportive Christian community can be difficult. What can we, an organization committed to spreading the Gospel and making disciples, do to provide the support that these local believers require?

One of the ways GEM has brought encouragement and support to Christians across France is through a camp called Camp des Cimes – also known as Camp of the Peaks. Located in the southeast part of the country, its mountainous landscape showcases God’s beauty in creation, allowing for a rejuvenating change of scenery for all its visitors.

Offering programs for people of all ages and interests, the main goal of the staff is to create a place where the lost can be saved and the found can be strengthened. This involves refreshing, encouraging, and displaying the Gospel. “People come from very troubled backgrounds to the camp… it really has become a refuge [for campers].” Pamela Konstant says. Having served at Camp of the Peaks for the past few years, she’s realized the importance of its ministry.

“The culture in France isn’t necessarily supportive [for Christians],” Pamela starts, “so when they come to the camp, it’s just totally different than how they’ve felt. They feel accepted and safe to bring up their problems and questions without feeling judged,” Pamela explains. “In many cases, the people who come to the camp will be the only Christian [in their community], and so the opportunity to connect with other believers and be strengthened to go back is a huge blessing.”

In fact, many believers who visit the camp often find themselves returning repeatedly. “It really is because of Camp of the Peaks that I ended up serving in France long-term,” Howard Moore, a now-retired GEMer, recalls. Having raised his three children in France and often visiting the camp, Howard has found that even his children were drawn back to it. “After moving back to Canada, my daughter made the decision to go back to Camp of the Peaks and minister there [as a missionary] long-term, which she did off-and-on for about eight years.”

Much of the appeal can be attributed to the camp’s friendly environment. “One of the camp’s strong points is its amazing atmosphere,” Pamela Konstant explains. “We get people who come time and time again because of the peace they feel.”

Adding to the allure of the camp is its range of activities, which include – but are not limited to – skiing, hiking, pottery, rock climbing, biking, and theater. Behind the fun and leisure, though, hides the beauty of the camp’s true purpose: “[The camp’s] philosophy is to get a good team of believers to work alongside [the campers],” Howard explains. “There’s an emphasis on discipleship work with the youth… developing solid relationships with them and seeking to break through into their thoughts about God.”

“[Seeing campers] come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and then start serving at the camp and serving at the church, and eventually getting married and starting families… the legacy of the camp is just incredible!” Pamela enthuses. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity for [new believers] to see that Christianity – that Jesus – makes a difference in lives, to the point where it’s visible.”

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to serve in a beautiful setting alongside great people, Camp des Cimes may be the place for you! The camp is always looking for help of every kind, from cleaning to construction – even those with artistic abilities willing to lead a workshop are welcome! “If anybody has any skill whatsoever, we need them,” Pamela states.

Is there a role you can play in supporting the ongoing efforts in France? As global workers continue to encourage the faith of attending campers, will you pray with us for more labourers to be sent to help make a greater impact?