Quebec students 'have an open heart right now'
Editor's note: This year's Week of Prayer for International Missions in the Southern Baptist Convention was Dec. 1-8, focusing on Revelation 7:9 ("I saw a great multitude from every nation and all tribes ….") The theme undergirds the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. The offering, in tandem with Cooperative Program gifts from Southern Baptist churches, supports international workers in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at IMB.org/lmco, where there are resources to promote the offering. This year's goal is $165 million.
QUEBEC, Canada – Jacques* had a head full of questions. He had wrestled with them his whole life, and when he joined the soccer team at his university, he brought them with him.
Robert Pinkston saw them – and he knew he had answers.
"Jacques told me that since he was a young child, he would always look at nature and the world and say, 'There is no way this is here by accident,'" Pinkston, who volunteers as an assistant soccer coach at Jacques's university, said. "He said that the evolution he was learning in school, he just couldn't swallow it."
So Pinkston began to talk with him during the pregame devotionals that he held for anyone who wanted to come. He began meeting up with Jacques for coffee, too, and talking with him about God and faith.
And then one day Jacques came to Robert's church plant, and when it was time for communion, he got in line to receive it. When he picked up the bread and the cup, he came and stood in front of Robert.
"He said, 'If I understand right, this represents the body of Christ that has been broken for me and the blood of Christ that has been shed for me.' And then he said, 'I accept,'" Pinkston recalled. "It was kind of his conversion moment."
In the weeks and months that followed, Jacques became a strong leader in the church and campus ministry, always trying to be a light for Christ wherever he went.
It was an encouragement for IMB missionaries Pinkston and his wife Sharon, who serve among the 8 million Quebecois, or French Canadians – only 0.5 percent of whom believe in Christ. Quebec's university campuses are especially dark places. A recent LifeWay Research study showed that all of the top 50 most unreached campuses in North America are in Canada. Of those, 34 are in Quebec.
"We have very little access to those campuses," Pinkston said. "They call these the Forgotten Fifty, because basically they're campuses no one is trying to reach."
But the Pinkstons are finding creative ways to get the gospel in, like coaching soccer and establishing ministry houses close to campus to host students for meals.
Pinkston says he believes that if Quebecois could just hear the gospel, they would respond.
"So many of my friends, when they hear me give a gospel presentation, they say, 'That's exactly what I've been looking for,'" he said. "They have lots of questions about life, and not that they're necessarily searching for it in the church, but when they do run into us and we start a dialogue, it really connects with them and they want to know more. They have an open heart right now."
– PRAY FOR Missionaries like the Pinkstons to be effective in strategizing ways to reach Quebec's college campuses with the gospel.
– PRAY FOR The hearts of the Quebecois students to be open to the gospel as they search for truth.
Written by Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.