Appointed to the France team in April 2019, Jonathan and Michelle are working to expand the ministry of the St. Sébastien church located in the greater Nantes area of Brittany.
In collaboration with the church council, Jonathan and Michelle plan to develop the church’s evangelistic outreach as well as programs for discipleship and leadership development. English and Spanish classes and organizing discussion groups for non-believers with questions about Christ are some of the methods they plan to use. The church has six young families—about 30% of the congregation—opening a natural door for ministry to families with small children.
After her parents separated, Michelle began attending church with her mother in her native Ecuador. She received Christ as her Savior when she was nine years old.
Jonathan grew up in a Christian home. His family was active in the Free Will Baptist church in St Nazaire, where Jerry and Barbara Gibbs served. Although he accepted the Lord as Savior as a child and attended church regularly, it was only after he finished culinary school that he made a deep commitment to the Lord.
When she was 14, Michelle and her family moved to Spain, where they became involved in the FWB church in Villalba. She served on the praise team for several years (drums, keyboard, and vocals).
After his rededication to the Lord, Jonathan served with Operation Mobilization (OM), first in France with the Nantes team, then for nearly two years on the ship Doulos. They visited ports in Asia to witness for Christ, encourage and disciple Christians, and distribute Christian literature.
The couple met in 2006 when Jonathan visited the Villalba church on a mission trip with a group from Nantes. After Michelle finished her Masters in English, they married in 2012. Active in the music and teaching ministries in the Villalba church, they moved to Nantes, France, in December 2014 looking for better economic conditions.
In spite of Jonathan’s restaurant job, which only gave him one Sunday off per month, the young couple immediately dived into ministry in the St Sébastien church. They participated in the music ministry, taught Sunday school, and joined the young families small group.
In 2017, they and three other couples became part of the newly-formed church council, under the mentorship of Robert and Judy Bryan. Jonathan began preaching regularly and soon emerged as the recognized pastoral leader of the church.
Jonathan and Michelle began to sense a strong desire to minister more fully in the church, something the time constraints of Jonathan’s job did not permit. They completed the necessary studies and were commissioned at the National Association meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2019, as the first partner missionaries in France.
Jonathan and Michelle have two daughters: Zoé (2013) and Aïnhoa (2017).
Updated September 27, 2019