The presence of OM Riverboats and OM France in Strasbourg gave a new burst of encouragement, energy and ideas to existing ministries. All onshore events that took place were made possible by the collaboration amongst churches and organisations and the participation of believers, local and abroad.
The visit of the Riverboat inspired leaders from three churches to create a local evangelistic event through art performances under the theme, 'A new hope with Jesus'. With the help of OM France and Riverboat volunteers (consisting of community members and port volunteers), 8000 invitations for the event were distributed. “It was challenging as the three churches have never organised an outreach event together before,” shared one of the organisers, Fred Pfister, who was glad that the churches pulled together their talents and resources. “One church with great artists provided for most of the performers, while another church had more experience with logistics and audio-visual techniques.”
Local church members and Riverboat volunteers also came together to encourage another ministry, Extr’aime Evangelism, which consisted of only five regular volunteers. Over 20 volunteers gathered twice during the Riverboat’s visit to reach out to the homeless and sex-workers in the night. Riding on the Riverboat’s visit, OM France attracted many believers who have never done outreaches before to step out of their comfort zone. One such local believer, Connie*, had the opportunity to minister to sex-workers for the first time and was really glad that she showed up.
Many local and international believers were mobilised by OM France and came to serve on board for two weeks. “The goal for me was to support local churches, encourage and mobilise believers,” said Paul Dixon (Short-Term Missions Coordinator of OM France). As France is a big receiving field, this was a good opportunity to show people how missions look like in France and to experience working with OM.
Throughout Riverboat’s visit, there were several outreaches held in the Strasbourg city centre where music and drama performances were showcased and many conversations took place. Line-Up Manager, Michael Radloff (Switzerland), commented that the Riverboat’s visit was a great opportunity for OM France to be connected to churches and believers in Strasbourg, a city where OM haven’t had much presence. It also gave a reason for churches to collaborate and set an example to other churches to come together and unite under the alliance of churches in France.
* surname not included for security reasons