Mission trip to France, better than Chanel perfume! OM Transform

written by Anne Marit Viljoen

The sisters Nadia and Zaira Chapa from Mexico are both working as preschool teachers in the USA. In their early teenage years, they became believers through their father, who, after looking for the truth, met Jesus. They take their faith seriously, are trained in sharing the gospel and have also participated in several short term outreaches.

As they were looking for ways to share the gospel, the sisters found out about OM Transform, a mission conference held annually in a European country. Appreciating OM’s core values and doctrinal statement, they felt like this was the right option for them. In July 2017, they arrived at the conference in Spain. Most participants go on an outreach right after the conference, but for the Chapa sisters, this proved difficult due to other plans already made.  

However, undeterred by their time restraints, they decided they would still return the following year, even if only for the outreach! It was an unusual decision but definitely possible. This time they arrived in the north of France, ready to work with a small church in Bruay-la-Buissière, together with team members from Switzerland, France and the USA.

“The opportunity to spend a week with five other people sharing our stories and lives with each other is what I am most thankful for,” said Nadia. “The icebreaker games helped us get to know each other right away and immediately began the process of building trust and confidence in each other. This continued to grow and develop during the week and made us a very strong team.”

Chanel perfume

“I came to France expecting to meet superficial people smelling of Chanel perfume, wearing expensive clothes with expensive handbags on their shoulders!” recalled Nadia. “Instead, I met two different types of people: the first was a small group who were surrendered to the will of God, Christians with warm hearts and a desire to serve in the church. The second group of people was a much larger ‘non-believing’ community who was thirsty for the love of God. This became clear to me as we did ‘faith surveys’ on the streets.”

Zaira shared about visiting a refugee centre and meeting a man from Eritrea, who told her he had to leave his family behind in his home country. “Even when he said he believed in God, I shared the gospel with him,” said Zaira. “And when he asked why a girl from Mexico would come to France, I told him I came to meet him and talk to him about God. I told him how we prayed for Mexico and other countries the previous evening and now I wanted to pray for him and his country.” She told the man that she would also pray he’d soon be reunited with his family.

Nadia said: “While my teammate and I were conducting the surveys at a square, I was very amazed that people were acknowledging not believing in God, yet very willing to give us their personal information, even looking desperately for an ID card to make sure we wrote their address correctly. Unbelievable! This is something I keep remembering from time to time and makes me think how thirsty and ready people are to receive the gospel.”

However, Nadia and Zaira agreed: “Participating [in an outreach] right after the Transform conference has an advantage because one gets really inspired by the praying, singing, learning, sharing and praising the Lord along with other missionaries. Listening to all the conference leaders’ teachings and anecdotes, including how they experienced opposition in some places, and how the Lord has been with them always, was very encouraging. OM did a great job equipping us!”

Zaira added: “We consider the outreach in France a successful outreach. As teammates, we had times for devotionals, time to study and share, worship and pray in the church. We also did a prayer walk on the city streets, made surveys, visited a centre for refugees and, after giving out invitations to the citizens of Bruay La Buissière, we also had a family party in the church garden and a concert night; both were fully attended, with 75 people filling the church to the brim and many new people showing up.

Having been made aware of the spiritual situation in Europe and the need for people to share the gospel in France and other countries, the sisters concluded with the words of Jesus to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

In 2019, the Transform conference will take place in Athens, Greece, with several outreaches in Greece, as well as to Serbia, Romania, Albania and Turkey.


Zaira (Mexico) is distributing tracts during a Transform outreach to France.

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