Although they have yet to set foot in France to begin a two-year full-time mission call, the French people are very much on the hearts of Jordan and Kate Egli.
"Kate had been working at Greater Europe Mission for about two years and we learned that less than 2 percent of the people in Europe have a relationship with Christ. That number is lower than in the U.S., in Africa and some other places that missionaries have been sent. God has been leading us and opening the door to France," Jordan explained.
"There are people our age and some older in France who have never heard the Christmas story, have never heard the name of Jesus. That's why we really see that as an opportunity," Kate said.
Jordan and Kate Egli stand with the Eiffel Tower in the background in a photograph taken on their first trip to France in February 2011.
During their final semesters at Penn State in 2010, Kate did an internship at the Denver Rescue Mission and Jordan did his internship at Woodmen Valley Chapel. They were married that August and have lived in Colorado until recently.
"We see it as a good fit because we've developed a relationship with some people over there, some of the leaders who are a part of Greater Europe Mission, and I took French in high school," Jordan, a graduate of Muncy High School in 2006, continued.
"God has been teaching and challenging us in a lot of directions. All the things that come from God, they belong to Him. We're learning to share those things as well as to share what God has done in our lives with other people," Jordan said.
NAMES: Jordan Egli/Kate Egli
HOME CHURCHES: Williamsport Assembly (Plymouth Brethren) / Bethel United Presbyterian Church, Enon Valley
HOMETOWNS: Muncy/Enon Valley
HIGH SCHOOLS: Muncy High School (2006)/Beaver County Christian School (2006)
COLLEGE: both Penn State
Greater Europe Mission,
MISSION FIELD: Aix-les-Bains, France
START DATE: TBD
BLOG SITE: Jordanandkateegli.blogspot.com
Although Jordan and his family worshipped at the Williamsport Assembly (a Plymouth Brethren church that meets in the old City Hall), he also was connected with the First United Methodist Church youth group and participated in numerous short-term mission experiences as a youngster.
"When I was about 9 years old I was attending Chippewa Alliance Church. We heard about missionaries all of the time and when one of them was speaking something she said struck me and I thought I'm going to do this some day," Kate said.
"There wasn't one incident to cause us to pursue full-time missions. Short-term trips I took while I was here had an influence on me and that continued when I went to Penn State but for us the decision has been just to pursue what God has called us as Christians to do and that is make disciples of all nations," Jordan added, noting, "we've been challenged of that by God and through reading Scripture and prayer and books."
"Kate felt called very early on to do missions overseas. I was open to it and God has led us to France," Jordan said.
Once in Aix-les-Bains, a city of about 25,000 in the French Alps about 30 minutes from Geneva, Switzerland, they expect to do church planting, not in the sense of building and hiring and organizing internal structure, but rather to share the Gospel and make disciples.
"As people come to faith, they will meet together and be the church, to worship together, to pray together, to learn together, to serve together," Jordan said.
One of the biggest challenges they expect to face is a spiritual battle.
"Europe as a whole, and France included, is a dark place spiritually. There are a lot of people who don't believe in God or in a God and they're pretty blatant about that. They're not known as people who are open to spiritual things. It's a dark place and we will face some spiritual attacks," Jordan said.
Other challenges will be learning the language and culture.
"Just getting there is a challenge as far as raising support and meeting people," Kate said, pointing out that so far they have raised about 25 percent of what will be needed to go.
They think that having lived away from Pennsylvania the last couple of years has helped prepare them for the separation from family they will experience.
"We appreciate that our parents and our families love us a lot and want the best for us, even if that means they don't see us every two weeks. They want us to be where God wants us," Jordan said.
"We're following God and the doors he opens for us," he said.
The cost of going to the mission field is more than a sacrifice of self and time; it is a sacrifice of money. Before the move can begin they must have 100 percent of their finances committed: $7,000 a month (for salaries, health insurance, retirement, administrative expenses and money that goes to Greater Europe Mission, etc.) and another $55,000 up front to cover the costs of visas, tickets, language school, a vehicle an emergency fund and other expenses).
They hope to be able to leave by this summer, and Kate said, "At this point we are really praying for a miracle."
"We're just trying to trust Him (God) for His timing," Jordan added.
In the meantime, they are staying with family (Dan and Linda Egli in Pennsdale and Tim and Beth Kissling in Enon Valley) while focusing on raising financial and
"We would love to share our story with people and to invite other people to be a part of it. God is teaching Kate and me a lot. He's showing Himself in ways that are amazing and we want to share that with others," he continued.
"It's been a learning process, understanding that Europe is a mission field. For me, I had no desire to go to Europe to visit ... I didn't care about that at all, and God has really changed my heart and shown me the need for the Gospel in France," Jordan said.
"So many people will admit that they are agnostic, that they are atheist. The person of Jesus is a new idea because they have been set aside for so long. There is a lot of (religion), but there are not a lot of people who have relationships with Jesus," Jordan said.
Discussing missionaries throughout the world, Jordan noted, "We are on the same team as them. Someone going to Honduras, Africa, here in Williamsport, wherever, we are all part of the same family, part of the same church, and God just happens to be opening the door for Kate and I to go to France."