Born in Lyon and trained as a chef in the elite world of Lyonnaise gastronomy, Francis met and married Donna Rapacz, a graduate of Gordon College who was a high school teacher from Florida. Francis was trained personally by Ken Beach, a missionary-church planter in Lyon, and later attended the Reformed Theological Seminary in Aix-en-Provence, graduating in 1986. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America in 1987. From 1987 to 2005, Francis and Donna and their five children did church-planting in Quebec with Mission to North America, and in France with Mission to the World, both of the PCA. They left the churches in both Quebec and Lyon in capable hands, and came home on furlough in 2005; they decided to stay for a period of time so that they could accompany their children as their minds were being trained and as they were making career and marriage decisions. To support his family, Francis created West of Paris, a high-end French restaurant. He sold it in December 2010, and is now making a return to ministry to the French.