Small City… Big Heart, DeQuincy LA

After leaving Pensacola, Florida… our next major destination was to be Dallas, Texas. We knew that we’d have to stop and spend a night somewhere in between but we just planned on driving until we felt like stopping, and finding a hotel there… (wherever “there” was).

One thing we knew we wanted to do however, was make a quick stop in DeQuincy, LA… 15-20 minutes or so, to run a quick errand at The Pentecostal Church.

Thanks… and thanks again!

Back in March, when we sent out our information packets, TPC’s pastor, Bro. Neyland took us on as a partner… without following up with or ever having met or spoken with us. He was the first to formally take us on, outside of our home district.  This expression of “blind trust” in us meant and means a great deal to me, so I wanted to stop by in person and express my thanks. Little did I know that he would give us many more reasons to say “Thank you!”

picstitchBro. Neyland’s church has a double-wide mobile home that is used for visiting ministers which he graciously invited us to make use of. Later, we had supper together and the kids were able to play on the trampoline – entertained by the pastor’s son – before capping the evening off with a bowl of Blue Bell ice cream (oh my word, that’s good ice cream!!).

The next morning Liz was able to do a bit of laundry and the kids could do some school at a table… instead of in the car, before we all went for lunch at Bartrella’s Uptown Café (it was their last day in business).



Living up to their mottos

The title for this post is no accident, it is the motto of the city of DeQuincy and features prominently on the city’s websiteSmall City… Big Heart: With a population of roughly 3,500-4,000 it is indeed a small city but oh what a heart!  Similarly… the motto for the Neylands church is Loving God, Loving People and again, they certainly lived up to that motto.

When I think of Bro. Neyland and his church, the words of Paul in Galations 4.14-15 come to mind…

you… received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus… I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.

New Friends… new Family

Most of the visits, during this trip, were with people that we’ve known for a number of years, and the time spent together with them was rich. This visit however, was not like most of those others… this was a time to make a new friendship.

We were in DeQuincy for less than 24 hours, but those hours are etched in our minds as a time of rich connection.  I am thankful for the family of God where you can come together as strangers and leave as family.

Thank you Lord for the gift of the family of God!


Open Invitation…

If you’re in the DeQuincy area and looking for a church family, you can find The Pentecostal Church at 301 W. 4th St., DeQuincy LA 70633. Their phone number is (337) 786-4740

Pensacola, FL

Call it a “Throwback Thursday Post”  if you will… continuing with updates on some of our time in the States back in the month of May.

Short & Sweet

Our time in Pensacola was short and sweet… we drove from Orlando and arrived just in time to get freshened up and head over to First Pentecostal Church, Pastor Brian Kinsey’s church, for their midweek Bible Study.

We were glad to meet Rev. Jeremy Stafford, Bro. Kinsey’s Youth Pastor, with whom we’d corresponded a number of times but had never met. Also we got to have supper at IHOP with Bro. & Sis. Daniel & Dana Stroebel and their 3 kids (Liz had never eaten at IHOP before, and it had been a long time for me).

Bro. Stroebel had preached the Bible Study that night and taught on Letting Everything Go… how that, anytime Jesus said “follow me” people straightway left something else behind. It was a very appropriate word for us as we are definitely experiencing that now.

Thank you Bro. & Sis. Stroebel for spending that time with us. We sure appreciated your hospitality!


Pensecola Christian Academy

The kids had their heart set on seeing Pensacola as well, because they follow the Abeka Academy Homeschool curriculum produced by Pensacola Christian Academy. We’d decided to take a drive after church to find the school, so the kids could at least see it, but to our surprise we drove right by it on the way to church. We came back the following morning to actually see the school. We couldn’t actually get in to see the school or meet any teachers, but nonetheless, our kids were really excited to see “their school”.

Abeka Academy is a video-based program where PCA classes such as history, music, typing skills, reading, math, science etc., are pre-recorded and sent to us in DVD format. Liz then coordinates tests, projects, etc., and submits their results so that an academic record is maintained. This is how they will be schooled during our entire time in France and is advantageous for 2 reasons:

  • Language: While our kids speak French in varying degrees, it would not be strong enough to be thrust into the French school system. Their French will improve by virtue of the daily interaction with French people, but their education remains in English.
  • Continuity: Our kids have always been homeschooled and though we’ve used the Abeka curriculum for a number of years, we moved to this format during the 2013-2014 school year. We wanted to minimize the amount of change that the kids would experience this school year (in addition to the already big adjustment of moving to France).

Want to help but don’t know how?

The cost associated with this Homeschool program is roughly $800 per student, per school year and represents a very specific financial need within our overall support.

If you’d like to help us out financially but either don’t know how, would you consider making a donation to help cover the kids’ education.  You can do this by printing off our Pledge Card, filling it out and mailing it according to the instructions here.

10-days in France, 4 days away

Just a reminder that we’ll be leading a team of 13 young people to France in just 4 more days. Please keep the team in prayer as we travel and minister in three different churches. Look for details on how the trip is going, right here in the Blog section.

Open-invite to a really great church

If you live in, or are visiting the Pensacola area, you will find a great church in First Pentecostal Church. They are located at 6500 North W St., Pensacola FL., 32505 and can be reached at (850) 477-1100.

Thanks for following our adventure, Next stop… DeQuincy, LA.

Family Time… relaxing in Florida

The impetus of our roadtrip, in May, was a week-long family vacation in Florida. We managed, on either side of that week, to incorporate time with pastor-friends and their churches, however these days were the raison-d’être of our time away.


As Assistant to the Pastor of a very active church with responsibilities for the design, publication and distribution of a 12-page monthly magazine for our district and as dad to a homeschooling family where Liz does an amazing job… we tend to lead a very busy lifestyle.  I can’t even begin to say how nice it was to unplug from email, voicemail, web-technology, etc. for a couple of weeks. Oh I know that we never really escape it totally, but we can put a much greater distance between it and ourselves.

Unlike previous visits to Florida, where we’d visited various Disney parks or other such attractions, this time we made a point to not move from our home-base (it can be tough to resist the temptation “go and do”, but we’d set the expectation with our kids, from the outset, that this would be a “poolside” vacation… no parks, and that did the trick).    map_FL

Staying “Busy”

The only kind of busy that we were looking for, during our time in Florida, was… well… none!

The kids were content to spend hours at a time in the pool – chasing, dunking, splashing, stalking & wrestling with each other and the various pool-toys that were available. While they did this, Liz & I did a fair bit of reading and I included some journaling and blog-maintenance as well. We only left home-base twice.

cypressgroveThe first time we left was to go to church, Sunday morning, at Cypress Grove Fellowship, located just 20 minutes or so from our hotel and pastored by Rev. Mark Barrick. We really enjoyed service and were very warmly welcomed by church members. Thank you Cypress Grove, for making us feel so welcomed.

The second time we left home-base was, based on the recommendation of one of the folks at church, to go visit Playa-Linda (spanish for “beautiful beach), part of the Canaveral National Seashore…. THAT was beautiful!

Huge waves of salty water crashed onto the fine sand and underwater sand-bars, carrying you along and causing you to either stumble or tumble ‘neath their power.  I’m sure that before the abundance of theme parks and attractions the beaches would’ve been crowded, but they were virtually empty… two surfers, a handful of fisherman strewn along the kilometers of pristine beach coast. This was probably one of the most fun days we spent in Florida.

*thankful for family fun*

Open Invitation to a GREAT church

If you live in, or are visiting the Orlando area, you will find a great church in Cypress Grove Fellowship. They are located at 745 Holden Ave., Orlando FL  and can be reached at (407) 857-5866 (see link to their website, below).

Thanks for following our adventure, Next stop… Pensacola.

One last note…

Today we are having our final FX Meeting (France X-travaganza) in preparation for our upcoming 10-day mission tour to France (beginning June 30th).  We will be working on music and preparing for our final fund-raiser… Paris by Night, a 3-course sit-down dinner and silent auction where the choice of Entrées will be Boeuf Bourgignon or Seafood Alfredo.

…So be watching for a few extra posts around that time as I will be sharing some of what the team will be involved in on a day-to-day basis.


to Montreal, Ottawa & back

This time last week I’d asked you to pray because I was heading to Montreal for Canada Conference and as you read this, this morning, I’m preparing to fly back to Saint John. Taking a break from details of our trip down south, let me give you a run-down of the past week.

Canada Conference

CCcompositeThis year’s Canada Conference was hosted by the incredible church in St. Laurent, pastored by Rev. Paul Graham. This church is no stranger to us (or rather, we’re not strangers there) having been there numerous times, with Rev. Dieudonné Kahozi, for various French Conferences.

The speakers this year were

Paul Mooney, Jimmy Toney, Melvin Calhoun, Raymond Woodward, Jesus Fortaleza and Albert Foster.

The worship and teaching was incredible… what a great blessing to be part of those meetings.

Bro. Woodward afforded me the opportunity to greet the conference as an appointed AIMer which was a great privilege. It took me a bit off guard because I didn’t know it was going to happen, so I don’t think I did as good a job as I could have, however, I’ll chalk it up to a learning experience and do better the next time such an opportunity arises, knowing better what to expect.  So thankful for every opportunity!

I was asked to translate the morning sessions on Friday which included teaching by Brothers Foster, Woodward, Toney and Mooney… a wonderful marathon that I was privileged to be part of (*note to self… bone-up on Revenue Canada & accounting terminology for the next time I translate Bro. Foster – haha)

Services in the Quebec District 

After the Canada Conference was over, I spent a few extra days in the Quebec District, to present our project and our burden at the invitation of Rev. Scott Grant (career church planter under North American Missions) and Rev. Dieudonné Kahozi (French pastor at St. Laurent, church planter in Montreal East and North American Director of French Evangelism). I spoke…

  1. Sunday Morning at the newest French church in Montreal, located in Montréal Est. This church began as a Bible study in Bro. Kahozi’s home, outgrew their second location, a rented 45-seat facility, 2 years later and are now in a recently-purchased location, the dedication service of which will take place in July of this year.
  2. Sunday Afternoon at International Church, a growing church on Montreal’s south shore, started by Bro. & Sis. Grant in 2009 and currently being pastored by Bro. & Sis. Hector Arriola.
  3. Monday Night at a Bible Study attended by international university students as an outreach of the Saint Laurent UPC. Don’t let the name fool you… there were 88 people in attendance. These young people are on fire.
  4. church-smTuesday Night at the Église Pentecôtiste de Trois Rivières. This is an established church that will celebrate 25 years this summer and is also pastored by the Grants. We love the church at T-R (as it’s affectionately referred to) and have been there numerous times as well.


While in the area, I had a number of appointments between Montreal and Ottawa which related to my application for European Citizenship. Liz holds EU citizenship by virtue of being born there, my kids have it because or their mom and I am entitled to it by marriage (in the same way that Liz was able to get Canadian citizenship, by marriage, when she moved here) and can maintain dual citizenship. While on one hand it’s fairly straightforward, it nonetheless required a fair bit of paperwork, document authentication and eventually translation.

Why apply for citizenship to an EU nation?

Not because we plan to cut ties to Canada or anything. It will simply reduce the amount of bureaucratic hoops that we will have to jump through in order to live in Europe temporarily. Typically, France only issues 111SussexDrresidency permits for a 1-year term, meaning that after only about 6 months, you have to already begin the renewal process. Having citizenship does away with that.

This part of the process required time at both the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa as well as the Italian Consulate in Montreal, among others.

A Busy Few Days…

I’m back in Saint John today, but in the next 5 days we need to:

  • Meet with officials about Homeschool planning for the kids next year.
  • Have a final, all-morning, planning session with the 13-member team that we’re leading to France on June 30th.
  • Celebrate Sophie & Dominic’s “last birthday in Canada” for a couple of years.
  • Speak at Life Source Church in Shediac, pastored by Kent Carter.
  • Host a 3-course fundraising dinner for our 10-day mission trip to France on June 30th.

It goes without question that we would appreciate your prayers. 

God has done and is doing many amazing things and we are glad to be part of it!
Thank you for following our preparations and for your prayerful support… with it you become part of what God is doing and will do in France.


Montgomery AL, Birthplace of US Civil Rights

From the Elm City, New Haven Connecticut, we took two days to make our way down to Montgomery, Alabama, where we spent a few days with Pastor & Mrs Timothy Mitchell, founding pastor of New Testament Christian Center.

Birth of a Friendship

We got to know the Mitchells through a translation opportunity. Mutual friends, missionaries Eddy & Della-Mae Kennedy, let us know that Pastor Mitchell was looking for some help translating a Bible study course for new believers that he had authored, entitled The Way More Perfectly.

Liz accepted to do the translation and so, during the months that ensued, we were in contact at regular intervals and at one point, without even planning it, the Mitchells were on a cruise that stopped for the day in Saint John, allowing us to meet in person for the first time. Following that meeting, there were a couple of times, two in particular, where the Lord prompted Bro. Mitchell to call us “just to see how things were going.”  Those calls came at pivotal moments and were definitely God-moments.

The translation was completed last year, but the friendship lived on and as soon as we decided to drive to Florida, we made a point of connecting with them. map_AL

Unexpected Surprise

GoddardAt one point in our drive, we realized that the highway we were on would take us within 10 minutes of Anderson, South Carolina (we had no idea this would be so beforehand… we just followed the GPS – nicknamed Olive for our trip) where Rev. Edward Goddard pastors a wonderful church (Sanctuary of Praise). Bro. Goddard was the pastor of Mission Point (First United Pentecostal) when Liz and I first started attending and so was an important part of our walk and growth in God.

We were able to stop in for a short visit and see the miracle church that God provided for them. So glad for even a short visit and thankful for the great example of this pastor who has been part of shaping who we are today.


IMG_8229After surviving heavy rain as we came through Atlanta, we arrived in Montgomery. Not only did we have the chance to worship with the Mitchells, both in the morning and evening services, but they showed us around the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement and the First Capital of the Confederacy.

As you read in my earlier post, The Power of One, the Rosa Parks Museum moved me tremendously (surprisingly so). We also visited the First White House of the Confederacy and the Alabama State Capitol (pictured at right) where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as President of the Confederacy.

We got a chance to visit the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site where African American servicemen had to fight to win their place, both in World War II missions and in military ranks back home.

The Civil Rights Movement is intricately woven into the American national identity and narrative, but such is not so much the case in Canada. Although we are aware of it, at varying degrees, I daresay it is not as widely understood here in all of its complexity. These two days were a humbling time as we were somewhat immersed in it.

Open Invitation to a GREAT church

If you live in, or are visiting the Montgomery area, you will find a great church in the New Testament Christian Center. They are located at 10300 US 80, Montgomery, AL, 36117  and can be reached at (334) 215-7215 (see link to their website, below).

If you are in Anderson, SC or the surrounding area… visit Sanctuary of Praise, 518 Stone Drive, Anderson S.C., 29625. You can reach the church at (864) 224-6699.

Next stop

…the Sunshine State. We’ll go there on Saturday


Related Links:


New Haven… Connecticut’s Elm City

The first stop on our road-trip, was New Haven, Connecticut… nicknamed The Elm City for the high canopy of mature trees which characterize the city, reputedly the result of America’s first public tree-planting program.

Probably most known as the home of Yale University, New Haven was on our mind and has been in our heart for another reason.

Haven of Hope

Back in 2008, Pastor Rick Perry came to Saint John to speak in our annual missions conference, as a representative of North American Missions, since he and his wife Stacey were church planters in The Elm City. Our church partnered with them and two years later, sent a team to help them refurbish a newly purchased building that would become their church’s home… Haven of Hope.

Our friendship with the Perrys has continued to grow over the years, making it impossible to drive by without stopping to say hello!

French Connection

As we arrived on their doorstep, we noticed a car in the driveway bearing North Carolina license plates. The mystery was unveiled as soon as we knocked on the door, which was opened by missionary to France, Marcus Brainos!  How cool!!  We, of course, knew the Brainos’ from our time in France and had recently had them visit with us at Mission Point in Saint John (read about that visit here).

What a treat… we got to have a nice supper together with both the Perrys and the Brainos’ followed by a truly authentic cappuccino at Libby’s Italian Pastry Shop (VERY cool & VERY authentic! Also very old-school- don’t go unless you have cash as they don’t accept debit or credit cards).

map_CTForestThe Clear Call of God

I’ve always been amazed by the way God called the Perrys to New Haven. They were heading through, on their way someplace else, when, passing in front of the Forest Cinema, God spoke to Bro. Perry about establishing a church there. He didn’t immediately say anything but a short while later, when speaking with his wife about being called someplace, she responded… “It’s New Haven, isn’t it?  It was the Forest Cinema wasn’t it?”

God had spoken to her at the same time, and they both knew it, although neither immediately expressed it to the other.

God’s voice isn’t always that clear… sometimes you have to search it out a bit, but it was that clear to me when it came to our call to France, and I’m so glad it was. There will undoubtedly be days when “the going gets tough” but on those days, the clarity of God’s call will help us to continue forward.  I have long thought, and it’s been my experience, that you can make it through just about anything if you know, without doubt, that you are in God’s perfect will. I’m thankful that such certainty is available in Jesus.

Open Invitation to a GREAT church

If you live in, or are visiting the New Haven area, you will find a great church in Haven of Hope. They are located at 884 Grand Ave., New Haven, CT 06511  and can be reached at (203) 404-0339 (see link to their website, below).

Next stop… The land of rattlesnakes and water moccasins.


Please pray today:

Two things that I’d ask you to pray about today…

  1. By the time this post is published, I’ll be on my way to Montreal for the UPC’s Canada Conference, where I’ll have the opportunity to present our project to pastors from across the country. Pray that some of these will partner with us.
  2. While in the area, I’ll also need to look after details that will facilitate living in Europe for two years. For this I have several appointments in both Montreal and Ottawa. Pray that these appointments go well and that “bureaucratic bog-down” doesn’t happen.

.Thank you!

Related Links:


Roadtrip through the USA

IMG_8023May was an incredible month!

It began at the Atlantic District Conference, in Moncton, NB.  The day after its conclusion, however, we set off for a 3.5 week trek through the United States which would take us some 9,800 kilometres (over 5,000 miles).

As we prepared to cross the border, the sign said it all: “If you want to stay in Canada… turn left”, otherwise… “straight ahead for adventure.” We chose adventure!

The Where:

We had been planning this family trip to Florida for some time. In the past, we’d done a couple of parks… Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Legoland (in Winter Haven on the old Cypress Gardens location), but this time there would be no parks: relaxation and economical were to be the names of the game – no fighting the crowds and no bankrupting the wallet. The spot where we stayed had a number of activities for the kids / family and that would suffice. In fact, the only time we left the property was (a) to go to church on Sunday and (b) to visit the Canaveral National Seashore one day.

In total, the trip would take us to New Haven Connecticut, Montgomery Alabama, Orlando Florida, Dallas Texas and St. Louis Missouri… with a couple of wonderful (if unplanned) stops along the way.

The How:

In the days when my wife worked in the airline industry, we would’ve flown but since that was no long the case, 4 wheels replaced 2 wings and the idea of a grand road-trip was born.  Since we’d not be limited by rental car pick-up or drop-off locations, MapDrawwe decided to combine pleasure with more pleasure and connect with friends along the way. The posts over the next couple of weeks will detail some of the highlights of that trip.

What I can do for now is give you an overview of the trip using the map below (created using Map Draw, from iTunes’ App Store).


The Who:

Liz & I and our kids got to know each other in a whole new way over the past few weeks!  Sure we’re family… but this was the first time ever that we’d spent three and a half weeks living from car to hotel room to suitcase. It was DEF-initely a new experience.

I’ve got to say, though, that everyone survived very well. Liz had prepared school material for the kids and they spent a great deal of our driving time doing school work: the older two with their ABeka DVD curriculum and Timo with diligent help from mom. Not only did it keep them from getting bored (and getting on each other’s nerves) but it also kept them on track to finish their school year within the same time frame as their friends.

Drive Down Memory Lane

I can’t say that I was conscious of this at the time, but perhaps part of the impetus of this grand adventure had something to do with such an adventure in my own childhood.

I was just a little younger than my daughter when my mom, my dad, my brother and I made a similar road trip, except that we drove across Canada and returned through the norther USA, tenting when there were no family members or friends to stay with.  It was on that trip that I rode horseback for the first time, climbed Banff’s Sulfur Mountain, saw Victoria and Mt. Rushmore… reading 99-cent comic books in the back seat and trying to ensure my brother stayed on “his side of the line” (that separated us in the back seat).

I daresay that we have just completed building a significant memory lane for our own kids… You’ll hear more about it in coming posts.

The Power of One

I hesitated between entitling this post “The Power of One” and “Quiet Strength”… both of which describe Rosa Parks well. I was recently exposed to her story in incredible detail and left the experience deeply moved.

Her Story

Portrait (top) by Susan Tusa

Portrait (top) by Susan Tusa

On December 1, 1955, Mrs. Parks refused to give up her seat to white people, boarding a bus in Montgomery Alabama’s then-segregated municipal bus system. Although the particular seat she was in did not technically have to be yielded to whites, according to city by-laws, the over-zealous bus driver either forgot or disregarded that detail in order to make an example out of Parks. He had her arrested for “disorderly conduct.”

The exchange between Parks, who practiced peaceful disobedience, and the driver, James Blake, went something like this:

Blake: “You gonna give up that seat?”
Parks: “No.”
Blake: “You better give me that seat.”
Parks: “No.”
Blake: “I’ll have you arrested.”
Parks: “You may do that.”

Parks’ quiet refusal and subsequent arrest sparked a year-long boycott of the bus system, by 50,000 African-Americans; causing the company to lose some $3,ooo / day. Her actions resulted in the US Supreme Court ordering full integration of the public transportation system. Thus began the modern civil rights movement.

There were other battles fought as part of the overall war on race-equality in the United States, but this was a major one.


Of course the name Rosa Parks was not unfamiliar to me, but I came away from this experience of the story deeply moved for the first time.

In the 1990s, while honoring her, Bill Clinton referred to Mrs. Parks, who was sitting in the audience with then first-lady Hillary Clinton and he said something to the effect (as everyone around her was rising to give her a standing ovation)

“Mrs. Parks may stand OR remain seated… as is her good pleasure.”

When I heard this, it took me several minutes to regain my composure.

What is the Power of One?

It is the power of one decision, made by one individual… the result of which is neither known at the time nor guaranteed to be favorable. It is a belief that the possible (though not guaranteed) outcome is worth the risk.

Though she new it would have ramifications, she probably didn’t realize just how far those ramifications would be felt and how many people they would impact. At the very least, it affected the 50,000 people who spent a year boycotting the Montgomery bus system… but we know it went further than that.

What about you… what about me?

Is it possible for us to make such a difference?

Is it possible for us to experience the power of one?

I hope so. I believe so. This is why I serve the Lord and seek to become more like Him… because, at the very least, the repercussions of that daily choice, will impact the four other lives with which I spend the most time… my family. Beyond that I desire to have this daily choice impact future generations in France.

  • Because John & Anne Nowacki chose to plant a church in Melun, France… some 400+ people worship God there each Sunday and communities around the nation are hearing the gospel as well.
  • Because Paul & Darla Brochu chose to establish a church in Châtellerault, western France back in 2000 there is an incredibly firm foundation and infrastructure upon which to watch the Lord take the next step in impacting a region.

Thank you, Lord, that we have the opportunity to be part of that next step!

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