Labor Day Convention in Perth

photoIt’s time for the annual Labor Day Convention in the Village of Perth-Andover, which means that people from the Atlantic, Maine and Nova Scotia Districts are coming together at Calvary Tabernacle for a weekend of fellowship, music and preaching.  I am privileged to be here and to have had the opportunity, last night, to share the story of our call to France and how it came about.

40 years of Convention…

Thursday night, Bro. H.M. Lewis (former pastor and forever beloved elder in our district) shared the history of how the Labor Day Convention came about some 40 years ago – as this is the 40th anniversary of this great  I love the fact that, when he felt the need & desire to begin this convention, his goal was that it would:

  • Not risk winter weather complications
  • Fall on a holiday weekend, allowing folks to relax  and
  • Not compete with what anyone else was doing in the district.

I love the spirit of that.

Last night, Rev. Joel Urshan, of Cincinatti Ohio, preached an incredible message on the Joy of the Lord as our Strength. But before he did,  James & Jonathan Cole (Amherst, NS) and their wives provided special music, and OH! did they bring the house down. What a great spirit they have.

Rev. Jonathan Cole is a walking Miracle. He shared how, 2 years ago, he was preparing to sing at the Labor Day Convention and felt very dizzy. Little did he know then that a tumor the size of a man’s fist was growing in the back of his brain. Two years later though, he has miraculously recovered and gives God all the praise.

Rev. & Mrs David Ferrell…

photo…are the hosts of this convention, as pastor of Calvary Tabernacle. More than that, though, Bro. Ferrell has been a great support to me from very early on in this process and the Lord has allowed our paths to cross at several key junctures in our journey toward France.

In 2009 (the first year I went to teach in the Bible School), Bro. Ferrell was there as well, teaching the Guest Lecturer Seminar. Although I knew who he was, this was really the first chance to connect (This was also the man who was able to get an armed police escort through one Paris metro station – they were pleased to lend a hand to a lone, non-French-speaking traveller – never ceases to amaze me).

Then, in 2013, he was one of the men that conducted my ordination interview on behalf of the district. Toward the end of what was usually a 10-min interview, he asked if I ever saw myself somewhere other than in Saint John. A barely perceptible smile came onto my face which he caught and I explained that I had already been in discussion with Bro. Nowacki, Bro. Brochu and my pastor about the possibility of AIM. That didn’t surprise him in the least and he expressed at that time that he could see us fitting in there seamlessly… and now, the gracious invitation to come and present our opportunity to this convention.

What an encourager!


On a side note… the photo above shows a Mountie in red surge saluting on the platform. What a treat to see Bro. Troy Smith, a local mountie who had spent some time in the Saint John church some years ago. Would love to have gotten a picture with him. *Proud of our mounties*

Moving Forward

So far, as a result of the opportunity last night, we have been invited to two more churches in the district this fall. We are looking forward to that.

We have had some results from the postcards that I told you about last time, we thank the Lord for that and I’ll give you more details in another post.

May the Lord bless your Saturday!





Two things for you today:

  1. The first, related to our preparations and
  2. The second, related to you dear readers!
    (but don’t skip to the bottom of the page to read about you first!)

Outbound: Stamps and more stamps…


Long-time followers will remember that in March, we mailed out 210 information packets to pastors around North America, introducing ourselves and asking for support. Well, this past Saturday I finished doing a second mailing.


picstitchWhereas March’s mail-out contained a letter, bookmarks, a Partner Support form and a handwritten note, this one contained only a postcard, the front of which was customized with photos of our trip and the back of which gave a brief overview of our time there. While it will be a shorter read for the recipients, it still took me a couple of weeks to prepare because I included a short handwritten note on the back of each card as well.

Crazy? Perhaps… but do you enjoy getting a mail-out that’s strictly generic? Not me.

Even if a church or pastor is unable to support us financially at this time, the photos on the card make it another great prayer-prompt. Prayer is always in order!

Now… on to you dear readers!

Outbound: Going global

I was looking at the stats for this blog the other day (not always a good thing to do when you’re a new blogger… it can become easy to obsess) and I was pleasantly surprised at the traffic that has been coming through. The picture below shows the stats for the last thirty days.

statsmap_realWordPress is pretty cool that way… it’ll compile the blog stats in a way that’s very visually accessible (I’m pretty visual). I can view the last 7-days, 30-days, 3-months or “all time.”  Although there is some shuffle that occurs across those various views, one thing that is consistent are the top three sources of traffic:

Canada is the heaviest source of traffic,
The United States is the second heaviest source and
France sends the third greatest number of visitors

This breakdown is not surprising, all things considered.  If I were to show you the stats for views since the launch, one thing that would be quite different is the group of countries that follow the top three.

  • The numbers above show that Brazil, Guatemala, Italy, Portugal and Madagascar as the next five.
  • All-time stats however show Belgium, Brazil, Netherlands, Denmark and Guatemala as the next overall top-5 sources of traffic.

You’re all TOPs!

Regardless of placement on a list… we want to say a big “Thanks!” to each of you for continuing to visit the site and stay on top of our plans & preparations. Although I say “our” plans… we’re cognizant of the fact that we’re just living out the Lord’s plans.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Cards: As these latest cards fall into the hands of pastors across North America, please pray that many, who are not already supporters, would be favorable to helping us financially in some measure.
  2. Pre-Moving Sale: This Saturday, we’ll be having our first “Pre-Moving Sale.”  We’ve begun sifting through 17-years worth of accumulated things and will be putting them out for sale in a garage sale. It’s not only to raise a bit of money, but also (and perhaps more importantly), to reduce the amount of stuff we’ll need to store when we leave.

Would appreciate your prayers concerning both these things!

Thanks so much… See you Saturday!


Atlantic District Connection

Long before we ever had any inkling about God’s plan for us in France, there was already a connection between the city of Châtellerault and my home province of New Brunswick. It caught me by surprise back in June 2009 and I thought I’d share it with you today.

Twinning – Bouctouche, NB

“Twinning” (“Jumelage” in French) is primarily a social agreement between cities, towns, regions, villages, etc., for the purpose of promoting cultural and sometimes economic ties. It is extremely common in Europe but, in my experience, less so in North America.


Back in 1984, however, a relationship was born between the city of Châtellerault (France) and the municipalities of Bouctouche and St. Antoine (New Brunswick, Canada).  The formal language defining this relationship refers to a pacte d’amitié (a pact of friendship).

Back in 2010, when Bouctouche was celebrating it’s 225th anniversary, Mr. Jean-Claude GAILLARD, a Châtellerault municipal counselor with responsibilities for international relations, was appointed to represent the French city at festivities in the Kent County towns.

La Ferme Acadienne… near Châtellerault

archignyThe link between Châtellerault and the Acadians of Kent County is not just a new thing though.  After the expulsion, many of them returned to France and settled in the area surrounding Châtellerault, where they were granted land to cultivate. It wasn’t the best land, and was quite wet, but early settlers dug ditches which allowed for drainage and gradually eeked out a living for themselves. Some 58 houses were originally built and a couple of them remain today to form what is called “La Ferme Acadienne” (watch a short presentation of it here or read a bit about it here).

So yes… the Acadian flag flies proudly, just outside of Châtellerault.


Bouctouche and St. Antoine were very familiar to me since my grandparents lived there in the early 1990’s and my parents moved there in the early 2000’s and we were out for a stroll in Bouctouche back in 2009, when I made the discovery.

Sitting on a small park at the end of the main bridge coming into downtown sits not much more than a parking area with a lovely closed-in gazebo (see photo) along with a rose-lined stairway leading down to water access; on the roof of the gazebo, the sign announcing that this, is “Place Châtellerault”. Today, it’s a spot for locals to come and shoot the breeze, discussing a bit of this and that, but the park also sits roughly where once stood the Irving Department Store.

For those familiar with the virtual Irving Empire in New Brunswick… there was once a little department store of typical 1970’s fare; one big open space with long lines of metal shelving just tall enough that a 7-10 year-old could barely see over them. What do I remember most? …the assembled seashell and tiny lobster-trap souvenirs, typical of most seaside communities of the day. Horribly tacky by 2014 standards, but “the coolest thing ever” for a young boy in the 70’s!


Why do I share this bit about the twinning of these three municipalities?
The Lord is subtle and does all things well.

Remember that although I’d been to Châtellerault as early as 2004 (in the context of graduate studies), it was in July of 2009 that I would go back there, for the first time, to teach in the Bible School.  I discovered this just one month earlier, in June of 2009.

We were so far from France, yet here was a bit of Châtellerault staring me right in the face. It was familiar. It was a warm reminder which brought back memories of my time there in the previous years… to some extent, it was like getting a hug from an old friend.


Châtellerault is only twinned with 7 communities around the world (no others in North America) and one of them was right in my backyard, so to speak: here in little old New Brunswick, there was a connection to this city in France that I would one day inhabit and carry a burden for, although I didn’t know it in 2009.

It’s one of those things which, at the time didn’t mean a great deal, but, as I look back, is just one more link in the long chain of events that have brought us to this point.

Thank you

Thank you for keeping aware of what the Lord is doing.
Let this knowledge feed your prayers!

“Team France” Presents…

For the first time in a couple of weeks, we were home for the weekend and it felt good, not only because we didn’t have to do and subsequently undo suitcases & garment bags, but also because we got to be in our home church with our 10+ kids!

Whoa! Wait a minute… did you say 10+ kids???

Yep… lemme explain.

Team France

photoIf you have been following our blog or following our life… you’ll know that we spent the first 10 days of July in France with a team of young people. Twelve of us were from MissionPoint in Saint John and one was from Capital Community Church in Fredericton, NB. We spent time primarily in the cities of Châtellerault, Bordeaux and Melun, ministering in services, handing out invitations to church and prayer walking city streets.

Here you see the team standing on the bank of the Vienne River, in front of the Henri IV bridge.


photoThis past Sunday night, members of the team addressed the local church, sharing their experiences in a service that was entirely dedicated to the involvement of young people in missions during the summer of 2014.

Not only did this team head to France, but we also had one young lady, from Mission Point, spend the month of July in Ghana, West Africa with missionaries Nick & Pam Sisco.

Here are a few highlights of that evening…

“God opened the door and you (the local church) made it possible for us to go. Thank you! It was truly life Changing.”
Trisha Shephard

“My time in France began 9 years ago when Bro. Long took me on my first trip there. One service, then, impacted me incredibly, so going back just felt like home.”
Ryan Shephard

MPTeamFrance-Presents“On other mission trips I’d taken, it was always with people that I mostly didn’t know. It was so great to go with a group from my own home church. I will be forever changed from my time there.”
  Jayne Taylor

“It was during one of our FX (France Extravaganza) nights that, as I began to talk about my expectations for the trip, that I could barely speak and God placed an incredible burden on me for France and our time there. It was so heavy, all I could do was weep. Just talking about it makes me miss France all over again.”
  Erin Taylor

“There were people from our church that I got to know in a totally new way during this trip. I thought I knew them – or, at least, I had my impression of them – but I got to know them much better and we had a blast together.”
  Nick Cannon

AIMKid Sophie speaks

One speaker in particular holds an extra-special place in our hearts… our daughter Sophie, the only one of our three #AIMKids to make this trip. She highlighted the fact that she enjoyed getting to see the church and meet the church family there, but when she talked about the other kids in the church, it touched us greatly:

“One thing I noticed was that, with the 12 or so kids that are in the church over there… they’re all boys. I’ve got some work to do.”

Her implication wasn’t so much that she’d need to straighten out all those boys, but rather that she’d have to do her best to make friends with and see some young girls come to the Lord.

*Thank you Lord for speaking to and through our kids… putting a desire in them to be missionaries… soul-winning Christians*

Thank you!

This trip would not have been possible without:

  • The whole-hearted support of Pastor Brent Carter of MissionPoint in Saint John, our home church.
  • The financial and prayer support of the church family at MissionPoint.
  • The collaborative planning by the Brochu & Nowacki missionary families in France, Pastor & Sis. Majdling of Bordeaux and the youth leadership in both Bordeaux & Melun.
  • A great group of young people who formed the team!

As we criss-crossed the country – planning meals, drives, rest-stops, sightseeing, etc., we gained the nicknames “mom” and “dad” (hence the comment about our 10+ kids at the outset of this post).

Mom & Dad were proud of you kids Sunday night!

Take a Missions Trip

I highly recommend planning a missions trip of some kind in and for your local church… whether for youth or for a wider age-bracket. There will be some cost involved, both in terms of time, finances and energy, but the payoff will be well worth it.

  • You will see a greater sense of cohesion amongst team members
  • New talents and abilities will be uncovered that will bless your church
  • Team members will gain confidence about stepping out in faith and letting themselves be used of God in either familiar or new ways

Missions involvement… there’s nothing like it!

PEI… the real deal!

 We hadn’t been to PEI since, perhaps, 2006… and our kids had never been there, so when the opportunity arose to present our burden for France and explain our AIM term to churches there, we were looking forward to going.

West Coast

photoWe began our time there with two quiet days on the Island’s west coast, near Tignish. Our “home away from home” was within sight of the wind turbines at North Cape (seen at right… early morning and late afternoon).  The car was parked late Thursday night upon arrival and didn’t move until early Sunday morning when it came time for church.

In the interim, we enjoyed nearly deserted beaches (most vacationers head to the Cavendish area), kayaks, sand and roasting hot dogs & marshmellows.


It is here that the current PEI Tourism slogan “The Gentle Island” makes perfect sense.


photoOn Sunday morning, our day began quite early. Service with Pastor & Mrs. Donald & Dana Hood would not begin until 11:00am, however, given the near two-hour drive to get there and our desire to spend a bit of time together… we left our cabin at 7:00am.

Our schedule for the day would require us to leave Charlottetown immediately following the morning service so we opted for breakfast together rather than dinner. I wanted to glean from Bro. Hood’s experience as pastor of a growing church. Nearly all of my personal experience is with established churches, but when we get to France, we will be in another setting and I’ll need to be able to draw on more experience than just my own.

I’ve admired the Hoods, from a distance, for some time. I greatly appreciate his quiet and prayerful spirit. Together, they are doing a great work in the provincial capital.

Thank you, Bro. & Sis. Hood, for having us! We loved being with you!


photoFrom Charlottetown, we drove 45-min back to Summerside where we would have service that evening with Pastor & Mrs Troy & Jenette Wickett. Liz & the kids would stay here for the afternoon while Pastor Troy Wickett and myself headed up to Alberton (nearly all the way back to where we stayed for the first two days) for an afternoon service there – Bro. Wickett oversees both churches.

It was a treat for me to get to visit this church as I’d heard much about it from Pastor & Mrs. Gordon (Gordie) Lewis who, after pastoring there for some 30 years, retired in Saint John and attended our church. It was neat to see where they’d invested so much of their life and ministry.

We had a wonderful service and we felt the presence of God in a very real way. There were not a lot of young people there that particular day, but I was struck by the fact that they were all at the altar and were all very engaged there. Great to see!

Back to Summerside

photoI had left my car in Summerside and Pastor Wickett & I traveled to Alberton together. I was glad for the chance to connect with him and, again, glean from his experience. During the 45-min drive back to Summerside I asked him about some of the things that had proven to be important in growing a church in his experience.

(perhaps one of these days I’ll do a post on some of these “gleanings”… but for now I’m still mulling them over myself)

By the time we arrived back in Summerside, pre-service prayer had already begun and we had about 20-min before service time. I honestly felt unsure about which way to go with my message that night, but during one of the songs, “I’ve got a testimony”, it became clear, and so I simply shared on how, with patience and perseverence we can find our purpose and possess the promise of God (that’s a lot of “P’s” I know). In short…

It is only as I look back over my life that certain things make sense and I can see a great deal more of the big picture than I could as I was going through them. God had me on a two-year missions project in Europe, with a very young church, some 24 years ago… but he brought me home to Canada and has spent those last 24 years teaching me a good many things about himself, about people and about ministry in preparation for sending me back there with my family. The purpose of my life is becoming more and more clear, but it is only visible with more hindsight.

Being “on-purpose”

If you are reading this today and are unsure of your purpose… let me tell you what I told the church in Summerside on Sunday night. “Be patient. Don’t try to rush the unfolding of God’s plan in your life and serve Him faithfully in the local church. God called Paul and Barnabas while they were already serving in a certain capacity. If you wait for a clear vision of your purpose before you engage… you may miss out on it all together. God will give you experience along the way that will prepare you and open the doors for you to be “on-purpose.”

There. As my late grandmother would say… “That’s my sermon for the day.”

Thank you Bro. Wickett for putting this weekend together along with Bro. Hood.
We loved being with you both on The Gentle Island.

 Until next time…

Prince Edward Island

Unintentional Teaser

As much as I hate to do this… I’m just going to post a family pic from our time on Prince Edward Island for now. I was hoping to give you a complete run-down of our time there, but we only got back late Monday night and yesterday was time in the office and then down to Calais, Maine (USA) to pick up the Pentecostal Messengers (the monthly publication of the Atlantic District, of which I’m the editor)… so… precious little time to get a decent post done up for you.


Province House, Charlottetown PEI

A Bit of History

This was the first time that our kids had been to Prince Edward Island. Since we would be in Charlottetown for the Sunday morning service and since service was being held right around the corner from Province House, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a photo.

Province House has been the seat of Prince Edward Island’s provincial legislature since 1847 and is the second oldest seat of government in Canada.  What’s more, it is also a National Historic Site stands as it was here that the fathers of Confederation met in 1864 to, in essence, bring together a number of independent jurisdictions, to form the nation of Canada as it was then configured.As such, Charlottetown, and more specifically Province House, are known as the Birthplace of Confederation.

See You Saturday…

In a sense, I feel I’m shortchanging you today by asking you to come back on Saturday for full details of what I’m calling our “Island Marathon”(a preaching marathon)… but, better that than push forward now with something less than coherent or rushed.

If you’re newly following the blog from PEI… an extra special hello & welcome. Thank you for hosting us so well this past weekend.

Thanks for stopping by today. Come back Saturday and I’ll look forward to “seeing you” then!






32 = 38

I know… the title of today’s blog post is a little bit cryptic at first glance, but it’ll make sense less than 400 words from now.

15 weeks

It was roughly fifteen weeks ago that we held our first service, in McAdam NB, promoting, and seeking support for, our AIM term in France. Since then we’ve been in eleven churches throughout New Brunswick and Quebec, with both old friends and new, discussing what the LORD has put on our hearts for the next two years. Time has flown, our car has racked up a lot of kilometers and our kids have gotten a lot of experience doing homeschool in the car!

Although not all of our support has come in during those 15 weeks (some came before), a majority of it has. Here’s where we stand to date:

  • photoWe are currently sitting at roughly 38% of our budget either given or committed to*.
  • 52% is from monthly partners.
  • 48% is from one-time donations.
  • The amount committed to-date is already the equivalent of 37 monthly $50-partners.

(The 38% assumes that current partners maintain their PIM commitment during our entire stay in France. It also includes a few individuals who have let us know that they will be partnering, but have not yet begun.)

Still… how does 32=38 ?

So in terms of my cryptic title… you’ve probably figured out that the 38 refers to the percentage of support that has already been committed… so what’s the 32 represent?  “32” is the number of churches and individuals which, combined, have committed to 38% of our funding.

  • 15 churches or individuals have committed to and/or
    have already begun to give roughly $23,500 in monthly pledges and
  • 17 churches or individuals have committed to and/or
    have already given roughly $21,600 in one-time donations.

Now you have it… 32 really does equal 38. It is not some kind of “new math”, rather it’s just a way of expressing how God is working through incredible men, women and churches to support very normal people who desire to do something for the Lord and ultimately for the people of France.

There are many families who are able to step out of their comfort zone and, by faith, involve themselves in another corner of God’s kingdom here in North America. In our case, God has equipped us both linguistically and culturally, and has been preparing us, in such a way that going to France presents relatively few obstacles. Not everyone can say that. We are simply taking what the Lord has done in us and giving it back to Him.

Looking Ahead

In order to ensure that we leave with the promise of full support, we still need the equivalent of 65 more $50/month partners willing to support us for the entire duration of our appointment. Of course some of that number will be off-set by other churches or individuals who will (a) give more than $50/month and (b) prefer to give one-time offerings; as can be seen by the 48% above, one-time donations make a huge difference and we are grateful for both.

This Weekend

As you read this post, we are preparing to minister in three Prince Edward Island churches tomorrow. We look forward to discovering this part of the Atlantic District, with Pastors Donald Hood (Charlottetown) and Troy Wickett (Summerside / Alberton). We’re thankful for the opportunity to be there and will tell you more about it in next Wednesday’s post.

Until then… God bless you today!
Thank you for your interest… let this info feed your prayers for us!