Seeing & Hearing

Hi folks… a happy Saturday to you!  Whether you’re curled up with your hands wrapped around a warm cup of coffee or reading this on the go via mobile, thanks for stopping by again today!

Final move… (for now)

La Grande Bruyère, ChâtelleraultThis week we moved from our temporary accommodations into Bro. & Sis. Brochu’s house, where we will be for a good while as they travel on deputation in North America.

The “house” feels a bit more like a “home” particularly because it’s more furnished, but also because we are once again connected to the WWW (disconnection has been a mixed blessing – but the kids have been doing the “happy dance” since our arrival).

You can see from the bottom pic that it’s already nice enough to put out flower boxes (the gardener in me has been doing the “happy dance” over THIS… gardening weather!) and in fact the ceremonial first time ’round with the lawn mower will likely be this week.

On moving day, Liz was obliged to take to the driver’s seat so that I could drive the moving van. She’s been hesitant to do that up to this point (the first time is always the hardest). Although she grew up in Europe and drove a standard here this summer, she’s been a bit hesitant. Drivers here are pretty aggressive!

Sale of our House

Thank you for your prayers everyone… as of yesterday afternoon, our house was no longer our house. The sale closed and we no longer have to worry about ensuring that what seem like weekly monster-blizzards are cleaned out… Those mountains of snow are now someone else’s responsibility.

It does feel a little strange though… that’s the neighbourhood we’ve lived in for the past 17 years and when we return from AIM, we’ll not be returning “home” per sé. It’ll be strange.

National Sunday School Seminar

For those of you reading this on Saturday, you will no doubt be reading this as Sophie and I attend the National Sunday School Seminar, held at Bro. Nowacki’s church in Melun, along with one of our Bible School Students, Pierre. The guest speaker is Sis. Vickie Oliver, a veteran children’s evangelist from Columbus, OH. She has written a book, available from Pentecostal Publishing House entitled: Birthing your Burden in Children’s Ministry.

Liz could not come because there wasn’t room for all of us + Bro. Pierre in the car so she is home with the boys and Soph & I are on a mission with our good brother.  We drove 3.5 hours up last night and will head back as soon as the seminar is over so that we’re home and in good shape for church tomorrow.


I’ll leave you with this today…  Liz & I found the following while on a recent visit to a 15th church in Châtellerault… it is on the sacrament of Baptism: I’ll translate for non French-speakers… Catholic_Baptism

“In this world of ours, so beautiful yet so disquieted by evil, there is, for the believer another world besides ours.

At the heart of our search, we discover that the Kingdom is within us. We cannot, by ourselves, enter this world of diving love unless we receive from the Lord the possibility to do so.

We accomplish this step by joining ourselves to Christ by the sacrament of baptism. Before preaching the gospel, Jesus was plunged into the Jordan River – symbolizing our purification and our death to sin and pride which turn us away from the Light.

Having chased away this darkness, our spirit is inhabited by the Holy Spirit, in other words, by God Himself.

…and hearing not

Reading that poster above made us think of the what Jesus said in Matthew 13… Himself reaching back to what Isaiah said in chapter 6 of his book: “Seeing, they see not and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand… for their hearing has grown dull and their heart over-full.” 

It’s surprising, really… with the exception of a few words here and there… this could be something that you’d see or hear taught in Oneness Pentecostal churches… “Our spirit is inhabited by the Holy Spirit, in other words, by God Himself.”

Someone sees folks… at least someone saw enough to write what they wrote, using the words that they did. But somehow, at the same time… they didn’t see completely.

We are indeed buried with Christ in baptism… it’s more than just the public expression of a private decision; yet… just as Jesus was plunged into the Jordan River, we must be BURIED… plunged beneath the water as well.  God Himself will inhabit us… but it is not automatic at baptism. I’m so glad for the infilling of the Holy Ghost!  God still does it just the way he did in the book of Acts… it never gets old!

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses (Acts 1.8) ….and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2.4)”

God is leading people – right in Châtellerault – and we are glad to be part of it… we’re glad YOU’RE part of it – Thank you!

In a couple of weeks I’ll share with you the incredible story of Sébastien…
Have an awesome day! The Lord is with you!

More than words…

G’morning from France. I usually try to write posts a day or two ahead of time and then schedule them for publishing on Saturday… but today as I begin to write you, it’s also Saturday (about 3:30am in the Atlantic time zone, 7:30 here in France). Dominic & I came to Pat-à-Pain, our favourite neighbourhood wifi spot, where we’re having pain au chocolate, café crème and an OJ. He’s “Clash-of-Clan-ing” and we’ll hang for a while after I’m done.

Send-off for the Brochus

Paul Brochu, France, Châtellerault, sendoff

Last Sunday we held a sendoff service for the Brochus. He preached on the need for a move of the Spirit of God, like a river of living water, in order for us to bring life to those around us. That is the message that he wanted to leave with the church as he & Sis. Brochu prepared to leave for their deputation.

They leave this morning for one week of regional meetings in Israel. Next Sunday they will have their final service in Paris-Centre and return to Châtellerault for 2 days before flying back to the USA.

These are extremely busy times for them and we can totally relate as it was only two months ago that we were doing many of the same things.

Ron Bohde, anointing oil, Châtellerault

After the message and time at the altar we had several a farewell presentations in their honour. The Sunday School kids did a poem and a skit depicting the hectic life of a busy pastor & missionary. Pictured above is Sis. Christelle reading two poems that she wrote in honor of of Bro. & Sis. Brochu.

Liz & I presented the Brochus with a gift for the church… a turned-wood anointing oil flask, hand crafted by Rev. Ron Bohde, Pastor of Bethel UPC (Hillsboro, Oregon).  We’d purchased it at general conference in St. Louis, back in the fall, but held onto it, waiting for just the right occasion.

During the dinner afterwards the kids got a chance to just hang out with the other kids and bond.

I must say… this service was somewhat emotional for me, which took me by surprise. I was more emotional than I was during our installation service. I think it’s the realization that the weight of pastoring will now fall primarily on our shoulders whereas before “the leader” was always there and I functioned much as I always had… as a “second man”.  This service went a step further to underscoring the change.

Family Time

Oyré, France, Église Saint-Sulpice, St. SulpiceFollowing that service we took a drive to the village of Oyré, about 7km away. It’s a village of only about 1,000 people, but at the center is the Saint-Sulpice Church, which dates from the 12th Century.  How amazing is that?!  This building is roughly 850 years old.

Here you can also see the family gathered at… you guessed it: Pat-à-pain for treats and wifi time.  Before leaving, friends sent us off with 200 euros in hand… we’ve chosen to use it for these weekly family wifi-treat nights. It has allowed us to get out of the house a bit and allowed the kids to connect with friends via chat / FaceTime.

Brothers & Sister

Kids, Coca-Cola, Kraft Dinner

At that same Pat-à-Pain visit, we came away with three Coca-Cola cans with frère, frère & soeur written on them (brother, brother & sister). We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a photo of the kids with it…

(the clown-face pics were just them cutting up at another time… but seemed appropriate).

Below is something that all Canadian children will immediately recognize… Kraft Dinner (I think it’s known in the USA as “Mac & Cheese”).  In any case… you can’t get it here in France. Liz brought a number of boxes that we ration. It’s only the second time we’ve had it since arriving.

Misc. Notes

  • I spent some time this week working on a church website. It will be similar to this site in that it will be a WordPress site, but will be a more simple in layout. Watch for it in the next few weeks.
  • I also spent some time doing landscaping yardwork at the church, trimming & pruning mainly. It hadn’t been done for a couple of years.  The French are quite particular about the maintenance of shrubs & hedges… so it’s one way to present the church well to the community.
  • We’ve also spent time with the Brochus going through their house in preparation for our move there this Thursday.
  • The closing date for the sale on our house in Saint John is also this Thursday. Please pray that everything goes well there.  It will be nice to have that off our minds. We thank God for what we consider a miracle: The deal was struck the day of our departure and, given the real estate market there and the fact that it’s a winter sale…. it’s a miracle that it sold that fast.
  • This past Thursday, I got to meet our closest neighbouring pastor, Bro. Chartier, who is roughly a 2hr drive from here, in Bourges. The work is similar in size to Châtellerault but they don’t yet have their own building. He came to pick up a baptistry that was being stored here as he has 5 people wanting to be baptized. Thank you Lord!

Final thought

The Lord challenged me this week while reading 1 Corinthians 4. Paul said he would come and would be able to judge the quality of their relationship with God… not by the words they spoke, but by the power exhibited in their life for, “the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power” (v.20).

The challenge to me: words are very easy to produce (this blog is the proof), but the power of God, manifested in the life of a Christian is not something I can “produce” apart from a close walk with Him. Lord… guide my steps so that I’m not limited to just words.

God bless you today & Thank you for checking in!
….let this post inform your prayers for us & for France.

New, Bizarre & Everyday…

If it weren’t for “the bad” in “the good, the bad & the ugly,” I suppose I could’ve used that as a title for today’s post – there’s lots of good and a little bit of ugly, but no bad – instead, let me just use… The New, the Bizarre & the Everyday as a way to order my thoughts.

The Bizarre

IMG_8139I’ll start with the bizarre because I promised it two weeks ago and failed to deliver.

I’ve shared a number of pictures with you, showcasing the beauty of Châtellerault, but there is something that still makes my skin crawl a bit every time I drive by it (at least every other day): “la main jaune” (the yellow hand).

Smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest traffic circles in the entire city, it is the first thing that visitors & residents see when they exit the Paris-Bordeaux highway, coming into Châtellerault.

At 24m (72′) high and 20 tonnes, it’s a giant forearm supporting a hand, in which sits a huge black egg. Descending the arm and continuing behind the sculpture (barely visible) are 7 famous cars (incl. a 2CV, Fiat 500, a VW Beetle, etc.) also painted black.  …Makes me think of giant black ants crawling down my arm when I see it… Oh yes, and they’re like ghost ants because at night, the car lights are on. WEIRD! 

It supposedly represents the valiant nature of the community and the past connection to the automotive industry… a resilient people who will rise up out of the rubble of the past. I, however, just see ants on arm.

This sculpture is visible from our church property and the one redeeming factor is this:  from the angle at which it is seen from church, neither the cars nor the egg are visible and it would remind you of a hand raised in surrender and worship to God – the only one who is worthy of our praise and adoration.    May that be the case for many in our city and beyond in Western France!

The New

Subway, sandwich shop, Châtellerault1. Châtellerault just got its very own Subway & we ate there this past Sunday. The French have heard about it and/or tasted it elsewhere and are very excited to have one in their own backyard, so to speak. The kids were glad to find a familiar taste of home as well.  Still… at about $45 for 5 people (that’s with no cookies or chips)… it’s a treat & won’t be a regular thing.

Happy Birthday Balloons, craquant abricot, auchan2. Liz has begun a new year… #41 to be exact (honey… don’t hang me out to dry for sharing this…. but the smart ones would’ve figured it out anyway from the numbers on the cake!  🙂 She was saluted with 41 balloons and presented with a challenge… burst them all in less than 30 seconds and she would get the second part of her gift (she managed).  We got an apricot mousse cake with some café éclairs to go with our coffee. God bless the baker at Auchan!  Thank you too, to the many who have sent cards, emails, texts, Facebook messages, etc.!

3. This one is a bit more difficult to define I think… something else is new to us.  We are accustomed to be in a large church setting where a good portion of our involvement is in managing events, tasks, structure, etc. and much of our time is taken up with that. There are 275-300 people who invite others to church, share their faith, etc. We spend a great deal of time preparing the church and the church body to receive those guests that come, make them feel welcome, etc.  Working in what I’ll call a “home missions environment” is new to us.

I found myself asking God this week… “God, how do we share our faith in a city where, outside of the people in our little church, we know very few?  How to we do it? How do we find people interested in a home Bible study, etc.?”  The question was not asked out of discouragement… not at all, but out of an eager desire to know how to grow and move forward in a new reality.  (Incidentally… I was encouraged by an article written by Kent Carter that will appear in March’s Pentecostal Messenger – “How Church Planting Saved my Life.” For those of you in the Atlantic District… I highly recommend the read!).

Pray that God helps us to do great things in the new as we rely on Him.

The Everyday

mini oven, new way of cookingI suppose that the lines are really blurred in this last section because it bridges both the new and the everyday.

One of the things that Liz has had to get used to is life without a microwave oven: How do you do all those quick little heat-ups without a micro-wave?

  • those 2-3 last portions of yesterday’s leftovers that will become today’s snack.
  • that mug of milk for hot chocolate
  • the small pitcher of milk to froth and put in coffee

The other thing that we don’t have yet is a full-sized oven. We will have one in two weeks (as well as a micro-wave) when we move into the Brochu’s home, but for the time being we’ve been using this neat little counter-top convection oven (purchased for us using a gift from the U.P.C. of Bordeaux, France – “shout out” to Pastor & Sis. Paul & Melissa Majdling – THANK YOU!!)…. btw, if you haven’t seen their video promoting the upcoming Pentecost Sunday Convention… take 2:10 to watch it… VERY well done!

Very excited to be there in just a few weeks. Derald Weber (Lafayette, Lousiana) will be guest speaker.


  • I’m teaching at Bible School today – likely as some of you are reading this.
  • Tomorrow is Bro. & Sis. Brochu’s last Sunday service in Châtellerault.
  • Pray that we excel in the new… for God’s glory.

Summing it up

Getting us out of our comfort zone is causing us to rely on the Lord to a greater degree than we would normally have back home. The exciting thing is… God has an incredible track record of doing “exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or think…” when we put our trust in Him.

Here’s to more hands reaching to the sky in Western France!

God bless you today!

Installation Service

When Sis. Brochu shared the picture below on her Focus on France Facebook page, she started like this:  “The UPC of Châtellerault, France has a new pastor!”

It’s quite something to see really.

The service

Église Pentecôtiste Unie de Châtellerault, EPU de Châtellerault, Mike Long, Paul BrochuOn a typical Sunday, the kids play music, Liz leads worship and I preach as the Brochu’s also pastor an international work in Paris.  This Sunday, however, they remained in Châtellerault in order to officially transfer leadership of the work over to us.

The kids had a break from playing as Sis. Brochu looked after things (as she’s done for the majority of their time here) and Bro. Brochu was slated to preached on the I AM statements of Jesus in the book of John… Incredible message!

Since the kids got a break, Liz was glad for a bit of a break as well and she handed me the baton, so to speak… so I led worship for the first time in a number of years…  (All my North American Missions friends tell me that “flexibility” is the name of the game and since that’s about the size of things here… flexible we are!).

“Greater things”

One of the neat things that I greatly enjoyed in the service was that Liz & I got to sing “God of this City” as a quartet, along with Bro. & Sis. Brochu.  Without question there is something kind of cool about the four of us singing that song…

Greater things are still to come,
Greater things are still to be done in this city!

rue Bourbon, ChâtelleraultThat pretty much expresses the reason that they came to this city some 14 years ago. It is the reason they have stayed here. And it is the reason that our family has joined them in western France. We share a strong and determined belief that God has got greater things in store for Châtellerault!

I might add that that same belief is also what brought Bro. & Sis. Christian & Vanessa Kabasele to this city as well. They are originally from the church in Melun but have been helping out here over the past year or so and moved here back in the fall. Very much looking forward to working with this gifted couple!

French Cuisine

Famille de Dieu à Châtellerault, EPU ChâtelleraultAfter the service we gathered in the larger of the two Sunday School rooms (it seats about 20) and had dinner… wait for it… Domino’s Pizza complete with pasta salad and a shredded carrot salad (THAT is very French).  I know, I know… it’s not the fancy French cuisine that you may have come to associate with France… but it was every bit as sweet given the company. THIS is our church family here… it is this group that God is going to use to further his work in this city.

Back to Work

yard work at the church in Châtellerault

After the celebrations of Sunday… we were back at getting our hands dirty on Thursday.

We have spent three full Thursdays hauling and burning brush that was trimmed from the church’s hedge last fall by the electrical company… and this past Thursday we just about finished. There are only a few bags worth of smaller twigs that we’ll be able to take to the recycling facility where they’ll use it to make compost.

The kids each took turns driving the little lawn tractor behind which was a large tarp that facilitated hauling the branches up to the fire. They were only too happy to help (when the tractor came out!) … hehe!  Each one of them did great… afterwards we got to sit around the fire with some of the church people and just enjoy the satisfaction of rest after a hard day’s work!

One final note…

Primevères, primrosesThis may be a bit tough for anyone along the east coast to see without feeling a bit of seasonal jealousy… but in preparation for the services last weekend we spruced up the flower bed at the entrance to the church. Primroses are in full bloom and now’s the time to plant them sooooo…. off we went to get some. Nights still regularly get frost so there’s not a great deal of things hardy enough to withstand… but primroses and pansies are readily available at all garden centers.

ps. garden centers and hardware stores… even the large chain stores… close from noon until 2pm here allowing their employees time for a good lunch break. Pretty cool huh!

Thank you for staying on top of what is happening with us!
We need and appreciate your continued prayer support.