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.
I’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!
1. 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.
2. 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.
I 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!