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.

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