If I had to sum up this past week in two words it would be these… “Driving Week” and we’ve run the gammut in terms of the why behind the driving:
As many of you read last week’s post, we were on our way to the national youth retreat roughly 65km from Châtellerault with Sophie, Dominic & Andy as well as two young people from the Paris-Centre church. Guest speaker for the weekend was fellow AIMer Jeremy Favors who, along with his wife Krista, are working to raise up a church in the country of Luxembourg – we were excited to meet them. The kids all had a great time and met other kids their age which was huge for them! After service in Châtellerault on Sunday Liz, Timo & I drove out for the evening service where we were able hear & see things for ourselves.
I’ll just say this about Bro. Favors’ message… I’d never heard Psalm. 22 and Mark 15 linked like this before: When Jesus cried out on the cross “My God my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” … he wasn’t crying out in hopeless abandon, he was proclaiming himself as the Messiah, because all of the Jewish scholars would’ve known that he was referring back to Ps. 22 which prophetically began with those very words and went on to describe the crucifixion. Just. Amazing!
Our First Wedding
Tuesday was just an incredible day.
A few weeks ago, Liz & I were asked to be witnesses (the French equivalent of best man & maid of honour) for Sebastien & Ting-Ting as they were planning to marry.
Sebastien is a young man from our church who began attending last fall. He had been searching scripture, entirely on his own and God showed him his need to be baptized by immersion in Jesus’ name for the remission of his sins. He searched for a minister or priest who would do this for him but several almost went so far as to mock him… indicating that “That’s not how the church baptizes.”
He eventually got in touch with Bro. Brochu (only about 20km away) and has been blessing this church with his zeal ever since. Rarely… and I mean rarely have I seen so much hunger and zeal in someone so young and so new.
The reason that they asked Liz & I to be their witnesses… because we were their pastors and they wanted people to stand with them who loved & feared God, and who were filled with God’s Spirit. Wow! I’m so in awe of this young man & his wife, they are a gift to our church!
Our First Funeral
Immediately following the wedding celebration, which ended around 10:00pm, we hit the road and headed for Belgium, where we would attend a funeral the following morning at 10:00am. We drove all night and arrived at roughly 5:45am, allowing us a 2h cat-nap before the service.
The funeral was not for someone from Liz’s family but someone who was like family to me. Regular readers will recall that I worked in Belgium as a volunteer missionary during the 1990s. During this time, the Caltabellotta family became my adopted family and on Wednesday we laid to rest their dad. It was important to be there and we shared some great moments and memories later that evening (top).
Thursday morning we got up and drove about an hour to spend some time with Liz’s family who are also in Beligum (bottom). It was the first time that we’d been able to see them since our arrival in Europe so even though it was a short visit (less than 24hr), the time together was greatly appreciated & enjoyed.
Back to France
If everything had to happen rather quickly, it was because this is another Bible School weekend, so yesterday we had to make a roughly 700km drive from Belgium back to Châtellerault, drop Liz & the kids off, pick up our two IBF students and then drive 350km back up to Melun. It was a long day. That being said… since our route took us right past the city, we stopped for a quick visit to Notre-Dame Cathedral in Reims.
We stopped for two main reasons:
- Begun in the 13th Century and completed over 250 years later, this is the cathedral where the kings of France were crowned. The kids were somewhat familiar with one of the kings and so this proved an opportunity to bring school a little closer to home.
- The cathedral was very heavily damaged in World War 1 and while some parts of the façade have been renovated, other parts have not so it allows for a very visible object lesson in how war and conflict can destroy, in a period of just hours & days, what has stood the test of time for centuries.
It was kind of neat… if you were to stand on the main altar area, facing the main seating area, and look to your right… you’d see a huge clock up in the corner (see photo). It just kind of struck me funny… seems that our modern churches weren’t the only ones sometimes bound by time! haha!
Today, as I mentioned above, is IBF day (Bible School) after which we drive roughly 350km back to Châtellerault. This has made for a lot of driving… over 2,100km since last Saturday. Although it’s the kind of tired that comes after many good things have been accomplished, we’re all very tired.
So if you could pray specifically for physical strength this week, we need it.
We absolutely love everything that’s happening here. Thank you for allowing us to be here and for being part of it yourselves – you’re part of something meaningful! God bless you today.