Heya… good morning from France! This past week has been a bit more quiet than the past couple of weeks (not necessarily a bad thing)… but I’m thankful that you’re here to let me tell you about it.
International Work in Paris-Centre
It was an early morning, high-speed train that took me from Châtellerault to Paris last Sunday morning for service at the international work in Paris-Centre.
Looking at the map to the right, Notre-Dame cathedral is located in the middle of the white circle (top left) and the church is located in Ivry-sur-Seine. From the train station it’s only a few minutes by metro and bus to get to the church but since I had a bit of time to spare and given the beautiful morning… I walked rather than taking the bus from the final metro stop. Never… I repeat never pass up an opportunity to walk in Paris – particularly in the early morning sunlight and when your route takes you along the Seine river…
The Seine, in Ivry, is much more industrialized than right in the heart of Paris and less touristy in general… but in a building that houses a dance school at other times of the week you’ll find a multicultural group of apostolic believers delving into scripture and offering up enthusiastic worship.
This church recently celebrated its third anniversary and is normally under the leadership of Bro. & Sis. Brochu as well. Although it typically does not fall into our current mandate, we were invited to come minister this past Sunday as well as again on May 3rd, while they await the arrival of another AIM couple (Dean & Loreen Byfield) who will cover responsibilities there for the remainder of the Brochu’s deputation. I was treated to a veritable Philippino feast following the service… skewers on the BBQ was the first thing that greeted me upon arrival!!
The left-overs that came back to Châtellerault with me even provided for our first meal on the patio Monday evening. Daytime temperatures over the past week have been in the twenties (celcius) and even as high as 17-18 in the evenings. Hallelujah!
Pencils and Papers & Marks… Oh My!
A fair bit of my time this week has been spent marking papers for IBF (Institut Biblique de France). I’m teaching on the Epistles and their first test covered the book of Romans.
Most students are in their twenties or older, few are freshly graduated from high school. Classes are held one Saturday each month (7:30am – 6:00pm) over a period of 3 years with one full week of classes each August – It’s a big commitment! …but it allows participation by many who work full-time.
*NOTE* When I taught French at the University of New Brunswick, I had a student marker who looked after marking papers. I’ve regained an appreciation for student markers! 🙂 (I know that Liz would echo that as she spent time getting caught up on marking the kids’ work as well.)
While on academics… I started reading “The Seven Laws of the Learner” by Bruce Wilkinson. Bro. Brochu’s pastor told him he wished he’d read it earlier on in his ministry because of the impact it’s made on him… It is definitely full of meat!
Drive in the Country
Yesterday I had to drive down past Poitiers (45-min by car) to the small village of Quinçay to meet with a translator. In order to finalize our residency procedure, we had to have a few documents translated by a professional who’s already recognized by the regional law courts.
Needless to say, even the drive itself was enjoyable: The village has a lavoir (where you used to come to handwash your clothes), quaint church and a huge field of rapeseed (Colza, in French – it’s used to make oil).
You know what… there is something stirring in me that I don’t quite know how to put into words. The thing that comes to mind, as I sit here at the keyboard is … “It’s like fire shut up in my bones.”
There’s a desire to do more, go farther, be braver, etc. I realize that there are obstacles… there always are, but how do we go beyond the obstacle to make it happen? It’s a type of dissatisfaction… not with people or circumstances but with myself… not born out of a comparison made with others (which can be very unhealthy). I want to see growth in God’s kingdom, but on one hand I haven’t got a clue how. This is what I call “healthy ignorance” :
- ignorance – because I haven’t got a clue
- healthy – because that means I have to lean on the Lord
Have you ever been there? You’ve got lots of “tools in your toolbox” but you don’t want it to be something that “you” do… yet God uses your gifts, your personality, your “toolbox”. Lord… teach me to lean, to follow to be brave… to recognize your voice… that I might see your hand change lives… for real… for eternity.
Thanks for taking a bit of time to follow our goings-on… let it inform your prayers for us… we are partners in Mission.
God bless you today!