As I sit to share our week with you… I’m pretty much bubbling with excitement. I’ll get to the reason why somewhere between now and the end of the post, but let’s start at the beginning of the week…
After my three hours of teaching at Bible School last Saturday, I was able to get away and share some high-French cuisine (McDonald’s) with an old friend. Sylvain was my student marker when I taught French at UNBSJ some 14 years ago. He lives close to Melun so we’ve been able to see each other a few times already. Honestly… McD’s tastes better with old friends! We will also get to attend Sylvain & Camille’s wedding later this summer. Very excited to be able to be in France to share this special day with a good friend.
Few people like Mondays in general and many pastors say that it’s even perhaps a bit worse in the ministry. As much as Sunday services involve both a spiritual and an emotional high, the physically drained Christian is sometimes more prone to spiritual attack or simply just negative feelings on Monday. I’ve experienced it a few times myself so this week I decided to meet Monday on my terms.
I spent a couple of hours out in the community. I prayer-walked through a neighbourhood that we didn’t get to finish on our church prayer walk two weeks ago. After that, I also drove out to the village of Targé (about 10min from Châtellerault). This is the town hall (also known as “La Mairie”). This is fairly typical of village municipal offices here… small & quaint. Lord, let your Spirit move in Targé!
Fear is quite a thing! What I’ll call positive fear can push us to be cautious in unfamiliar situations but negative fear can almost paralyze us (taken to the extreme, irrational fear often does)… even in relatively normal circumstances. This week I have faced both. Not only is there fear associated with not being in the will of God, there is also fear associated with being in His will. It can be the simple fact of being placed outside of your comfort zone and dealing with the unfamiliar on a regular basis and it can also be a case of wondering “what next?”. We are currently, for all intents and purposes, homeless; having sold our home in Canada and living in a “borrowed home” in France… What happens when the Brochus return and what are the implications on our future, our kids, etc.? (This might have something to do with “Dreaded Monday”)
If I think too much about it, it becomes un-nerving but it’s always there in the background. In those times I am thankful that I can put both my present and my future in God’s hands and know that if we’re in His will, then He is working for our good. Matthew 6.34 says not to “worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has worries of its own.” The previous verse, 6.33, says to “seek first the Kingdom of God (His priorities) and all these other things (my own worries & concerns) will be added unto me.”
Thank you Lord that your word and your presence calms my fear!
We tried something new this week. Several of the major grocery chains have a “Drive-thru” version of themselves where you place and pay for your order online, then specify a time for pick up. At the appointed time, you drive to the depot, where a friendly staff member loads it into your open trunk. Time on the road: 15 min.
I could get used to this kind of grocery shopping. One fringe benefit is that there are fewer “impulse purchases” as you walk down the chocolate or chips & dip aisles. (…mixed blessing?)
For our “birder” friends
As I write this post, the patio doors are open on a shady side-yard and many sounds are flooding in from around the neighbourhood… the distant barking dog or revving chain-saw, but closer still… the sound of many birds. The sound of mourning doves is very common and takes me back to living in Acamac, on the edge of the woods; a sound I missed when living right in Saint John. There are a number of smaller songbirds as well. Yesterday, however, I heard something I’d never heard before, although it was immediately recognizable… I heard a cuckoo (you know… as in the “cuckoo clock”?). How cool is that?!
Fire & Fellowship
Last night was an awesome, unplanned blessing!
Our “Church Prayer Meeting” can vary in location and format. Up until late fall it was mainly prayer walks through Châtellerault, but with the onset of winter it moved inside, generally on Fridays. Two weeks ago we took it back out into the city and this week I was unsure about what to do… prayer walk on Saturday morning or meet at the church Friday night. I was waiting to see what weather would do. The deciding factor, however, was that the nephew and niece of one of our church members expressed an interest in attending on Friday night. Decision made.
I was aware of a situation that was happening in their life and so in addition to spending time in prayer, we also sang a couple of songs and I shared a passage of scripture. They were quite engaged during the prayer meeting.
In an attempt to prolong our time together and get to know them more, I suggested that we have a bonfire since the evening was fine. (Remember the trimming I’d being doing on the property? The trimmings made for great firewood). We made a call to another family that wasn’t in prayer and by the end of it, there were 21 of us.
Do you see the size of that flame?!
(no gasoline added)
We had an incredible time together and stayed at church until about 10:30pm. Our guests tasted toasted marshmallow for the very first time and quite loved it. (There may also have been some roasting of “Ferrero Rochers” involved… it may or may not have been delectable!) They thoroughly enjoyed the evening and a great connection was made. Lord, add to your Kingdom.
I quite enjoy preparing these posts… not only do I get to share with you what life is like in our world, but it’s also a time when I think of many of you… (those we’ve “birdwatched” with, those we’ve “bonfired” with, those we’ve “feared” and “overcome fear” with), and that makes me feel good. The knowledge of friendship, despite the miles, is both a comfort and a joy.
Thanks for your time…
Let what you read inform your prayers for us and for the church in western France.