France & Luxembourg with AYC

According to “theFreeDictionary.com” the acronym AYC could stand for:

(1) At Your Convenience
(2) the Association of Yukon Communities
(3) the Austin Yacht Club or
(4) Are you confused? 

In our week, however… it has referred to Apostolic Youth Corps
and they’ve lived up to their name!

Ministry

Melun, France, AYC, Apostolic Youth Corps, Missions Trip

The #AYCFrance team arrived last Saturday and barely did the wheels of their Delta flight touch the ground but that they were off to the races!

Day one started off with orientation at the Headquarter’s church in Melun, getting settled in to the hotel and then heading into downtown Paris for a river cruise on the Seine followed by dinner Chez Clément on the Champs Elysées… I was VERY impressed with this restaurant – fine cuisine but not at all overly formal!

The next day, Sunday, was spent back with the Nowacki’s church family where the AYCers ministered in song, testimony and through the preached word.

Pictured along with Liz & I are veteran missionaries John & Anne Nowacki, AYC chaperones Josh & Rachel Carson and Luke & Amy Levine.  By this point the team had only been together for two full days (give or take a little jetlag).  Can’t even begin to say what a great team these chaperones make… just incredible!

Luxembourg

IMG_1956

Over the next few days, the group did 3 more services in as many days, visiting Romilly-sur-Seine, Longwy and Arras, in northern France.

Along the way from Longwy to Arras, however, they had a neat opportunity to visit the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg where we handed out – in roughly 1 hour – nearly 2,000 business card invitations for church services being held weekly by AIMers Jeremy and Khrista Favors.

There was a “God-moment” when Bro. Levine met a man from Brazil in whose town he (Bro. Levine) had preached several years ago. Although they’d never met personally, the man shared that he’d been looking for some time, for a church that preached about the Holy Ghost as it was his desire to have this experience. He immediately put the man in touch with Pastor Favors who did a short Bible study with him there on the sidewalk and voilà… God opens a door for someone who is hungry.

AIMers to Luxembourg

Jeremy Favors, Khrista Favors, The Sanctuary Luxembourg, Luxembourg, AIM, UPCI

Here you can see the Favors along with Liz & I. It’s one thing to do what Liz & I are doing…. jump into a community where there is already an established work in place (with a building, a core, etc.). It’s something very different, however, to go into a completely new community and be the one to lay the foundation for a brand new church.

I admire this couple!

Prayer

Luxembourg, The Sanctuary, UPCI Church, #AYCFrance

Some of the team members, as they were handing out invitations, met Pierre a cab-driver who, when asked if there was anything in particular the team could pray for, said this…

“There’s never really been a real-led revival in Luxembourg and every day I pray that God would raise up an army of believers who would bring God to this country. Pray that God uses me, in my taxi, to be a witness for Him… for only what’s done for Christ will last.”

We prayed.

Sowing & Reaping

Within only two hours of us leaving Luxembourg, Pastor Favors texted us to let us know that he’d already had several calls from people wanting to come to church. Praise the Lord!

Normandy

WWII, Normandy, Normandie, Colleville, American Cemetery

Several in the group really wanted to visit Normandy so we did our best and managed to fit it into an already jam-packed schedule.

We visited the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, run by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Pretty incredible and very sobering to see several thousand white crosses overlooking the English Channel… either crosses or stars of David… most identified, some “known only unto God.”

Following that we dipped down to the city of Arromanches, where a Mulberry Port (artificial port) had been built to offload some 9,000 tons of weapons and supplies each day, with some days seeing as many as 18,000 tons.

Today

Today we’re accompanying the team to Disneyland Paris before spending another day tomorrow in services across greater Paris. Before we head to Disney however, I’ll be teaching a 1-hour course at the Bible School (this is going to be a very long day!).

Prayers

Today we could use your prayers for strength. It has been an awesome week, but one during which we’ve gotten little rest.

Thank you for praying for us… as you pray, you are part of the work here and our victories are YOUR victories too!

#AYCFrance is HERE!

Today started with a 6am wake-up call and a 1-hour bus ride to meet 41 of North America’s finest… but let me come back to that after telling you about the rest of our week first.

The original cook-out!

BBQ, Armenian, Châtellerault

Not sure I’ve ever had a Barbecue like the one we had last Sunday. Hayko and Knyaz are two Armenian friends that we’ve been getting to know since arriving here. We went to Hayko’s appartment where they’d prepared enough meat to feed an army… cooked on a sword-like skewer set atop a halved metal barrel in which they’d begun a bonfire before our arrival. Supper cooked over these coals while Liz & the kids were upstairs with Hayko’s wife and their little boy. This is an open door through which we aspire to bring our relationship with the Lord.

Feelin’ the Love

Eiffel Tower, Care Package, Note Cards

Tuesday we got a wonderful surprise by mail: A thickly padded envelope stuffed with note cards from folks in our home church.

We know that folks at home are praying for us, but there’s something special about receiving “snail mail”. …feeling the texture of the paper, reading the handwriting, etc.

Some were from adults, some were from families and some were from our kids’ good friends!

Thank you!

Dominic’s Birthday

Birthday Cake

Wednesday was Dominic’s birthday… his first in France. On Sunday afternoon, Bro. Kabasele (our assistant Pastor and a trained baker) made a triple layer Genoise cake and decorated it in Dominic’s honour.

Timo got him a soccer ball… not a rubberized plastic one or a foam one… a real one. Sophie & Liz went out shopping and set him up with some “French style”… and he’s wearing it well.

He’s all excited to finally be a teenager and Timo is somewhat concerned by the fact that he’s now the only one NOT a teenager… convinced that he will be blatantly mistreated and manipulated by his conspiring older siblings. (gotta work on his trust factor).

Family time pre-AYC

Family Selfie, Palace of Versailles

We headed to the Paris region a day ahead of schedule. Dominic had learned a bit about the Palace of Versailles in his history class and was keen on seeing the Hall of Mirrors. So after a final pre-arrival meeting with Bro. & Sis. Nowacki and Sis. Despinoy, we took the afternoon and headed out.

It was a beautiful day and after purchasing our tickets online, we were told that children under 18 do not pay for museums in France. (Hmmm…. didn’t say THAT on the website.  Now begins the attempt to get a refund… we’ll see how that goes.)

Not to have our spirits dampened… we thoroughly enjoyed discovering the palace, although Dominic couldn’t understand why we didn’t just go in the main door and hit the hall of mirrors… ummm…  “HUGE palace”!!

We eventually got there, through the throngs of tourists, audio guides, go-pros, video cameras, digital camera & iPhones (it’s a wonder that we could even see the paintings on the wall with all of that other stuff going on!!) and managed to get a “GROUPIE” (is that the plural form of selfie???)  IN the Hall of Mirrors.

(ps. it’s REALLY amusing to watch some people attempt to get the PERFECT selfie – strike a pose, flit the hair, tilt the head, brush away bangs, make sure the sleeve falls just so… O my word!! take the picture already!)

AYCFrance, AYC2015, #AYCFrance, #AYC2015, Apostolic Youth Corps, General Youth Division

As many of you are reading this… we’ll be doing our first orientation session with the AYC team who arrived earlier this morning. Over the next 10 days they will be involved in 7 services in 6 churches and will be part of handing out nearly 5,ooo invitations to church in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (a virtual city-state on France’s eastern border) with AIMers Jeremy & Khrista Favors.

We’ll keep you in the loop and may have and extra post or two over the coming days. Keep your eyes open to our some of our other social media accounts where updates through the week will be more frequent:

Facebook + Instagram + Twitter

You’re making a difference

Thank you for staying aware of what our weeks look like. By staying current on what we are involved in, you are better able to ask God to go before us and prepare the way. We want to be found faithful!

Pray that he leads us and strengthens us this week to help lead this group of young people. Exposure breeds a burden… so who knows what God could do as a result of this week.

God bless you today!

No more pencils, no more books

Remember the little rhyme that we’d chant on the last day of school?
“No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks…”

I don’t mean to reflect poorly on you teachers among us (I’m one myself) but if my kids knew this song, they’d pretty much be singing it this week (maybe I’ll teach them).

School’s out!

#AIMKids, MK, MIssionary Kids, La Roche-Posay

These pictures were taken last Sunday afternoon in La Roche-Posay, a neighbouring village, for a walk, however it could also sum up Sophie & Dominic’s reaction to finishing up classes: Carefree!

The back-story is that I was trying to get a nice picture of the boys, the sun behind them as we walked along the Creuse river. Sophie, however, decided that she wanted to photobomb the boys’ shot… so in she comes! Fair enough… but I’ll use the shots just the same!  🙂

La Roche-Posay… does the name sound familiar to those of you reading this in Canada? If you shop at Shopper’s Drug Mart, it should ring a bell… it’s a line of skin care products.

This little village in France, well known for it’s dermatological laboratory, has been a wellness center for years. In fact there’s even a fountain in the middle of town where folks will stop to fill water bottles as they drive through, because the water is said to have  “miraculous” properties.

As to School being out… Sophie and Dominic have officially finished classes and have only a couple of tests to complete while Timo has about another week of classes to go. The important thing is… he’s getting there.

Summer School?

So what happens to our kids during the summer?  Even though school’s out, they’ll work mornings three days a week – that’s our typical way of homeschooling: It keeps them in the rhythm a little bit and stays off the “I’m bored” comments that often come. Oh it’ll be more relaxed than during the year… but there’ll still be some work to do.  The focus:  Improving their French

 Home Team

AIMKids, MK, Missionary Kids, Youth Group

The kids had a chance to connect with their “home team” this week and it would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that in the lead-up, they were vibrating with excitement.

Wednesday night is youth group back home so this week, they skyped into the meeting. Not only did they get to joke & jabber with friends, they stuck around for worship and the Bible study as well.

ahhhh technology!

This was a pretty big deal for our kids… Thank you to youth pastor Nick Graham for making this happen!

Any of you Youth or Sunday School staff that have adopted our kids on as prayer projects: if you’d like to connect via Skype or FaceTime – for a Q&A session, or to pray with them… it’s a great way to connect your kids / youth to missions, we’d love to discuss the possibility. Leave a comment below and we can set it up.

Today & this week

Today I’m teaching at Bible School up in Melun. We’re almost at the end of that for this semester. There is only one more teaching day after today and that will happen on the 27th.

This week we will head out to accompany the #AYCFrance team that will arrive from all around the USA. We’ll head up to the Paris area on Thursday, have time together as a family on Friday and then begin our tour with the group on Saturday morning.

Still some last minute things to prepare, but it’s gonna be great for the kids to get to hang with other youth!  They’re doing great in a number of ways, but they do miss other young people.  Keep praying for them!

Good news…

Poitiers, Titre de Séjour

I finished my residency paperwork this week.  Liz & I drove 30km to Poitiers, the regional capital where all such administrative things are handled, and afterward, enjoyed a coffee & croissant on the main square… it was like a rare date.  (No worries… we eventually DID go back for the kids!)

Thanks

…for checking in on us again this week. Let what you read inform your prayers for us. We value them greatly and by them you contribute to the work of God here.

 

Twisting, Turning & Conversations

“Can I have a trombone serenade with that length of rope
and cotton candy sir?”

…said no AIMer ever, to neighbours they barely know.
But we could have!

Neighbourhood Flea-Market

vide grenier, la Bruyère, barbe à papa, tracteur, four à pain, trombone

Sunday afternoon, following church our neighbourhood hosted its annual flea-market. They call it a “vide-grenier” (“clean-out the attic”) here and it was even more than that.

There were the folks who were setting up tables or selling from the back of their cars…. but there were also antique tractors, a “big brass band” & drummers, antiques, demonstrations of rope-twisting and wood turning… not to mention the treats!

The treats came in both savory and sweet… there was cotton candy and something like beaver tails in strips… but there was also fresh bread being made in a portable wood-fired oven (on wheels) and pig thighs roasting over open coals (see photo). Although we’d already had lunch… we couldn’t resist the treats… can you blame us!?

My favorite was the hot bread straight out of the oven.

A New Net

Basketball, Châtellerault, La Grande Bruyère, Basket, Vide-GrenierThe boys were thrilled to find a basketball hoop for only 3€.  Although there’s a court a short walk from the house, they were keen on finding one to mount in the back hanger of the church for after service.  It’s not installed there yet, but they couldn’t wait to use it… so they took turns climbing the apple tree in the yard and holding the net while the other tried shooting hoops…

(no slam dunk contests here!)

Mother’s Day

PerUnited Pentecostal Church, Châtellerault, UPCI France, Église Pentecôtiste Unie, Fête des Mèreshaps I should back up a bit and tell you, too, that this past Sunday was also Mothers’ Day here in France. Bro. Christian preached and Liz brought an “exhortation” that was absolutely right on the mark. She’s not one that cherishes the limelight… but she’s definitely qualified to speak on motherhood… she takes the gold medal!

In addition, we gave to each mother in attendance, a small bouquet of 5 roses (you’ve got to love a country where, on Mothers’ Day weekend, you can get 20 miniature roses for 4.50€). Grandmothers in attendance also got a miniature sunflower… because, like the sun, they have the opportunity to “turn the heads” (provide guidance, direction & inspiration) not only of their children, but their grandchildren as well.

Conversations

When I asked Liz how she would sum up this past week… it was with the word “Conversations.” This week, the LORD has given us some good ones:

Monday we had coffee with a young couple who had visited church twice. He is quite interested in a Bible study but for now she’s working through questions and a family health crisis…

Tuesday we met & had a good conversation with a lady who, although she’d been attending for some time, has begun to express a desire to be baptized.

Tuesday evening we enjoyed great conversation with some neighbours. We had two sunflowers left from Sunday, so we gave one to our neighbour with a little note. They invited us in, showed us around their house & garden and asked us to use “tu” with them instead of “vous”(a sign of closeness and informality).

Wednesday we did the same thing with the neighbour on the other side and on Thursday afternoon she called over to thank us and let us know how much it meant to her to receive a gift from such new neighbours.

Sometimes a small gesture can crack wide open a doorway that we can then use to bring the Lord closer people. Thank you LORD for open doors and conversations!

 

AYCFrance, AYC2015, #AYCFrance, #AYC2015, Apostolic Youth Corps, General Youth Division

In 2 weeks Liz, the kids and I will accompany the General Youth Division’s Apostolic Youth Corps trip to France. 37 young people from across North America along with two chaperone couples will spend 10 days experiencing the churches, culture and history of France. It’ll be a Great Adventure for sure and since “Experience Breeds a Burden” some could find themselves back here on AIM someday.  Cannot wait!

Prayer Focus

– Preparations for AYC in two weeks
– Preparations for Bible School next weekend
– The kids will finish up their homeschool year in the next weeks
– More & more fruitful conversations

God bless your day today… thanks for checking in!