Care Package on Steroids!

Last week I promised to tell you about the canoe in the wind… and I’ll get to that, but first let me tell you about our “Care package on steroids” kind of week!

18 boxes of Kraft Dinner*

Care Package, Kraft Dinner, Ocean Spray Craisins, President's Choice ChocolateYep…. eighteen!  They arrived with about 40lbs of other things. Let me explain:

One of Liz’s friends and former colleague at Air Canada was wanting to come for a visit. Because she travels light, she brought with her two extra suitcases: One filled with things that we’d left with her in Montreal back in January and the second filled with treats from folks back home, including the aforesaid KD, Craisins, Starbuck’s instant coffee (nearest starbucks is 265km away), chocolate bars, chocolate chips and chocolate chunks, baking powder, etc.
*KD is the Canadian equivalent of Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Time with Friends

Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau, Azay-le-Rideau, #AzayRenaissance, Azay, Le Chantier du SiècleWe weren’t only glad to get the goodies that she brought, it was also nice to spend time with a familiar face from home. Milena was one of the first folks that Liz got to know when she began at Air Canada 18 years ago.

We spent a day together visiting perhaps the smallest castle in the Loire Valley: Azay-le-Rideau. I’d visited it back in 1995 but hadn’t been back inside since.

If it wasn’t the kind of place that requires some 200 million€ in renovations (price tag of renovations currently going on), I think I could live there.

More Goodies

MK Ministries, UpWithMKs, Travel Buddies, Cylinda NickelWe recently got a couple of other things from North America as well:

Travel Buddies: Thanks to missionary Colleen Carter (Ghana, Africa) the kids got travel buddies: fuzzy critters who love to travel, who live in an Altoids box and who remind missionary kids (MKs) that someone is praying for them on a regular basis.

This is their second set of travel buddies… the first having come from the Sunday School department at Mission Point… our home church. Thank you for praying for our kids!

Discipleship Materials

The Way of God More Perfectly, La Voie de Dieu plus exactement, Timothy C. MitchellA few years ago, Liz & I translated Bro. Timothy C. Mitchell’s (Montgomery, Alabama) discipleship study entitled The Way More Perfectly.  It then went to Les Traducteurs du Roi for final editing & printing. We received 7 printed copies that we will be able to use with some of the new believers here in Châtellerault.

Thank you, Bro. Mitchell for letting us be part of this project. Thank you to Scott & Liane Grant, Career Church Planters in Quebec, for sending us copies of the finished project!

An Oldie but a Goodie!

Jack Cunningham, If I can do it anybody can!, Church Planting, Church Growth

A number of years ago I picked up Rev. Jack Cunningham’s book If I Can Do It, Anybody Can!. It’s the story of how he and his wife planted and grew the church of Newport News, Virginia; currently a thriving church pastored by Rev. Jared Arango.  It is my current “Good Read.”

New Friends

Le lac de la forêt de Châtellerault, Baignade, Lake, Swimming, SplashingAhh… at last. The kids have been getting to know two kids who’ve been spending lots of summer-vacation time with their grandparents, who live across the street from us. Last night they went for an evening swim at the same lake where Sébastien was baptized.

They’ve also played some soccer, basketball and dominoes games together… (ever heard of “Chicken Foot“?) Lots of fun and finally… seeds of friendship!

Canoe in the Wind

OK… I’ll tell you about it since I promised it last week.

After his day-job was done, my dad’s was also as an Old Town Canoe distributor. He did a lot of paddling himself and guided trips as well. Though my brother has followed dad’s lead more than I,  I do still know a bit about flat water paddling.

canoeIf you find yourself in open water and the wind kicks up you can easily get in trouble given the canoe’s shape and the way they ride low in the water. The canoe will rock & roll with the crests & troughs if you remain parallel with the waves and, if they are rough enough, you can easily capsize. Still, it’s not impossible to safely navigate such water… the secret is to drive the canoe into the waves… crossing them perpendicularly. In this way they slice the waves, rather than being victim to them. We would do well to face trial & difficulty head-on as well: Tackling and mastering it rather than hesitating and falling victim to the agitation that it can bring.

Just a thought!

Thank you!

…for all the love that we’ve felt in recent weeks and for your prayers, we know it makes a difference. God bless your day today.

Want to touch the life of an MK? 
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Fear of Failure

I used to think that “Big people must never be scared of ANY-thing!” … Now I know that to be hogwash, because I are one!

Not “age-related”

The propensity to experience fear is not, as I have learned, restricted to a certain age… (say “10 & under”, “11-19” or “20-24”), it’s just that our reason for fear changes depending on where we’re at in life… what we’re doing: fear is not as much age-related as it is stage-related. 

Getting Personal

One of the ways I’m tempted to fear,  in this new stage, is in the area of “success” versus “failure”.

In North America, busyness is equated to success. If we are busy, we must be accomplishing something and conversely if we want to accomplish something… we must stay busy. So at those times where I find myself not particularly busy… I can fear that I will not accomplish; not meet the expectations of fellow missionaries or you… our supporters.

Ours is a small, home-missions type church where we’re more likely to be 12-15 than we are 25-30, especially during the summer holidays (when two families are missing… we lose 10 people). Since our desire is to not just maintain, but to see growth, if that growth doesn’t happen in the short term… are we succeeding?  Can mere maintenance be considered success or does it represent failure?

Defining Success

I’m glad that success can be defined in several ways:

  • 1 Corinthians 4.2 says “Moreover it is required of stewards (those that have been entrusted with something) that they be found faithful.”  Therefore… if I’m a faithful steward of the things and the people that God has entrusted to our care… that is a measure of success.
  • Balance: I can easily forget that we’re still in the “adjustment stage”, getting familiar with people, customs, and the practical details of living in France. On top of that, June was an intensely busy time as you’ve read. The idea that only two weeks later, I should feel negative pressure for uneventful time is itself a bit insane (yet the struggle is real). Balance can often be missing in the midst of busy-driven success. To strive for and achieve balance is a measure of success.
  • Kids: We’re working hard to ensure that our time here is a positive experience for Sophie, Dominic & Timo. Right now that means helping them finalize the last details of their school year, alleviating their frustration. The quality of our kids’ overall experience is a measure of success.
  • Being vs. Doing: In some economies, the steady accomplishment of tasks is the measure of success: doing. In a “spiritual economy” however, there is a need to pull back and take in before it’s possible to give out. I need to “Be still and know that HE is God” before I can effectively model the peace that comes from that and lead someone else to that realization. “Being” a Christian before I consume myself with “doing” Christian things is a measure of success.

Of course we strive for growth, but until that happens, these are also measures of success. Lord… let me be successful in the most balanced of ways!  These thoughts, along with the knowledge that we are exactly in the center of God’s will for our family, allow us to combat fear. I’m glad that fear is subject to the peace of God.

In other news…

  1. Châtellerault, Pont Henri IV, Pont Henri 4, Fête Nationale, France, Feux d'artificeFrench National Holiday: This past Tuesday was the French National Holiday… July 14th. Oddly enough, it’s often referred to as “Bastille Day” in North America but not so here.  It’s either “le 14 juillet” or “la fête nationale”.  Pictured are some of the fireworks with the Henri IV bridge as backdrop. (Henri IV was King of France from 1589-1610 and promulgated the Edict of Nantes in 1598 – guaranteeing religious freedom to protestants)
  2. Beagle Puppy, Puppy, Beagle, Jayc: many of you saw our Facebook post last Monday about Jayc (pronounced Jake)our beagle puppy. Well it’s been an eventful week! By Tuesday morning, his hind quarters (including legs) had inexplicably become paralyzed. The breeder retrieved him almost immediately and took him to the vet who felt it was an extremely rare adverse reaction to standard vaccinations. With no improvement after 4 days and an increasingly traumatized little pup, the vet suggested that the most compassionate route was to put him down. So… today we are going to pick up another puppy. It was a rough start to “Dog-dom” and there may have been a few tears shed.

Wrap-up

Please pray for Pierre, one of our members. He’s had a lot of health challenges of late and is in a 3-week treatment session to try to get under some of the issues.

Next Saturday I may tell you about Canoes in the Wind… stay tuned and see you then. Same time, same place.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Office Time – People Time

quiet spot, chair in the corner, morning devotionsAs I sit down to share with you our week, the sun is already high and there is a cool breeze coming through the open door behind me, causing the drapes to brush up against the back of the chair… this chair… the one in the photo. Usually I avoid laptopping in the living room but this morning I’m making an exception. I’ve spent a lot of time this week in the office upstairs and need a change.

Saturday Morning

What else is happening this morning?

Well… a blender is revving in the kitchen as Liz is making 6-week muffins: a recipe of my mom’s where the batter can stay in the fridge for up to six weeks (it never makes it that long) and you make up a pan as the fancy strikes. Sophie is helping her and the boys are slowly coming to life upstairs. There will undoubtedly be some YouTube videos and or Minecraft in their near future, although Dominic has also recently finished an audio-book… oops, I’m mistaken, he just came down to the dining room table to review math.

Homeschool

While the kids have finished their classes (the two older kids prior AYC and Timo this week) there are still tests to be written and research projects to be completed, so there has been a bit of extra “pushing, pulling and tutoring” this week. Liz carries the bulk of it but I’ve stepped in a few times to avoid disaster or breakdown!  🙂  The fact that temperatures have been in the mid to upper 30’s (high 90’s) hasn’t made things easier.

Pât-à-pain

Liz & Soph had a mother-daughter date night last night at Pât-a-pain. The “pain” of still having school work to do is taking its toll, even on our most disciplined student and Liz wanted to ensure that their relationship had other aspects than just school & church. Balance is good, so a “girls’ night out” was in order.

 

Office Time

As I mentioned above, I had a good deal of office time this week, which consisted of:

  • Catching up on emails & stuff from our AYC absence (still not all the way through)
  • Monthly report to Global Missions in St. Louis
  • Our PIM Newsletter (see below) and
  • The July issue of the Pentecostal Messenger (I’m the editor for the monthly publication of the Atlantic District, this usually takes 1.5-2 full days each month)

People Time

By the time Friday rolled around, I was ready for some people time. 

Andy is one of two Bible School students from the Châtellerault church. He lives in Tours (45min away) and is a business student at the university there.

Between his year-end exam schedule, his work schedule and us being away for AYC, we had not gotten much “face time” of late… so we got to spend a little time together.

July PIM Newsletter

  • AYCFrance, AIM, Apostolic Youth Corps, Associates in MissionsDo you help promote missions in your local church?
  • Do you teach kids about missions in Sunday School?
  • Does your youth group actively pray for or support missionaries?
  • Are you a “Missions Prayer Pillar” in your personal time?

If so… please download our latest Partner in Missions Newsletter. It will give an overview of our time with the General Youth Division’s Apostolic Youth Corps trip to France.

Your support allowed us to facilitate short-term missions experiences for 37 young people and their chaperones from all over North America; contributing to the future of Global Missions.

Sum-up

In the wake of the much excitement that was AYC, this was very much a catch-up week… a bit more of a normal week if I can put it like that.

Pray: If I could ask you to pray about 3 things this week it would be this:

  1. The Kids & School
  2. Administrative hurdles related to our building: These must be worked through before we’re able to do any wide-spread evangelism efforts.
  3. My residency application: They’ve asked for more paperwork.  Pray that there be no major hurdles.

Thank you for your prayers and your support. It allows us to fill the gap during Bro. & Sis. Brochu’s absence… ensuring that the work continues. God bless your day today & let what you read inform your prayers for France!