A Wedding & the 1st Century

As many of you were reading the post last week, we were headed about an hour and a half south to our second wedding since arriving in France.

Wedding Bells

Ville de Saintes, Saintes, Bernard Palissy, Charente, mariage, arènes, gallo romaine

Sylvain and I met during the 2001-2002 school year when I was teaching French at the University of New Brunswick and he spent a year there as an exchange student from France and was my Teaching Assistant. Our friendship remained and shortly after our arrival in January, we received their wedding invitation in the mail.

We arrived the day before and Sylvain and I went zip-lining with several of his friends (what a blast!) while Liz & the kids stayed back at his parents’ house where the kids made good use of the pool!

Following the civil ceremony, we spent 2.5 hours on a river boat, cruising the Charente River; catching up with a few folks we knew and getting to know others as well. The meal went until about midnight but we didn’t get home until after 3:00am due to torrential rains. There was time for a “night-nap” before getting up for church.

1st Century

The photo above Sylvain & Camille shows the kids (along with their Travel Buddies) at the ruins of a Gallo-Roman Arena in Sylvain’s hometown of Saintes. In Roman times the city was known as Mediolanum Santonum and it was then, during the 1st century, that they built the arena, the ruins of which are visible behind the kids. Pretty neat to think that it was being built as the New Testament was being written!

Fond Farewell

Almost immediately following Sunday morning service, Andy (our Bible School student) and I drove Miranda to the airport where she caught a plane home the following morning.

We’re thankful for a young person willing and able to spend a couple of weeks familiarizing themselves with and contributing to the work of God here in France!

Bible School

IBF, Institut Biblique de France, EPUFrance.org, EPU France, Melun, CELR, Centre Évangélique le RocherAfter dropping Miranda at the airport hotel, we headed to Melun (an hour away)  for an intensive week of Bible School where classes began at 7:30am and we typically left the building around 9:00 pm.

I taught for 2 hours each day on the Epistles but was also involved in grading students’ oral theses (they pick from over 100 questions out of a hat and must teach a short Bible Study on it. Very impressive).

On Tuesday, classes had to be cut short due to a funeral for a young person from the Melun church who died unexpectedly, making it a tough day overall. That evening was the normal midweek service in which 3 of the IBF students brought short messages to the congregation.

You can also see the IBF instructors for the week including fellow AIMers and fellow New Brunswickers, Rev. Kevin & Crystal Wallace who are furlough replacements for Bro. & Sis. Nowacki. I’m very much enjoying the chance to work with and get to know this couple. Their ministry to the church in Melun, following the unexpected death of that young person, has been “hand in glove”… The Lord always knows!

Coffee & “Crash”

Last night was a “drive home & crash in bed by 9:30pm” kind of night. Very glad for a low-key Saturday morning with coffee brewing.

As you drink your coffee and read about our goings on, thank you for letting what you read, inform your prayers. Through Christ we can do all things but without him we can do nothing (Philippians. 4.13 & John 15.5).

God bless you today as you go about your day!

Week 2 as Family of 6…

As many of you were reading last week’s post, we were meandering past tables upon tables of books ‘neath the ruins of a baronnial castle built in the 12th century… you guessed it. We were back in Angles-sur-l’Anglin for their annual…

Foire-aux-livres

Angle-sur-l'Anglin, MKMinistries, UPwithMKs, foire aux livres, book festival, book fair, used books

For a small town, Angles-sur-l’Anglin has a lot going on! This is where Liz & I went for our anniversary and then again for fireworks (it’s only about 25min away). Today, though, we went for their book fair.

Streets throughout the entire village were filled with stands, tables & displays. Most were selling books (lots of antique books) but others were selling vintage prints, postcards or maps.

I think each of us came away with a little something. My find was an old copy of the “Jerusalem Bible” in three volumes.

In the picture of the kids… you may or may not be able to clearly see what they’re holding, but they each have a “travel buddy.”  Travel buddies are fuzzy critters that love to travel with MKs and serve as a tangible reminder that someone, somewhere is praying specifically for them.  Not only did our kids receive travel buddies from our church’s Sunday School department, before leaving, but they also received a set from Missionary to Ghana, Colleen Carter.

Thank you for your regular prayers for the kids!

Back to Bordeaux

Restaurant l'Entrecôte, Bordeaux, friendship

The following day, Sunday, we headed down to the city of Bordeaux following the morning service. Our goal was simple… a bit of fellowship with one of our nearest pastor-neighbours and his family / youth. (Note: while among the two closest churches, they’re roughly 2.5hrs away.)

Along with Pastor & Sis. Madjling, and their eldest daughter Marina, we enjoyed an incredible meal at the Entrecôte Restaurant. Everyone eats the same salad and main course (steak & fries)… you choose only the way you’d like it cooked. Afterwards, you have a choice of dessert.

The kids, meanwhile, headed off to something a little less time consuming and found a KFC where they could get something quickly and then walk downtown to get an ice cream. It was awesome for our kids to get together with a few others. It doesn’t happen all that often so it’s precious when it does.

Thanks Bro. & Sis. Madjling for your friendship & hospitality!

 

Future AIMer??

Miranda Carter, music, worship

The kids continued to enjoy the company of Miranda Carter  this week. Not only did they have fun jamming together after services but on Tuesday night we all walked down toward the church past many bushes heavy with ripe blackberries. We came home with two big containers full as well as a third container filled with plums. (One of our favourite things to do with blackberries is to make home-made blackberry ice cream. Alas, the ice cream maker stayed in Canada)

It was particularly nice for Sophie to have another girl around. We are thankful that she decided to come spend these two weeks with us and look forward to having her back on AIM status next year, if the Lord doesn’t come back first.

Wedding Bells

Today we are so happy to join with our friends Sylvain & Camille as they get married. Sylvain spent a year as a student marker for me while I taught French at the University of New Brunswick. Our friendship has continued to grow since 2002 and it’s very special to spend this day with them.

Prayer Support

Pray for…

  • … Miranda as she prepares to fly home Monday morning – safety and direction.
  • … Me as I head to Melun Sunday afternoon for a week’s worth of teaching in the Bible School.
  • … Liz & the kids who will hold the fort here in Châtellerault.

Thank you for your love & support… you are special to us!

Visit from Home

The population of Châtellerault grew by “1” this week… and her name is Miranda Carter!  She came to us from back home in Saint John, New Brunswick… where her dad is our pastor.

Father-Daughter road trip

Miranda flew into Paris on Tuesday but since our car isn’t big enough for 6 people, Liz stayed home with the boys. Since the flight wouldn’t arrive until late afternoon, Soph & I took advantage of the opportunity to spend time together in one of the greatest cities in the world.

father daughter date, Paris, father daughter, lemon shakers, lemonadeFirst stop… “Forever 21” a clothing shop she knew of on Rue de Rivoli… where she eventually scored a few deals. One of the biggest treats that we walked out with though, was the company of two friends – Angela (from Melun) and Melanie (from Bordeaux) – who just “happened” to be in the same store. (What do you suppose the chances are of just randomly running into someone you know in a city like Paris?)

We went for a Starbucks together before continuing our father-daughter date… during which we got some Lemon Shakers fresh lemonade (a must-try!) and a quick stop by the Eiffel Tower before heading…

…to the Airport! 

After a series of delays, Miranda touched down shortly after 5pm. What a trooper… travelling with only a carry-on sized suitcase & backpack (for a 2wk stay!)… THIS is a seasoned traveller! She learned well when she took part in the trip to France last summer.

We headed back downtown for a bite to eat and managed to get a quick bite to eat. It turned out to be McDonalds, but to redeem the “non-Frenchness” of it, we took it to the Tuilleries Gardens to eat… (see photo above).

Paris… by car!

Rue de Rivoli, Driving in Paris, vacation, empty streetsOne of the things that was pretty cool (besides spending the day with Soph) was that I actually drove right into downtown Paris & out to the airport. Here are a couple of pics of rue de Rivoli: on the left side, you can see the Louvre museum.

Normally I wouldn’t attempt to drive downtown, but during the month of August, most parisians are away on vacation so the streets are pretty empty (as you can see).

Friends

keyboard, mentoring, mentor, miranda carter, Châtellerault

Wednesday night was Miranda’s first service & afterward she & Soph fiddled with different songs on the piano.

It was a great Bible Study followed by a really great time of prayer. Afterwards, folks were just content to stick around and chat for a while. It was nice to see the 3-4 different pockets of interaction happening. Thank you Lord!

Remainder of the week

  • Thursday was Hedge Day… where we trimmed the hedge at the Brochu’s house. It’s a good 1/2-day job but the kids aren’t always enthused about having to bag up the trimmings for disposal. I get it… I do, but working together it went quickly.
  • 4 mornings this week I’ve been involved in English Tutoring for the young man who rented our first house here, after we moved out. He starts a new job soon and, although his English is strong, wanted to bone up on it. That will go next week as well. Praying that this time together will benefit the Kingdom of God.

Thank you…

… for your continued support. Let what you read here inform your prayers for us and for France.

 

Luxury Restrooms???

Any of you who are connected to us on Facebook or Instagram will already be aware that Liz & I celebrated our anniversary this week. That was, without question, the highlight of our week…. even moreso than realizing that we have now been in France for a full 6 months!  Where does the time go?

Angles-sur-l’Anglin

Angle-sur-l'Anglin, Crêperie d'Angles, Anniversary, anniversaire de mariage

We knew that our anniversary would fall on the Sunday, so on Saturday evening I’d planned a little surprise for Liz.

That morning I drove out to Angles-sur-l’Anglin with some flowers, a candle and a card. The restaurant would then do the rest. I came back home, got cleaned up and then together, we went  out to spend the afternoon discovering a truly lovely little French provincial town.

When we arrived at the restaurant, at 7:00pm, there was no question which table was reserved for us. Not only did they set out the flowers & fixin’s, but they’d added a table-cloth & fancy napkins. We sat beneath thick, leafy trees on the tiny public square in the middle of town. At least twenty other small bistro tables around us, but ours was the only one “dressed for the occasion”.

We spent the next 3-hours… yes, three, having a simple & leisurely dinner at a little crêperie (la Crêperie d’Angles) so the fare was light… but also laid back. It’s actually pretty rare that Liz & I have a chance to be alone so this was a treat.

Proverbs 31

A major part of Proverbs 31 is dedicated to describing the virtuous woman. Verse 28 says specifically (in response to all that she is and does) that “her husband rises up and praises her”.   It was a chance to, privately, recognize the value that she brings to my life. Her strength is incredible – although she likely wouldn’t say that. She is an incredible lady and contributes greatly to the ministry here in France.

Team Spirit

Something else that doesn’t happen all that often is a chance to meet with the other missionaries on the field.  Given that Pastor Nowacki would be leaving to head back to Canada during the week, we pulled together a last-minute meal on Sunday evening. Liz and the kids and I drove to Melun following our morning service and got to dine with:

  • The Nowackis (founders of the modern UPCI church here in France)
  • Fellow AIMers Kevin & Crystal Wallace (Jacksonville, NC – formerly of New Brunswick: shout-out to Milleville, Fredericton & Saint John!) They will replace the Nowackis for the next 5 months.
  • Fellow AIMers Dean & Loreen Byfield (originally of the New York District and here in France). They are replacing the Brochus at the work in Paris-Centre.

(Later in the week, we also got to dine with missionaries Marcus & Renée Brainos who have just returned to France following their deputation and are settling in to start a church in the southern city of Nice.)

Paris

Paris, selfie stick, arc of triumph, arc de triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Tour EiffelMonday morning we had breakfast at the hotel with the Wallaces before heading into Paris for a quick visit to the Arch of Triumph. It’s one thing we’d not yet done and Liz’s friend Milena was still in town so we got to do it together which made it extra special.

Timo had been wanting a selfie stick and the cheapest place to get them is from street vendors, so before heading back out of town we walked to the Eiffel tower and he got himself a bright green selfie stick! We are now one of those families!

Luxury Restrooms, pointwc.com, WC de luxe, public washrooms, public restroomsWhile in Paris we also saw: Place du Canada, a boat named New Brunswick and had a chance to use “luxury washroom” just off the street in a shopping galleria.  What constitutes Luxury restrooms you ask? According to the poster…

  • Interior decorations
  • Design restroom fixtures and
  • Japanese Spa toilettes (whatever they are)

What they don’t publicize is the price. To use this restroom costs roughly $2.50 as opposed to the $1 average for public restrooms.

ummm…. our need wasn’t that pressing!
We’ll never know just how luxurious they are!

Thanks for following our adventures.
Whenever you think of us, please pray that God builds a great church in western France!