Sunday School Sings

HUGE shout-out to Bro. & Sis. Kabasele who look after our Sunday School! Further down, you’ll see the fruit of their labour… via video. First, a run down of the week.

Fall-Back…

Last weekend we officially “Fell-back”… meaning that rather than a 5h time difference with the folks from home, there is only a 4h difference (until North America “falls back”). We appreciated the extra hour sleep… it’s like a “mini-vacation of wonderfulness” that happens once-a-year.

Other people’s kids…

Back home it was a Sunday afternoon tradition. During Sunday School, at least one of our kids would get in cahoots with a friend and, before leaving church, we’d hear:

“Can so-and-so come over for the afternoon?” or
“So-and-so invited me for the afternoon… can I go?”

(pleas were followed by “puppy-dog-eyes”)

This past Sunday, for the first time since coming here, that happened & we had someone else’s kids in our house for  the afternoon. I can’t tell you what it meant!  It’s something pretty small really… but for the kids it was like a taste of home.  It did our hearts good!

In Preparation:

This was a week of preparation for 3 things in particular:

1. Bro. Brochu’s return: Though not yet returning definitively, Bro. Brochu arrived Thursday for special meetings and will come to Châtellerault Tuesday. In preparation, we’ve continued working on the church grounds (we have 2.5 acres) and will all stay after church tomorrow… eating together and doing the last bit of clean-up.Starbucks, Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe

Also, I made a quick trip to Paris on Wednesday to take his car up for use during his time back. I returned by train later that evening.

Note: I may or may not have visited Starbucks. (shhh… don’t tell Liz & the kids!)

2. National Youth Convention: November 6-8 will see 800-1,000 young people from across France and throughout Europe come to Melun for the annual youth convention. There were some logistical things to work out to get our group there.

3. New Year PIM Effort: In the New Year, I’ll be launching tools for existing and prospective financial partners. I began working on those this week.

Note: We live off of roughly $1,500 USD ($1,900 CAD) per month but several “annual costs” either have recently or will soon put pressure on our finances:

– 2015-16 Homeschool curriculum & shipping: $5,000
– Family health insurance: $3,000
Car insurance: $1,500
– Car inspection & any repairs: unknown

Oh yes… it was also a Pentecostal Messengerweek so that took up a good day and a half as well.

A Good Feeling

One of the things I’ve noticed over the past two weeks is a bit of a shift during our services. Last Wednesday night (Oct.21) was a prayer-focused night and then this past week, on Tuesday, was a regular Bible study. In both of these services however… the presence of the Lord was incredible.

And finally…

This is a 2min video of our kids’ contribution to service last Sunday.
Thank you for praying for them… some really great things are happening with our young people!

 

Prayer

If I could ask you to be in prayer about one thing this week it’d be this. During Bro. Brochu’s time in Châtellerault this week, we will also be mapping out what happens upon their return to the field (expected in March). Pray for the hand of God to direct those conversations.

Thank you for visiting.
Let what you read inform your prayers for us and for France!

Toronto Maple Leafs & “Hambourgeois”

Châtellerault is the LAST place I’d expect to find Toronto Maple Leafs memorabilia on public display…. but I did! Keep reading to find out where…

Family Time

As you know from last week’s post, Liz’s parents were here visiting from Belgium.

Île Cognet, Thanksgiving, Landscaping, Nonno, Nonna, NonniIt was their first time to visit us here in Western France and the first time that we’d had a bit more of a prolonged visit since our arrival in Europe last January. We visited Châtellerault, walked through Île Cognet and shared Thanksgiving dinner last Saturday.

Note re. Thanksgiving…
Canada = 2nd Monday  of October
USA = 4th Thursday of November

Liz’s dad also helped me one afternoon down at the church doing some landscaping at the church to help “dress up” the front of the building.  We planted a boxwood hedge accented with lavender in front, cypress trees on the ends and two miniature apple trees that we’ll train into standards. The bowed out center section will eventually be filled with roses or some other flowering shrub. (see photo)

Finally, we took them on a short jaunt to Angle-sur-l’Anglin. It was one of the warmer days during their visit and we walked down to the lower part of town (near the river) before gradually making our way back up. Tourist season is over, so the little village was pretty quiet.

Taste of home

Caribou Café, Châtellerault, Quebec, Sirop d'Érable, Hambourgeois, CanadaWhile Liz’s parents were here, we also tried out a special little restaurant for the first time: Le Caribou Café.

The atmosphere is built around tons of Canadian icons… cedar strip canoes, a framed RCMP uniform, old Quebec license plates, skis, snowshoes… etc. And the bare wood walls & floor make it feel like a good ol’ fashioned cabane à sucre (maple sugar shack).  Speaking of which… lots of their dishes feature maple syrup (like the tiramisu I had), and it’s the real-deal… O. my. word. …So good!!!

Three funnies we saw there:

  1. “SVP enlevez vos caoutchoucs” sign (literally: “please remove your rubbers”). It’s funny because here they’d definitely translate “rubber boots” or “bottes en caoutchouc”.
  2. Rather than “hamburgers”, they serve hambourgeois(Jr. High French immersion joke). The French here, unlike the Québecois, would normally just go with the English “hamburger”.
  3. A hockey jersey was on display… but it was from the Toronto Maple Leafs (hockey fans will understand the irony). If anything, I’d have expected to see a Habs jersey.

Residency is in the bag!

It wasn’t so much a question of IF it would happen but rather WHEN; it was just a matter of working through the paperwork and red-tape. There were a few minor snags along the way but here’s how I felt on Thursday night:

 

No Comparison…

To be honest, there are times when I struggle with what to write you. A quick scan of social media gives instant access to great reports from across the globe; miracles that God is doing, new ones being baptized or filled with the Holy Ghost, etc. It is wonderful to experience, but when you’re looking on from the outside, it can be a bit intimidating due to the temptation to compare.

At this point in the life of our little church in western France, life is pretty quiet. We are not seeing the “highlights” mentioned above, and we deal with the challenges of a small congregation. On one hand I’m dissatisfied by this particular quiet but I also know that God does His work in His time, so we simply do our best, knowing that we’re in His will and avoid the temptation to compare.

Tonight:

Liz is off to a Tupperware party in Poitiers… bring on those bowls & lids! It’s being hosted by one of the ladies from our church and it’ll be a great chance to meet some new people.

Thank you for being a faithful reader.
Let what you read inform your prayers for us, for the church here and for France.
God bless your day today!

 

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Mortified

I will refrain from giving too many details, but suffice it to say that it’s been a long time since I’d been mortified. I got reacquainted with the feeling earlier this week, but happier things first…

Festival du Chocolat

Festival de Chocolat, Chocolate Festival, Châtellerault, NougatSunday afternoon we attended a local chocolate festival.

The highlight of which for Timo was getting to work with a chocolatier and make his own chocolate creation… for only 5€. He chose his base (milk chocolate) as well as a number of decorative garnishes (teddy bear, race car, leaves & lady bugs) and cemented them to the base using chocolate. It went into the fridge to firm up a bit and we got to take it home when we’d finished making the rounds.

The second photo shows great big rounds of home-made nougat. Oh. My!

Liz, too, got a little spoiled because we managed to find a few cheeses and an olive merchant as well.

The Hedge

Hedge Trimmer, Chain Saw, Hard work, Hedge, Châtellerault, UPC, EPU, Église Pentecôtiste UnieWell, I promised it to you a little while back, and here it is:  a “before & after” pic of the hedge at church. It had gotten out of control long ago and being along the front road, really needed to be done.

Together with 2 other men, 2 chain saws, several afternoons worth of work and a couple of trips to the hardware store to sharpen the chains… we managed to tame it. The “before” pic shows a good 25′ (8,5m) of tree height with a span of roughly 11′ (3,5m).  The “after” pic shows the hedge trimmed down to the same height as the chain-link fence.

What a HUGE job!  Thankful to the Lord for his protection while getting this done!

Special Visit

home-made pizza, gramma, grandma, grandmother, nonna

This week we also had two very special visitors as Liz’s parents arrived from Belgium.

Although we’d seen them twice since coming (albeit for very short visits each time) this would be the longest visit not to mention their first time in our neck of the woods.

They got the guest room meaning that Sophie bunked out with the boys (you can see a picture of what the kids’ room looked like) and among other activities & time spent together… Timo learned how to make home-made pizza with his Nonna (grandmother in Italian).

Very good to have them with us!

Last night we had a good evening with our neighbours, who came over for tea and dessert. These are the neighbours that we’ve connected particularly well with.

Mortified?

So with all the positives… why on earth entitle this post “Mortified”?  Because of the way the week began.

We’d been having plumbing issues last week which led to the garage being partially flooded, twice, and it wasn’t rain-water.  The pipe which carried away all  used water had become plugged meaning that nothing was going through… not water from the bath tub, the washing machine, the sinks or…. the washrooms.

God bless the plumber who came to resolve the situation. He checked the drain (through an access point in the lawn). As he he began unscrewing the lid, all that had been backed up began to overflow the access point… at least 15 gallons worth.

Someone needs to invent pipes that don’t clog… that’s all I’ll say. Once again, God bless that plumber!

Thanksgiving

Finally… Canadian Thanksgiving was last weekend so we’re taking advantage of Nonno & Nonna’s visit to have a Thanksgiving dinner together later today. We couldn’t find a Turkey (they’re really only somewhat common here at Christmas) so we’re going to have chicken in stead.

Interesting fact: When you buy poultry at a local market (whether duck, chicken, quail, etc.) it’s not uncommon for it to be “intact”: meaning that the head and feet are still attached… so you’ll know you’re getting the real thing. It takes some getting used to, and I’ll spare you the picture. You’re welcome. 🙂

Pray

If you could pray for ONE thing this week, it would be for our youth. There are a couple of them that are asking million-dollar questions about God and tomorrow, Bro. Kabasele will be speaking to them on the oneness of God. Pray for wisdom and understanding among our youth!

Thank you for visiting, God bless you today!

The Sort of Great Escape!

God is good… All the time;
and All the time… God is good!

Bi-Monthly Newsletter

Mike & Liz Long, UPCI Global Missions, France, Église Pentecôtiste Unie, ChâtelleraultThis week we published our bi-monthly newsletter for August and September. It can be downloaded in .pdf format by clicking the link on this page.

Wondering how to use a newsletter beyond simply reading it?

  1. Cut the top header off and stick it on your fridge as a reminder, “at a glance” to pray for France.
  2. Pray for anyone mentioned by name in the newsletter: In this case… Miranda Carter and Kevin & Crystal Wallace.
  3. Pray for those mentioned by circumstance: in this case… the youth, the friends who have been helping us clean up the hedge and Bible School students.
  4. Our financial account is listed. If you are unable to give financially yourself, pray specifically that our financial needs would be met.
  5. Share it with friends who have either an interest in missions generally or an interest in France specifically – ask them to pray.

twitterIn fact… let me make #5 easy for you…
Click the bird to tweet a direct link
to the newsletter page.

Family Day Away

This is an IBF weekend… so as many of you are reading this, I’ll be teaching 2 Timothy to the Bible School students.

Starbucks, France, ParisMy involvement in IBF, gives me a chance to get out of Châtellerault each month; to see other places and spend time with different people. Pastors can relate to this and particularly home-missions pastors… sometimes you need to connect with people outside of your local congregation.

IBF gives me that opportunity regularly, but not so for Liz and the kids. Since Bible school students usually travel with me, there is not enough space in the car for the family… but this weekend is a break from that.

Yesterday was “field trip day” as far as school was concerned and we left in the morning, arriving early afternoon in Paris. We roamed, lauged, “selfie-sticked” and lounged at Starbucks (a real treat as there are none in western France) and then met up with friends from the Melun church for supper and a stroll.

But Why???

Liz’s time is spent between overseeing 3 grade-levels of homeschool, maintaining the house, preparing a songlist for services, leading worship and getting to church an hour early each time, for music practice with the kids. Once they have gone to bed for the night… she sets about marking any assignments and preparing the next day’s overview. She NEVER stops!

The kids start each day at 7:00am, start school at 8:00am  and go full out all week so as to be able to go into the weekend with little to no homework. Soph is in grade 10 and Dominic in grade 8… so the workload is definitely increasing!

They needed a break from the regular routine.

We would’ve liked to have been able to stay overnight tonight as well and attend the service in Melun tomorrow, making it a full weekend away… and a good, full, break. But alas, it wasn’t possible this time. We’ll aim for another time. …On the upside though, we’ll be back in time for the…

Festival du Chocolat, Chocolate Festival, Châtellerault, Thank you!

Thank you for your support. It means a lot.
I pray that God blesses you richly today!

Chainsaws & Crême Brulée

Those who know me well will understand what an accomplishment it is for me to use a chainsaw… I’m not exactly the “chain-saw type”, more on that below…

Sunday

École du dimanche, Sunday School, birthday, EPU Châtellerault, United Pentecostal Church, Châtellerault

Once monthly, we have our Sunday School kids sing or present a little something before leaving service for their classes. Last Sunday was the day (Sophie’s was playing keyboard)! As you can see, they’re not numerous but they make up for it by asking questions beyond their age. In fact, Sunday School ran long because there was engaged discussion about salvation and growing in God.

After service and over lunch we celebrated Bro. Andy’s birthday which had been earlier in the week. He is our Bible school student and he also presents a short devotional message in service each Sunday morning. Thank the Lord for quality young people.

Pray: Tomorrow, Andy is hosting a Bible study in Tours (1hr away) for fellow university students. It will be held in the same hotel conference room where the Lord made his call clear to me in 2012 (incidently, Andy’s sister was the student present that day in 2012). Pray for this endeavour.

Chainsaws…

hedge

Surrounding about half of the church property is a tree line of evergreens that at one point were merely a hedge. Typically these types of trees are maintained at a height of roughly 8-10′ (2.5 – 3.5m) but as near as we can tell, this hedge was last trimmed 12-15 years ago.

Beginning in July, a couple of friends helped us bring down the bulk of the overgrowth (everything above 12′ tall) on the portion of the “hedge” that borders the road. Once on the ground however, there was still a LOT of cleanup required.  While I wasn’t about to bring down tree-tops, I figured that I could surely de-limb the trunks and section the remaining logs & branches… slowly but surely. I spent about three afternoons doing that this week. Check back in the coming weeks for a “before & after” pic… once final shaping is completely finished. My dad would be proud… scared, but proud!  🙂

Bible Study & Bonfire

bonfire, campfire, church fellowship, Châtellerault, roasting marshmallowsSince we now had an abundance of 4′ logs, branches & brush, we thought it’d be fun to have our midweek service by the fire and make it a time of extended fellowship as well.

Our worship was “unplugged” as Dominic, on his guitar, was the band. Liz led worship and I spoke on the effect of trials in our life; like fire, it can either consume or purify us. I figured the object lesson would be unmistakable.

Evenings here are getting down to 11-15 degrees so it was still relatively comfortable fireside. It’ll undoubtedly be our last though. Fall is in the air!

Counsel & Practice

coffee, dessert, la coupole, Châtellerault, date nightThursday night we spent the evening counseling a young couple who were in need of  a nudge in the right direction. It was a positive time and opens the door a little bit wider for the Lord to work in their life. Following our time with them, we stopped by a local restaurant to put into practice some of what we’d advised them to do… take time together.

Liz had the “café gourmand” (2 types of mousse and two cookies with coffee) while I opted for my dessert of choice, crême brulée, accompanied by a Lavazza.

I’m thankful for a godly wife and time alone together!

Website Updates

Sidebar Photo imgIf you’re familiar with the front page of AIMLong.ca you’ll note the absence of the mini-gallery in the sidebar and the addition of the Photos image. Clicking on that photo (whether here or on the home page) will take you to an updated photo gallery of our time here.

Thanks for your visit again today… God bless your day!