Downtown Paris was eerily quiet…
Last Sunday in Paris
Although I shared some photos with you, earlier in the week, I didn’t talk too much about the day.
I caught a 6:41am train in order to be in Paris for morning service. Arriving around 8:30, I took advantage of the beautiful sunny morning to walk to church. As I walked, I prayed: Prayed for the service that would soon begin and prayed for this city… recently brought to its knees and still recovering.
Service went well. There were probably about 60 people and though they said that there were a lot missing, when you’re used to a “home-missions-sized” crowd… 60 is a full house!
I spoke on the apostle Paul as an ambassador. God said of Paul that he was a “chosen vessel”, chosen to bear the name of Jesus (Ac.9). Just like Paul, each born again Christian, is a chosen vessel… chosen to bear the name of Jesus to the world around us. If ever a city was in need of such ambassadors… Paris, in November 2015, is such a place. Lord help us to appropriately bear your name… bringing hope.
Following service I had lunch onsite, had coffee & dessert downtown with one of the church families then spent 4-5 hours walking. I wanted to pick up a few things for Christmas and I wanted to continue to spend time praying in the city… connecting, feeling…
Five things I learned or noted:
1. Downtown hotels are eerily empty (with some at 35-40% capacity).
2. Streets are pretty empty
3. Security personnel are EVERYWHERE… and heavily armed.
4. There were crowds at Paris’ Christmas Market, otherwise…
5. Pre-Christmas retail sales were down 30% last week & 17% this week
People have been affected by the attacks! I’m glad we know the peace-giver.
Beginning to look a lot like…
While many of you celebrated US Thanksgiving this week, here it’s beginning to look like Christmas (The Thanksgiving holiday isn’t celebrated here).
City crews in Châtellerault have been putting up lights for weeks already, but this was the first week that we saw them lit up. Here you can see some located just on the far end of the Henry IVth bridge.
Speaking of Christmas…
We picked up our Christmas Tree this week.
It’s the first time in a long while that we’ve gone out and bought one, having caved in a few years ago and gotten a fake one back home. We’d actually gone out to pick up a few trays of pansies (a common source of colour in winter gardens here) when I saw that trees had arrived at the local Jardiland.
Timo & decided compromised between cost and eco-friendliness: for the first time ever, we have a living Christmas tree (it’s in a pot and can be planted outside after Christmas… how cool is that!?).
Reality Check: I think a good church fundraiser might be to plant Christmas trees on our huge property, then in 10 years or so, we can sell ’em! A 6-foot tree like we’d typically get back home runs for 75 euros ($105 CAD or $79USD)… this little guy was no where near that amount. Good heavens!
Our printed cards arrived this week which means that we’ll be able to begin handing them out in the next couple of days. The idea is to “strike while the iron is hot” so to speak… to get these into people’s hands while everything is still fresh.
The cards simply give people 3 verses to contemplate as they mourn the attacks and question the uncertainty of the days in which we live. It also gives them the church’s Facebook and web pages should any want to connect with us afterwards: This is the goal. Pray with us that these make their way to people who need a touch from God and are hungry for Him.
That’s all for today
If you missed the gallery of pictures that I posted earlier this week, you can see it here.
Thank you for praying and giving financially… your support is causing growth in France.
If you’re in the Atlantic District… look for an article written by Sophie, Dominic & Timo for the November issue of the Pentecostal Messenger (for those not in the Atlantic District, I’ll be posting it here in the next few weeks).
If you’re in need of Christmas gift ideas and are reading from Saint John… our home church, Mission Point (130 Mark Drive), is having their annual Christmas Craft Fair: 28 tables of crafts, home baking, preserves, etc….
God bless you today, now go be an Ambassador!