Christmas in France

Pass the tissues please!  Not so much because we’re emotional about the holidays (yet), but because we’ve all been fighting colds this week.

Christmas… really?

As a Canadian living in France, the lead-up to Christmas has been a bit different as many of the visual cues that help you “get into the Spirit” have been missing.

  • no frost or snow (temps have been between 10 & 15)
  • many home decorations go up only 1-3 weeks beforehand
  • friends aren’t rushing state-side for Black-Friday deals

Add to that the fact that we were away last week and it seems like just as soon as we land back home, Christmas had somehow snuck up on us. Before we could really think seriously about that however…

Kids Weekend

EDD, École du Dimanche, Franck Nowacki, Marion Nowacki, jeunes Eleven kids had a blast last Saturday as we hosted a games day with Franck & Marion Nowacki from Melun. Marion is the national Sunday School director and together with her husband, has ministered both in France and North America.

It’s amazing how much fun 9 boys and 2 girls can have with 5 Nerf guns a big yard & some pallets for “cover”! They enjoyed a 1/2-dozen other games before ending the evening with a bonfire and marshmallow roast.

The goal of the afternoon was to allow the kids to connect with the Nowackis through fun before they ministered to the kids the following morning, where everyone became child-like and enjoyed their team ministry. The Lord touched young and old alike… we are grateful!

a very Furry Christmas

Collie, pet dog, dog, dogsitting

We don’t have an Elf on a Shelf but we are sharing Christmas with a collie named Jacques. Friends Justin & Caroline Ward are spending Christmas in Texas and needed a dog-sitter; our kids were only too happy to oblige.

It’s noteworthy that Jacques is a well-travelled dog. Justin got him while he was an AIMer in Romania then returned to the USA with him before moving to France. Way to go Jacques!

Christmas Eve

Ice skating, Christmas Eve, Châtellerault, patinoire, MairieChristmas eve day was fun & kind of unique! The city built a temporary ice skating rink right in front of city hall and the kids had been dying to go. We got together some friends and headed down. When temperatures are 13 (55) degrees though… it’s pretty hard to keep ice… well… hard. There were puddles all over the place and within minutes, after a few falls, the boys were rather wet!  … but they had an absolute blast!

We walked through the Christmas market and had a hot treat to warm the insides before heading back to the house.

Normally at home, my mom’s seafood chowder is on the Christmas eve menu, but given the distance, we settled for corn chowder in stead. We started it off, however, with France’s famous foie-gras on baguette with some apricot jam as an appetizer (Oh… my!) and ended the evening by watching The Nativity Story a 2006 depiction of Jesus’ birth… great show!

Christmas Day

Christmas in FranceI love it that our kids are getting older. We weren’t awakened until 8:30ish! There may have been some Nerf-gun wars, some colouring & some new pyjamas.

We were able to find turkey (unlike at Thanksgiving – it’s mostly a Christmas meat) and Liz had some lime jello to make cucumber salad; so dinner was a hit!

After supper, since we’re dog-sitting a collie, what else was there to do but to watch Lassie before having a game of Apples to Apples & hitting the hay.

Newsletters by email…

Mailchimp, email marketing, email, subscribers, email listIn the New Year, rather than publishing our monthlybi-monthly newsletter here on the blog, I’ll be relying on Mailchimp to publish it via email… meaning you can receive it directly in your inbox…

If you’d like to receive our newsletter
Click Here to Subscribe

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Looking ahead

Next week I’ll be posting a video for you and newsletter subscribers will receive a couple of bonuses as well… but more on that next Saturday (when we’ll be in 2016… can you believe it?).

Thank you for walking this road with us! We are here because of your generosity and see God’s hand at work because of your prayers. Merry Christmas friends. God bless you today!

 

115 Tunnels to Tuscany

As you’re sitting down with your morning coffee, I’m serving you up a few pics of our time away last week along with a few bullet points of the week that was:

Italy

Before France was ever in the picture, we began exploring Timeshare ownership. It was fairly onerous and a bit unfamiliar at first, but it paid off last week because we had a two bedroom apartment that cost only the gas to drive there + any visits & groceries on site.

We drove through 115 tunnels to get there… we counted. The shortest was 40m (120′) and the longest over 11.6km (7.2 miles)… hence today’s title.

Though within 45 min of Pisa & Florence and a bit more to Rome by train, we spent most of our time in the apartment relaxing, with the exception of a day in Pisa and two afternoons exploring nearby hill-top villages. Liz & the kids were ready for their first break from school and I did virtually nothing on the computer. What a great break. Monday morning we left for home, stopped on the Italian side of Mont Blanc for a ride up the mountain then made a final push, arriving home at 2am Tuesday.

Back Home

  • After a 17hr day Monday, Tuesday was a “lay low” kind of day, although we did put up our Christmas tree later that night, with home-made egg nog to cap off the evening.
  • Wednesday night was the 3rd lesson in our “disciplines of discipleship” series…
  • Thursday was a quick up & back to Melun (another 700km round trip).
  • Friday saw some work related to “the Pentecostal Messenger” and…
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  • Praise Report: The church had a very important piece of paperwork come through from the Government this week. It is one of 3 critical steps to expanding our activities here in Châtellerault and has been several months coming.

Today

We are hosting the National Sunday School director and her family for an afternoon of kids & youth activities at the church followed by a Holy Ghost rally tomorrow (Sunday).  Pray for the youth that will be present! Because of your prayers & support, you are part of every victory here!

God bless you as you prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus with friends and families this week!

Here are some pictures from the other side of 115 tunnels!
(click for larger versions)

AIMKids… tellin’ the truth

Since we’re away from Châtellerault for a few days of family vacation, I’m trying to minimize “screen time” so for today’s post, I’m serving up what Sophie, Dominic & Timo said recently about being AIMKids…. see below.

Just before that though…

Coming up this week:

  • We’ll be distributing more of our #PrayforParis cardspray that they make it into the hands of hungry individuals.
  • Next weekend, we’re having a special Kids’ Focus weekend with the National Sunday School coordinator: with activities on Saturday and a Holy Ghost Rally on Sunday morningpray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on our youth.
  • Once we get settled back in Châtellerault we’ll share some vacation snapshots… watch for those as well… pray for safe travel home on Monday & Tuesday.

AIMKids Speak

Note: This was recently published in the November issue of the Pentecostal Messenger (monthly publication of the Atlantic District).

If you find it difficult to read:

Click the image for a larger version
Click here to download a PDF

AIMKids Speak hi-res

Thank you for reading & praying!
God bless your day!

Christmas, Blogs & Outreach

Hôtel de Ville, Tours, Loire Valley, Noël, Christmas

City Hall in Tours

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas, minus the snow… mixed feelings about that:

  • Glad for no shoveling or plowing yet.
  • There’s still lettuce in the garden.
  • Pansies add winter colour in the garden.
  • BUT… it’s weird to see Christmas decorations alongside green grass & bare pavement.

Jury’s still out!

Latest Bi-Monthly Newsletter

2015_12_05_PIMltr

We’ve just published our latest partner newsletter. If you are a regular reader of the blog then you will be pretty much up to date.

If you know someone who is interested in or has a burden for France… feel free to print it for them or forward them the link. It will give a good snapshot of the past couple of months.

Click here to read the newsletters:

in English
en Français

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Outreach Efforts

For those who haven’t seen it yet, we launched this 2:48-min video on Monday. The 3-fold goal:

1. Offer 3 verses to encourage people in uncertain times.
2. Direct them toward our Facebook and web pages.
3. Offer them a Home Bible Study

In the next 2-3 weeks we’ll distribute 2,500 cards in an attempt to cast the net wide. Please join us in prayer for this undertaking… souls are in the balance.

(Note video is in French)

 

AIMKid bloggers…

(*unapologetic commercial alert*)

Soph and Dominic each have a blog and are “occasional bloggers” – they don’t blog often, but when they do, it’ll give you a window on the missions world from a kid’s perspective.

Click the images to check ’em out & SUBSCRIBE
(You’ll get an email each time they publish)

sophlong.wordpress.com, Sophi Long, AIMKid, MK, France, Châtellerault, Third Culture Kiddomalong.wordpress.com, domalong, Dominic Long, AIMKid, MK, France, Châtellerault, Third Culture Kid

In General…

Aside from all that good stuff… it’s been a productive week, albeit fairly heavy on administrative tasks:

  1. December’s Pentecostal Messenger is off to print.
  2. Partner newsletter  &  monthly reports to our sending organization are done.
  3. Year-end church reports for the French Federation are mostly done
  4. Lawn mowed (hopefully for the last time), cleaned out the church garden & planted pansies for the winter (neat to have winter colour in the garden).
  5. We spent Monday evening as guests at our landlord’s home… what a treat, the fire was roaring in the fireplace when we arrived!
  6. Got to visit with a dear shut-in saint from our church.

…looks busy when you sit down & list it, but it’s just a mix of “life” and “ministry”… not unlike you. You balance work, family and involvement in between… God bless & strengthen you as you do!  The only difference is, you allow us to do it in France and help grow the church while we’re here. Thank you.

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Get-Away!

As many of you read this, I’ll be at Bible School in Melun. I head home tonight for service tomorrow and then we’ll hit the highway for a few days of rest & relaxation.

Kids in French schools had a 2-week break in late October and will get another at Christmas. Our AIMkids haven’t had that luxury; along with Liz, they are really looking forward to a week off before return & hit the road running in the lead-up to Christmas.

Note: We’ll be hosting a special guest this Christmas… details to follow)

One more glimpse at Christmas preparations here…

marché de noël, Tours, Christmas Market, Christmas

Christmas Market in Tours