For the past week, the French churches have been hosting #AYCFrance19, one of the UPCI General Youth Division’s 2019 Apostolic Youth Corps mission trips. Young people from all over the United States and Canada travel to different parts of the world to work with local missionaries, encouraging local churches and believers.
We’ve been privileged to spend the last week with the team here in France.
There’s really too much to share in a single post, so I’ll spread it over 5 – one post for each of the days we spent with the group personally.
The closest day to our heart will be tomorrow – day two – the day they spent in Châtellerault. Nevertheless, every day was special… let’s begin with day 1…
The group arrived on Saturday, June 15th and spent the weekend ministering with the church in Melun. Saturday was a full day of orientation and just enough sightseeing to allow the hotels time to ensure that all of the rooms were ready.
(Transatlantic flights all arrive in Paris in the morning, 8:30-10:00am range – far too early to get into hotel rooms generally)
Saturday evening they had a pizza party at the hotel with the local youth group and 40+ pizzas were brought in for the occasion.
On Sunday they ministered in both of Melun’s services and visited Fontainebleau castle in the afternoon. In the meantime, I was heading up to Melun by train, since I’d be accompanying them starting the next day…
When AYC was here in 2015, in addition to churches in the Paris region, they mainly focused on visiting churches in the east and the north of France (Romilly, Longwy and Arras). This time, the goal was to let them be a blessing to churches in the west of France which, distance-wise, see far fewer visiting ministers / teams.
It’s logical really. Many, many people come through Paris on holidays, so churches in that area have encouragement from visiting pastors fairly frequently. The west is different. Churches are fewer and farther between so it takes a good deal more time & organization to visit them.
Before three days of back-to-back ministry however, they would spend Monday doing some sightseeing…
After a few hours on the bus and a pic-nic along a man-made canal of the Cher River, delimiting the grounds of the castle, the team headed in to discover the Château de Chenonceau.
It’s a beautiful castle, and actually spans the Cher River with – as is the case of many castles in France – its share of intrigue. King Henry II gave it as a gift to his mistress (Diane de Poitiers) but upon his death, his wife (Catherine de Medicis) kicked her out and ruled France as regent to her under-aged son, for a time.
Initially, it was just comprised of the portion in the center. Diane de Poitiers extended the base to build a bridge across the river and Catherine de Medicis later built up the “bridge” to a two-floored gallery.
(I was obviously too busy being the guide & commentator to get a group photo here… but there will be more later.)
Clos Lucé and Amboise
From Chenonceau, we drove 15 minutes to the Clos Lucé, a manor house which was home to Leonardo daVinci during the last three years of his life, at the invitation of King Francis I.
Known first and foremost for having painted the Mona Lisa, he was actually more of an inventor than a painter and the Clos Lucé shows models of many of his prototypes of flying machines, battle tanks, machine guns, river locks, gearshifts, etc.
Only 400 yards from the Clos Lucé was the Royal Castle of Amboise. An underground tunnel joined the two homes for when the king wanted to visit Da Vinci. His remains are buried in the St. Hubert chapel, on the grounds of the castle.
On to Châtellerault
Once they’d had their taste of all things “Leonardo” we boarded the bus and headed to Châtellerault. It may be politically in-correct, but to some extent, the next day – day 2 – would be our favourite… I think you can understand why.