No more pencils, no more books

Remember the little rhyme that we’d chant on the last day of school?
“No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks…”

I don’t mean to reflect poorly on you teachers among us (I’m one myself) but if my kids knew this song, they’d pretty much be singing it this week (maybe I’ll teach them).

School’s out!

#AIMKids, MK, MIssionary Kids, La Roche-Posay

These pictures were taken last Sunday afternoon in La Roche-Posay, a neighbouring village, for a walk, however it could also sum up Sophie & Dominic’s reaction to finishing up classes: Carefree!

The back-story is that I was trying to get a nice picture of the boys, the sun behind them as we walked along the Creuse river. Sophie, however, decided that she wanted to photobomb the boys’ shot… so in she comes! Fair enough… but I’ll use the shots just the same!  🙂

La Roche-Posay… does the name sound familiar to those of you reading this in Canada? If you shop at Shopper’s Drug Mart, it should ring a bell… it’s a line of skin care products.

This little village in France, well known for it’s dermatological laboratory, has been a wellness center for years. In fact there’s even a fountain in the middle of town where folks will stop to fill water bottles as they drive through, because the water is said to have  “miraculous” properties.

As to School being out… Sophie and Dominic have officially finished classes and have only a couple of tests to complete while Timo has about another week of classes to go. The important thing is… he’s getting there.

Summer School?

So what happens to our kids during the summer?  Even though school’s out, they’ll work mornings three days a week – that’s our typical way of homeschooling: It keeps them in the rhythm a little bit and stays off the “I’m bored” comments that often come. Oh it’ll be more relaxed than during the year… but there’ll still be some work to do.  The focus:  Improving their French

 Home Team

AIMKids, MK, Missionary Kids, Youth Group

The kids had a chance to connect with their “home team” this week and it would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that in the lead-up, they were vibrating with excitement.

Wednesday night is youth group back home so this week, they skyped into the meeting. Not only did they get to joke & jabber with friends, they stuck around for worship and the Bible study as well.

ahhhh technology!

This was a pretty big deal for our kids… Thank you to youth pastor Nick Graham for making this happen!

Any of you Youth or Sunday School staff that have adopted our kids on as prayer projects: if you’d like to connect via Skype or FaceTime – for a Q&A session, or to pray with them… it’s a great way to connect your kids / youth to missions, we’d love to discuss the possibility. Leave a comment below and we can set it up.

Today & this week

Today I’m teaching at Bible School up in Melun. We’re almost at the end of that for this semester. There is only one more teaching day after today and that will happen on the 27th.

This week we will head out to accompany the #AYCFrance team that will arrive from all around the USA. We’ll head up to the Paris area on Thursday, have time together as a family on Friday and then begin our tour with the group on Saturday morning.

Still some last minute things to prepare, but it’s gonna be great for the kids to get to hang with other youth!  They’re doing great in a number of ways, but they do miss other young people.  Keep praying for them!

Good news…

Poitiers, Titre de Séjour

I finished my residency paperwork this week.  Liz & I drove 30km to Poitiers, the regional capital where all such administrative things are handled, and afterward, enjoyed a coffee & croissant on the main square… it was like a rare date.  (No worries… we eventually DID go back for the kids!)

Thanks

…for checking in on us again this week. Let what you read inform your prayers for us. We value them greatly and by them you contribute to the work of God here.

 

Top 10 Posts, AIMLong.ca, AIMLong, Mike Long, Châtellerault France

AIMLong.ca is the story of an average family, doing our best to follow God’s lead for our life. At this point in the journey, His leading has us serving a local church in western France.

Top 10 Posts

As the site grows, it can become tough to know where to start, so the purpose of this post is to introduce you to the best of the best: ten posts that have been the most well-received by other readers, starting with #1:

  1. Got a call? Feed it!How inspiration and preparation make the call of God clearer and bring it closer to fruition.
  2. 7 Short Term Missions MistakesSeven common Short Term Missions mistakes and how to avoid them.
  3. MK Ministries on a 3-day VisitCylinda Nickel of MK Ministries (MK = Missionary Kids) spent a weekend with us in February 2017… read about it here.
  4. Published!I wrote a Paris Travel Guide – for sale on Amazon – as an alternative fund-raiser for our continued support. See the pre-launch video here.
  5. STM can be Frustrating! – in 2017 I began a series of posts on the experience of Short Term Missions… this one speaks for itself.  🙂  You can see a general introduction to this series here.
  6. DepartureOur final few weeks in Saint John and the people who shared those weeks with us.
  7. A Hallelujah Moment A milestone in our preparation as well as part of my testimony about being re-baptized.
  8. …on becoming #AIMKidsHow we prepared our kids for leaving home, friends & family, to move 1/2 way around the world.
  9. A Week in the Life…A sort of “What does a missionary do?” kind of post.
  10. Paris in JulyPreparing to lead a team of 14 people to France in July 2014.

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Kids’ Ministry

If you’re involved in Kids’ Ministry and would like lesson add-ons that will help bring missions “closer to home” for children… check out our AIMKids Missionary Moments (a series of nine lessons – 5-7 minutes each – with fun facts about France and how to pray for missionary kids).

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Next Step?

Still looking for more?

If you like what you see, please subscribe to the blog for regular updates and let what you read inform your prayers for us and for the work in France. We won’t overload you; we post each Saturday morning at 7:00am Atlantic Standard Time (our “home” time zone).

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AIMKids MM9 – Big-Little Country

AIMKids Missionary Moments are designed to be a resource for Sunday School Teachers / Youth leaders, to help kids relate to the life of an MK (Missionary Kid). They’re intentionally short because we know you already have a lot of material to cover.

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Everything in one “little” country

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Most of us in North America would consider France to be a very small country size-wise. In fact, Texas is 1.26 times the size of France. Yes… you heard correctly, this country is smaller than the state of Texas.  For those of us in Canada, it might be better to say that the province of Quebec is roughly 3x the size of France.  So for us then, it’s considered a small country although in Europe, it is one of the largest.

One of the nice things about France though, is that, for such a “small” country, it has a very diverse landscape and climate.

  1. AIMLong.caAlong the southern coast (the Côte d’Azur) it is sunny and warm all the time… like Florida or California.
  2. In the south-eastern part of the country are the French Alps, rugged mountains that are great for skiing… like the Rockies in Colorado or Alberta… where you can get snow and very cool temperatures.
  3. In parts of central France and to the north there is incredibly rich farm land where much corn, wheat and sunflowers are produced, similar to the Canadian plains or the American mid-west.
  4. Along the north-western coast (Normandy), the coastline is similar to what you might find in the State of Maine or Atlantic Canada.
  5. In other parts of central France you can find lower, rolling mountains like those in the Appalachian mountains of the eastern US and up into Quebec.

All of that variety in a “small” country… it’s pretty incredible really.

For us in North America it’s hard to imagine isn’t it?
Yet it’s all there… just the way God created it.
– If you like tropical beaches… they’re there.
– If you like mountains… they’re there.
– If you like empty plains or big cities… they’re there.

Everyone can find something that they like in France.

You know that God wants each one of us to be just like France in a certain way. Listen to what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22:

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak…
I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

That is Jesus’ top priority… that we would teach someone to know Him.

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Prayer Focus:

Pray that we (you in your church and us in France) become a little bit more like the country of France:

  • That everyone we come in contact with might find something in us that will make them think more about God than they did before they met us.
  • That we might become like Paul… we can be kind to everyone, whether they’re like us or not, so that they will want to know Jesus.

 

  • If your students have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to email us and we’d be happy to respond specifically.
  • Please let your kids know that by praying for us regularly, THEY TOO are part of taking Jesus’ love to France… they’re part of missions!

Note: The maps graphics are from the site OverlapMaps.com

AIMKids MM8 – French Food

AIMKids Missionary Moments are designed to be a resource for Sunday School Teachers / Youth leaders, to help kids relate to the life of an MK (Missionary Kid). They’re intentionally short because we know you already have a lot of material to cover.

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5 Crazy things French people eat

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  1. Cow Tongue: It’s cooked up and considered a delicacy (I’ve tried it). It tastes good but has a funny texture. The trick is… cut it into thin slices and it’ll “melt in your mouth”!
  2. Pigeon: Oh it’s not like they go to the nearest public park and grab a few while tossing them seeds… These pigeons are cultivated, much like we’d raise chickens or pigs. Originally, only the nobility had the right to own a Pigeon Coop… it gave them free meat all winter.
  3. Foie Gras: (Pronounced “Fwah-grah”) Is really just duck or goose liver. It’s VERY much a delicacy but there are some US states where it’s illegal to produce! It’s a little bit the texture of a can of fancy cat food… but tastes MUCH better!  🙂
  4. Horse Meat: It is common in many parts of Europe to eat horse meat although in North America it’s almost NEVER done… crazy eh!
  5. Steak Tartare: This is basically just raw hamburger mixed up with onions, raw eggs, mustard and worcester sauce, put in a flat round shape and sometimes topped with another raw egg, cuz hey… why not?

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Prayer Focus:

Pray that we (you in your church and us in France) take a lesson from French food, or rather… in how God is not like some French food.

He (God) satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (NIV)
Psalm 107:9 

Bless the Lord… who satisfieth the mouth with good things. (KJV)
Psalm 103.2, 5

In the same way that we can’t imagine eating some things, because they taste bad, smell bad or look bad… people around us will only want to taste or try serving Jesus if we serve Jesus in a way that’s looks & sounds appealing to them.  Jesus will fill our friends with good things, but we have to make them “hungry” for it when they see us!

 

  • If your students have specific questions, please done hesitate to email us and we’d be happy to respond specifically.
  • Please let your kids know that by praying for us regularly, THEY TOO are part of taking Jesus’ love to France… they’re part of missions!

AIMKids MM7 – French Fashion

AIMKids Missionary Moments are designed to be a resource for Sunday School Teachers / Youth leaders, to help kids relate to the life of an MK (Missionary Kid). They’re intentionally short because we know you already have a lot of material to cover.

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5 Fun Facts about French Fashion

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  1. Denim Jeans: Originated in the French city of Nîmes. To say “from Nîmes” in French you say… “de Nîmes” … see the ressemblance with denim?  Denim jeans were imported to California (by Levi Strauss) to furnish mine-workers with durable work pants.
  2. LouisXIVHaute-Couture vs. Prêt-à-Porter:  These are two types of French clothing… Haute Couture means tailor-made (and very expenseive)Prêt-a-Porter means ready to wear (and affordable).
  3. Big Hair: King Louis the Fourteenth started the trend of men wearing big wigs of curly hair (ugh!). He did it to cover up his own balding head and then people in his palace had to follow the king’s lead… that’s how style works!
  4. Less is More: They say that if you want to dress in French-style, go for something simple and uncomplicated. Scarves (think “infinity scarf” girls) add a very french-flare
  5. Famous Names: Name brands define the value and popularity of many articles of clothing. The bigger the name brand – the more money you have to pay for them. Do you recognize the names: Chanel, Dior, Yves St. Laurent (YSL), Louis Vuitton? They are all from France.

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Prayer Focus:

Pray that we (you in your church and us in France) will be like French Fashion:

  1. Denim: That God will give us the strength to be hard-working for Him!
  2. Prêt-à-Porter: that we not be unreachable but available to help everyone who needs help knowing Jesus.
  3. Big Hair: That we will not just follow the silly trends of the world, but only those styles that please God.
  4. Less is More: That our simple life will be attractive and appealing to those around us… that they notice us because of our love for God.
  5. Famous Names: We have the BEST brand name EVER when we wear the name of Jesus. That gives us the highest value of all!

 

  • If your students have specific questions, please done hesitate to email us and we’d be happy to respond specifically.
  • Please let your kids know that by praying for us regularly, THEY TOO are part of taking Jesus’ love to France… they’re part of missions!

AIMKids MM6 – Bike Race

AIMKids MM6 – Bike Race

AIMKids Missionary Moments are designed to be a resource for Sunday School Teachers / Youth leaders, to help kids relate to the life of an MK (Missionary Kid). They’re intentionally short because we know you already have a lot of material to cover.

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The Tour de France is a test of…

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  1. Endurance: The race is 23 days long, but racers spend 21-days on their bikes
  2. Distance:  In those 21 days they cover 3,500 Kilometers (France uses the metric system) or 2,200 miles.
  3. Flexibility: Cyclists have to be good on flat ground (9 days), hilly ground (5 days), mountain roadways (6 days), and high altitude roadways (5 days). 

And it leads to…

A Great Finish: No matter where the race takes them in France, the finish line is ALWAYS on the Champs Elysées in Paris. They cross the finish line and get a reward to the cheers of thousands of spectators.

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Prayer Focus:

Pray that we (you in your church and us in France) will be like racers in the Tour de France:

  1. Endurance: That even though it might get uncomfortable at times… we will stick with it to the end!
  2. Distance: We never know where God’s will will take us… we can go far and do great things for God.
  3. Flexibility: That we will stay faithful to God in all circumstance: good times or bad, easy days or tough.

 

Even the Bible compares the Christian life to a race and gives us the key to finishing well!

Hebrews 12:1-2:

1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;

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  • If your students have specific questions, please done hesitate to email us and we’d be happy to respond specifically.
  • Please let your kids know that by praying for us regularly, THEY TOO are part of taking Jesus’ love to France… they’re part of missions!

AIMKids MM5 – Eiffel Tower

AIMKids Missionary Moments are designed to be a resource for Sunday School Teachers / Youth leaders, to help kids relate to the life of an MK (Missionary Kid). They’re intentionally short because we know you already have a lot of material to cover.

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5 Fun Facts about the Eiffel Tower

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  1. Originally just a big gate: It was intended as a temporary gate for the 1889 World’s Fair, but people liked it so much… it’s still up today!
  2. Tons of Paint!  Every 7 years, maintenance workers apply 50-60 tons of paint to the Eiffel Tower to protect the metal tower from rusting.
  3. A Big Radio & TV Antenna: Several radio & TV stations broadcast their signals from the top of the Eiffel Tower, the tallest building in Paris (81 stories) which is taller than the Washington Monument & St. Louis Gateway Arch (see below).
  4. People people & more people! Since it’s construction in 1889, over 250 million people have visited the tower (6 million alone in 2012).
  5. Hungry? If you get really hungry while on the tower, there is a restaurant on the 2nd floor…. but beware, the cost is between $120 and $300 per person!  WOW!

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Prayer Focus:

Praye that we (you in your church and us in France) will be like the Eiffel Tower:

  1. Gate: that through us, people will see and come to know Jesus.
  2. Protected: That we will take care of our “outside appearance” to protect the “core” of who we are.
  3. Antenna: That we will send “signals” that communicate Jesus’ love to others.
  4. People: That God will bring us into contact with lots of people…
  5. Feeding people: …lots of hungry people that we can nourish with the love of God.

 

Want a neat kids activity?  

Online games & trivia about the Eiffel Tower
Paper cut-out Eiffel Tower craft  (image credit: papertoys.com)

Compare the Eiffel Tower and the St. Louis Gateway Arch.
(image credit: The Peoria Chronicle)
Eiffel Tower & St. Louis Arch comparison

  • If your students have specific questions, please done hesitate to email us and we’d be happy to respond specifically.
  • Please let your kids know that by praying for us regularly, THEY TOO are part of taking Jesus’ love to France… they’re part of missions!

AIMKids MM4 – Buildings

AIMKids Missionary Moments are designed to be a resource for Sunday School Teachers / Youth leaders, to help kids relate to the life of an MK (Missionary Kid). They’re intentionally short because we know you already have a lot of material to cover.

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Famous Buildings in France

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  1. Eiffel Tower: Perhaps one of the most well-known buildings in France. It was intended as a temporary gate for the 1889 World’s Fair, but people liked it so much… it’s still up today!
  2. Castles: There are over 1,000 castles in France: a couple hundred are within a 2-hour drive of our house and one is within a 10-min drive. How cool is that?
  3. Cathedrals: France has some of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe… Catholic Churches built hundreds of years ago (Notre Dame Church in Paris is over 800 years old!). Many are mostly tourist attractions now with very few people who attend services.

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Prayer Focus:

Buildings are beautiful to look at and explore, but the greatest building in ALL the WORLD is us & you too!  The Bible says that we are being built into a spiritual house, where Jesus is worshiped. That makes you SPECIAL!

– Pray that we can share that with others and you too!

(1 Peter 2.5 You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.)

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  • If your students have specific questions, please done hesitate to email us and we’d be happy to respond specifically.
  • Please let your kids know that by praying for us regularly, THEY TOO are part of taking Jesus’ love to France… they’re part of missions!

AIMKids MM3 – School

AIMKids Missionary Moments are designed to be a resource for Sunday School Teachers / Youth leaders, to help kids relate to the life of an MK (Missionary Kid). They’re intentionally short because we know you already have a lot of material to cover.

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School on the Mission Field

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School happens a bit differently here than it typically does at home. We are all homeschooled, which means that we do all of our school right at home.  It’s not up to our mom to teach us everything though, we (the two older ones) have DVDs that we watch from Pensacola Christian Academy in Pensacola, Florida, then mom just has to help us with tests & stuff!

Why?

One of the reasons for this has to do with language. If we went to public school, it would be completely in French. Imagine, from one day to the next… you have to do school in another language! That would be tough. We speak some French already, but probably not enough to keep up with other students in public school. Also, we have always been homeschooled, even in Canada… so by doing it this way, it was one less big change in our life.

Do all Missionary Kids Homeschool?

A lot of MKs are homeschooled, but in some countries there are also international schools where everything takes place in English; often because there are other missionaries or lots of international workers in that place. That’s not the case where we are…

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Prayer Focus:

– Pray that God would help us with our schoolwork.
   (after all, the better we learn, the better we’ll be able to serve Him later)
– Pray that God would help our mom as she helps us.

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  • If your students have specific questions, please done hesitate to email us and we’d be happy to respond specifically.
  • Please let your kids know that by praying for us regularly, THEY TOO are part of taking Jesus’ love to France… they’re part of missions!

AIMKids MM2 – Five Changes

AIMKids Missionary Moments are designed to be a resource for Sunday School Teachers / Youth leaders, to help kids relate to the life of an MK (Missionary Kid). They’re intentionally short because we know you already have a lot of material to cover.

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5 Things that will change or have changed for us?

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  1. House: Until our arrival in France, we will have lived in the same house for our whole life and had never moved. Soon we will be living in the missionaries’ house, so we have to be extra careful, because it’ll mostly all be their furniture & stuff.
  2. Church: Our church at home is about 300+ people, with about 40 youth and 100-110 in Sunday School usually. When we arrive, our new church will have 25-30 people (depending on the Sunday), 8-10 kids (including us) and NO GIRLS (besides Sophie).
  3. Friends: All of our good friends will still be at home in Canada. We’ll be able to text back & forth and sometimes FaceTime them, but it’s not the same and sometimes we’ll get lonely. The next nearest church is 2.5 hours away so it’ll be hard to get to another youth group sometimes to have more church friends.
  4. Neighborhood: At home we lived in the city and knew our neighbors for our whole life and there were friends who lived close. We could walk to the donut shop and grocery store but in France we’ll be a little farther from downtown and we’re not so familiar so usually mom & dad will have to take us.
  5. Language: This is a biggie!  Everyone speaks English at home, but in France pretty much everyone only speaks French. We speak some French because our mom & dad spoke it at home, but sometimes it’ll be tiring to always try to understand.

Prayer Focus:

– Pray that our church grows so more people & more kids know Jesus.
– Pray that we make some friends in our city.
– Pray that God helps us to improve in our French.

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  • If your students have specific questions, please done hesitate to email us and we’d be happy to respond specifically.
  • Please let your kids know that by praying for us regularly, THEY TOO are part of taking Jesus’ love to France… they’re part of missions!