A Baptism in Châtellerault

A Baptism in Châtellerault

General Charles deGaulle had a real dilemma about leading France in the 1950’s. He mused about how it be possible to govern a country with 246 varieties of cheese. If that’s the extent of his challenges… his was a good time in which to lead! Challenges are to be expected in the pursuit of any great and worthy goal… and what a goal is ours!

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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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From Paris to Châtellerault

It’s the end of a hectic work week for many of you, yet here you are… touching base to find out what the Lord’s been doing in France. Thanks for that!

IBF… a Bible School weekend

IBF, Institut Biblique de France, 2 Timothy 2:15, UPCI, EPU France, Église Pentecôtiste Unie

I ended off last week’s post telling you that I was headed to Melun for the first Bible School weekend of the 2015-2016 year. Here are a couple photos of the prayer & devotional time right before lunch. To the right of the top picture you can also see fellow AIMer Crystal Wallace who, along with her husband (both originally New Brunswickers) are furlough replacements for Bro. & Sis. Nowacki there in Melun (follow their AIM updates here, on Facebook).

Here’s what a typical IBF* Saturday looks like:

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p style=”padding-left:30px;”>7:30 – 9:15    Classes (then coffee break)
9:35 – 11:20  Classes
11:25 – 12:00 Prayer & Devotion
12:00 – 1:00  Lunch
1:00 – 2:45    Classes (then coffee break)
3:05 – 5:45    Classes

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p style=”padding-left:30px;”>* IBF = Institut Biblique de France
For Andy and I… this full day is followed by a 3.5hr drive home for services on Sunday!

Pray for these students that God will use them as trained workers in their local churches. That is their desire and is key to the growth of the work in France.

Partners in Local Ministry

Église pentecôtise unie de Châtellerault, prédication, école du dimanche, sunday school

I want to brag for a moment on co-labourers Christian & Vanessa Kabasele. While they’re not mentioned in every post, they are invaluable to the work in Châtellerault.

They’re an example of why it’s important to pray for Bible School students; both are IBF graduates. God used that time to train them before sending them from their home church in Melun to the mission field of western France.

Christian is a huge help with the preaching load and is great with youth. Vanessa is gifted in all things “Sunday School” (she was Asst. Sunday School Director in Melun) and leads worship periodically. They’re a well-grounded apostolic family that makes a difference!  Pray for them… coming here was a step of faith for them as it was for us and they currently have a pressing need.

School Daze

2015_09_19a_sm

As of this week, all three kids are back to school. Sophie’s material arrived this week so she started on Wednesday (the boys began last week).

Here you can get a sense of the setup. Soph & Dominic share a work table on the upstairs mezzanine in the Brochu’s house (mezzanine may make it sound grander than it is… it’s just an open area at the top of the stairs).

Timo’s setup is a little different. We were able to tuck a desk in under the stairway (previously just a spot for a low bookshelf and shoe rack). It’s a cool spot really… like his own little cubby hole. It also means he’s close to the kitchen and the main living level, making it easier when he needs help from Liz.

Zip… swish… crackle!

Tomorrow we’re having an event to rally our few young people and create an opportunity for them to invite friends.  After church we’re going zip-lining nearby and then will come back to church for a bonfire. Pray for safety and for great connections among our youth. I’ll show you pics next week.

We appreciate your prayers. They are vital to what the Lord does here.

Finally…

On a cultural note… while driving someone home from church, last Sunday, I came across the gate house of the Château de Baudiment, about 10min away. I’d seen the towers from the main road many times and was curious. It’s privately owned and not open to the public so I couldn’t see much, but judging by the gate house… I bet it’d be nice.

Château de Baudiment, Beaumont, Vienne (86)

Visit from Home

The population of Châtellerault grew by “1” this week… and her name is Miranda Carter!  She came to us from back home in Saint John, New Brunswick… where her dad is our pastor.

Father-Daughter road trip

Miranda flew into Paris on Tuesday but since our car isn’t big enough for 6 people, Liz stayed home with the boys. Since the flight wouldn’t arrive until late afternoon, Soph & I took advantage of the opportunity to spend time together in one of the greatest cities in the world.

father daughter date, Paris, father daughter, lemon shakers, lemonadeFirst stop… “Forever 21” a clothing shop she knew of on Rue de Rivoli… where she eventually scored a few deals. One of the biggest treats that we walked out with though, was the company of two friends – Angela (from Melun) and Melanie (from Bordeaux) – who just “happened” to be in the same store. (What do you suppose the chances are of just randomly running into someone you know in a city like Paris?)

We went for a Starbucks together before continuing our father-daughter date… during which we got some Lemon Shakers fresh lemonade (a must-try!) and a quick stop by the Eiffel Tower before heading…

…to the Airport! 

After a series of delays, Miranda touched down shortly after 5pm. What a trooper… travelling with only a carry-on sized suitcase & backpack (for a 2wk stay!)… THIS is a seasoned traveller! She learned well when she took part in the trip to France last summer.

We headed back downtown for a bite to eat and managed to get a quick bite to eat. It turned out to be McDonalds, but to redeem the “non-Frenchness” of it, we took it to the Tuilleries Gardens to eat… (see photo above).

Paris… by car!

Rue de Rivoli, Driving in Paris, vacation, empty streetsOne of the things that was pretty cool (besides spending the day with Soph) was that I actually drove right into downtown Paris & out to the airport. Here are a couple of pics of rue de Rivoli: on the left side, you can see the Louvre museum.

Normally I wouldn’t attempt to drive downtown, but during the month of August, most parisians are away on vacation so the streets are pretty empty (as you can see).

Friends

keyboard, mentoring, mentor, miranda carter, Châtellerault

Wednesday night was Miranda’s first service & afterward she & Soph fiddled with different songs on the piano.

It was a great Bible Study followed by a really great time of prayer. Afterwards, folks were just content to stick around and chat for a while. It was nice to see the 3-4 different pockets of interaction happening. Thank you Lord!

Remainder of the week

  • Thursday was Hedge Day… where we trimmed the hedge at the Brochu’s house. It’s a good 1/2-day job but the kids aren’t always enthused about having to bag up the trimmings for disposal. I get it… I do, but working together it went quickly.
  • 4 mornings this week I’ve been involved in English Tutoring for the young man who rented our first house here, after we moved out. He starts a new job soon and, although his English is strong, wanted to bone up on it. That will go next week as well. Praying that this time together will benefit the Kingdom of God.

Thank you…

… for your continued support. Let what you read here inform your prayers for us and for France.

 

Luxury Restrooms???

Any of you who are connected to us on Facebook or Instagram will already be aware that Liz & I celebrated our anniversary this week. That was, without question, the highlight of our week…. even moreso than realizing that we have now been in France for a full 6 months!  Where does the time go?

Angles-sur-l’Anglin

Angle-sur-l'Anglin, Crêperie d'Angles, Anniversary, anniversaire de mariage

We knew that our anniversary would fall on the Sunday, so on Saturday evening I’d planned a little surprise for Liz.

That morning I drove out to Angles-sur-l’Anglin with some flowers, a candle and a card. The restaurant would then do the rest. I came back home, got cleaned up and then together, we went  out to spend the afternoon discovering a truly lovely little French provincial town.

When we arrived at the restaurant, at 7:00pm, there was no question which table was reserved for us. Not only did they set out the flowers & fixin’s, but they’d added a table-cloth & fancy napkins. We sat beneath thick, leafy trees on the tiny public square in the middle of town. At least twenty other small bistro tables around us, but ours was the only one “dressed for the occasion”.

We spent the next 3-hours… yes, three, having a simple & leisurely dinner at a little crêperie (la Crêperie d’Angles) so the fare was light… but also laid back. It’s actually pretty rare that Liz & I have a chance to be alone so this was a treat.

Proverbs 31

A major part of Proverbs 31 is dedicated to describing the virtuous woman. Verse 28 says specifically (in response to all that she is and does) that “her husband rises up and praises her”.   It was a chance to, privately, recognize the value that she brings to my life. Her strength is incredible – although she likely wouldn’t say that. She is an incredible lady and contributes greatly to the ministry here in France.

Team Spirit

Something else that doesn’t happen all that often is a chance to meet with the other missionaries on the field.  Given that Pastor Nowacki would be leaving to head back to Canada during the week, we pulled together a last-minute meal on Sunday evening. Liz and the kids and I drove to Melun following our morning service and got to dine with:

  • The Nowackis (founders of the modern UPCI church here in France)
  • Fellow AIMers Kevin & Crystal Wallace (Jacksonville, NC – formerly of New Brunswick: shout-out to Milleville, Fredericton & Saint John!) They will replace the Nowackis for the next 5 months.
  • Fellow AIMers Dean & Loreen Byfield (originally of the New York District and here in France). They are replacing the Brochus at the work in Paris-Centre.

(Later in the week, we also got to dine with missionaries Marcus & Renée Brainos who have just returned to France following their deputation and are settling in to start a church in the southern city of Nice.)

Paris

Paris, selfie stick, arc of triumph, arc de triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Tour EiffelMonday morning we had breakfast at the hotel with the Wallaces before heading into Paris for a quick visit to the Arch of Triumph. It’s one thing we’d not yet done and Liz’s friend Milena was still in town so we got to do it together which made it extra special.

Timo had been wanting a selfie stick and the cheapest place to get them is from street vendors, so before heading back out of town we walked to the Eiffel tower and he got himself a bright green selfie stick! We are now one of those families!

Luxury Restrooms, pointwc.com, WC de luxe, public washrooms, public restroomsWhile in Paris we also saw: Place du Canada, a boat named New Brunswick and had a chance to use “luxury washroom” just off the street in a shopping galleria.  What constitutes Luxury restrooms you ask? According to the poster…

  • Interior decorations
  • Design restroom fixtures and
  • Japanese Spa toilettes (whatever they are)

What they don’t publicize is the price. To use this restroom costs roughly $2.50 as opposed to the $1 average for public restrooms.

ummm…. our need wasn’t that pressing!
We’ll never know just how luxurious they are!

Thanks for following our adventures.
Whenever you think of us, please pray that God builds a great church in western France!