STM – How to Know Where to Go?

STM – How to Know Where to Go?

I was recently asked a question and thought that the answer might benefit others who find themselves confident that God is calling them to short-term missions involvement, but they’re perhaps not yet quite sure where.

The Question:

I’m applying for short-term missions. Do I indicate the country that I’m feeling or is there only a list of certain countries that the organization is recruiting for?

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Fear of Failure

I used to think that “Big people must never be scared of ANY-thing!” … Now I know that to be hogwash, because I are one!

Not “age-related”

The propensity to experience fear is not, as I have learned, restricted to a certain age… (say “10 & under”, “11-19” or “20-24”), it’s just that our reason for fear changes depending on where we’re at in life… what we’re doing: fear is not as much age-related as it is stage-related. 

Getting Personal

One of the ways I’m tempted to fear,  in this new stage, is in the area of “success” versus “failure”.

In North America, busyness is equated to success. If we are busy, we must be accomplishing something and conversely if we want to accomplish something… we must stay busy. So at those times where I find myself not particularly busy… I can fear that I will not accomplish; not meet the expectations of fellow missionaries or you… our supporters.

Ours is a small, home-missions type church where we’re more likely to be 12-15 than we are 25-30, especially during the summer holidays (when two families are missing… we lose 10 people). Since our desire is to not just maintain, but to see growth, if that growth doesn’t happen in the short term… are we succeeding?  Can mere maintenance be considered success or does it represent failure?

Defining Success

I’m glad that success can be defined in several ways:

  • 1 Corinthians 4.2 says “Moreover it is required of stewards (those that have been entrusted with something) that they be found faithful.”  Therefore… if I’m a faithful steward of the things and the people that God has entrusted to our care… that is a measure of success.
  • Balance: I can easily forget that we’re still in the “adjustment stage”, getting familiar with people, customs, and the practical details of living in France. On top of that, June was an intensely busy time as you’ve read. The idea that only two weeks later, I should feel negative pressure for uneventful time is itself a bit insane (yet the struggle is real). Balance can often be missing in the midst of busy-driven success. To strive for and achieve balance is a measure of success.
  • Kids: We’re working hard to ensure that our time here is a positive experience for Sophie, Dominic & Timo. Right now that means helping them finalize the last details of their school year, alleviating their frustration. The quality of our kids’ overall experience is a measure of success.
  • Being vs. Doing: In some economies, the steady accomplishment of tasks is the measure of success: doing. In a “spiritual economy” however, there is a need to pull back and take in before it’s possible to give out. I need to “Be still and know that HE is God” before I can effectively model the peace that comes from that and lead someone else to that realization. “Being” a Christian before I consume myself with “doing” Christian things is a measure of success.

Of course we strive for growth, but until that happens, these are also measures of success. Lord… let me be successful in the most balanced of ways!  These thoughts, along with the knowledge that we are exactly in the center of God’s will for our family, allow us to combat fear. I’m glad that fear is subject to the peace of God.

In other news…

  1. Châtellerault, Pont Henri IV, Pont Henri 4, Fête Nationale, France, Feux d'artificeFrench National Holiday: This past Tuesday was the French National Holiday… July 14th. Oddly enough, it’s often referred to as “Bastille Day” in North America but not so here.  It’s either “le 14 juillet” or “la fête nationale”.  Pictured are some of the fireworks with the Henri IV bridge as backdrop. (Henri IV was King of France from 1589-1610 and promulgated the Edict of Nantes in 1598 – guaranteeing religious freedom to protestants)
  2. Beagle Puppy, Puppy, Beagle, Jayc: many of you saw our Facebook post last Monday about Jayc (pronounced Jake)our beagle puppy. Well it’s been an eventful week! By Tuesday morning, his hind quarters (including legs) had inexplicably become paralyzed. The breeder retrieved him almost immediately and took him to the vet who felt it was an extremely rare adverse reaction to standard vaccinations. With no improvement after 4 days and an increasingly traumatized little pup, the vet suggested that the most compassionate route was to put him down. So… today we are going to pick up another puppy. It was a rough start to “Dog-dom” and there may have been a few tears shed.


Please pray for Pierre, one of our members. He’s had a lot of health challenges of late and is in a 3-week treatment session to try to get under some of the issues.

Next Saturday I may tell you about Canoes in the Wind… stay tuned and see you then. Same time, same place.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Office Time – People Time

quiet spot, chair in the corner, morning devotionsAs I sit down to share with you our week, the sun is already high and there is a cool breeze coming through the open door behind me, causing the drapes to brush up against the back of the chair… this chair… the one in the photo. Usually I avoid laptopping in the living room but this morning I’m making an exception. I’ve spent a lot of time this week in the office upstairs and need a change.

Saturday Morning

What else is happening this morning?

Well… a blender is revving in the kitchen as Liz is making 6-week muffins: a recipe of my mom’s where the batter can stay in the fridge for up to six weeks (it never makes it that long) and you make up a pan as the fancy strikes. Sophie is helping her and the boys are slowly coming to life upstairs. There will undoubtedly be some YouTube videos and or Minecraft in their near future, although Dominic has also recently finished an audio-book… oops, I’m mistaken, he just came down to the dining room table to review math.


While the kids have finished their classes (the two older kids prior AYC and Timo this week) there are still tests to be written and research projects to be completed, so there has been a bit of extra “pushing, pulling and tutoring” this week. Liz carries the bulk of it but I’ve stepped in a few times to avoid disaster or breakdown!  🙂  The fact that temperatures have been in the mid to upper 30’s (high 90’s) hasn’t made things easier.


Liz & Soph had a mother-daughter date night last night at Pât-a-pain. The “pain” of still having school work to do is taking its toll, even on our most disciplined student and Liz wanted to ensure that their relationship had other aspects than just school & church. Balance is good, so a “girls’ night out” was in order.


Office Time

As I mentioned above, I had a good deal of office time this week, which consisted of:

  • Catching up on emails & stuff from our AYC absence (still not all the way through)
  • Monthly report to Global Missions in St. Louis
  • Our PIM Newsletter (see below) and
  • The July issue of the Pentecostal Messenger (I’m the editor for the monthly publication of the Atlantic District, this usually takes 1.5-2 full days each month)

People Time

By the time Friday rolled around, I was ready for some people time. 

Andy is one of two Bible School students from the Châtellerault church. He lives in Tours (45min away) and is a business student at the university there.

Between his year-end exam schedule, his work schedule and us being away for AYC, we had not gotten much “face time” of late… so we got to spend a little time together.

July PIM Newsletter

  • AYCFrance, AIM, Apostolic Youth Corps, Associates in MissionsDo you help promote missions in your local church?
  • Do you teach kids about missions in Sunday School?
  • Does your youth group actively pray for or support missionaries?
  • Are you a “Missions Prayer Pillar” in your personal time?

If so… please download our latest Partner in Missions Newsletter. It will give an overview of our time with the General Youth Division’s Apostolic Youth Corps trip to France.

Your support allowed us to facilitate short-term missions experiences for 37 young people and their chaperones from all over North America; contributing to the future of Global Missions.


In the wake of the much excitement that was AYC, this was very much a catch-up week… a bit more of a normal week if I can put it like that.

Pray: If I could ask you to pray about 3 things this week it would be this:

  1. The Kids & School
  2. Administrative hurdles related to our building: These must be worked through before we’re able to do any wide-spread evangelism efforts.
  3. My residency application: They’ve asked for more paperwork.  Pray that there be no major hurdles.

Thank you for your prayers and your support. It allows us to fill the gap during Bro. & Sis. Brochu’s absence… ensuring that the work continues. God bless your day today & let what you read inform your prayers for France!

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


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).


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).




Healthy Ignorance & Healthy Desire…

Heya… good morning from France! This past week has been a bit more quiet than the past couple of weeks (not necessarily a bad thing)… but I’m thankful that you’re here to let me tell you about it.

International Work in Paris-Centre

United Pentecostal Church of Paris-Centre, international church, ivry-sur-seine

It was an early morning, high-speed train that took me from Châtellerault to Paris last Sunday morning for service at the international work in Paris-Centre.

Looking at the map to the right, Notre-Dame cathedral is located in the middle of the white circle (top left) and the church is located in Ivry-sur-Seine.  From the train station it’s only a few minutes by metro and bus to get to the church but since I had a bit of time to spare and given the beautiful morning… I walked rather than taking the bus from the final metro stop.  Never… I repeat never pass up an opportunity to walk in Paris – particularly in the early morning sunlight and when your route takes you along the Seine river… United Pentecostal Church, Paris Centre, Ivry

The Seine, in Ivry, is much more industrialized than right in the heart of Paris and less touristy in general… but in a building that houses a dance school at other times of the week you’ll find a multicultural group of apostolic believers delving into scripture and offering up enthusiastic worship.

This church recently celebrated its third anniversary and is normally under the leadership of Bro. & Sis. Brochu as well. Although it typically does not fall into our current mandate, we were invited to come minister this past Sunday as well as again on May 3rd, while they await the arrival of another AIM couple (Dean & Loreen Byfield) who will cover responsibilities there for the remainder of the Brochu’s deputation.  I was treated to a veritable Philippino feast following the service… skewers on the BBQ was the first thing that greeted me upon arrival!!Supper on the patio

The left-overs that came back to Châtellerault with me even provided for our first meal on the patio Monday evening. Daytime temperatures over the past week have been in the twenties (celcius) and even as high as 17-18 in the evenings. Hallelujah!

Pencils and Papers & Marks… Oh My!

A fair bit of my time this week has been spent marking papers for IBF (Institut Biblique de France).  I’m teaching on the Epistles and their first test covered the book of Romans.

Most students are in their twenties or older, few are freshly graduated from high school. Classes are held one Saturday each month (7:30am – 6:00pm) over a period of 3 years with one full week of classes each August – It’s a big commitment! …but it allows participation by many who work full-time.   

*NOTE* When I taught French at the University of New Brunswick, I had a student marker who looked after marking papers. I’ve regained an appreciation for student markers!  🙂  (I know that Liz would echo that as she spent time getting caught up on marking the kids’ work as well.)

7 Laws of the Learner, Bruce Wilkinson

While on academics… I started reading “The Seven Laws of the Learner” by Bruce Wilkinson. Bro. Brochu’s pastor told him he wished he’d read it earlier on in his ministry because of the impact it’s made on him… It is definitely full of meat!


Drive in the Country

Quinçay, Colza, lavoir

Yesterday I had to drive down past Poitiers (45-min by car) to the small village of Quinçay to meet with a translator. In order to finalize our residency procedure, we had to have a few documents translated by a professional who’s already recognized by the regional law courts.

Needless to say, even the drive itself was enjoyable: The village has a lavoir (where you used to come to handwash your clothes), quaint church and a huge field of rapeseed (Colza, in French – it’s used to make oil).


You know what… there is something stirring in me that I don’t quite know how to put into words. The thing that comes to mind, as I sit here at the keyboard is … “It’s like fire shut up in my bones.”

There’s a desire to do more, go farther, be braver, etc. I realize that there are obstacles… there always are, but how do we go beyond the obstacle to make it happen?  It’s a type of dissatisfaction… not with people or circumstances but with myself… not born out of a comparison made with others (which can be very unhealthy). I want to see growth in God’s kingdom, but on one hand I haven’t got a clue how. This is what I call “healthy ignorance” :

  • ignorance – because I haven’t got a clue
  • healthy – because that means I have to lean on the Lord

Have you ever been there? You’ve got lots of “tools in your toolbox” but you don’t want it to be something that “you” do… yet God uses your gifts, your personality, your “toolbox”. Lord… teach me to lean, to follow to be brave… to recognize your voice… that I might see your hand change lives… for real… for eternity.


Thanks for taking a bit of time to follow our goings-on… let it inform your prayers for us… we are partners in Mission.
God bless you today!

Cheeseburger Chips & Mustard Pickles

Lays Chips, Cheeseburger, Mustard Pickles

A week or so ago I posted a pic on Facebook that got a lot of response… did you see it?  It was the pic of cow tongue … something that is readily available in grocery stores here and is considered a delicacy by many.

Don’t worry… we left it there! However we did discover two flavours of Lays potato chips that have our mouth watering whenever we pick up a bag… Cheeseburger and Mustard Pickles.

It’s almost creepy how much they taste like cheeseburgers!
(or maybe it’s just that we’re in withdrawal!?)


Have you ever found that, amidst change, there is that element of change that you anticipate and the element of change that kind of catches you a bit off guard?  It’s pretty normal in all situations of change and we’ve experienced it.

  • Groceries – you know how, in your local grocery store, you can just “pop in” and get something really quickly?  Doesn’t happen here. We’re still learning the layout of the stores that we go to most often, the brand names and which products are the closest equivalent to home.
  • Car-space – 4 words…. Narrow roads, fast driverscarBack when the French all drove cars like this… no problem, but as cars grew and schedules got tighter… driving became a bit more intimidating… (sometime I’ll post a pic of a parking lot I regularly use)it’s a little like holding your breath every time you pass someone. (Now that I look at it… THIS car could be OUR car’s great grandfather!)
  • Personal space – The house that we’re living in has an open concept so, apart from the bedrooms and washrooms we all pretty much live in the same space – homeschool, meal prep, working, reading & thinking….. er…. uh…. sometimes thinking is a problem.   🙂

(This is only a temporary thing and will change at the end of the month when we move into the Brochus home)

Change… they call it change for a reason….  It can take you off guard and try your patience by times – seriously – but can I tell you the payoff?

Two immediate Payoffs

#AIMKids, AIMKids

  • Seeing the kids involved in ministry… incredible training… serving as a family.
  • Knowing, beyond any shadow of doubt, that we are in the center of God’s will.

There will be other payoffs with time… but we’ve seen these already.

Change in Frequency

Just want to give you a heads-up that going forward I’m only going to publish once per week (each Saturday morning).  We don’t have internet at home which makes it difficult to publish 2 posts per week. We typically have to head over to the public library or to a local coffee shop in order to have access and by then, there’s usually a lot to catch up on!

Installation Service

Tomorrow will be our installation service as interim pastor of the work, during the Brochu’s absence.  We appreciate your prayers. We’ve been involved in church for a very long time and have no shortage of experience, but still, we’ve never been the one to bear the lion’s share of responsibility – spiritually or materially… first time pastors, can I get an amen?  


Here are a couple more pics of our city. Next Saturday I’ll share pics of something a little less beautiful (the kind of creepy yellow hand) as well as some pics of the service tomorrow.

Have a great day all and for those of you back home… Bon Courage! with all the snow you’ve been getting.  I can’t even imagine!

You all are precious and God is GREAT!Châtellerault, Centre-ville, Vienne (86), Place Émile Zola