All three kids have enjoyed spending time with their friends in the Saint John church over the past two weeks or so. It’s like they’ve just slipped right back into things like hand in glove – and that’s nothing short of the Lord’s hand in / on their lives. We’re thankful. Let me tell you why…
So this happened earlier this week.
I got to taste, for the first time in a LONG time… some Grand Manan dulse; an edible & highly nutritious seaweed harvested in the Bay of Fundy. Anyone not from here likely won’t appreciate it as the taste is pretty unique, but for me it conjures up memories of childhood strolls through the city market with my grandfather.
Since I missed last week (that’s twice in the past month and a half… I gotta get it together), let me tell you a bit about the past two weeks…
Last Sunday morning I hopped on an Air Canada Express jet to start the trip back to France after three great weeks back home. When I think of those three weeks, I am thankful for I experienced the hand, and faithfulness, of God once again. Isn’t that what having a living, current relationship with God all about… experiencing him afresh on a regular basis?! Continue reading
For the first time in over a year our family of 5 is split between two sides of the ocean and it feels weird… Continue reading
If it weren’t for “the bad” in “the good, the bad & the ugly,” I suppose I could’ve used that as a title for today’s post – there’s lots of good and a little bit of ugly, but no bad – instead, let me just use… The New, the Bizarre & the Everyday as a way to order my thoughts.
I’ll start with the bizarre because I promised it two weeks ago and failed to deliver.
I’ve shared a number of pictures with you, showcasing the beauty of Châtellerault, but there is something that still makes my skin crawl a bit every time I drive by it (at least every other day): “la main jaune” (the yellow hand).
Smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest traffic circles in the entire city, it is the first thing that visitors & residents see when they exit the Paris-Bordeaux highway, coming into Châtellerault.
At 24m (72′) high and 20 tonnes, it’s a giant forearm supporting a hand, in which sits a huge black egg. Descending the arm and continuing behind the sculpture (barely visible) are 7 famous cars (incl. a 2CV, Fiat 500, a VW Beetle, etc.) also painted black. …Makes me think of giant black ants crawling down my arm when I see it… Oh yes, and they’re like ghost ants because at night, the car lights are on. WEIRD!
It supposedly represents the valiant nature of the community and the past connection to the automotive industry… a resilient people who will rise up out of the rubble of the past. I, however, just see ants on arm.
This sculpture is visible from our church property and the one redeeming factor is this: from the angle at which it is seen from church, neither the cars nor the egg are visible and it would remind you of a hand raised in surrender and worship to God – the only one who is worthy of our praise and adoration. May that be the case for many in our city and beyond in Western France!
1. Châtellerault just got its very own Subway & we ate there this past Sunday. The French have heard about it and/or tasted it elsewhere and are very excited to have one in their own backyard, so to speak. The kids were glad to find a familiar taste of home as well. Still… at about $45 for 5 people (that’s with no cookies or chips)… it’s a treat & won’t be a regular thing.
2. Liz has begun a new year… #41 to be exact (honey… don’t hang me out to dry for sharing this…. but the smart ones would’ve figured it out anyway from the numbers on the cake! 🙂 . She was saluted with 41 balloons and presented with a challenge… burst them all in less than 30 seconds and she would get the second part of her gift (she managed). We got an apricot mousse cake with some café éclairs to go with our coffee. God bless the baker at Auchan! Thank you too, to the many who have sent cards, emails, texts, Facebook messages, etc.!
3. This one is a bit more difficult to define I think… something else is new to us. We are accustomed to be in a large church setting where a good portion of our involvement is in managing… events, tasks, structure, etc. and much of our time is taken up with that. There are 275-300 people who invite others to church, share their faith, etc. We spend a great deal of time preparing the church and the church body to receive those guests that come, make them feel welcome, etc. Working in what I’ll call a “home missions environment” is new to us.
I found myself asking God this week… “God, how do we share our faith in a city where, outside of the people in our little church, we know very few? How to we do it? How do we find people interested in a home Bible study, etc.?” The question was not asked out of discouragement… not at all, but out of an eager desire to know how to grow and move forward in a new reality. (Incidentally… I was encouraged by an article written by Kent Carter that will appear in March’s Pentecostal Messenger – “How Church Planting Saved my Life.” For those of you in the Atlantic District… I highly recommend the read!).
Pray that God helps us to do great things in the new as we rely on Him.
I suppose that the lines are really blurred in this last section because it bridges both the new and the everyday.
One of the things that Liz has had to get used to is life without a microwave oven: How do you do all those quick little heat-ups without a micro-wave?
- those 2-3 last portions of yesterday’s leftovers that will become today’s snack.
- that mug of milk for hot chocolate
- the small pitcher of milk to froth and put in coffee
The other thing that we don’t have yet is a full-sized oven. We will have one in two weeks (as well as a micro-wave) when we move into the Brochu’s home, but for the time being we’ve been using this neat little counter-top convection oven (purchased for us using a gift from the U.P.C. of Bordeaux, France – “shout out” to Pastor & Sis. Paul & Melissa Majdling – THANK YOU!!)…. btw, if you haven’t seen their video promoting the upcoming Pentecost Sunday Convention… take 2:10 to watch it… VERY well done!
Very excited to be there in just a few weeks. Derald Weber (Lafayette, Lousiana) will be guest speaker.
- I’m teaching at Bible School today – likely as some of you are reading this.
- Tomorrow is Bro. & Sis. Brochu’s last Sunday service in Châtellerault.
- Pray that we excel in the new… for God’s glory.
Summing it up
Getting us out of our comfort zone is causing us to rely on the Lord to a greater degree than we would normally have back home. The exciting thing is… God has an incredible track record of doing “exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or think…” when we put our trust in Him.
Here’s to more hands reaching to the sky in Western France!
God bless you today!
Well… at the risk of sounding grandiose, we have come to the end of an era! Sort of.
We are through running the roads of the Atlantic District for the purpose of raising awareness of, and support for, our AIM term in France. This doesn’t mean that we’re at 100% of our budget yet, we are still accepting both one-time support as well as monthly Partner in Missions commitments, but it does mean that we will be home on weekends and better able to focus on the practical preparations involved in getting ready for departure.
Last Service – Temperance Vale, NB
Perhaps it’s only fitting that our final service be in Temperance Vale, NB with our Atlantic District Superintendent and his wife. We drove up on Sunday afternoon, after having attended morning service at Mission Point and had no trouble finding the church, although we’d never been there before.
Besides being with the Brewers, I was also looking forward to being in Temperance Vale for another reason as well. Early on in my experience of Pentecost, Sis. Laura Priest would visit the church in Saint John periodically and Bro. Goddard would always have her sing.
What a lady!
There was something very appealing about her – without question the hand of God on her life after a lifetime in faithful service to God. I was a bit disappointed when I learned that she wouldn’t likely be there that night due to fragility and advancing age, but my spirits soon lifted again when her daughter Ann (also mother of our District Youth President, Bro. Paul Thornton) got up to lead worship. She looks so much like Sis. Priest and sang with just as much gusto!
Afterwards, we headed back to the Brewer’s home in Nackawic for a short bite to eat and a bit of fellowship before hitting the road home. The kids, too, enjoyed sweet moments of fellowship…. playing “Crossy Road” an iPad / iPod app by Hipster Whale (a.k.a modern youth fellowship). 🙂
Glad to be done
Although we’ll miss the opportunity to spend time visiting & fellowshipping with other pastors in the region, we are glad to now begin focusing a little bit more fully on preparations for our departure (storing some items, shipping others and preparing the house). It has been tiring to travel and be away from the house pretty much every weekend (although full-time missionaries must do much more than we did and are to be commended).
Training Program @ Church
One of the other things that will be a focus of my attention this month is handing off responsibilities to various people who will be taking my place. Bro. & Sis. Mark Robertson (formerly of Miramichi, NB – although Mark is originally from Hatfield Point, NB) moved to the Port City on Sunday and have been spending their days unpacking and preparing. As the dust settles for them, I’ll begin attempting to get a lot of what I know out of my head and into Bro. Robertsons.
Pray for he and his wife as they makes the transition.
There will also be a couple of other individuals relieving me of some responsibility regarding the Pentecostal Messenger – the official publication of the Atlantic District, of which I’m the editor. I will continue to do layout and editing of this 12-page paper, but will need others here on site in Saint John to handle the logistical details (picking up the finished papers, preparing the mailing and handling finances and subscriptions).
News from “our Missionaries”
I encourage you to come back on Saturday morning to read some good news of what God is currently doing in France through the hands & lives of “our missionaries”.
Thank you for your support on every level.
God bless & strengthen you today!
Three things to give you an update on where things are at:
#1. Taymouth, NB
I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Pastor & Sis. Michael Trail of Nashwaak Valley Pentecostal Church… an absolutely BEAUTIFUL church located in Taymouth, NB, a community situated along the picturesque Nashwaak River.
Although I had met the Trails on a couple of occasions it was our first time to really spend time together (as has been the case with many of the pastors that we’ve connected with during our mini-deputation). What wonderful people!
We had the morning service together followed by a wonderful meal and a short Sunday afternoon nap – you know you feel at ease with folks when they let you take a nap and entertain (or are entertained by) the kids. After the evening service we drove back to Saint John (about a 1.5hr drive), arriving around midnight to 3 deer on our front lawn… quite perturbed that we’d interrupted their midnight snack on our shrubs!
#2. Breaking 70%
Not only was the building beautiful… the people were as well. They took up an offering for us and through their generosity, we were able to just break the 70% mark in our fundraising. Little by little we are getting there, but we still require the remaining 30% to be committed. Breaking it down, it would mean, for example:
– 30 donors* at $50/month or
– 15 donors* at $100/month
* (Where donors could be individuals, groups or churches)
If you would like to financially support us during out time in France, please click here.
#3. Near Future Focus: KIDS
If anyone saw the blog post which mistakenly came through to your email box yesterday (AIMKids Missionary Moment on the Eiffel Tower)… you’ve already had a glimpse of something that coming “down the pipes”.
Prompted by an email exchange with Sis. Joni Owens, Children’s Pastor at New Life Center in Bridgeton Missouri (Rev. Garry Tracy is her pastor), I will soon be adding a section to the website focusing on kids. The goal is two-fold:
- Solicit targeted prayer for our kids while in France
- Provide tools for Sunday School & Youth workers to help grow a sensitivity to missions in the hearts & lives of kids / youth under their care, and to help them develop their own capacity to impact their part of the world.
… Like I said, I have been pulling those posts together for a launch through December and inadvertently published one yesterday by mistake. I have since unpublished the post as it was not yet complete and I prefer to do a more thorough launch within a few weeks.
What I can tell you though, is that the tools will have a lot to do with Raising Children with a Global Vision; a blog post from earlier in November and which came out of a workshop at General Conference in St. Louis.
My apologies for the mixup… keep an eye out for that focus area in a short time.
Shout out and Thank you to Sis. Owens for the great idea!
We are now pretty much down to the 2-month mark. Please keep us in your prayers… there’s lots to do in the coming weeks! This weekend… our last scheduled service will be in Temperancevale, NB with our District Superintendent, Rev. Terry Brewer.
Thank you for following!
God bless you today!
As I mentioned Saturday, this past weekend was our 7th in a row to be on the road…. and it was a special one!
In a couple of ways it just felt so right to be at Capital Community Church (CCC) this past weekend.
The guests for their weekend Missions Conference were ourselves and Bro. & Sis. Bruce Howell (Gen. Director of Global Missions UPCI), but because of flight delays, the Howells weren’t able to get in until late Saturday night, missing the first service. In his stead, CCC Lead Pastor Raymond Woodward spoke.
The reason it felt so great was this: when I first came into Pentecost in the mid 1990’s, Bro. Woodward was in the Saint John church and music was led by Jack & Kathy Leaman… so everything just felt so familiar!
The services were great on Sunday! In the morning, Bro. Howell preached on the protection that can be found in the walls of salvation… and in the evening, on the fact that Christians should always be Ready to Rejoice! One of the neat surprises though was that the choir went from singing in English to French (without warning)… How cool to hear that! It caught me by surprise, so I didn’t catch all of it, but here’s what I did get.
CCC members gave liberally this weekend and their generous offering put us up to 65% of our required budget.
But over and above that offering, they also showed some love to our kids in a special way as well. Saturday night the kids went forward and church members put a total of $329 in their hands… so just under $110 for each of the kids.
Can’t thank you enough CCC for all the support you have shown us!
To finish off today’s post I’m going to be a bit transparent. I’d ask for and extra covering of your prayers over the coming weeks. There is so much that needs to happen and only so many hours in a day. Feelings of being overwhelmed are never far off as there is a keen awareness of the pressure to:
- sell the house & correct a few things in preparation for that
- prepare to transition my church and District responsibilities, including the publication of the monthly district magazine.
- continue sorting / packing / purging
- maintain responsibilities in our local church where I’m employed full time
- prepare paperwork & immigration formalities
- complete fundraising our budget
…all while we continue to travel each weekend for the remainder of November
(We intentionally have no services/travel booked for December).
Do we know that we are in the will of God? …yes
Do we know that he’ll take care of the details? …yes
But in the meantime it’s still a great deal to juggle in the day to day… we need his strength more than ever, not just to get it all done, but to maintain our joy in the process.
the Bottom Line
God is getting ready to do some incredible things and we’re so privileged to be part of it. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Thanks for following us and for praying so faithfully!
This weekend is our 7th in a row to be out on the open road… and there are a few more to go! We’re racking up kilometers on our 2007 Ford Freestyle and changing the oil more frequently, but there are a number of benefits that outweigh any cost.
Benefits?! …to deputation?!
Up until 2012, I’m not sure I’d heard anyone talk overly positively about deputation. At the worst it was somewhat of a “necessary evil” and, at best, “something to be put up with ’til you get to the land of your calling.” But today I’m going to give you 5 benefits that I’ve experienced.
Although pastors frequently see each other at conferences, the contact is often “in passing.” Less frequent are the opportunities to sit across the table from each other, as families, often in the home.
Also, not having grown up in this fellowship, I had never been in many of our churches, nor did I personally know many of the saints as is the case when you spend the majority of your life in a given group.
Deputation throughout the Atlantic District, and elsewhere, has given us opportunities to connect with fellow ministers and their families… and we’re LOVING it!
Part of getting to know the churches is discovering that things or methods that I might have taken for granted in my church may be entirely different elsewhere, attributable to:
- urban vs. rural cultures/priorities
- the age, size or stage of growth of the church
- the number of pastors in the history of the church
- the calling or priorities of particular pastors
I realize the extent to which I’ve been blessed and, as the old Scott Wesley Brown song goes… “We are blessed to be a blessing.”
3. Family Time
This may seem counter-intuitive… Family time? While we do spend much time with others, we have to GET to where the others are, so we’re spending a fair bit of time together in the car, in the hotel rooms and sometimes stopping for “mini-adventures” along the way. Like when our annual Gagetown apple-picking outing happened on the way back from Upper Kent & Ste-Anne-de-Madawaska.
4. Memory Lane Moments
As a kid, I often went on drives with my grandfather. A plastic-wrapped roll of peppermints was on the dash of the 1978 Chevy Suburban and we’d find a country road to follow. Sometimes he’d be headed rabbit or partridge hunting and sometimes it’d just be for the drive… but he always had his eyes open for bottles or cans that could be traded in at the local bottle exchange (that’s how he paid for my first 5-speed bike).
Heading down some of these country roads (in particular the top one on the right, with it’s patchy, uneven pavement – between Stanley & Juniper), affords me time to sift through some of those memories, and smile at the simplicity of great moments spent together.
5. Support & Supporter Raising
Of course the main purpose of deputation remains the fundraising aspect. Obviously it’s beneficial, indeed necessary to do this, but even in churches that are unable to give financially at a given time… we have the opportunity to raise supporters (see Wednesday’s post).
We’re thrilled to take part in Missions Conference at Capital Community Church in Fredericton, NB with Rev. Raymond Woodward and Rev. Jack Leaman. These men were leaders in the Saint John church when we came into Pentecost in the mid 1990’s and both have been important influences in our life and growth. We’re honoured to be with them and with Rev. Bruce Howell, General Director of Global Missions for the UPCI.
Our house will be going up for sale Monday. We decided to sell in order to:
a) …have one less major asset to manage during our time overseas.
b) …be able to give a portion in the #IAmGlobal offering.
The market is not great but we believe that we heard from God concerning the sale and we trust him completely. Why not pray for two buyers that bid against one another, upping the price rather than it being bartered down!
Thanks for reading me again today.
Let what you read inform your prayers.
Fredericton… We’ll see you tonight!
We spent another weekend on the road here in New Brunswick, our home province, but this time in the northwest corner…
Saturday was an awesome day! A good friend and favourite “auntie” that we’d not seen in quite some time, visited us for coffee & conversation. After which, we officiated at the wedding of a great couple that we’ve known for a couple of years, thanks to an ongoing community outreach. Then, at around 9:00pm we set out for a 3hr drive to northwestern New Brunswick.
The Upper Kent Church is located just off Route 105 and up the road a bit from Florenceville, NB (home of McCain foods and French Fry capital of the world!). In the nearly 60 years that this church has been established, there have only been three pastors, preceding Rev. & Mrs Kent MacKay, the current pastor. This makes for a very stable and well established congregation. They are an incredible missions-giving church and have come alongside us in our AIM appointment to France.
Thank you, Pastor & Sis. MacKay, for believing in us and the calling God has placed on our family. You’ll be part of revival in France!
Roughly 100km up the Saint John River Valley from Upper Kent is another church to which we’d never been, but with which we’ve been familiar for some time: Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska. Two of their “native sons” have attended our home church for several years.
This church is predominantly French-speaking, although there are some English-speakers in the mix as well. Rev. Keith Carter has been leading the church for the past couple of years but will be relocating in October, leaving the church looking for a new pastor.
This church already supports the three missionaries to France with whom we’ll be working: John & Anne Nowacki, Paul & Darla Brochu and Marcus & Renée Brainos. They have taken us on as partners as well.
Un Grand Merci… to Bro. & Sis. Carter as well as to the great church family in Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska! You folks are precious and we are so glad to finally have gotten to visit your church! Vous êtes partenaires pour le réveil que Dieu amènera en France!!
Cue-up my “Inner Call Center”
I’d appreciate your prayers as I spend time this week touching base, by phone, with pastors from around North America, asking for their support. I can’t wait. Really looking forward to it!
We only need another forty-eight, $50/month partners.
Keep pouring on prayer… God has a great work that He’s fixin to accomplish!
Thank you for your support!