European Youth Convention

European Youth Convention

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

Paris… the quiet city

One evening, while searching for some video footage of France in general, and Paris in particular, I came across the video below, filmed and edited by Andrew Julian.  At first, the title intrigued me, because when I think of Paris, I do not think of a quiet city, but after seeing it and stopping to think about it; Paris in the winter, is indeed quiet compared to Paris in summertime when throngs of tourists flood the city.

If you have 4 minutes to spare (plus a bit of time waiting for the video to load)… this is an absolutely incredible look at the beauty and magic of Paris and well worth the look!  Thank you, Andrew, for putting together this amazing package!

The Quiet City: Winter in Paris from Andrew Julian on Vimeo.

Don’t just sit there… translate!


Today was the second and final day of the Youth Convention… it was amazing, and that for a number of reasons.

Yesterday I mentioned that there were a number of young people in attendance from other European countries. For this reason every aspect of the services take place in both French and English.

  • If songs are sung in French, both French and English lyrics are displayed.
  • If a worship leader is exhorting in French, their comments are simultaneously translated into French.
  • If greetings from a special guest are expressed, or the preaching takes place, in English, it will also be simultaneously translated into French.

During the morning service, Bro. Nowacki asked if I would help by providing translation for the service preliminaries: both from French to English, as well as from English to French, depending on the speaker. That was honour enough already, but during the second service of the day, and the final service of the convention, he asked if I would translate for the convention speaker, Bro. Tisdale.  At the risk of sounding repetitious… What an honour!  You’ve got to remember that up to this point, Bro. Nowacki himself had done all translation of the messages and now, for the final message of the weekend, when expectations are Translating Bro. Robert Tisdalethrough the roof, he was entrusting that responsibility to a Canadian anglophone.

It reminded me of another time back in the early 1990’s. I spent two years in Belgium in an AIM-type role and at that time also, I had been asked to translate during national meetings. When I think back to that time and look at this experience, I’m convinced that the Holy Ghost anoints a translator just as He anoints a preacher, so that the essence of his word for that congregation goes forth unimpeded. You have to think on the fly, seek vocabulary and interpret not just the words but the idioms and cultural sensitivities as well. Things went so well during that service that there were times when I thought to myself… “You don’t even speak this clearly in normal conversation, when you have time to think about what you’re saying.”  I have no explanation other than to say “that’s the anointing of God” and I give him glory for it.

We came to this convention intending to simply attend, rejoice and learn with the church of France and reconnect with friends. The unexpected privilege of being able to participate in and contribute to what God was doing, was simply tremendous.

Leadership within the French District showed confidence in our ability to bring something to the work there. The Atlantic District and Global Missions personnel have recognized our ability to contribute to this field, as AIM furlough replacements for the Brochus beginning in January 2015.  Would you consider supporting us financially during this AIM term; allowing us to contribute, on a longer-term basis, to growing the work in France?

Ushered to the VIP seats in France

Youth Convention 2013Having spent the past week or so on vacation with Liz’s parents at their home in southern Belgium, we’d originally planned to fly back to Canada tomorrow, November 10. Seeing that the French Youth Convention was scheduled for the same weekend, we were just too close and the timing was too perfect to miss.

It would only take 3-4 hours, by car, to drive from southern Belgium to Melun (where Pastor Nowacki’s church is located) and we could fly out of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport the following day, November 11th.  A quick adjustment of plans, arrange a car rental and voilà… we were off to France and YC2013 bound!

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the convention, hence the theme… 30 ans Triomphe (30 years Triumph).  Although it has consistently been organized by Bro. Nowacki’s church, it is no longer simply for the young people of France. Young people were present from Denmark, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and other European countries. The guest speaker for the weekend, Rev. Robert Tisdale of Dallas,Texas, was to minister in the four convention services (This afternoon & evening and tomorrow morning & afternoon).

Pastor Nowacki and his team knew that we were coming but little did we know that they’d usher us to reserved seating front and center in the auditorium; we wouldn’t miss anything of what God would do in these services. We reconnected with the missionaries (the Nowackis, the Brochus and the Balcas) as well as national pastors with whom I’d taught during IBF (Institut Biblique de France or French Bible Institute) in 2009, 2010 and 2012.  MTisdale-Nowackiany of the present and former students also came to greet us, meeting Liz & the kids for the first time.

60 young people presented Héros de la Foi (Heroes of the Faith) this evening. During this black-light presentation they cited the names and stories of 30 biblical heroes of faith and affirmed how they themselves would, like those they cited, strive to be a hero of the faith to this, their generation. Bro. & Sis. John & Anne Nowacki, themselves heroes of the faith in France, introduced the presentation. Sis. Nowacki was, after all, the first national youth president when they arrived in the country over 30 years ago. They recounted the history of France’s youth department and the convention which grew out of it… having grown to over 800 this year.

We got to meet Rev. Mike Tuttle for the first time. He is a former missionary to the Netherlands and currently the Global Missions Department’s Regional Director for Europe and the Middle East.  Although I was unaware that we would meet him, it was nonetheless great to do so, as he will be one of the men who will consider our application for AIM appointment, and will be part of our reporting structure once on the field.

Day 1 of the convention, with our view from VIP, was wonderful!

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