What a great week we have had… The Lord is good and I’m glad to share it all with you Continue reading
It’s been quite a week! On the outside looking in, it may not look like much, but dig a bit deeper and you’ll see that God has let us see his hand at work.
Above is a photo from Bible Study this week… but let’s start with last week:
A Quiet New Year
Since we’d done a fair bit of visiting over the past week, we opted for a quiet New Year’s Eve as a family watching Mary Poppins (since we forgot to bring “the Sound of Music” with us).
We spent New Year’s Day preparing a nice meal that we would share with friends from the community… complete with foie gras, leek soup, duck and Italian panettone, topped off with a game of turkey foot over coffee. Lovely way to begin the new year & Liz outdid herself as the hostess with the mostest.
Renewed Vision & outreach
Tomorrow at church we’ll be kicking off the new year with a fresh call to grow in the Lord and reach out beyond our walls to those around us.
We’ve purchased calendars for each of our church members with a daily Bible verses to help each one discover some of the major themes of scripture. In addition though, we’ve also given everyone a second, gift-wrapped calendar that they can in turn give to a friend that they’ve been praying for. The goal… to bring others closer to Christ. Please keep this particular outreach in prayer this week.
Many of you know that our missionaries return to France in March – six months ahead of schedule thanks to #IAmGlobal. That being said, we’d like to continue on here for a while, working with them after their return.
Need: While on furlough, their budget covered several of our expenses which, when they return, will become our responsibility, increasing the amount of required monthly financial support.
I’ve put together the following 3-min video to outline “our Beginnings, our First Year and beyond.” It will generally reside elsewhere on the site, but I wanted to give you a sneak peak at it first.
To say thanks…
In the video I mentioned a special newsletter and article as my thanks for subscribing to the newsletter; spreading & building awareness. Here’s a quick overview:
Building Engaged Youth, Building Missionaries
…through Short Term Missions
I credit my current involvement in ministry to extensive Short Term Missions (STM) involvement beginning in youth. Missions truly changed my life. In this 6-page eBooklet, I detail:
– My STM experiences & their impact
– STM expectations & outcomes
– Positive outcome influencers
– UPCI STM opportunities
If you want to see young people impact the world and be impacted by Short Term Missions, this booklet will give you an overview of what’s possible.
Top 15 in 2015
This 4-page eBooklet is simply a quick overview of the Top 15 moments of Ministry involvement and Family Life during our first eleven months as AIMers (or volunteer missionaries) here in France.
Both are .PDF documents, optimized for reading on your iPad, tablet or computer, but could be printed as well.
How can I get them?
Both of these eBooklets are my way of thanking subscribers to our Newsletter. If you’d like to receive them, simply click here to subscribe and you’ll immediately receive download links via email. (Newsletters are published bi-monthly or monthly at the most – so don’t worry, I won’t flood your inbox.)
A special appeal…
In the month of March, our expenses will more than double. Below is a minimum breakdown of what we’ll need in new monthly financial partners:
If you or your church are not currently supporting us financially, would you consider doing so this month? Click Here for instructions on partnering with us.
Thank you for stopping by today. God bless you richly and help both of us to become more and more like him. Happy New Year!
Since we’re away from Châtellerault for a few days of family vacation, I’m trying to minimize “screen time” so for today’s post, I’m serving up what Sophie, Dominic & Timo said recently about being AIMKids…. see below.
Just before that though…
Coming up this week:
- We’ll be distributing more of our #PrayforParis cards… pray that they make it into the hands of hungry individuals.
- Next weekend, we’re having a special Kids’ Focus weekend with the National Sunday School coordinator: with activities on Saturday and a Holy Ghost Rally on Sunday morning… pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on our youth.
- Once we get settled back in Châtellerault we’ll share some vacation snapshots… watch for those as well… pray for safe travel home on Monday & Tuesday.
Note: This was recently published in the November issue of the Pentecostal Messenger (monthly publication of the Atlantic District).
If you find it difficult to read:
Thank you for reading & praying!
God bless your day!
It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas, minus the snow… mixed feelings about that:
- Glad for no shoveling or plowing yet.
- There’s still lettuce in the garden.
- Pansies add winter colour in the garden.
- BUT… it’s weird to see Christmas decorations alongside green grass & bare pavement.
Jury’s still out!
Latest Bi-Monthly Newsletter
We’ve just published our latest partner newsletter. If you are a regular reader of the blog then you will be pretty much up to date.
If you know someone who is interested in or has a burden for France… feel free to print it for them or forward them the link. It will give a good snapshot of the past couple of months.
Click here to read the newsletters:
For those who haven’t seen it yet, we launched this 2:48-min video on Monday. The 3-fold goal:
In the next 2-3 weeks we’ll distribute 2,500 cards in an attempt to cast the net wide. Please join us in prayer for this undertaking… souls are in the balance.
(Note video is in French)
(*unapologetic commercial alert*)
Soph and Dominic each have a blog and are “occasional bloggers” – they don’t blog often, but when they do, it’ll give you a window on the missions world from a kid’s perspective.
Click the images to check ’em out & SUBSCRIBE
(You’ll get an email each time they publish)
Aside from all that good stuff… it’s been a productive week, albeit fairly heavy on administrative tasks:
- December’s Pentecostal Messenger is off to print.
- Partner newsletter & monthly reports to our sending organization are done.
- Year-end church reports for the French Federation are mostly done
- Lawn mowed (hopefully for the last time), cleaned out the church garden & planted pansies for the winter (neat to have winter colour in the garden).
- We spent Monday evening as guests at our landlord’s home… what a treat, the fire was roaring in the fireplace when we arrived!
- Got to visit with a dear shut-in saint from our church.
…looks busy when you sit down & list it, but it’s just a mix of “life” and “ministry”… not unlike you. You balance work, family and involvement in between… God bless & strengthen you as you do! The only difference is, you allow us to do it in France and help grow the church while we’re here. Thank you.
As many of you read this, I’ll be at Bible School in Melun. I head home tonight for service tomorrow and then we’ll hit the highway for a few days of rest & relaxation.
Kids in French schools had a 2-week break in late October and will get another at Christmas. Our AIMkids haven’t had that luxury; along with Liz, they are really looking forward to a week off before return & hit the road running in the lead-up to Christmas.
Note: We’ll be hosting a special guest this Christmas… details to follow)
One more glimpse at Christmas preparations here…
Downtown Paris was eerily quiet…
Last Sunday in Paris
Although I shared some photos with you, earlier in the week, I didn’t talk too much about the day.
I caught a 6:41am train in order to be in Paris for morning service. Arriving around 8:30, I took advantage of the beautiful sunny morning to walk to church. As I walked, I prayed: Prayed for the service that would soon begin and prayed for this city… recently brought to its knees and still recovering.
Service went well. There were probably about 60 people and though they said that there were a lot missing, when you’re used to a “home-missions-sized” crowd… 60 is a full house!
I spoke on the apostle Paul as an ambassador. God said of Paul that he was a “chosen vessel”, chosen to bear the name of Jesus (Ac.9). Just like Paul, each born again Christian, is a chosen vessel… chosen to bear the name of Jesus to the world around us. If ever a city was in need of such ambassadors… Paris, in November 2015, is such a place. Lord help us to appropriately bear your name… bringing hope.
Following service I had lunch onsite, had coffee & dessert downtown with one of the church families then spent 4-5 hours walking. I wanted to pick up a few things for Christmas and I wanted to continue to spend time praying in the city… connecting, feeling…
Five things I learned or noted:
1. Downtown hotels are eerily empty (with some at 35-40% capacity).
2. Streets are pretty empty
3. Security personnel are EVERYWHERE… and heavily armed.
4. There were crowds at Paris’ Christmas Market, otherwise…
5. Pre-Christmas retail sales were down 30% last week & 17% this week
People have been affected by the attacks! I’m glad we know the peace-giver.
Beginning to look a lot like…
While many of you celebrated US Thanksgiving this week, here it’s beginning to look like Christmas (The Thanksgiving holiday isn’t celebrated here).
City crews in Châtellerault have been putting up lights for weeks already, but this was the first week that we saw them lit up. Here you can see some located just on the far end of the Henry IVth bridge.
Speaking of Christmas…
We picked up our Christmas Tree this week.
It’s the first time in a long while that we’ve gone out and bought one, having caved in a few years ago and gotten a fake one back home. We’d actually gone out to pick up a few trays of pansies (a common source of colour in winter gardens here) when I saw that trees had arrived at the local Jardiland.
Timo & decided compromised between cost and eco-friendliness: for the first time ever, we have a living Christmas tree (it’s in a pot and can be planted outside after Christmas… how cool is that!?).
Reality Check: I think a good church fundraiser might be to plant Christmas trees on our huge property, then in 10 years or so, we can sell ’em! A 6-foot tree like we’d typically get back home runs for 75 euros ($105 CAD or $79USD)… this little guy was no where near that amount. Good heavens!
Our printed cards arrived this week which means that we’ll be able to begin handing them out in the next couple of days. The idea is to “strike while the iron is hot” so to speak… to get these into people’s hands while everything is still fresh.
The cards simply give people 3 verses to contemplate as they mourn the attacks and question the uncertainty of the days in which we live. It also gives them the church’s Facebook and web pages should any want to connect with us afterwards: This is the goal. Pray with us that these make their way to people who need a touch from God and are hungry for Him.
That’s all for today
If you missed the gallery of pictures that I posted earlier this week, you can see it here.
Thank you for praying and giving financially… your support is causing growth in France.
If you’re in the Atlantic District… look for an article written by Sophie, Dominic & Timo for the November issue of the Pentecostal Messenger (for those not in the Atlantic District, I’ll be posting it here in the next few weeks).
If you’re in need of Christmas gift ideas and are reading from Saint John… our home church, Mission Point (130 Mark Drive), is having their annual Christmas Craft Fair: 28 tables of crafts, home baking, preserves, etc….
God bless you today, now go be an Ambassador!
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
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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.
According to “theFreeDictionary.com” the acronym AYC could stand for:
(1) At Your Convenience
(2) the Association of Yukon Communities
(3) the Austin Yacht Club or
(4) Are you confused?
In our week, however… it has referred to Apostolic Youth Corps…
and they’ve lived up to their name!
The #AYCFrance team arrived last Saturday and barely did the wheels of their Delta flight touch the ground but that they were off to the races!
Day one started off with orientation at the Headquarter’s church in Melun, getting settled in to the hotel and then heading into downtown Paris for a river cruise on the Seine followed by dinner Chez Clément on the Champs Elysées… I was VERY impressed with this restaurant – fine cuisine but not at all overly formal!
The next day, Sunday, was spent back with the Nowacki’s church family where the AYCers ministered in song, testimony and through the preached word.
Pictured along with Liz & I are veteran missionaries John & Anne Nowacki, AYC chaperones Josh & Rachel Carson and Luke & Amy Levine. By this point the team had only been together for two full days (give or take a little jetlag). Can’t even begin to say what a great team these chaperones make… just incredible!
Over the next few days, the group did 3 more services in as many days, visiting Romilly-sur-Seine, Longwy and Arras, in northern France.
Along the way from Longwy to Arras, however, they had a neat opportunity to visit the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg where we handed out – in roughly 1 hour – nearly 2,000 business card invitations for church services being held weekly by AIMers Jeremy and Khrista Favors.
There was a “God-moment” when Bro. Levine met a man from Brazil in whose town he (Bro. Levine) had preached several years ago. Although they’d never met personally, the man shared that he’d been looking for some time, for a church that preached about the Holy Ghost as it was his desire to have this experience. He immediately put the man in touch with Pastor Favors who did a short Bible study with him there on the sidewalk and voilà… God opens a door for someone who is hungry.
AIMers to Luxembourg
Here you can see the Favors along with Liz & I. It’s one thing to do what Liz & I are doing…. jump into a community where there is already an established work in place (with a building, a core, etc.). It’s something very different, however, to go into a completely new community and be the one to lay the foundation for a brand new church.
I admire this couple!
Some of the team members, as they were handing out invitations, met Pierre a cab-driver who, when asked if there was anything in particular the team could pray for, said this…
“There’s never really been a real-led revival in Luxembourg and every day I pray that God would raise up an army of believers who would bring God to this country. Pray that God uses me, in my taxi, to be a witness for Him… for only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Sowing & Reaping
Within only two hours of us leaving Luxembourg, Pastor Favors texted us to let us know that he’d already had several calls from people wanting to come to church. Praise the Lord!
Several in the group really wanted to visit Normandy so we did our best and managed to fit it into an already jam-packed schedule.
We visited the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, run by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Pretty incredible and very sobering to see several thousand white crosses overlooking the English Channel… either crosses or stars of David… most identified, some “known only unto God.”
Following that we dipped down to the city of Arromanches, where a Mulberry Port (artificial port) had been built to offload some 9,000 tons of weapons and supplies each day, with some days seeing as many as 18,000 tons.
Today we’re accompanying the team to Disneyland Paris before spending another day tomorrow in services across greater Paris. Before we head to Disney however, I’ll be teaching a 1-hour course at the Bible School (this is going to be a very long day!).
Today we could use your prayers for strength. It has been an awesome week, but one during which we’ve gotten little rest.
Thank you for praying for us… as you pray, you are part of the work here and our victories are YOUR victories too!
“Can I have a trombone serenade with that length of rope
and cotton candy sir?”
…said no AIMer ever, to neighbours they barely know.
But we could have!
Sunday afternoon, following church our neighbourhood hosted its annual flea-market. They call it a “vide-grenier” (“clean-out the attic”) here and it was even more than that.
There were the folks who were setting up tables or selling from the back of their cars…. but there were also antique tractors, a “big brass band” & drummers, antiques, demonstrations of rope-twisting and wood turning… not to mention the treats!
The treats came in both savory and sweet… there was cotton candy and something like beaver tails in strips… but there was also fresh bread being made in a portable wood-fired oven (on wheels) and pig thighs roasting over open coals (see photo). Although we’d already had lunch… we couldn’t resist the treats… can you blame us!?
My favorite was the hot bread straight out of the oven.
A New Net
The boys were thrilled to find a basketball hoop for only 3€. Although there’s a court a short walk from the house, they were keen on finding one to mount in the back hanger of the church for after service. It’s not installed there yet, but they couldn’t wait to use it… so they took turns climbing the apple tree in the yard and holding the net while the other tried shooting hoops…
(no slam dunk contests here!)
Perhaps I should back up a bit and tell you, too, that this past Sunday was also Mothers’ Day here in France. Bro. Christian preached and Liz brought an “exhortation” that was absolutely right on the mark. She’s not one that cherishes the limelight… but she’s definitely qualified to speak on motherhood… she takes the gold medal!
In addition, we gave to each mother in attendance, a small bouquet of 5 roses (you’ve got to love a country where, on Mothers’ Day weekend, you can get 20 miniature roses for 4.50€). Grandmothers in attendance also got a miniature sunflower… because, like the sun, they have the opportunity to “turn the heads” (provide guidance, direction & inspiration) not only of their children, but their grandchildren as well.
When I asked Liz how she would sum up this past week… it was with the word “Conversations.” This week, the LORD has given us some good ones:
Monday we had coffee with a young couple who had visited church twice. He is quite interested in a Bible study but for now she’s working through questions and a family health crisis…
Tuesday we met & had a good conversation with a lady who, although she’d been attending for some time, has begun to express a desire to be baptized.
Tuesday evening we enjoyed great conversation with some neighbours. We had two sunflowers left from Sunday, so we gave one to our neighbour with a little note. They invited us in, showed us around their house & garden and asked us to use “tu” with them instead of “vous” … (a sign of closeness and informality).
Wednesday we did the same thing with the neighbour on the other side and on Thursday afternoon she called over to thank us and let us know how much it meant to her to receive a gift from such new neighbours.
Sometimes a small gesture can crack wide open a doorway that we can then use to bring the Lord closer people. Thank you LORD for open doors and conversations!
In 2 weeks Liz, the kids and I will accompany the General Youth Division’s Apostolic Youth Corps trip to France. 37 young people from across North America along with two chaperone couples will spend 10 days experiencing the churches, culture and history of France. It’ll be a Great Adventure for sure and since “Experience Breeds a Burden” some could find themselves back here on AIM someday. Cannot wait!
– Preparations for AYC in two weeks
– Preparations for Bible School next weekend
– The kids will finish up their homeschool year in the next weeks
– More & more fruitful conversations
God bless your day today… thanks for checking in!
I’m 45, have moved half-way ’round the world, am raising one – soon to be two – teenagers and I’m starting to GROW UP!
Convention de Pentecôte
At this time last week, we were packed up and on our way to the Pentecost Weekend Convention in Bordeaux, just under 300km south-west of us. I’d asked for prayers and today I’ll tell you why… but first, let me give you a quick run-down of the weekend.
Across France, the Lord allowed several to experience their own “Personal Pentecost”:
– 43 were filled with the Holy Ghost and
– 39 were baptized in Jesus’ name.
The Convention in Bordeaux contributed 6 (Holy Ghost) and 4 (water baptisms) to those numbers, with probably upwards of 160 in total attendance over the two days.
The kids quite enjoyed themselves as they got to hang out with other youth their age. On Saturday night, following the service and fellowship, they went downtown for a walk along the waterfront and a twirl or two on the giant Ferris Wheel… they got back to the hotel (by tramway) at around 11:45pm (nope… we weren’t waiting up for them, nope, we weren’t nervous… haha – we were totally waiting). …Next morning the youth sang together in service… Sophie & Dominic among them. Very cool!
After the Sunday service & lunch we headed downtown for a stroll. This made me much appreciate our quiet little provincial French town of Châtellerault (38K people). Bordeaux has about 800K and I’m sure they were ALL driving or walking downtown that day…
Leading up to the convention, throughout the week last week, I felt a tremendous amount of spiritual unrest: facing a great deal of anxiety, fear, worry, unease… you name it, and I know exactly why. I was the main speaker for the convention. I had been preparing for a number of weeks, speaking is not new to me and I trust the Lord’s faithfulness, but I was bearing a particular responsibility for the weekend which translates to: spiritual TARGET!
This was, in one sense, new to me. Up until this point I’d primarily been a “second man”… in an assistant-to-the-pastor role, and as such I didn’t carry the bulk of the weight… that fell to the pastor, I just helped him. To some extent, for the the first time, I felt like I was bearing a greater share of the burden for that conference that would normally have been the case if, say, I was just attending.
I’m growing up.
Thank you Lord that you ultimately carry the load and accomplish what needs to be accomplished… both in the life of the preacher as well as those who are listening.
Did you notice? …something’s different!
See the yellow & orange buttons at the top right corner of the screen (towards the bottom if you’re on a mobile device) you’ll see the following two new buttons:
Newsletters: If you’re a periodic reader or you’re involved in promoting missions in your local church, you may want to check these out. They’ll sum up key highlights and are published bi-monthly.
Top 10: If you’re NEW to the blog… this page will give a look at the blog posts that have been the most well-received by other readers.
Happy “French” Mothers’ Day
Tomorrow is Mothers’ Day here in France, so we have a few extra things planned. Liz wasn’t all that comfortable “preaching” so she will share an “encouragement” or a “testimony” before the main message is given. Also we will pay tribute to the moms in our congregation. We’re expecting a couple of new faces as well. If you’re a mom reading this today… then hit up your kids or your hubby and tell them/him that in France it’s your day… (as long as it’s Mothers’ Day SOME-where in the world… mothers ought to be spoiled, right!?)
Try this out & leave me a comment to let me know what they said!
Bible School & AYC Planning
Today I’m in Melun to teach a class at Bible School (life of David) and to do some “heavy lifting” planning for the AYC trip coming up at the end of the month of June… Liz & the kids and I will accompany the group throughout northern France for 10 days or so. LOTS to do!
Thank you for reading and again… please let what you read inform your prayers for us. You are part of what God is doing here… you are “Partners” in “Missions.”