If you follow me on Instagram, you will have already seen today’s feature pic. It’s one I took Wednesday morning when I dropped Timo off at school. Although the days are getting longer, it’s still pretty dark first thing in the morning, but somehow that adds to the charm of walking through these pretty little streets of the city that we call –(at least for now)– “home”.
After two weeks of solo-parenting two boys, the sun rose on a new day: A day of hope and expectation, a day where 3 would once again become 5, a day where order would be restored to the home… am I being too melodramatic?
They say “A mom’s work is never done.” and I’m in a better position this week to confirm that that is the case. I’ve observed it for a number of years, but am getting a crash course in it this week!
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.
First 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!
One 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).
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.
… for your continued support. Let what you read here inform your prayers for us and for France.
Of late I’ve typically been posting the AIMKid Missionary Moments on Wednesdays, but today, in addition to the latest one, I’m also posting some photos from, and telling you about, our send-off services. Mission Point pulled out all the stops in bidding us a fond farewell and for that I must first and foremost thank Pastor & Mrs Brent Carter who spearheaded the day.
I give honour to this ministry family. They have taught me a great deal both by their instruction and their example. If I am any kind of leader at all, I am better because of time spent under their leadership. I am greatly indebted to them and am thankful to God for bringing them into our life.
In the morning service I talked about Disciples with Distinction, from 1 Peter 2.1-9. Not having grown up in Pentecost, I shared with the church the great things I saw in them when I first began frequenting the church and how that drew me in. They were examples to me in the following 6 areas:
- Pastoral authority & respect
It was what I consistently saw in the lives of the Christians in this church that “made me stick.” Thank you Mission Point for being Disciples with Distinction.
It was during the evening service that all the stops got pulled out. It was a bit longer than normal, but no one seemed to mind… here are a few photos of that night:
After the time of worship, Pastor had Liz & the kids join us on the platform for what would be a combination “tribute” and “roast“ (oh yes! They did go there!). Other speakers not pictured include: Neil Josselyn, Ben Cannon, Maggie Stewart, Youth Pastor Nick Graham and Assistant to the Pastor Mark Robertson.
Jayne Taylor (Kids’ Ministries Director) spoke on behalf of Sunday School and presented our kids with Travel Buddies, tangible reminders that kids back home are praying for them. They’ll take pictures of themselves, with their travel buddy, in cool locations and you’ll be able to follow their adventures using the AIMKids tag on this blog.
Pastor Carter added 5 new “mini-mantles” to the Mantle Ministry. This means that there will be a family in our church praying not only for Pastor & Sis Carter but also for us: 30-min each day, for God’s power, provision and protection.
Troy McAllister and the worship team did a special rendition of recently deceased Andre Crouch’s Through it all. Wow!
Maggie Stewart & Ben Cannon paid tribute to the kids as they are great great friends.
There were a few gifts given through the evening. Liz got some beautiful flowers & I got a couple of books as well as a wall hanging. A couple of things stand out in particular however.Each of the kids were given a #ShopInFrance certificate of appreciation. Space will be limited as we travel over so they thought the kids could go on their very first “mini shopping spree” in France on behalf of the church. So each of them received 100 euros in cash. Thank you Mission Point!
For the whole family, MissionPoint purchased a used 2007 Peugeot 407 Station Wagon for us. (formerly belonging to missionaries Samuel & Patricia Balca who retired in late 2013). It’s in great shape and has low mileage.
Thank you Mission Point!
My 2-cents Worth
My message (Romans 8:14-15) emphasized the idea of adoption: the act of bringing together as family individuals who were not naturally part of a given family.
In the broadest sense… the entire service was based on that: Many friends were there to honour us, because they’d allowed us to become part of their family & we’d allowed them to become part of ours. Similarly, God has allowed us to be part of His family… through the grace and mercy of Jesus.
“Adoption” provides the legal framework within which relationship can happen, but it doesn’t guarantee relationship… Relationship only happens when each party allows the other unlimited access. Hence the words in Rom. 8.14-15: “If you’re led by the Spirit of God, you’re his children… and the Spirit of adoption allows you to cry ‘Abba Father’.” We’ve all got to let him LEAD!
Following the service, a TON of fine, fine cuisine awaited those who stayed for the reception. A special THANKS to each one who brought in food as well as to April Sayeau, Erma Shephard, Ryan & Trisha Shephard who coordinated that aspect…
I also know enough to know that Mark Robertson had his hand all over Sunday’s event. Thank you! Mission Point has a great Assistant to the Pastor!
We have THE most AWESOME home church EVER!
We love you Mission Point. Thank you for “adopting” us over 18 years ago!
Have you ever done a major move? If so, you’ll be able to relate to what we feel. It seems barely imaginable that we are less than four weeks from moving across the ocean to set foot in France. With that in mind… let me give you a few updates:
Out with the Old
You’ll remember from Wednesday’s post that we had taken delivery of a 10′ x 16′ shed that would hold all of our worldly possessions… (well, not really, but at least a portion of the furniture that we will store).
Here are a couple pics of the early morning arrival. Ultimate Windows Doors & More, in Saint John, built this in just over a day and had it delivered within a week of ordering it. Slick as a whistle!
It came on the back of a wrecker truck and is now patiently waiting for us to fill ‘er up!
In with the New
It looks as though these will be our new digs upon arrival in France. Since we will be there for 2 full months before Pastor & Sis. Brochu head back to the USA, we will need a spot to hang our hat.
It is generally very tough to rent a home for a short period of time in France for 2 reasons:
a) it is just tough to find and
b) houses (whether for sale or rent) typically come without a fully equipped kitchen – only a sink is required by law, the rest is the responsibility of the occupant. Having to install a full set of appliances and cupboards for only a two-month rental makes it highly infeasible.
Nonetheless, God opened a door for us to be able to rent the property pictured above for the two-month period, after which we will use the Brochu’s home. Not only has the Lord literally given us an open door, but he’s given us one with a fully equipped kitchen!
Christmas in Canada
When is Christmas NOT your average Christmas?
When it’s the one immediately before your departure to live as ex-pats in a new and foreign country.
We spent Christmas Eve with our church family at MissionPoint and I had the honour of hosting that service for the first time. I shared the stage with over 35 kids who got a lesson in Mysteries & Miracles… they were so great! There were another 15 or so, under the age of twelve, in the audience who were a bit shy but did come forward to get their own Mystery & Miracle sleuth kit!
From there we drove to Moncton to be with my mom. I don’t care how old you are… you’re never too old for mom’s home cooking, turkey dinner, seafood chowder and a sweet or two (or twenty!).
Preparation & Prayers
How can you help us this week? Here are some specific things to pray for:
- We are nailing down the details of insurance while overseas. Pray that that works smoothly.
- We will begin a new round of packing & moving (trying to fill the shed)
- We will begin saying some goodbyes
- We will be preparing the final mailing to partner & prospective partner churches (mentioned here)
- We will begin preparing for our farewell service on January 11th.
There are times when exhaustion would get the best of us, but we are able to carry on because of His strength, our resolve and YOUR prayers.
Thank you for strengthening us… you make a difference!
God bless you today!
We have just come through the annual World Missions Conference at our home church, Mission Point, in Saint John, NB (Canada). From the time I was a young person growing up in the Baptist church, missions conferences have had a special place in my heart and this year was no different. Being involved in the planning, in my role as full-time Assistant to the Pastor, is a real treat for me, as it gives the opportunity to get “up close & personal” with some incredible people!!
Sis. Else Lund… “Mother Ghana”
Sis. Else Lund was appointed as a missionary to Liberia, Africa in 1962 and spent three weeks sailing to the land of her calling on a ship named the African Glen. She fulfilled a number of roles in multiple west-African nations until retiring from Global Missions in 2004… some 42 years after her initial appointment. A great deal of those 42 years was spent in Ghana and at one point, every ordained minister in the UPC of Ghana, had been taught by Sis. Lund… hence the nickname “Mother Ghana.” What a heritage.
Let’s Talk Missions!
Saturday morning, as we did during last year’s conference, we organized a brunch for anyone who either (a) felt a call towards or (b) was curious about, short term missions. It was a chance to glean from the experience of our guest missionaries who discussed a particular part of their journey toward missions followed by discussion afterwards.
Our panel: (beginning top left & clockwise):
- Rev. Jim Poitras,
(Director of Education & AIM, UPCI)
- Sis. Colleen Carter, (Missionary to Ghana, West Africa)
- Sis. Else Lund
- Lauren Summers, (Her parents, Rev. Stephan & Debra Summers are UPCI Missionaries to Cyprus)
Here are a few highlights from that panel discussion:
Colleen Carter: (Colleen spent eight years in Ghana, West Africa, under AIM appointment before receiving missionary appointment in 2007.)
“My call to missions goes all the way back to and began in childhood. As a girl in Sunday school we all had to pick a missionary to whom we’d write to and for whom we’d pray. I chose the Everett & Lois Corcoran family, at the time missionaries to Pakistan. Sis. Corcoran always wrote back and God used that connection to draw me, over time, into missions.”
Lauren Summers: Lauren was the youngest voice on the panel but a valuable one. As an MK (missionary kid) she was in Cyprus because of her parents’ call, not her own. Quiet by nature, Lauren said a LOT in a few short words: She reminded us of the need to uphold missionary kids in prayer and to encourage them whenever possible.
“Initially, I wondered how I’d fit in, what I’d do, but I loved kids and loved doing puppets and the like so I sort of found my place. Sometimes, though, it got lonely and the only thing that kept me was the fact that I’d get messages on my (Facebook) wall from friends back home.”
Else Lund: Sis. Lund spoke longer than the first two ladies, but her tale was riveting! Just two short quotes from her… one, a testimony from her past, the second… a call to those present.
“It was polio that brought our family into truth, so I’ve never regretted having polio.”
“If you have the smallest feeling or hint of a call on your life… FEED IT… PRAY!”
Rev. James Poitras: Bro. Poitras was the last member of the panel to speak, but did a superb job of tying together all that the others had shared. He began by stating that “Whom God calls, he equips.” From there I’ll pull out what is, in my estimation the…
TOP 5 List
…of things to know about the equipping process, as shared by Bro. Poitras in that brunch meeting:
- It involves work… preparation.
- It involves partnering with, or at the very least paying heed to, the apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists & teachers that God has placed in your life. He put them there for the purpose of equipping you.
- It (the equipping & preparing process) never stops!
- It involves academic preparation, spiritual preparation and ministerial preparation* (meaning: the basic needs of humanity are the same everywhere. If you learn how to minister right where you are, you’ll learn how to do it in the land of your calling).
- It is like finding the will of God for your life: …you must find the next right step and just do it. All those steps together, lead you into the will of God or, in this case, into that state of prepared-ness.
What a great time of inspiration and formation all rolled up into one! If you’ve got a call… Feed it! That’s what we’ve been doing and what we continue to do as we prepare ourselves for our departure in January.
Come back Saturday morning when I’ll have an update on our financial preparations… Exciting news that you won’t want to miss. We’re praising God for great things! We capped off the weekend by having the Poitras’ in our home for supper the night before their departure back to St. Louis. We’re thankful for their enthusiastic encouragement and their friendship and for believing in us!
See you Saturday!
If you attend MissionPoint, then you’ve already seen this video, but for those of you who don’t… you’re in for a treat. Starting just two days from now is our annual world missions conference and I put together this video to highlight the enthusiasm that we’re already feeling.
This year we will have the following missionaries with us:
- Bro. & Sis. Jim & Linda Poitras
Former missionaries to Ghana, West Africa.
Currently Director of AIM & Education for the UPCI
- Sis. Colleen Carter, Ghana, West Africa
- Sis. Else Lund
Retired missionary with 42 years of service in various African countries.
- Bro & Sis Stephan & Debra Summers, Cypress
- Bro. & Sis. Nick & Pam Sisco, Ghana, West Africa
- Of course, we’ll be presenting further details of our time in France as well.
Watch the video and ask us if we’re excited!
If you’re in the Saint John area… come join us. We’d love to have you!
The service schedule is as follows:
Sunday 10:30am & 6:30pm
Thanks for stopping by again today. Let what you read, feed your prayers for us.
God bless you today!
For the first time in a couple of weeks, we were home for the weekend and it felt good, not only because we didn’t have to do and subsequently undo suitcases & garment bags, but also because we got to be in our home church with our 10+ kids!
Whoa! Wait a minute… did you say 10+ kids???
Yep… lemme explain.
If you have been following our blog or following our life… you’ll know that we spent the first 10 days of July in France with a team of young people. Twelve of us were from MissionPoint in Saint John and one was from Capital Community Church in Fredericton, NB. We spent time primarily in the cities of Châtellerault, Bordeaux and Melun, ministering in services, handing out invitations to church and prayer walking city streets.
Here you see the team standing on the bank of the Vienne River, in front of the Henri IV bridge.
This past Sunday night, members of the team addressed the local church, sharing their experiences in a service that was entirely dedicated to the involvement of young people in missions during the summer of 2014.
Not only did this team head to France, but we also had one young lady, from Mission Point, spend the month of July in Ghana, West Africa with missionaries Nick & Pam Sisco.
Here are a few highlights of that evening…
“God opened the door and you (the local church) made it possible for us to go. Thank you! It was truly life Changing.”
“My time in France began 9 years ago when Bro. Long took me on my first trip there. One service, then, impacted me incredibly, so going back just felt like home.”
“On other mission trips I’d taken, it was always with people that I mostly didn’t know. It was so great to go with a group from my own home church. I will be forever changed from my time there.”
“It was during one of our FX (France Extravaganza) nights that, as I began to talk about my expectations for the trip, that I could barely speak and God placed an incredible burden on me for France and our time there. It was so heavy, all I could do was weep. Just talking about it makes me miss France all over again.”
“There were people from our church that I got to know in a totally new way during this trip. I thought I knew them – or, at least, I had my impression of them – but I got to know them much better and we had a blast together.”
AIMKid Sophie speaks
One speaker in particular holds an extra-special place in our hearts… our daughter Sophie, the only one of our three #AIMKids to make this trip. She highlighted the fact that she enjoyed getting to see the church and meet the church family there, but when she talked about the other kids in the church, it touched us greatly:
“One thing I noticed was that, with the 12 or so kids that are in the church over there… they’re all boys. I’ve got some work to do.”
Her implication wasn’t so much that she’d need to straighten out all those boys, but rather that she’d have to do her best to make friends with and see some young girls come to the Lord.
*Thank you Lord for speaking to and through our kids… putting a desire in them to be missionaries… soul-winning Christians*
This trip would not have been possible without:
- The whole-hearted support of Pastor Brent Carter of MissionPoint in Saint John, our home church.
- The financial and prayer support of the church family at MissionPoint.
- The collaborative planning by the Brochu & Nowacki missionary families in France, Pastor & Sis. Majdling of Bordeaux and the youth leadership in both Bordeaux & Melun.
- A great group of young people who formed the team!
As we criss-crossed the country – planning meals, drives, rest-stops, sightseeing, etc., we gained the nicknames “mom” and “dad” (hence the comment about our 10+ kids at the outset of this post).
Mom & Dad were proud of you kids Sunday night!
Take a Missions Trip
I highly recommend planning a missions trip of some kind in and for your local church… whether for youth or for a wider age-bracket. There will be some cost involved, both in terms of time, finances and energy, but the payoff will be well worth it.
- You will see a greater sense of cohesion amongst team members
- New talents and abilities will be uncovered that will bless your church
- Team members will gain confidence about stepping out in faith and letting themselves be used of God in either familiar or new ways
Missions involvement… there’s nothing like it!
More than just Paris
Unless you’re in our local church, you probably don’t know that in addition to preparing to move to France in January, we’re also leading a team of young people to France, in July, for a 10-day missions trip. Although I’ve entitled today’s post “Paris in July” it’s really Châtellerault and Paris in July… with a few more awesome stops along the way.
We’ll be known as #MPTeamFrance
(where MP = Mission Point, our home church)
Perhaps… but it’s “hashtag-able” and isn’t it all about hashtags nowadays? After all the twitter invention is now key to huge social media players like Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and even Facebook, which integrated them in June 2013 since users were using them anyway.
Hashtags are powerful because they allow users to follow public conversations outside of their own network of friends. Whichever of the above-mentioned platforms you use, come July there will likely be a steady flow of the #MPTeamFrance hashtag as team-members share their experiences and photos with family & friends back home.
Because we will be involved in ministry on various levels this summer, it was important to plan some prep-times… when we could focus on:
- sharing information on travel arrangements, timetable & activities
- planning roles, responsibilities & involvement
- gaining interaction experience… a.k.a. team-building (just because we all attend the same church, we don’t take for granted that we automatically know how to work together).
- praying together
- Preparing testimonies & music, to be shared in service settings
We call these prep-times FX-Nights.
Last night was our second one and among other things,we had to breathe life into those that were still hyperventilating from FX#1, when we told the team that they could only bring a carry-on sized suitcase each as well as a personal item (Stopping to think though… it can’t be about how much an individual is able to carry… but how much we can fit into the cars once in France, and 26 pieces is already a lot!). So one of the things we did last night was show them just how much you can put in a small suitcase, when done efficiently.
One of the main ways that we expect to be able to lend support to the Châtellerault church, once on site, is by helping prepare for and distribute several thousand invitations to a gospel music concert that they are currently organizing. This will be the first time that outreach on this scale will be attempted in Châtellerault and we expect it to accomplish the following:
- Build awareness of the church among thousands of local and regional residents
- Provide an opportunity for those same residents to experience anointed worship in a Holy Ghost-filled atmosphere
- Build a foundation for contact with those in attendance
- Obtain Home Bible Study opportunities with hungry individuals that would desire.
Overall… our goal is to put the local church in touch with a much larger number of contacts than would normally be possible, from which they may obtain followup opportunities for later in the summer / year.
Who knows… when Liz & I get onsite in January, we may get to be involved with someone whose first contact with the church was during this summer’s outreach!
If that’s the case, it may be part of God establishing the “Crown” around Châtellerault, like he said he would.
We will also spend a bit of time in the Paris region, with the church in Melun, but plans are still being formulated for that leg of the journey…. more to follow!
One of the other great things about this summer’s trip is that it gives more people from home a first-hand experience with the field in which we’ll be working.
- When they pray for us… they’ll do so with personal experience.
- When victories are won spiritually…. they can know that they were part of it.
- When others wonder about us, the work, the field… they can help educate others.
More to come
You’ll likely hear more about this trip as we get closer, and certainly when we’re there, but for now know that it’s one more way that the Lord is working out his calling in our life. I’m so jazzed for the team that we have preparing to go… Great things are in store #MPTeamFrance.
As always… thanks for stopping by!
What about you?
- Do you think YOU could do 10-days abroad with only a carry-on sized suitcase?
- Have you done it already?
- Tell me about it in the comments section below. (Your comments could encourage & inspire the team… of course your horror stories would be fun to read too.)