115 Tunnels to Tuscany

As you’re sitting down with your morning coffee, I’m serving you up a few pics of our time away last week along with a few bullet points of the week that was:

Italy

Before France was ever in the picture, we began exploring Timeshare ownership. It was fairly onerous and a bit unfamiliar at first, but it paid off last week because we had a two bedroom apartment that cost only the gas to drive there + any visits & groceries on site.

We drove through 115 tunnels to get there… we counted. The shortest was 40m (120′) and the longest over 11.6km (7.2 miles)… hence today’s title.

Though within 45 min of Pisa & Florence and a bit more to Rome by train, we spent most of our time in the apartment relaxing, with the exception of a day in Pisa and two afternoons exploring nearby hill-top villages. Liz & the kids were ready for their first break from school and I did virtually nothing on the computer. What a great break. Monday morning we left for home, stopped on the Italian side of Mont Blanc for a ride up the mountain then made a final push, arriving home at 2am Tuesday.

Back Home

  • After a 17hr day Monday, Tuesday was a “lay low” kind of day, although we did put up our Christmas tree later that night, with home-made egg nog to cap off the evening.
  • Wednesday night was the 3rd lesson in our “disciplines of discipleship” series…
  • Thursday was a quick up & back to Melun (another 700km round trip).
  • Friday saw some work related to “the Pentecostal Messenger” and…
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  • Praise Report: The church had a very important piece of paperwork come through from the Government this week. It is one of 3 critical steps to expanding our activities here in Châtellerault and has been several months coming.

Today

We are hosting the National Sunday School director and her family for an afternoon of kids & youth activities at the church followed by a Holy Ghost rally tomorrow (Sunday).  Pray for the youth that will be present! Because of your prayers & support, you are part of every victory here!

God bless you as you prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus with friends and families this week!

Here are some pictures from the other side of 115 tunnels!
(click for larger versions)

A Wedding & the 1st Century

As many of you were reading the post last week, we were headed about an hour and a half south to our second wedding since arriving in France.

Wedding Bells

Ville de Saintes, Saintes, Bernard Palissy, Charente, mariage, arènes, gallo romaine

Sylvain and I met during the 2001-2002 school year when I was teaching French at the University of New Brunswick and he spent a year there as an exchange student from France and was my Teaching Assistant. Our friendship remained and shortly after our arrival in January, we received their wedding invitation in the mail.

We arrived the day before and Sylvain and I went zip-lining with several of his friends (what a blast!) while Liz & the kids stayed back at his parents’ house where the kids made good use of the pool!

Following the civil ceremony, we spent 2.5 hours on a river boat, cruising the Charente River; catching up with a few folks we knew and getting to know others as well. The meal went until about midnight but we didn’t get home until after 3:00am due to torrential rains. There was time for a “night-nap” before getting up for church.

1st Century

The photo above Sylvain & Camille shows the kids (along with their Travel Buddies) at the ruins of a Gallo-Roman Arena in Sylvain’s hometown of Saintes. In Roman times the city was known as Mediolanum Santonum and it was then, during the 1st century, that they built the arena, the ruins of which are visible behind the kids. Pretty neat to think that it was being built as the New Testament was being written!

Fond Farewell

Almost immediately following Sunday morning service, Andy (our Bible School student) and I drove Miranda to the airport where she caught a plane home the following morning.

We’re thankful for a young person willing and able to spend a couple of weeks familiarizing themselves with and contributing to the work of God here in France!

Bible School

IBF, Institut Biblique de France, EPUFrance.org, EPU France, Melun, CELR, Centre Évangélique le RocherAfter dropping Miranda at the airport hotel, we headed to Melun (an hour away)  for an intensive week of Bible School where classes began at 7:30am and we typically left the building around 9:00 pm.

I taught for 2 hours each day on the Epistles but was also involved in grading students’ oral theses (they pick from over 100 questions out of a hat and must teach a short Bible Study on it. Very impressive).

On Tuesday, classes had to be cut short due to a funeral for a young person from the Melun church who died unexpectedly, making it a tough day overall. That evening was the normal midweek service in which 3 of the IBF students brought short messages to the congregation.

You can also see the IBF instructors for the week including fellow AIMers and fellow New Brunswickers, Rev. Kevin & Crystal Wallace who are furlough replacements for Bro. & Sis. Nowacki. I’m very much enjoying the chance to work with and get to know this couple. Their ministry to the church in Melun, following the unexpected death of that young person, has been “hand in glove”… The Lord always knows!

Coffee & “Crash”

Last night was a “drive home & crash in bed by 9:30pm” kind of night. Very glad for a low-key Saturday morning with coffee brewing.

As you drink your coffee and read about our goings on, thank you for letting what you read, inform your prayers. Through Christ we can do all things but without him we can do nothing (Philippians. 4.13 & John 15.5).

God bless you today as you go about your day!

Week 2 as Family of 6…

As many of you were reading last week’s post, we were meandering past tables upon tables of books ‘neath the ruins of a baronnial castle built in the 12th century… you guessed it. We were back in Angles-sur-l’Anglin for their annual…

Foire-aux-livres

Angle-sur-l'Anglin, MKMinistries, UPwithMKs, foire aux livres, book festival, book fair, used books

For a small town, Angles-sur-l’Anglin has a lot going on! This is where Liz & I went for our anniversary and then again for fireworks (it’s only about 25min away). Today, though, we went for their book fair.

Streets throughout the entire village were filled with stands, tables & displays. Most were selling books (lots of antique books) but others were selling vintage prints, postcards or maps.

I think each of us came away with a little something. My find was an old copy of the “Jerusalem Bible” in three volumes.

In the picture of the kids… you may or may not be able to clearly see what they’re holding, but they each have a “travel buddy.”  Travel buddies are fuzzy critters that love to travel with MKs and serve as a tangible reminder that someone, somewhere is praying specifically for them.  Not only did our kids receive travel buddies from our church’s Sunday School department, before leaving, but they also received a set from Missionary to Ghana, Colleen Carter.

Thank you for your regular prayers for the kids!

Back to Bordeaux

Restaurant l'Entrecôte, Bordeaux, friendship

The following day, Sunday, we headed down to the city of Bordeaux following the morning service. Our goal was simple… a bit of fellowship with one of our nearest pastor-neighbours and his family / youth. (Note: while among the two closest churches, they’re roughly 2.5hrs away.)

Along with Pastor & Sis. Madjling, and their eldest daughter Marina, we enjoyed an incredible meal at the Entrecôte Restaurant. Everyone eats the same salad and main course (steak & fries)… you choose only the way you’d like it cooked. Afterwards, you have a choice of dessert.

The kids, meanwhile, headed off to something a little less time consuming and found a KFC where they could get something quickly and then walk downtown to get an ice cream. It was awesome for our kids to get together with a few others. It doesn’t happen all that often so it’s precious when it does.

Thanks Bro. & Sis. Madjling for your friendship & hospitality!

 

Future AIMer??

Miranda Carter, music, worship

The kids continued to enjoy the company of Miranda Carter  this week. Not only did they have fun jamming together after services but on Tuesday night we all walked down toward the church past many bushes heavy with ripe blackberries. We came home with two big containers full as well as a third container filled with plums. (One of our favourite things to do with blackberries is to make home-made blackberry ice cream. Alas, the ice cream maker stayed in Canada)

It was particularly nice for Sophie to have another girl around. We are thankful that she decided to come spend these two weeks with us and look forward to having her back on AIM status next year, if the Lord doesn’t come back first.

Wedding Bells

Today we are so happy to join with our friends Sylvain & Camille as they get married. Sylvain spent a year as a student marker for me while I taught French at the University of New Brunswick. Our friendship has continued to grow since 2002 and it’s very special to spend this day with them.

Prayer Support

Pray for…

  • … Miranda as she prepares to fly home Monday morning – safety and direction.
  • … Me as I head to Melun Sunday afternoon for a week’s worth of teaching in the Bible School.
  • … Liz & the kids who will hold the fort here in Châtellerault.

Thank you for your love & support… you are special to us!