Friday, January 16, 2015

Reminded of His goodness...

Sometimes you can't miss His goodness, even if you tried!

"So will My word be, which goes forth from my mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11

This is the scripture that we heard in the sermon on Sunday. I, Michelle, took great comfort in it knowing that God has us here, for as long as He desires, for His purposes, which WILL be accomplished.

As thankful as I am to finally be serving here in France, we are still living a life in transition. I knew that would not change as we are still seeking the support that we need to remain here beyond this first term. Still, it stresses this type A planner out just a little to think that I have no idea what lies ahead for us. I'm sure God leaves me in this state partly to teach me to trust Him, always. Though I have heard this scripture referred to many times, I have never really read it, "...and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." God is using us, maybe for many years here in France (I hope so), maybe for a short time. Either way, He will accomplish, not what Michelle thinks should be accomplished, but that which He desires.

Thank you for being our rock and praying diligently for us. Here are a couple of things:
•             PRAISE: A friend from church is moving London and sold us much of her furniture at a great price, so we were able to save on buying everything new.
•             Now, we just need a place to put that furniture. We are waiting to hear about one potential house in our area for rent and are seeking other possibilities. We do think that it may be possible for the kids to remain in their same schools even if we move to a different district close by.
•             Continue to pray that God would put France on the hearts of others. We would love to see some people from BHBC at the Paris Prayer Conference in June. Also, we are looking to expand our contacts, so pray that God would go before us as we approach some new churches with the idea of supporting the work in France.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


It was said to me once that social media, facebook, instagram, twitter are like highlight reels of our life.  We rarely show the good, the bad and the ugly...and honestly, I think that's ok.  I would rather show more of the happy moments in my family's life, the ones that I want to remember and less of the drama that everyone knows is present, but no one needs to see.  It doesn't mean that I want people to think that our lives are perfect and that every moment is a happy one, its just that I choose to leave those less happy moments between us and the Lord, and of course the close friends and family who get the privilege of hearing it all.  With that being said, I want to give you, our faithful prayer and financial partners a look beyond the highlight reel.  We wouldn't be here without you and you deserve a closer look at what the reality of life and ministry in France is like so far:


Tomorrow marks three months since we moved our family to France.  We came here excited, thankful to finally be here, feeling like we could conquer the wold-and we knew that feeling would not last, but we held onto it as long as we could.  And honestly, things started off very well.  The kids really liked school.  They were starting to make friends, We had David here for a full month to help us get settled.  We had a place to live, temporary, but still it took some of the stress off of us.  Brandon was able to start some classes that were free no less.  So many things to be thankful for...

The longer we were here, the more a little bit of reality set in: It apparently rains every day here in the fall/winter.  So along with the constant cold rain and fog, I started counting how many days it had been since I had seen the sun.  We all started to get sick and miss home a bit.  Though the kids have made friends, which we have praised God for many times, they go every day to a school where they don't speak the language of anyone there.  They sit in a worship service every week where they understand very little.  They are getting grades while trying to figure out what is required of them.  This is especially hard for Karis, who, like her father, is a perfectionist-afraid to speak if she is not sure how to say it correctly.  Micah and Asher are a little less inhibited, but they come home tired, tired from thinking in another language all day, tired from walking to school and back three different times, tired from waking up in the night because they are still unsure of this new place where you live.  We live in a town, not only with zero restaurants, but zero grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, only one little bread machine.  Coordinating meals and shopping and what to do if you get sick on the weekend and you aren't sure where the nearest open pharmacy is, (they only have one open within a certain radius for emergencies) it all makes life just a little more complicated.  We know that we are exactly where God wants us to be, but that doesn't mean that it's easy- I mean, is ministry ever really easy??  I know of a lot of people in ministry and I know that for those families life is not easy, even when you are living in the same town where you grew up.  Life is messy, no matter who you are or where you live.


Now, a look into our ministry:  I fear there may still be some misunderstanding about the culture of France and how Gospel sharing looks so very different here than what many people are used to seeing on short term mission trips.  Ministry in France is slow.  You do not go door to door handing our tracks and sharing the salvation cube.  There is nothing wrong with this method in some areas of the world, in fact, in some places, it is the perfect way to share the gospel.  Here, however, its all about building relationships.  French people are VERY private.  I was already scolded for pulling out my phone and snapping a few pics of my kids in public places where there were other kids around, in particular the pool where Karis swims with her class on Tuesdays.  They don't talk about private things with people that they don't know very well.  When people ask, we tell them that Brandon is a protestant pastor and their response is either "Ah, Bon?"  which means, say no more...or they ask a few other questions because they are confused about what that means.  Fortunately for us, because we live in a very small town, people are very friendly and quick to invite us to spend time with them which means that our chance to share may come sooner rather than later.  As far as what we have done so far, I would like to share a few things:

We had the privilege of inviting 12 little girls (9 who were able to come) to our house for Karis's birthday party.  Even though there was no presentation of the Gospel while they were there, for two hours, parents felt comfortable enough to leave their children with us.  We were able to strengthen relationships with those families in hopes of sharing more about Christ with them in the future.  These are all people that David and Kathryn have not met, even after living here for several years because our connections are different with young children.  

Our church in Meru presented a presentation of the birth of Christ through the kids.  It might seem like this is just another program for the kids in the church, but I assure you, it was much more than that.  The church reserved a theater in the downtown area and the kids and youth performed with music and drama.  The church passed out invitations to the town and anyone was invited to this free performance.  There were gifts given to all of the children who came.  It was a great event and we had a large crowd in attendance.  Some were, of course, family and friends of those performing, but still, they were able to hear a blatant presentation of Christ's birth and the meaning of Christmas.

On the last day before Christmas break, we sent little bags of sugar cookies that the kids helped make to each of the teachers, assistant teachers, the bus driver, the crossing guard (who also does just about everything around town), and the Mayor's office.  On these cookies, we included a short message of  Merry Christmas along with the scripture Luke 2:10-11.  Although we were a little nervous of whether or not this was too bold of a step so soon, we prayed that it would be received well.  God is using our little family slowly but surely to make a difference here in Le Deluge.  I told Brandon, it has been a weird feeling for me to be so burdened for so many.  After many years of being surrounded by Christians most of the time, I forgot what it was like to really feel sad to see so many people who don't know Christ.  We look forward to the next steps in our ministry here.


That being said, here are some things you can be praying about:
  • We are currently looking for a house to rent.  We are hoping to stay in this general area to keep the kids in their same schools.  There are 4 towns in the district, all quite small and not a lot of houses up for rent.  We do have a couple of leads on some possibilities, but nothing set in stone yet.  
  • The kids are still adjusting to the language...starting to speak some, but still hesitant at times.
  • As I said, the work in France takes time, so one of our biggest needs as it always has been is for more people to have a passion to see the French hear the Gospel and to be willing to support the ministry financially.  It is not ideal for our time here to end after two years, and so we are praying to be fully supported by then, so that we can quickly return to the harvest here.

Finally, I want to give you some new information on how to stay informed about our ministry.  We have, in the past used our fb profile for ministry updates.  As we are now making new friends here who will often friend us on fb as well, it is no longer ideal to make those requests known publicly.  So, we of course will update the blog and continue to send out newsletters, but I am also starting a closed fb group where you can find ministry updates as we have them.  I will post prayer requests and praises for you to join us in prayer and celebration of what God is doing.  Its called Make Known-France.  Just send us a message if you want to be added to the group.  Our personal fb page will be just that, a place for us to share fun experiences with family and friends of our life here in general.  Thank you as always for your love and encouragement.  We wouldn't be here without you!