Our Schedule:

Teaching English and Art together, putting on the GospelCafé concerts, prayer, meeting with our new French friends. It's a good life!

A complete listing of very specific requests for prayer can be found under "Prayer Requests."

For those just getting to know us, please visit the special sections to the right.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Let's Go!

Deep Breaths....relax.....it will all come together...
We got word from our French moving company that our container could be here today!! what?! no warning? Oh, but wait, after we tried calling her, faxing her, emailing her - since we couldn't leave her a message on her phone, sweet Nathalie and Russell finally connected and she realized she had her days mixed up. "Oh no, it could be Friday or Monday", she said. "We are still doing paperwork but the container has been released," she said.

Russell is rushing to the Mairie's office to give them a letter on the dates so we can get cars off our front door step (literally). The Mairie's ofc wanted at least 48 hrs. notice. Jack hammers, trucks and beeping are all around us. Sidewalks are biting the dust, houses reverberating and now they are at the corners of our building. yikes! This 500 year old beauty can take anything. How many wars and revolutions have there been? I hope they don't come in front and tear down our sidewalk at this inconvenient time. If they do, then the truck will not be able to park near our house and we were told they will charge extra for being farther away. One would think it wouldn't matter now since WE are doing the unloading. For 2 hrs. of unloading there is no extra charge. 80 euros per hour will be charged for anything over 2 hrs. just to hang around. Hopefully that won't be an issue since we are unloading and unpacking everything.

Yesterday was a whirlwind day finishing up working on our association logo, writing bad French for the flyer (which will get corrected) and setting up a new gmail email for the association. My Teacher book for younger students from Oxford University Press English curriculum just arrived today. It's called "Let's Go" for elementary students. I am offering classes to older students too if they need more help to practice English/Art. The advanced teacher/pupil books and audio CD may come in a few days. I will design my art projects around the English lessons.   It's all coming together and getting responses from 3 of our landlords friends, to help us get connected with the families. Yay! Pauline and Simon are on the board with us in this association even though they live in New Zealand now. They are well known in the community so this will help us get going. 

Most people don't get back from holiday until Aug. 27th & then everything is in high gear to get the kids ready for school and clubs. School starts September 3rd. Sign-up day for the associations (aka clubs) is on the 7th. Pray that we will be able to get a table for this sign-up day. That will be a huge help for getting registrations. We were told by some on our team that this may not be possible for a new start-up. They usually make new assoc. wait a year to be asked to join in. Pauline wrote a personal letter to the Mairie's office giving us an introduction and telling them we are all involved in this association. The mayor was happy to see them restore the building. We are hopeful. Our success in this helps them to pay for the building costs from the fees we generate on the classes.  

Russell is ordering a banner today or tomorrow with the logo and saying we are offering classes in English and Art. This will hang outside the building over the sidewalk so all can see this flying in the wind as they drive by. People will see we are up to something. I have curtains in the windows now. Monsieur across the street, probably in his 60s or 70, with a red face and a little dog, will be standing outside watching all this and as our container is unloaded. He and the neighborhood will see all this "stuff and furniture being brought in. We are going to leave the front door open during the days now if someone wants to stop by. They are curious and may want to ask questions. We are hoping so. Monsieur across the way has not yet responded to our "bonjour!" He knows we are driving Simon's car and I know he is very curious. I am hoping soon that we can actually speak to him or that he will speak to us. Simon knew him well and we need to communicate to him that Simon is our friend and sends his greetings. Russell is going to try to be more assertive with him to catch his attention. The older the person in France the harder it is to get them to talk with you if you are a stranger. The younger ones are not that way at all.

We have a "Fete d' Inaugaration" in our storefront set for September 15th in the afternoon offering refreshments and getting acquainted with families regarding the classes, answering questions, etc. There is one official student so far who used to be a student of Pauline's. Getting exciting! Our 5 classes per week will start the 17, 18 and 19th of September. 

As I was writing this, Russell returned from the Mairie's. The ladies in the office realized they needed to address our issue right away and took him upstairs to meet a "man" working there in charge of this. (He had never met a man at the Mairie's yet after going over there 10 times.) Russell didn't know if it was the Mairie. He could have been the deputy or who knows, Russell described him and it did not sound like the description I saw on the website. Maybe we will meet him before long. The man spoke in French, understood Russell's letter and said they will put up barricades tomorrow in front of our house to keep the cars away. That's for Friday. Let's hope they come Friday. Our English curriculum says it all, "Let's Go!"

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Working on a logo

This logo is a work in progress. Still considering options but wanted to share what I'm working on. Our association is named after the building we live in. There are remnants of the 19th century signage on the facade. Above the shop windows it reads, "Cordonnerie du Progrès", or THE PROGRESSIVE SHOEMAKER. We start offering Art classes in English in September. Along with songs and poetry, we hope to bring a little learning and fun to the children of Chevreuse. 

When the logo is finalized I'll post pics of the signage. I patterned the bridge after the "petit ponts" or little bridges that cross over the Yvette river that runs through the middle of town. Everyone here will get the reference.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Are they Roadblocks or Opportunities?

  • Association Crée!  Our association is Created.

    Pauline, one of our partners, looked on the government website for starting an organization to offer classes or events to the public in our community. She wrote the statutes and objectives, we discussed and tweaked them to reflect what we are trying to accomplish and Pauline wrote them out in French. Our board meeting was held last week with Jerry, our director, by telephone in the states on Eastern time, and Web Ex with Simon and Pauline on New Zealand time - 10 hrs. ahead of us and we on French time - 6 hrs. ahead of Jerry. Officially Simon is now President, Russell - VP, Pauline is Secretary and I am the Treasurer. Thank goodness for computers and the web. Within 3 weeks of landing on French soil the paperwork was done and delivered to the Sous-Prefecture in the town of Rambouillet (Rahmbooyay) 30 min. south of us. 2 days after that we received a formal letter saying our association was created!

    Some who read this may not believe that God orchestrates our steps or is in the details but we do believe he is. We believe that that as Christ drew us to Him and we accepted his gift of life that we believed his promises that he is alive, cares for us and has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us. We believe there is a spiritual realm in this world. We don't just deal with the physical or mental.  Who puts thoughts into our heads and our hearts? Obviously that is a simplistic rational and I could deal with that topic for pages and pages but won't.

    Parisians answered some basic questions last year in the "Le Parisien" newspaper about God. 62% said they wanted to know more about him, they didn't know who to talk to and they were afraid to bring it up in front of their friends because they would be ridiculed. This is a secular society. Why are millions being spent in France on superstitious/dark arts and other types of new age philosophies if people aren't searching for something beyond themselves to help them get through life? 

    My universe is a Biblical one or a Biblical worldview and we are so thankful for the guidance we are given from the Holy Spirit. Some may think this is mumbo jumbo but it's been a guiding force in our lives for over 47 years. Jesus himself said I have come that you might have life and have it to the full. I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me yet shall he live. This is not a dead god but a living one who literally died for me. Here's a great example of why I have peace from knowing I have a living God who does care about the details of my life. 

    Jesus said these words to his followers: "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet  (King) Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown in to the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying "What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, he will give you everything you need.  Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today. This is taken from The Living Translation: Matthew 6:25 - 34 

    I say all that because everything we've done since arriving in France has been amazing, out of our control, from the people we've met, to the partnerships we've formed and how God went before us and picked Pauline and Simon to partner with and live in this incredible 500 year old house that has a history. Every time we've had a roadblock or haven't known what to do, new people have stepped up to help us. From being ready to help us with paperwork, to a brand new friend that we met one time at the Anglican church went with us to the prefecture to speak French on our behalf. The lady at the Prefecture loving Americans and very excited for us. We had to write on our paperwork what country we are from. She lit up when she saw the word "Americaine". I was surprised she got so happy. We found out that she had just housed Americans for a big anniversary of D-Day and hopes to go to the states sometime. She gave us her phone no. so we can be in contact with her but also she would like to know where to visit in the states.

    Yes, we have other roadblocks or opportunities and that is why we have wonderful people who have come alongside us to pray for those things that can become a hindrance. He hears our prayers and satisfies our needs.

    We are waiting on our furniture, clothing, basic goods, art supplies, etc. to arrive. The date for arrival to port was August 9th but so far it is not here. It's only been a little more than 4 weeks since they left the east coast. I was told it could take 5 to 6 weeks. Our new friends from the Anglican church in Versailles offered to help unload the container when we get the date.  Our D-Day is in 21 days to start at the French language school in Massy (Mahsee). There is a lot to be accomplished in that time period from lesson plans for our art/english classes, and advertising.  New students to attain. Russell is working on the logo, poster, and flyer design. We hope to get the opportunity to be a part of the town's Association Day September 7th where everyone who wants to be a part of a club comes out to sign up. There may be roadblocks to that. We are hoping with Pauline and Simon's connections to the town and the mayor that the Mairie's office will allow us to join in now. In some towns there is a waiting period of a year before one can get a table for sign-ups. It doesn't mean that we can't have our classes but we will have to work harder to get known on our own.

    We are renting a vehicle for a while and will purchase something within a month. Right now we have a lovely car and it's a "stick shift" which I haven't driven since 1979. I never drove one very well and there are lots of hills here and bicyclists.  Just learning that is more nerve wracking with all the other stuff I have to do. I could use prayer that we get the priorities done and figure out the rest later. Once French language classes start - September 3rd,  R was going to stay behind at Les Cedres to study while I drive back  on Tues. and Thurs. to teach art class which will start maybe the week of September 17th at 4:45 pm. I will offer 3 classes on Wednesday. There is no school on Wednesdays in France. At this point, R will have to drive me if I'm not comfortable driving yet. It's an hour and 15 min. train ride or a 30 min. car drive. He can take the train later if I have the car thing figured out.

    We love being part of the family of God that goes beyond anything I've ever understood but we are thankful to Him who set up HIS FAMILY.  You know what to do. Thank you!