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.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Driving in France - another hurdle which can be overcome.

Recently we were turned down to exchange our driver's licenses from Kansas with a French one. We have a friend in Claire - who we call our "woman of peace" who has gone before us in so many situations in helping us with our school and everyday life. She has helped us with many governmental things. Once again Claire has come to our rescue. She has worked at the Hotel de Ville (city government office) in Versailles for many years (Versailles is the prefecture for our area). Recently she decided to take a year off. (can you imagine?) She can return later to her job. She wants to spend time with her older children and especially with her 9 year old Guillaume. The French allow a mother to stay at home for a number of years (15 if I remember right - someone correct me if I'm wrong) while raising children and can go back to their jobs later. I know, it seems hard to believe from a USA perspective.

Claire looked on the French diplomat website and found that, INDEED, Kansas has a reciprocal agreement with France. I don't know what our sous-prefecture was looking at when they said we didn't but we are going with Claire. Let's hope when we show this webpage to the office - via letter as they requested - unless Claire intervenes even more - then we may have strong reason to celebrate. I have been emotional about this whole ordeal. Believe me, it is an ordeal - not that it can't be overcome but I'm just trying to drive in this town with a stick shift. I was practicing with my son-in-law Joe with his car in the states so we are making progress. It's been since 1979 since I drove a stick.

I really didn't want to have to pay tons of money (1000 euros per person minimum if we pass the tests and could go up to 1500) and go back to driving school and take 2 exams. Using the analogy of a track runner, we have all been jumping over many hurdles in life and we are hoping to jump this hurdle with more ease and less cost.

Monday, June 16, 2014

My feet were made for walking and that's just what I'll do...

This is Day 1 of the Paris Prayer Conference. It's France Vie's 13th year. It's not a huge crowd maybe 60 or so. Each day is a little different. Many are coming from far away. They will hear about France's Christian and Secular history from French leaders. There are 5 days of venturing around downtown and out in the suburbs of Paris to hear from other leaders in their locations for example and participate. Our "protestante evangelique l'eglises are in and around the city.

We will personally get to talk and walk with the 4 groups Thursday and Friday about our work helping young French Christians who want to start a protestant church in certain areas in our region. We have been coming alongside them mentoring and in the Word together, praying with them and encouraging them whenever we can.

One of our focuses this week will be sharing about our English and Art school. Using our background and experience in this area has been great and a fun way to get to know people, and help children and adults advance their skills. Our neighbors have been excited to participate. There is much to be grateful for what has been accomplished so far in less than a year.

Friday, June 13, 2014

"Oh the times they are a changing."

I needed to spend some time back in the states three weeks ago to come alongside our daughter and son-in-law and was able to spend a little time with other family before returning back to France. Russell took over my classes and everything, really, while I was gone. By the time I got back and acclimated again (one week later), we needed a break. 

Saturday June 7th, was the last GospelCafĂ©, of the season. Each concert was unique and our team needs to assess how we will move forward. We always had gospel music with one secular song each evening that might be familiar to guests. This last concert the band's secular song was, Bob Dylan's, "You Gotta Serve Somebody". Wow! powerful. A lot of whooping and hollering went on after that one and from the staff at the restaurant. So true.

Change is brewing here in Chevreuse. Summer is upon us. (weather wise, but the children are in school until July 5th so I have 2 more weeks of English/Art classes.) Everyone is into summer mode, it's noisier, motorcycles are out, move over velos and people looking to leave. We had hoped to have one more concert this season as part of  "La fete de la musique" but it was too much work for us to get it ready. Every city participates in this and in every town of France one hears music. 

Manu, our teammate, and the driving force of this project, in recent months has had to put in many hours per week on his script and copy writing job in Paris to fulfill his work requirements. We really need a bigger team. 

A two day trip to Normandy during this past weekend of the 70th anniversary of D Day (and our own 34th) was quite exciting, sobering and emotional.  We had never ventured to the coast and decided it was time. Only 2 1/2 hrs of a lovely countryside drive awaited us. The apartment we rented in Caen was right near a German prison who held French prisoners during their occupation; a sober reminder of those days. Who would have thought to have neighborhoods surrounding this un-used prison. Our journey took us to Pointe du Hoc where the thousands of mostly American, British and Canadian troops landed along with smaller numbers from other countries. The crators and German bunkers or remnants thereof, are still there. The coast is absolutely beautiful and the English channel can be seen on the other side. The lyrics to another Bob Dylan song, The times they are a changin" could speak to 1944 on that June 6th night. The coast that night was not beautiful and many men were slaughtered as they reached the top, or drowned before they could get up the cliff because equipment was too heavy. It was an 80 day campaign to change everything. And they did.

We visited the American cemetery and 19 heads of state came for this special weekend and visited or spoke at various sites around these beaches. By the time we got there they were tearing down the bleachers at the cemetery. Flowers from all over the world were still laying about. Junior High children made wooden plaques for their individual soldiers that were on Omaha beach at it's memorial. We are so grateful to the French who have lovingly cared for our soldiers. Each tombstone is assigned to a family who take care of it and the grounds are immaculate.

The town of Caen was bombed by the allied forces to take over the German sites. Leaflets were distributed by Airforce from the sky and unfortunately many did not get those leaflets. 20,000 civilians died that day. The Caen memorial museum is the most well done WWII museum in the world.

I had plucked a yellow camillia off a bush at the American cemetery on our way out. That one bush had 1000s of flowers on it. The flower was tucked behind one ear and we were transported back in time as musique wafted out of the radio on our way to Chevreuse listening to 1942 Glen Miller Swing.  In French the disk jockey shared how Glen Miller was a formidable musician and the troops loved him. It doesn't get any better than this.


Morning Walk After Hiatus

I've had to take a hiatus from my morning routine of walking and praying through Chevreuse. I somehow injured my leg scraping and painting a neighbor's gate. (Any of you who know her, don't you dare tell!) Carol was in the States for a couple of weeks and it was difficult even walking up and down our stairs. Then we went to Normandy for our 34th wedding anniversary, etc.
     This morning I got up and decided it was time to go back to old habits. It felt in some ways like I was starting over. But it felt good to be out and seeing the village begin to stir. I always pray for the specific people as I pass them in the street. Sometimes I get a real impression to pray for specific things for these people. Sometimes there is a sense of urgency, sometimes not. As I passed a man out walking his dog, the phrase "safe travel" came to mind. Don't know where he and his dog will wind up today, but he was prayed for. The Holy Spirit enables us to engage with the culture around us in ways that we cannot hope to explain to them. But I pray that someday this man will know what it is like to hear the Spirit whisper undeniable things to him.
     I walked over to a hill on the other side of the valley. Standing on a country path, looking north across the river at Chevreuse, with the fortress plainly visible opposite me, another phrase popped into my head. "The measure of a man is what he sees from a high place." Sobering.