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, May 23, 2016

The possibilities of a French 1790s Farm fortress

11 minutes from our door to the ugly sheet metal entrance gate, by car, is a glorious farm fortress in a canola field down the lane facing the Hotel de Ville. This farm has potential for us if the Mairie (mayor's office) will agree to our project. A 1790s formidable structure is now owned by the town who has done some renovation to the roof and the outside of some of the facade. The guardien (French spelling) of the structure lives in one of the 4 houses literally attached to the barns and stables and it looks very livable and quaint. An almost 5,600 sq. foot house is the anchor for this huge property which could be a hotel/restaurant/gite for guests; our park representative tells us. The fortress is in an angular U shape.

A recent trip showed that nothing has been done to the insides of these buildings. We decided not to consider living there because there is too much work to do and we don't have that kind of time. Two spaces we loved for our work, though, one below and one above in the barn areas which have great potential for what we would like to do in the next phase of our work here. Each space is 100 sq. metres. (1076.39 sq. feet)

We were contacted by the park a couple of months ago, who is partnering and a liaison with this town to see if we would like to consider having un 'atelier de poterie'. We contacted them a year ago to see if there were any spaces available for pottery studios through the Park department and they didn't have anything at that time. They remembered.

This farm has been sitting there a loooonnnggg time not being used. The city would like to boost the economy and tourism with this farm. What does that have to do with us? They would like to see a boutique selling the art. Other artisans and artists are being asked the same questions.The place is not visitor ready at this point and from our perspective it could be months or more.

Our goals are bi-vocational:
1. English and art classes.  The country of France has now made English mandatory in the schools. Parents want their children to become fluent. They continue to lower the age of the student for starting English as they find teachers. Most of the teachers are French. Parents tell us, "We want a native English speaker to teach our kids and help them with pronunciation, too." And the parents and kids, especially, love the art component more. It's fun, and it's still in English and encourages conversation.

Parents are asking for pottery classes since they saw some of our pottery sitting around the classroom. We don't have the space now and it's a dusty, messy business. Many of you know that Russell wants to get back to pottery on the wheel. (the wheel is 'autour or tour' en français). And he loves teaching it it too. We do some simple clay projects with the kids and even the moms wish they could do handbuilding. We would like to have 5 wheels and our own kiln.

2. This farm/town is in an area that has been highly desired area to reach a new community. And if our friends want to join us for Christian events in an appropriate sized building, when things move forward, from our current village, it's not that far.  This is a government owned building, so it remains to be seen where these events will be held. We hope to have a face-to-face meeting with the Mairie as soon as we have answered all their questions satisfactorily.

Things to think/pray about:
1. They want a 3 year economic projection plan from us. In our opinion, the first year will be rebuilding the space and getting it ready for visitors. No one would even come in to visit in its present condition.

2. We are considering proposing some trade in advertising design for the park in exchange for some rent. The rent price they are asking is very reasonable, though.

3. We would love to have concerts, other future English classes in the upstairs space. It would have to be handicapped accessible. The park said they would supply the money for utilities, windows and (probably the handicapped part?). We would have to paint and decor, etc.

4. Our question to them is, "When can we reasonably move in after having the floor, windows, door and electric, water, etc. be done?

5. We will want to move to that town to live. We are still planning on continuing school here in our village now and already have new students who have just started.

6. We are recruiting!! 1 and 2 year assignments. If you or someone you know wants to come teach English and/or art and help with our other church efforts please contact us and we will send you our details.