As you know, shortly after Mike’s second operation, his father passed away, necessitating a trip to the States. We thank you so much for praying for us through that time. Many of you sent condolences and we want you to know how encouraging that was.
We were able to touch base with a number of friends, pastors, extended family, and preach or give a report in a few churches. It was wonderful to be able to spend July 4th with all of our children, their spouses, and our 10 grandchildren. God is good, all the time!
We’ve been back in France since the end of July. Several of you have asked for news since then and a few have specifically requested a video. Those on our mailing list have received it. If you would like the link, we’d be glad to send it to you!
Zoom recording of our 12/20/2020 Christmas message. Why did Jesus come? An answer is found in Luke 19.10 and is fully illustrated by His encounter with Zacchaeus. “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”” (Luc 19.10, NKJV)
A door has opened for Mike to accompany fellow IFMmissionaries Sparky and Myndii Clancy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in February. He would be helping to train and encourage pastors by preaching and teaching in French in several churches and a Bible Institute. Would you pray for God’s provision? This would also help him to better identify with the many Africans with whom we have regular contact here in Rouen and in our church.
All four of our children are musicians. Not so much for either of us. Yet, we had the joy of encouraging musical development in our churches in Québec and have long considered this an important part of our ministry. You can imagine how thankful we were when Melanie was invited to join the board of a musical ministry founded by fellow missionary Kristi Colas. Ecclémusica exists to help biblical Gospel-preaching churches in fulfilling their mission of corporate worship and evangelism. They help by providing music workshops, camps, pertinent theological training, multi-church concerts and a music library of scores in French. They have also done recordings of Bible stories in French for the evangelism of Europe, Africa, and beyond.
It was a joy to participate in this year’s multi-generational music camp held in the Alps. The theme was Passing the Torch or how to help parents encourage their children in the area of musical ministry in the local church. Two families from our church attended and one of our own men, Stéphane, brought the evening Bible studies. One tangible result is that two of our young people will participate for the first time in an instrumental quartet for the Christmas program this year.
“And call upon me in the day of trouble:I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Ps 50.15)
On September 26th, there was a major fire at a chemical processing plant located just blocks away from our church building. Schools and businesses have been closing sporadically and without prior notice because there are still fumes coming from the plant that have made people sick or given them headaches. Because of the toxic smoke, farmers in affected areas have lost their crops. People are worried and angry. So far our regular church services have not been affected since we have been generally upwind from the fumes. Pray for grace and wisdom in ministering the Word in this context. Pray for wise decisions and clear communication from government officials. Pray that the toxic waste will be cleaned up soon! But more importantly we ask you to pray that disheartenment with the shortsightedness and selfishness of sinful humanity will cause some to look to the Creator.
Since the neighborhood in which we live is upwind, and up and away from the industrial part of the city, we are affected only when visiting or driving through certain areas.
Our church is blessed to own a building. Even before we arrived, plans were in the works to make it more functional. With a growing number of teens, we’ve had to add Sunday School classes but finding room within the current configuration was a challenge. Final plans were accepted by the congregation in March. Our own folks began the work with several intense days of demolishing and trips to the dump which saved us at least 1000.00€. Contractors are now continuing the work. We are excited about the results. Two medium sized classrooms are beginning to stake shape along with a larger multifunctional room and a hallway. More adequate insulation is being installed, more efficient lighting is going in next week; and we get new windows in the Fall! Finishing work must wait until September, when our folks return from vacations. Please pray for wisdom as we work through this one step at a time. Pray especially for Alexis as he heads up the project.
Our hearts are filled with gratitude as we reflect on God’s goodness since our move to France in 2016.
2018 was a year of gradual, steady growth for the work, especially since the summer. What encourages us most is that the new folks seem to be attracted not only by a loving atmosphere, but also by solid Bible teaching and in some cases a need for serious pastoral care.
With new growth it is imperative that we continue making progress this year in shoring up the doctrinal foundations of the church. Do pray for patience, wisdom, and the ability to accurately communicate in our multicultural context. “That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” (Colossians 4:4)