I couldn’t wait to write this newsletter, and I’m so happy to be able to send it out for Easter in order to give you more reasons to rejoice this weekend…
Evidently, our Fathering conference had enough impact on our congregation alone to merit pulpit time, and the parade of men to the front a few Sundays ago matched so closely to what I had just written in last month’s newsletter that I sobbed through the whole thing. It started with the oldest man (80) in our congregation who had just gotten news that he may face a potential battle with cancer. After the weekend’s teachings, he said he was going to walk through it with God like a son, rather than a “mercenary,” (a professional soldier that works for monetary gain.) Now there’s a quiet time topic to chew on!
The second man was the banker in his 50s who testified of a radical change in his heart in relation to the Father. Then the 2 men in their 30s with young children followed and shared similar stories. Next was a perpetually tired and loud woman whom I know pretty well, who shared about losing her job and how peacefully she reacted to the whole thing. Her countenance reflected that there had been a definite shift in her heart, and I still see her peace several weeks later, even though her husband’s income is not far from minimum wage.
And now for the grand finale… The first born of our Pastor Luc Bussiere’s 4 children has been the black sheep in the family, and it has affected Luc’s ministry when certain people claimed he had no right to push Christian education when his own son was a sterling example of its failure. (In reality, they had just become Christians soon after he was born, and jumped right into the pressures of pioneering a Christian school without understanding the need for balance and family time.) Well, this 20-something kid was between jobs, enabling him to attend all the sessions… and the prodigal son came home. He got up in front of the whole church, and with tears in his eyes, apologized for the life he’d been leading that brought so much pain to his family and the congregation that loved them through it anyway. He and his girlfriend are now living separately until their wedding in July and are driving hours to get pre-marital counseling by the main speaker of the conference. (And God provided a job for him the following week!) But wait, that’s not all! As an added bonus, Luc’s next 2 sons, 21 and 17, (who played the “oldest son” roles) got re-ignited in their Christian walk the following weekend! Watch out world – the Bussiere boys are back, and we can’t wait to recount their exploits in upcoming newsletters!
We are also rejoicing in that God seems to be very aware of the state of the US economy. We learned that books published by YWAM can be bought at cost by us YWAMers and sold for retail, allowing us to keep the profits. So we’ve ordered several titles that Luc would like our church to digest, and though we missed selling at the conference, we were able to sell lots a week later during a prophetic conference. These books averaged about $25 and I was astonished that strangers were willing to give above and beyond, knowing it helped to support our family. (Did we mention that gas just went over the $8.00/gallon mark?) The church also gave us a nice sum to thank David for covering the sound and recording and some worship for both big events. Cash is anonymous, but a check is much more personal since it carries an address and a signature, and we received a lot of those. And it was while adding them up that God spoke to me: “Just when the dollar could be most worrisome, I AM providing euros for you from French people all over France!” It was enough to make a grown woman weep…
On top of that, we had the joy of hosting the 2 French classes from Illinois that come every year to serve the school and find out what French really sounds like! With 17 kids and 6 chaperons, ages 14 – 49, I had prayed that this wouldn’t be a group blur, but that I’d be able to connect with some of them at a more personal level. It happened via Matthew 25:35-36: For they were hungry, and I led them to the Doner Kebab restaurant; they were thirsty (and couldn’t tolerate the tap water), and I gave them bottled water; they were strangers and I greeted them with kisses on both cheeks; naked, (one had only a sweatshirt for outerwear!) and I gave them some coats; they (2) were sick and I visited my medicine cabinet for a remedy; and thankfully, none were in prison, though they did get pulled over by the police for driving on the tramway tracks! Though physically exhausting, it was a great joy for me to share the best of this culture in a very personal way with mostly “first-timers.”
In return, they carried out 20 beds from the attic of the chateau, experienced radical worship, introduced Resurrection Eggs to the primary school, visited cool historic places with the middle schoolers, emptied a storage room in the chateau basement, brought us stuff from the States, prayed for the mayoral elections, played soccer with the kids at recess, scraped the last of the old wallpaper out of my house, hung out in English classes, helped kids make a Kraft Mac N Cheese lunch meal, and much, much, more. Before hopping on the train to Paris, they showed their appreciation by showering us with more euros. “I AM providing euros for you even from Americans!”
Rachel and her 3 band member friends arrived the next day to spend 4 days mainly at our church to record their music (before they all graduate and go their separate ways.) What a difference to host kids who have grown up in Europe! Their first question was “How close is the bakery?” and they were our band for worship leading on Sunday. It was like singing to a CD – a talented bunch. They cooked and cleaned up most meals, only took one shower each, and enjoyed the half hour walk to and from church when our car wasn’t available. Their easy banter took David and I back to our high school days – Rachel has found friends much like the ones we had. She has spent many evenings at their homes, since their parents work with mission organizations that are based near Black Forest Academy, (for their children’s schooling convenience.) So it was good to return the favor. “I AM providing euros so that you can feed a hungry horde of teenagers without anxiety!”
In other news, the meeting with the mayor was actually a meeting with the deputy mayor. (We’ve learned our mayor is more of a figurehead who is rarely present due to a wife suffering from a long illness, and yet he just got re-elected.) At most, we know that the local government has nothing against us and would recommend us favorably to bureaucratic higher-ups should the need arise. The most popular advice from the French seems to be, “If you get hired first, the government will then give you permission to work.” Kinda like the kingdom of God: die if you want to live, lose if you want to gain, serve if you want to rule… It just might work!
We are all looking forward to a long and tranquil birthday/Easter weekend!
Joyeuses Paques (French) / Glecklichi Oschtere (Alsatian) / Frohe Ostern (German) !!