I had good reason to be silent last month – physical attacks on both of us plus an extreme cold snap turned us into moles for much of the month. It was almost painless with a boxful of new, used English books to dig into from the annual book swap at Black Forest Academy, until the end of the month when David and I both crawled out of our holes just in time to help make the French Christian teacher’s conference a success.
I was in on the food, of course, making 100 sack lunches to sell with Olivia’s class, raising money for their spring trip to Berlin. This photo gives you a vague idea of the setting and how many people are involved in Christian schools in France, Belgium, and Switzerland. (300ish) The main speaker was an American, so Olivia was asked to be her hostess during the conference and also pitched in with food service. David supervised the setting up and tearing down of the sound reinforcement from our church, to this rented hall, and back again.
So after getting over that mountain, the next one staring us down was planning our summer trip back to the U.S. It was time to buy the tickets, but the details were overwhelming us. We hadn’t been back as a family for 5 years, and the demands were much greater than when we visit individually. We needed house/cat sitters for 6 weeks and free private lodging to help us get through this extended family transition time (relating to Rachel on her own adult turf, battling random menopause symptoms, and returning without Noah!) We would also need a car of our own for a road trip to visit my parents and then a car for local use in Indy. I also desperately wanted some private spiritual retreat time in a comfortable place, as this does not exist here. Even though French retreat centers are located in beautiful isolated locations, they are obviously designed for the sole purpose of mortifying the flesh.
So we laid the whole thing on the altar, letting God put it together, or not, as He saw fit. We told Him that if He wanted us to go, we needed some details in place in order to decide on departure/return dates and we gave him a week to do it, nervously keeping an eye on ticket prices.
We are happy to report that our Father, in cooperation with His children, has gone above and beyond for us!
- That week, two families (that we trust!) contacted us, needing free lodging and a car in our area, perfectly timed during our absence!
- I had also "put out a fleece" by applying to attend a 4-day retreat for full-time cross-cultural North American missionary women at a luxury hotel in Denver. Because churches and fund-raisers subsidize most of the cost for the attendees, they only accept 100 applicants, you can only attend once in your lifetime, and there is always a waiting list. Free gifts, massages, haircuts, pedicures and counseling are part of the package. And guess what? I got the acceptance e-mail that same week and my parents covered my travel and fees as my 50th birthday gift! With those dates in stone, we were able to pinpoint a departure date.
- Then we sent out an e-mail about our car needs and found just the right one so the family can come pick me up in Denver, drive to NM, and then back to Indy via Texas. Rocky Mountain residents need to keep July 7-8th open and we’d love to see our friends in Texas while passing through!
- For our remaining 3 weeks in Indy, we were still waiting for God to provide the housing we needed, but we confidently bought our tickets, knowing that our Father would take care of this too. Since then, not just 1, but 2 wonderful options became available for us! And speaking of housing, my sister-in-law Jane has graciously agreed to keep Noah during his freshman year, so I’ll spend some of that time fixing up his future bedroom.
With Rachel and Noah both graduating from their respective schools on the same day on different continents, we are also planning a belated open house to celebrate and at last meet all of Rachel’s radical friends in person! Her last quarter of school has been a busy one as she has already started working part-time for a marketing firm, has a couple of freelance jobs on the side, and is part of a worship band that has just cut their first album!
Finally, here’s a quick snapshot of how God is also keeping our ministry visions moving forward here this spring, making mighty mountains out of our little molehills!
- Translation of the marriage course materials (mentioned in my Jan. newsletter) will happen, thanks to the French Swiss, making this event a real possibility for next fall, if travel schedules line up!
- Worship is growing! We sent 2 of our youth to a professional seminar for sound training and another group of youth attended a first-ever conference in Paris for raising up French youth in worship-leading. This weekend, our worship teams will be playing in another church’s first effort at a 12 hr. worship tabernacle. We heard that it was quite a battle for them to get it organized, so we know we are pushing the enemy’s buttons!
- The Sozo ministry is gaining momentum! My French teammate, Nadine, has just been named the national director for France – a necessary role as new teams start to sprout around the country. The team we are building in our church will travel together by train to get the advanced training from the Bethel leaders in May. If anyone is interested, I’d be honored to do sessions while in the U.S. – It’s so much more fun doing it in English!
Looking forward to April!