This is an accurate description of the month of April for us, and the first 2 verses describe our time away in France!
It started with a weekend alone with my pen pal of 25 years. Our visits have averaged out to once every 5 years, and they always bring a greater depth of understanding with each other. This visit was no different! I also got to experience 3 very warm sunny days in her fair city, making winter a dim memory!! I call her “mon petit tresor” – my little treasure, because she has been such a giving and devoted friend..
Then I got to take my first ride on the TGV (France’s high-speed) train up north to join some women intercessors to pray during the 40 days of prayer for France. I met some wonderful women, stayed with a beautiful English family, and sobbed during most of the speaking and prayer times! Mission accomplished!
Another TGV took me down to Paris to meet up with David at the home of missionary friends that we support. Besides the great food and fellowship, the cultural highlight was attending their son’s “carnivale” pre-school event. 50 3 & 4 yr. olds dressed in outlandish costumes danced to the beat of an African drummer, and then were herded out of the security of their schoolyard, & down the street. Police directed traffic while we all stood for half an hour in the middle of an intersection trying to see and hear while the children sang their little songs. Then we walked them back to the school and stood behind a chain link fence while the headmaster set fire to a cardboard “carnival man” on the playground. The kids watched solemnly until he was reduced to ashes and then with cheers and applause, headed for home. As Dave Barry so aptly puts it, “I am not making this up!”
David and I spent the remainder of our week in a reasonable hotel in the thick of Paris across the street from a Tex-Mex bar-restaurant called “INDIANA!” Celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary a few months early, we fell in love with each other all over again, and that was reassuring! If you wrote it as an algebraic equation, it would look like this: D&A(age)39 – 3(children) -100(tasks) = D&A(age)22! We also attended a couple of encouraging services with French believers where a God-fearing Ugandan named John Mullinde spoke with authority on putting our families before all else. Convictions deepened!
Back at home, “the flowers HAD appeared on the earth,” and all of Paisley was swimming in yellow daffodils! (see attached Easter photo!) We celebrated Easter with our MMI marriage class Leaders-in-Training couple, who live out in the countryside with 2 kids, 9 & 11. It was a cold, but clear day, and the kids had a ball hunting for candy (no such thing as plastic eggs here) and rolling boiled eggs down a huge hill! Their Easter baskets were full of French trinkets this year!
We’ve jumped into leading the first Married For Life group in Scotland, and it has been an honor to minister to these 5 precious Scottish couples every week in our home. They are really pressing into God’s best for their marriage, and David and I are realizing how little we’ve walked out these principles in this last 2 years of upheaval, when we needed them the most! We’ve done a lot of repenting before the topics we’ve taught so far, so that we’re hopefully not being hypocrites! Ha!
David also stepped out in a big way this month when he preached his first sermon for our church here while the pastor attended a conference. He spoke on taking our complaints to God rather than others, and it was very well received. I was beaming through the whole thing!
And last week, an important “time of singing”(vs.12) happened for our family. We had been asked to help out in leading worship one Sunday at church and decided this was the time to start walking out our family vision to include the children. So Rachel sang back-up and played a little violin, and the 2 younger ones stood on the floor in front and waved their worship ribbons or played a percussion instrument. Though it wasn’t the smoothest worship we’ve ever been involved in, mostly due to technical difficulties, I believe it was a pleasing aroma to God!!
Well, we’re approaching our first anniversary of being here in Europe and it feels like we’re finally finding our niche. We will continue the marriage ministry momentum by starting up again in the fall when all the student families arrive, forming a group with the couples that want to make it part of their curriculum. A year ago, many of you also started partnering with us financially and we asked for a year’s commitment. So it’s time for our current supporters to let us know if you’re in for the long haul. We believe that we are here until we see revival in Europe on a major scale! So, we are asking all of our current and new financial supporters to please reply to this e-mail with a note about your future support status. We will consider you “on board” until we hear from you or you see us moving back home, and will discontinue asking on a year-to-year basis.
A big thank you to all of you for seeing us through this transitional year!!! (canned pumpkin, Excedrin, American-sized paper, Smartfood, Prayer of Jabez, clothes for the kids, encouraging e-mails, school supplies… you know who you are!) We are blessed!!! Love, Angela
P.S. Our dear friend and co-worker, Kimberley Skaines is in the States visiting churches and supporters the month of May. All of our home church friends are instructed to give her hugs to bring back to us!!!