Count it all Joy!

It’s been awhile, so this is rather lengthy. If you have this email in HTML format, hopefully the links will work to take you to the parts of the newsletter that you really want to see!

Musings…(skip down a bit for the “newsy” part)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:6-7

When you read these verses at the beginning of a newsletter, you kind of know what to expect, I suppose! We’ll try and keep it interesting…

I’m often in the very bad habit of observing our life as missionaries and comparing it to other missionaries we know…I know, not a good idea. It’s probably because we’re relatively new at this and I’m frequently wondering if we’ve “got it right” yet! In the process of comparing, however, I’ve often observed that we (missionary folk) all go through different kinds of trials and tests; i.e. my trials are not the next guy’s and his are not mine. The danger in comparison of course, comes with becoming consumed with comparing and dwelling on our perspective of things. Those two verses above give us God’s perspective on things. His perspective says that there is a greater purpose in the events we walk through…especially those that are undertaken in obedience to Him.

Of course, we’re all created differently, uniquely, and then our collection of life experiences and relationships serve to shape us even further. So finally, we have become what we are today. And, today is where God meets us and engages us with His plan (if we’re willing) to be what He wants us to be, go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do. So, when I encounter tests and trials, I try and look at the nature of the test and the reaction it’s producing in me and then ask God what He is trying to teach me…because I know that it’s all for preparation. Now, if you read between-the-lines, you’ll note that this lucid, mature response occurs at some (late) point after a reaction. It’s usually a succession of ugly reactions in me that gets my attention, and let’s me know that God is on the move to change something in my heart.

Does the fact that I don’t experience the same trial that my friend wades through mean that I have that area sewn up tight in my life? Oh no! It may mean that I don’t need training in that area for what God has called me to. It may mean that I need other training first and that similar trials await me in the future. It could be any combination of things…but, it’s all designed by a Sovereign God who loves me uniquely. It’s my personalized training plan to be, to go, to do…

The reason that this is on my mind right now is that our family is in a time of transition from Scotland to France. This makes the third time that we have transitioned from one country to another and each one has brought its unique opportunities to trust God to handle details that just seem to refuse to get settled.

A long “to do” list of uninteresting but necessary tasks (all with a deadline of course), and with few “completed” check marks is probably the bane of my existence. It’s also the very building material of transition, and moving one’s family to another country, and dealing with foreign bureaucracies. In essence, it’s exactly what our life is about right now and it’s God’s testing ground for my heart right now.

So…God’s lesson to me in all this is…

Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (Jesus and Paul had a way with words!)

The Newsy Bit…

Our last newsletter was about 2 months ago and much has transpired in the interim. While our focus this summer has continually been on the details of getting to France for language school, we’ve had some other highlights as well.

On The Move BBQ – This is an evangelistic outreach with which our family was involved June 19-21. It is a ministry which goes to communities throughout the UK (and branching to other countries as well), conducts a free, open-air BBQ in the center of town for 4 days with the express purpose of sharing the Gospel with those who attend.

When On The Move was happening in Paisley, it was also happening in 4 other sites throughout the Glasgow area. It was exciting to see the churches of the area coming together in unity for this event.

One of the fun things about this event is how people are attracted to the BBQ. The serving starts at noon but beginning at 10am worship bands begin playing live praise and worship music and others hand out invitations to the BBQ to those who watch the bands. Our family got a chance to participate in this aspect of the outreach. The weather was not the best (it’s REALLY wet this summer in Scotland!) but we had a great experience worshiping God out in public. Angela and the kids sang and danced. I played drums (djembe) and percussion 3 days and led a band on guitar another day. It was a great experience that we hope to do more of in France some day.

More Worship Leading – We’ve done worship leading a few times this summer at church while our regular worship leader was away. We’re thankful that God continues to give us opportunities to stretch our worship skills…now to learn to sing in French!

Trips to Edinburgh – We’ve gone twice and will go once more in the next week or two. All trips have been about getting our French visas at the French Consulate there, but Edinburgh is a great city to visit so we’ve enjoyed some family, day-trip site-seeing and cross-country train rides in the process…might as well make the best of necessary logistical hassles! We heard yesterday that Angela’s and my visas are ready now but the kids still needed one more document (ain’t that always the case!). Hopefully we’ll have everything in hand some time next week.

Bike day-trip – Off the west coast of Scotland is a small island called Cumbrae (just east of Arran/west of Largs for those armed with maps). It’s about 10 miles in circumference, has very little traffic and they rent all sorts of bikes! We took a day trip, complete with picnic, to bike around Cumbrae with our good friends the O’Donnell’s from church. We had a fantastic time and uncovered a seldom-found Scottish artifact…”The Sunburn”. Yes, we actually had great weather (did I mention the amount of RAIN we’ve recently had?!)

We discovered a Teenager – Yes, hiding somewhere within our twelve-year-old daughter Rachel was a young woman waiting to get out. Well, on July 10th she did! We are now the proud members of a family with a teenager in it (advice welcomed). Happy Birthday Rachel!

Driving Lessons – Angela didn’t resume her driving lessons after returning from the States, but I commenced mine. I took them twice a week until my test on July 19th. This is a VERY stressful and expensive process here in the UK. I’m sorry to say that I failed my test, but I know that God can have significant purposes in things that we find to be quite distasteful (and believe me, that WAS!). I have a 2nd and probably final chance to pass on August 21st. As I just read this morning in the book THE SACRED ROMANCE, “How is God wooing us through flat tires, bounced checks and rained-out picnics?” That’s my question too! I am coming to realize though, that God is infinitely more interested in relationship with me than in the outward success of a particular endeavor.

Homeschooling swan song – The kids will be in French public schools this coming year, and, we hope, many years to come. Homeschooling is not as accepted in France and our desire is to really integrate with people’s lives in France and we believe that one very significant avenue will be via the kids’ involvement in public school. French public schools are known for being pretty tough. Add to that a significant language hurdle and our kids probably have their work cut out for them. Consequently, Angela and the kids have been hitting it very hard with the homeschooling this summer. In fact we’ve not had a summer break yet. The end of homeschooling in the Leigh family is planned for TOMORROW! (if you hear a “wee cheer” from this side of the Atlantic you’ll know why).

YWAM work – Angela’s been focusing at home but I’ve spent my share of time at the Youth With A Mission office this summer. As I leave the YWAM base, I will have had a hand in bringing in 3 new computers and a small network into the office here. I’ve also created a phone billing system for the office. So, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on all that and trying to do some documentation (ugh!) and turnover of those processes. I think I’ll be busy enough in France with a few things that I need to minimize the chance of receiving phone calls from Scotland complaining about how all this computer stuff I did doesn’t work any more!

What’s next?

While a quick update may come before we leave, it’s probable that our next full newsletter will come from France. We are currently working out our travel itinerary and details on shipping some stuff over. It looks as if we’ll be leaving the 25th or 26th and be arriving in Albertville, France on the 29th. School (for ALL of us) begins the following week.

We don’t have a personal telephone number in France yet but our mailing address will be:

David and Angela Leigh

Centre d’Enseignement du Français

50 rue des Galibouds

73200, Albertville


An appeal…

Would you consider partnering with us in prayer and/or finances?

In the process of gathering a prayer support team, we now have someone scheduled to pray for us every day of the month EXCEPT the 16th. Of course there’s no reason that more can’t join that group of prayer supporters. Perhaps we should work for 2 or 3 every day of the month! ;c) Seriously, we do feel that in going to France, we are stepping more fully into our destiny and, as such are becoming bigger targets for the devil and his designs on our lives. We NEED prayer support. We know that many of you do pray for us, but we’d love to have those who do, commit to specific days of prayer. We send out a monthly prayer newsletter to those who have made this commitment. This newsletter is a short list of what we currently need to be covered in prayer. If you’d like to commit to praying for us (on any schedule you choose), please send us an email and let us know.

Financially, this next 12 months will be much more taxing (no pun intended) than the last 24 in Scotland have been. For instance, we’ve not needed health insurance in the UK as that is afforded to all UK residents without cost. In France it is compulsory. I just wrote an $1,800 check for that today to cover this next year. Getting ourselves and our stuff to France is liable to cost us nearly $1,000. The local French authorities in Albertville, require a financial guarantee document that a certain sum of money will be deposited monthly in a French bank account for us. As no one can sign such a guarantee for us, we are forced to place the entire 10-month lump sum in the account upon our arrival. That’s about $9,000. While that’s an amount of money we would eventually spend anyway, it was sitting in mutual funds creating part of our monthly income. So, that’s a bit of a turn of events financially for us. Finally, the tuition of the language school itself is an expense we’ve not had in the last two years. It totals about $10,000…thankfully we can pay that monthly.

So, if (and only if) God is leading you to give financially towards our support as a one time gift or a monthly gift, please be obedient to the Lord. Gifts from U.S. tax-payers are, of course, tax-deductible if given through our church. You can make checks out to NEW HOPE CHURCH and enclose a separate note that the funds are for the Leigh Family. You may send these to:

New Hope Church
5255 West Warren Avenue
Denver, CO 80227

If you’re sending funds from elsewhere, just contact us and we’ll work something out.

Until we talk again…from France!

Much love from our family to yours,

David and Angela and Rachel and Noah and Olivia Leigh

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