Greetings from our New Home!!!
David here; giving Angela a brief break from newsletter duties…
Before anything else, here is our new address(we’re now situated about 1 hour south of Strasbourg, France in the Alsace region) and telephone number:
16 rue des Vosges
(if dialed from North America: 011-33-389-766-483)
(if dialed from other foreign countries: 00 33 3 89 76 64 83)
Our mobile phone remains the same: 06 73 75 68 05
Remember, if you forget our contact information, you can always find it on our web site on the Contacts page (https://leighweb.com/contact.htm).
Speaking of our web site, other than the newsletters, it’s not been updated in a long while since we’ve not had a consistent internet connection with which to do it. Now that we do have such a connection, I’ve just created another picture gallery. This time of our 10 months in Montéléger. You can check it out at: https://leighweb.com/gallery.htm! (more updates to come in the not-so-distant future…I hope).
We moved in the 22nd of July and have been busy adjusting the house to us and us to the house. It’s 104 years old and most recently belonged to a widow who had lived here for 28 years. Needless to say, there is much to be done to accommodate our family, our tastes and our needs. We’ve made a ton of progress but there is SO MUCH more to do!
I won’t bore you with all the house details now (write us and ask and we’d be glad to bore you individually, one-at-a-time!).
Much has happened since our last general newsletter in May. It feels like our time in Montéléger/Valence was a different lifetime and our focus is very much here and now. But, I believe it’s very important for us (and for you) to pause and try to grasp at least a glimpse of what God was doing during those 10 months. Throughout the Bible, God instructs us not to live in the past; but at the same time to purposefully remember the past! With that in mind, a final curtain call on the 2003/2004 YWAM School of Reconciliation!
- Reconciliation School Overview – The Reconciliation School finished officially the 25th of June. For the staff it was 10 intense months and for the students 9 intense months. We studied in depth what the verses in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 mean for us practically and literally in our lives. We studied and practiced reconciliation:
- Between us and God
- Within us, with respect to the identity that God has given us
- In our family relationships and our “roots”
- Between us and others as individuals
- Between races
- Between nations
- Between regions
- Between cultures
- Between languages (a language is not a “neutral” thing)
- Between denominations and within the Body of Christ
We learned about how to stand as a representative of a group of people/cross-section of society with whom we can truthfully identify and ask forgiveness for the wrongs of the past that still haunt the present and keep people from knowing Jesus.
All this came in the context of 6 months of speakers and study and 3 months of practical outreach. During this time the seeds of this ministry to which Jesus called all Christians (2 Cor 5:18-20) were well planted in all of us…students and staff.
- Reconciliation School Outreach – During the last 3 months of the school, students and staff divided up into various teams to put into deeper practice some of the things that we had all been learning. Here’s a brief overview of the teams (which overlapped in time and between which people changed sometimes):
- USA Team: Even for those who were not a part of this team, it was a highlight of the school. The team spent time in Louisiana, where an American team of intercessors had been praying for 3 years that an intercessory team would come from France, and then onto South Carolina and Florida. Our team had a chance to repent and ask forgiveness for the sins of the French government with respect to the Indians (massacres), African-Americans (slavery), and Cajuns (abandonment) whom they could embrace as “French brothers”. They also were able to release forgiveness to Spanish descendants for a Spanish massacre of an early French Huguenot settlement in Florida.
What strikes me is that in going to the States to specifically deal with the injustices of long ago, God used this team to bring a measure of reconciliation today between two nations divided. Prejudices fell to the ground on both sides. Hearts were knit together. The Body of Christ was strengthened and cleansed. Impediments to the Gospel were removed. Futures on both sides of the Atlantic were indelibly changed. When God reconciles,He reconciles!
- Swiss Team: This team that I was a part of, visited a valley in western Switzerland to teach a one-week seminar on intercession. Christians in this valley have begun to come together to pray but they wanted more specific training on how to be more effective in their prayer. It was our challenge and our joy to share with them the principles we had learned during our school about how to pray with specific guidance by God and specific actions of repentance and reconciliation for sins of the near and far past that still affect the region today. Directly (same day) after a specific time of reconciliation we led between two villages in the valley for repeated rivalries between them (within the Church to boot!), a Christian “hostel” in one of the villages that had been in such financial straights that they were considering closing down, received (literally) a bus-load of lodgers for several weeks and a large grant by the local government. Reconciliation changes things!
- Vaudois Team: This team re-traced the steps of a revival movement that happened just before the Reformation in France, Italy and Switzerland. This group of people saw incredible response to the Gospel but were persecuted violently by the Church. This team prayed and repented for the past injustices and asked God to re-revive these still existing Vaudois churches and towns so that they would find again the gift that God originally gave them but which has been buried and dormant for so long. The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable – Romans 11:29
- Cevenne Team: Like the Vaudois team, the Cevenne team was looking to the heritage that God had given to the Huguenot believers in this particular region long ago. They repented for where the Huguenots had got it wrong and asked God for mercy to revive His gifts there and show the world where they had got it right instead.
- Valence Team: I was a part of this team as well. We had an intercessory focus on what God wants to do in the two regions surrounding the city of Valence. We traveled around the Drôme and Ardeche regions and worshiped and prayed in strategic spots. In doing this we wanted to build “altars of worship” to connect heaven and earth as the patriarchs in the Old Testament did as they were taking territory for the Lord. We also organized and ran two seminars in Valence around the theme of restoring the creative and prophetic voice in the Church, especially in that region where there had been such a move of the prophetic in the days of the Huguenots long ago. God was powerfully with us, particularly in worship, during this time.
The Future – This particular ministry of Reconciliation will continue with a planned school in Geneva in 2005, one currently on-going in Normandy and one starting at the YWAM base near Paris in January. There is a vision to see this ministry in Strasbourg (in our region, Alsace) and in Brussels. There is a team that is staying in Valence as well as those from both the students and staff looking towards the next school in Geneva. There is already some activity also in Martinique. God is raising this sort of Reconciliation ministry up in many parts of the world.
For our part, our new region, Alsace, has a desperate need for the ministry of reconciliation at all levels (individuals all the way to nations). The wounds and bitterness that people take for granted as “normal” in their lives causes them to reject the love that God has for them. That means that either they don’t seek God in their lives at all or once they’ve made a small connection with God, they are stunted in their growth of relationship with God because they can’t receive His love for them. Therefore, no healing happens and they continue in their life with a hard crust of religion on their hearts instead of entering into the fullness of the love of God and His destiny for their life. We pray that God can use us in the ministry of reconciliation here in Alsace and that we can see people healed and released into their destiny in God!
Next Time – Angela will return to the keyboard in the next few weeks to fill you in on the move, our new house, “what we did on our summer vacation” and the kids’ new school, and…who knows what!? Stay tuned!
Much love from our family to yours!