Bonne Année 2005!

January 5, 2005

The bags read, "See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us"The bags read, "Jesus I trust in your lovingkindness"

Bonne Année 2005!

A month-long bout with pneumonia put a big damper on our holiday season and kept me from sending out news and greetings to all of you before now. Fortunately, I already had our windows decorated, and we enjoyed listening to passersby stop and read the verses written on the bags out loud! (Roll your mouse over the photos to see what they said!) I also thank God for a compassionate and understanding doctor. (No appt. needed! A flat rate of $25 per visit! And he makes house calls! Are the Americans salivating?) Funny, after almost 4 weeks, my recovery was an overnight thing, rather than a gradual one, and it was just in time to celebrate the New Year! I felt as if I had been resurrected from the dead, and David and I walked downtown to a nice Chinese restaurant and had a lovely meal out for the first time in almost a year. And that was possible due to the overwhelming response to our wish list in the last newsletter – our cup overfloweth!! It was such a welcome relief from an autumn of belt-tightening. The real cost of living here became obvious when we bought a house and started getting the bills! But in light of the tragedy in Asia, we quickly acknowledge how blessed we are, (and are so pleased with our children’s generous responses when we asked them if they would like to donate to the aid efforts!)

Since this year marks 5 years on the field, we thought this newsletter would be a good time to look back… And though we’ve only really just arrived at our long-term destination, it’s encouraging to see what God’s been quietly doing all along the way…

We recently learned that our outreach time in Slovakia / 1999 is bearing fruit! We had helped to staff family camps that gave some Slovakian couples the boost and vision they needed to become ministry leaders, and they have formed strong teams with YWAM Family Ministries for their nation.

And then what ever happened to the student families in the Scotland Family DTSs? Among the several American families, one has been evangelizing in Edinburgh until recently and now has an eye towards North Africa to work with Muslims. 3 others have been leading various DTSs in Scotland and England. Two of the British families returned to their hometowns with a clearer understanding of their roles and giftings, and they are using them to impact their communities more effectively. The third is helping addicts with a 12-Step recovery program in the Red Light district of Amsterdam. Our Canadian family of 8 has a huge burden for the salvation of Scotland, and offers inner healing, counseling and deliverance in Glasgow. We are proud to call all of them friends and fellow soldiers!

In 2002, during language school in Albertville, I had the chance to give our testimony to 2 of the children’s teachers. They shared that years of war in the name of religion caused them to dismiss a living, loving God. But they listened with interest and heard differently, probably for the first time…

Last year, while David worked on staff with the Reconciliation School, I was “on sabbatical” at the Christian center where we lived. During that time I befriended a young Albanian wife and mother whose family was living there temporarily. It was an easy relationship that turned naturally into discipleship as we shared our hearts, and eventually she gave her life to the Lord after seeing “The Passion.” Through another missionary connection, I was able to get her some Bible study materials in Albanian before moving. God was so gracious to orchestrate that friendship for an introvert like me…

And that brings us to the present: One of David’s focuses has been the hidden work of intercession, alone and with others, not only for the needs around us, but also for direction from God where to put our limited energies in such a spiritually needy place. He also desires to plant seeds of reconciliation in Alsace. Through last year’s school, he saw two Alsatian students experience much healing and be launched into this ministry with a heart to multiply it. Here in Alsace, David has already had the chance to teach and lead worship during a recent introductory weekend seminar on these issues. A month later, one of the participants ran into David and shared that God restored his relationship with his daughter during that weekend! David and I were also recently asked to help pray with a struggling couple in our church and they saw some breakthroughs for the first time. We give God the all the glory!

And last month we even witnessed the need for reconciliation at the national level on our school grounds: a group of students from Germany had come to have an afternoon of language exchange with our middle school students. We saw not only resistance and resentment among the French kids, and some aggression by the Germans, but this spirit of hatred and division affected the primary students as well while we were on lunch/recess duty. It was the longest 2 hrs of our life among 40 kids who could not and would not get along. It is surprising that this level of intolerance still exists among children who are more alike than different in the “new European Union.” But if we believe Eph. 6:12, (“we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,) the key is more targeted prayer, not more tolerance-based curricula. Next month marks the 60th anniversary of the last time that this war-torn region changed nationalities…some 4 times in the last 150 years! The kids are studying it in school of course and we hope this historical marker will open hearts throughout Alsace to all the possibilities of reconciliation that God has provided through His Son Jesus.

On the other hand, you Americans will be happy to hear that based on my students’ wildly enthusiastic reception to Corn-Nuts, Kool-Aid, oatmeal choc.chip cookies, and Rice Krispy Treats, I can almost guarantee that these children will grow up with very positive feelings towards America! This is another example of the other half of our ministry focus this year – working with this tiny percentage of kids born into believing families, (including our own!) and fertilizing that holy seed with our love and encouragement so that they can fulfill their destinies as Godly leaders in their nation’s future.

So we say all this to thank you for 5 years of trust, encouragement, prayers, and financial support. We know we’re not your typical missionaries, with well-defined missions projects in a third world country, (and God bless all of them!!) and that makes your commitment to us even more precious. Know that we are humbled and grateful to be able to live in a place where most only dream of visiting, and by His grace, be lights in this other “dark continent” for as long as He would have us here.

And as the French say to each other this time of year (while kissing both cheeks, of course):
Bonne Année! Meilleurs Voeux! Bonne Santé! (Happy New Year! Best Wishes! Good Health!)

Love, Angela & Famille

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