Rachel Leigh, accompanied by 15 other daring youth, proclaimed publicly that they would follow hard after Jesus at Raven Lake in the Vosges Mountains on Sunday, July 3. The sun broke through the cool, cloudy morning at the moment the baptisms started taking place, taken as a sign that God was amongst the many picnicking witnesses that day.
The following Sunday, Rachel celebrated her 16th birthday in the company of her paternal grandparents, who came laden with gifts from the family. Three days later, Rachel attended a youth camp that is run by visiting Americans in France every year.
“It was a phenomenal four days packed with special experiences. I received so much!” she exclaimed.
Angela and Olivia were home alone together celebrating their first 14th of July in France together, while remaining family members enjoyed a tour of Normandy.
“For a small town, Soultz put on a great Bastille Day celebration,” Angela shared. “There was food, drinks, and paper lanterns for the children to carry on a long stick, as well as a dance floor and band. The fireworks started at 11 pm and were lit from the steeple of the cathedral and accompanied by a moving soundtrack, smoke and lighting that made me feel like I was re-living 1789.”
“Normandy was a very emotional experience for me,” said Florence Leigh after viewing several WWII sites that included her cousin’s grave.
Reunited a week later, bags were re-packed for a week in Switzerland staffing a camp for YWAM alumni and friends. The Leighs were invited to help with worship responsibilities, and assigned participants verses to present in a creative way throughout the week.
David shares, “I saw the fingerprint of God in each group’s unique presentation. Their creativity was astounding!”
Rachel enjoyed teaching the 5-9s and made new friends with the Swiss youth with whom she worked. Noah Leigh, 11, struggled with the menu, but enjoyed starring in a movie with the other 11-13s and a visit to a local cave. Olivia Leigh, her sister, her mother, and her grandmother performed “Chopsticks” with boomwhackers for a talent night to an enthusiastic audience.
Jeff Fountain, director of YWAM Europe from New Zealand, spoke from his book, “Living as People of Hope,” offering compelling scenarios for the future of Europe. His Dutch wife Romkje shared lessons learned from working alongside Corrie Ten Boom, among other topics.
Florence and Jim Leigh got a taste of the best of YWAM in a multi-cultural setting surrounded by the clanging of cowbells:
“There wasn’t a thing we didn’t agree with or enjoy – a delightful week,” they exclaimed.
Back in Soultz the following day, Angela bumped into a woman who is the president of an organization for French adult children of American G.I.s. She expressed great interest about taking some English lessons from Angela, but of course the Leighs see a group of candidates for the ministry of reconciliation!