Entertaining (Snow) Angels

We haven’t seen much snow since we left the Alps in 2003, so last weekend’s snowstorm was a thrill for all of us (and pretty much swayed Gumdrop to move in permanently!) Miraculously, we still had an old snow saucer from Denver and the younger 2 got their first delicious taste of having school canceled due to weather!

The bad news is that the American high school group was scheduled to fly in that weekend with big plans to take over the Sunday school and school chapels. I’m sure it was almost as bad as flying into a third world country – 5 separate flight cancellations, (finally coming in by train 2 days later,) and 5 days without their luggage (primarily 17-18 yr. old girls!) We felt like the most popular people on the planet that week, as the phone never stopped ringing. (David was constantly tweaking their itineraries with all the delays, trying to fit in as much as they could!) In the end, we were all blessed:

  • Rachel joined them in all their activities, translating where necessary and bonding with them even more this year – a great change from internet schooling! They visited a WWII Nazi concentration camp and museum with the French 8th and 9th graders, stuffed envelopes for an evangelistic campaign, visited the European parliament, hung out with Rachel’s youth group and at the local high school, cleaned and waxed the classroom floors, and led (re-scheduled) chapel services at the school where the gospel was presented via magic tricks!
  • David loved seeing how deeply our colleagues wanted to connect with the team again, despite all the logistical difficulties, and witnessing mutual feelings coming from the Americans. (The seniors want to come back next year on their own during their summer break!)
  • The youth pastor who came along saw the state of our Sunday school rooms (that I described a year ago) and is eager to adopt us and help with supply needs! He also went out and bought a vacuum cleaner for the school, which was promptly passed on to us, as ours died a few weeks ago and we were borrowing an old one from the church! Christel, the French teacher/organizer also asks what she can bring me each year, and then brings double! I am blessed.
  • Noah was glad they came because he had accidentally driven a friend’s expensive remote-control car into a stream and we didn’t have the money to replace it, that is until the team blessed us with fistfuls of euros to help with gas, lunches, and David’s time.

    Entering the Struthof concentration camp (the only one in France) Rachel translates the youth pastor for chapel

The other 3 weeks have been equally full of highs and lows:

  • On Valentine’s Day we were trying to drive an hour and a half up to Strasbourg to lead worship for an outdoor reconciliation meeting. The bad news was that a demonstration had just happened before our meeting that made getting into the city difficult, and then we parked far away, adding a long walk with equipment to the delay. The good news was that the leader knew how to fill time and we didn’t miss it completely! The icing on the cake was that we had our first Tex-Mex meal in ages at a great restaurant that we stumbled on afterwards!
  • The Christian teachers’ conference that was hosted by our school was apparently a success, but I personally didn’t get much out of it. However my banners turned out really well, and everyone has really shown their appreciation of my efforts: (Down below are 5 “forefathers” of Christian education in Europe marking each of the Jr. high classrooms hanging around the landing of the second floor.)
  • We have spent the last year waiting to hear from the government, and we finally did – with a declaration that our monthly income isn’t stable enough to warrant receiving the child and medical benefits that all residents of France receive, and which is a substantial help against the high cost of living here. But the good news is that our involvement in the school has increased to such a level that they responded by cutting our tuition costs in half and made them retroactive from Sept., essentially lifting the 300 euro burden we paid each month for the rest of the school year! And they also found a Christian organization that defends the cases of asylum seekers, and they are now looking at our case in order to appeal the decision. (And getting into the national health system would save us the thousands that we have paid for private international insurance over the years that covers only serious illness.)

Looking forward to spring!


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