Hate v. Love :
Our school here has remained France’s best kept secret for 25 yrs until we came under the French media spotlight last week: A beloved teacher and church member of 10 years who had renounced his homosexual lifestyle, secretly starting living it out again last summer. When reconciliation was impossible, the school had to let him go. He had found a job in the public schools, but suddenly decided to take his story to the press and file for discrimination. When interviewed by the press, our pastor was very honoring and respectful of Cyril as a person while still drawing a distinct line about the values we could and could not support as a private Christian school. Yesterday, Cyril sent an apologetic e-mail to our pastor, not realizing how far it would go (hate mail from the public, re-opening the wound, twisting of the story by the time it reached the French AP, etc.)
So during our Sunday service, we worshipped victoriously – Love had won!
The free publicity has put our school is on the map – Will we draw more families with hearts to support our values and efforts?
Our pastor also forwarded to us all the e-mails of support from Christians and pastors all over France, Belgium, and Switzerland. God is using this to separate the sheep from the wolves and build unity to strengthen the French church for future attacks!
And the timing of passing this “test” the same week that we gained ownership of our church building was not missed by our pastor either. We celebrated crossing the Jordan and possessing the land! Details below.
The Kingdom of the world v. The Kingdom of God
In 2007, a Christian businessman bid on an abandoned 4-story building and won as the only bidder. He was willing to rent it to us, and we managed to renovate one floor for our sanctuary. When we needed more space, but we weren’t willing to invest anymore as renters, and he wasn’t willing to sell…until the economy collapsed a year later. Then a small group of capable church members set to work on how we could finance not only the purchase, but the renovation as well – not an easy sell to the banks, considering the size of our church. After each meeting, it felt like they had taken 1 step forward and 2 steps back, but 2 yrs later, (covered by lots of prayer and faith declarations,) the purchase is complete with the bank willing to count the sweat equity already invested as a large part of the down payment for the loan. Our intention is to create 3 stories of multi-purpose, rentable spaces, generating the income needed to pay back the mortgage.
We sit in an industrial zone of ugly buildings that are empty or being rented by a humanist organization, a Muslim mosque, and 3 mechanics (whose cars fill up our parking lot space.) So after a final hit from the enemy on the school side last week, God hit back with a KO that stood for Kingdom Ownership! And with that comes authority and advancement not only in our little zone, but for our region!
Death v. Life
The Sozo ministry has had its heavy moments for me with teenagers in particular. When they spend years in our Christian school and still carry a spirit of death, you know they are hiding something. One girl, recently baptized, had had 3 sessions and had stopped cutting herself, but still struggled spiritually and emotionally. Because I knew her family dynamics, I wondered if it was worth continuing, knowing it would be a miracle if her father would ever seek help for his issues that were hurting his daughter. Then lo and behold, after her last session where she finally confessed her darkest secrets and we finally gave a death blow to her self-hatred, her father walked in to pick her up and asked if we knew how to break off a death curse that was put on him! “Why yes sir, we do! When would you like an appt.?” But it gets better.
Her troubled guy friend finally got expelled from school 2 weeks before the end of the year (and his absence really helped seal her last healing session.) After all I had heard, it was all I could do not to march into the principal’s office and set him straight – we had to stop accepting students from families who wanted us to fix their kids without fixing themselves because at this age, they were a terrible influence on other vulnerable kids like this girl. This boy’s father was also on my radar screen all year, but now that they were no longer at the school, it seemed too late to help them, and I’d said, “Good riddance.”
Well, Thank God Jesus is on the throne and not me. He has used it all to His glory. It turns out that the boy’s expulsion got his dad’s attention enough to admit that he doesn’t know how to love his son and he is asking for help now. The boy saw such a change in the girl the next time he saw her that he is considering a session as well. And the girl’s father and another friend of the family both admitted that her transformation in the last few months has accounted for them wanting help for themselves. I thought a girl’s life was being sacrificed on the altar of male egoism, but like Jesus, her sacrifice is bringing 4 people to life! (In fact, I found out later that it was prophesied over this girl at birth that she would be the key to her dad’s healing!)
Now weren’t those better than the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony? We’ll keep you posted on the developments as they unfold!
Our summer has just gotten started and I’m trying not to think about this being our last one with Noah. It also marks the end of jr. high for Olivia, which is capped in France by passing a nationwide exam on the year’s learning. After a year of constant harping by the teachers and 2 formal practice exams, this hand-written test is graded by a human, but not returned, nor given a precise grade when results are viewed on the internet. Just “passed,” “average,” “better than average,” or “very good.” (If you fail, they don’t even bother to list your name. In Olivia’s class of 17, 2 failed, several only passed, and only 1 did very well.) Olivia did “better than average” and our “baby” will be the first to tackle 3 yrs of French high school. We’d like to reward her with a set of books she’s been drooling over: the Anne of Green Gables series.
Because they are expensive in euros from amazon France, we thought we’d ask if any of our readers had copies that they would like to pass on to her? She would also like to sell the first 11 books in the Mandie series (great Christian mysteries for pre-teens, like new.) Are there any takers for $30?
Until September, we’ll be having fun with a few family day outings, sprucing up the primary school building, installing new (used) computers in the lab, continuing 2 hours of mid-week worship, getting Noah ready for his senior year, and attending the annual mandatory YWAM staff conference in Champagne at the end of August, while simultaneously trying to celebrate David’s 50th and our 25th anniversary!
Our readers have been pretty quiet this year – Do stay in touch!