Grad Gladness

Will you indulge me one last newsletter about Rachel? With graduation just a few days away, she will soon leave God’s call on our family to follow the call on her own life.

At the start of our mission life as a home-schooling mom, I would never have guessed that boarding school was the best place for my kids. But Rachel has proved me wrong, and Noah is eager to follow in her footsteps! (And we are so grateful to David’s parents for paying her way!) She has been far enough away to mature in many areas without our intervention. But she’s also been close enough to provide support when necessary. We are so pleased that she has leaned hard on Jesus to grow in healthy relationships this year. It would be tempting to hold back at an international school where everyone moves to a different continent after graduation, but she has chosen not to, opening her heart to many girls and finding friendship at last. At the same time, she has kept her heart on a tight leash with the opposite sex, so as “not to awaken love until the time is right.” She has received prophecies in the past that have hinted at what she and her husband will do together, and she anticipates the day when their paths will cross!

Busking in Nuremburg during her high school retreatShe’s had myriads of experiences that we could never have provided had she stayed home, and our only loss is that we couldn’t experience some of it with her – especially as her year was marked by lots of travel. Her senior trip destination was Rome and Venice, her AP English class field trip was a bus ride to London to see Shakespeare at the Globe theatre + Phantom of the Opera, her German class spent a weekend in Berlin, she participated in street evangelism in Basel, Switzerland, and as co-editor of the yearbook, she made a 7 hr. drive to a printer in the south of France to see a mockup before leaving it for printing.

The input of so many other godly adults in her life has been even more important in her development. The teachers at BFA have to raise their own support, so they are actually missionaries to the missionary kids! They love these kids almost as much as their own, and I am forever in their debt. Here are a few examples:

  • The family of the pastor of the BFA community church used to live in France. When they discovered that Rachel spoke French, they decided to invite her over for a weekly meal and French conversation with their daughters to keep them from losing the language.
  • Her German teacher paid her good money to grade papers, providing her with spending money that we could not provide, and paid the test fee so that she could to take the AP German exam.
  • Her English teacher pointed out a character weakness that she needed to work on.
  • Another teacher took the time to do a “photo shoot” of her band in strange locations for the liner notes of their CD.
  • Her dorm resident assistant kept an eye on her personal life and sent us a “performance review” each semester.

Being apart also made it hard to have on-going conversations about college plans, and the choices were pretty overwhelming to consider at first. Scholarship money seemed elusive too, though we thought she had better odds as a missionary kid. Several Internet searches later revealed that she didn’t fit into any MK mold that was giving money away: She was not attending a Christian college that gave tuition breaks to MKs, she was not a member of a denomination that offered scholarships to MKs, and she did not want to attend a school to be trained as a missionary (pastor, doctor, nurse, translator, etc.)

Fortunately, this child does know how to hear God’s voice, and after only visiting 2 art schools last April, she knew that Art Institutes was God’s choice for her as a future graphic artist, even though David and I weren’t as convinced. This school happens to offer their own generous scholarships in the form of a poster contest open to senior applicants, so Rachel decided to put all her eggs in one basket. With a Feb. deadline, she took an image that God gave her and worked on it almost everyday during Christmas break. Back at school, her graphic arts teacher gave her a few more suggestions and she sent it in with the assurance that it was God’s to use as He saw fit.

In April, we learned that she was the winner at the local level, representing the Indianapolis location, and in May we learned that she took 3rd place at the national level (against the 40 other location winners.) What a confirmation for her and us to have the school know her and believe in her by covering 1/5 of her tuition! (This is the piece of her life that we have been able to share in because they are calling our house long-distance with the big news, not her dormitory in Germany!)

A formal graduation ceremony is distinctly American and BFA makes sure they get one. (Europeans are jealous, believe me.) Announcements were printed, caps and gowns will be worn, and our younger 2 will get to miss a day of school to attend the ceremony and reception afterward. Her 80 classmates will enjoy a dinner cruise on the Rhine River that evening to cap it off. Then she will be home just 2 weeks before we fly back to the States together for 3 weeks of mother-daughter bonding and adventure. (It just so happens that a team of French prayer walkers from our church will actually be in PA during some of that time and Rachel may join them for a few days.) At any rate, it will be our last “hurrah” for quite awhile before she transforms into a Midwestern college student. We have no idea when we will see each other again, but we rest in the fact that she is in the Father’s hands, and surrounded by very supportive family members.

Send her some love at: and if you happen to bump into her in the next 4 years, give her some kisses on both cheeks for us!

One down, two to go! Angela

How to Succeed in Buying a Car Without Really Trying

Our Spring Break is just ending, and it looked nothing like we expected! The main event was that our 15 yr. old Mitsubishi had to be taken to the emergency room. Because the engine runs so rough, David was sure it was terminal a year ago. We attracted the attention of pedestrians, policemen, and irritated residents when we idled too long near resonant housing. Even the cats recognized us, running to the front door before our car was even visible! But God graciously kept it running until we had free time to deal with it. After 3 years without a radio or interior lighting, the inability to visit the mountains due to a weak engine, and lack of leg room for our children who have become lanky teenagers, we were eager for an upgrade. It was the clutch that was going, and it would cost about one third of what we paid for the car 3 years ago.

The problem was that we would need a loan to get something better, and in David’s mind, any French bank manager would cry, “You want us to loan you money wizowt a salaree?? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha…” This was only the beginning of the attack on David’s dignity as he entered the dreaded world of low-cost, very used cars. Of course since I am relatively clueless, I contribute very little to the process, making it easy for me to walk in complete faith that God will take care of it for us. In the meantime, David is sweating over want ads written in French hieroglyphics (TWINGO 1.2 PACK+DA VE FC, BE AM 2000 rge lucifer 102Mkm cour. nve, pces rec., 2 pn nge, lect CD) and hoping a car will drop from the sky while the old one is gently carried away to its greater reward.

  • Miracle #1: The bank did give us a small car loan, and we rejoiced with Elizabeth in Luke 1, who declared, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”
  • Miracle #2: After looking at 2 cars, and paying close attention to passing station wagons, we were able to narrow down what we wanted pretty quickly. I voted for a Peugeot 306. David tends to lean on my gut reaction to confirm big purchases, but I was too ill to go with him to look at the third option – a 10 yr. old Peugeot 306 we’d seen on the internet. He liked what he saw and bought it with confidence.
  • Miracle #3: Getting rid of “old Bessie” was the final hurdle to overcome, and the next day, a man walked up to our car and commented on the noisy engine – a blessing in disguise! David proceeded to lament about its condition, and the man offered him 300 euros cash for it, as is – the angel he was hoping for.

Prophetically speaking, in the last 3 years, we’ve been faithfully chugging along like our Mitsubishi, seeing very little movement in our visa and work status. The missing radio and broken lights represent non-communication from God and the French government on behalf of our situation, despite the noise of our prayers and requests! The engine limitations and tight seating represented our financial constraints. As a sign of the old giving way to the new, the clutch broke down when David was driving Rachel to Strasbourg for the obligatory medical visit needed for her her own French residence permit as an adult. It’s unlikely that the government would have imposed the medical visit without a positive response for her residence permit, which in turn bodes well for us all as a positive sign that France is accepting our family as normal residents of their country, even if it is one person at a time. Our “new” car is a French one, and that significance is not lost on us either.

I would like to end this newsletter on a cultural note with the translation of a petition we received via e-mail from French friends. The petition was to protest against the elimination of “le repos dominical” – keeping stores closed on Sundays. The French seem to be the last bastion of “sabbatarians,” but it is not because they are eager to keep the 4th commandment, even though we all look like the Israelites “gathering our manna” on Saturday to get us through to Monday! A little internet research revealed that “le repos” was instituted in France by the king for selfish reasons to improve the well-being of worn out young men during the Industrial Revolution, thus insuring a reserve of soldiers capable of fighting! They were encouraged to spend the day outside walking with their families and that is still the main Sunday afternoon pastime today, after a big meal. Living right on the street, I appreciate a quiet Sunday – there are even local ordinances against making noise in most towns (lawn-mowers included!) I thought Americans in particular would find these arguments thought-provoking:

  • Working on Sunday is a personal decision that doesn’t affect anyone else. False!
    It endangers the fabric of society when families do not spend one day together, and in a single parent home it is intensified. Who is nurturing the children? Juvenile delinquency is the result, impacting the future of our communities.
  • Sunday hours will create more work and stimulate the economy. False!
    Small local shops hire more employees per square foot than the big chains, but it is the big chains staying open on Sundays that are putting the small shops out of business.
  • Sundays are more convenient for making big family purchases. False!
    Stores are already open 6 days a week and some until 10 pm. With the 35 hr. work week and 5 weeks of vacation + the internet, there is plenty of time to shop. And what’s more, the family budget is not inexhaustible – you cannot spend more than you earn, whether stores are open 6 days or 7.
  • Employees who work on Sunday do so voluntarily. False!
    Most do not have a choice. They will earn time and a half if they work on Sunday and the sales quotas are set so that they have to work Sundays to meet them. If this is not motivation enough, blackmail and other pressures will force them to. An employee should be paid sufficiently during the week to pay his bills without working Sundays. When working on Sunday becomes the norm, you can be sure bonus wages will be eliminated.
  • Cities become ghost towns on Sundays – we are bored and need to liven things up! False!
    Boredom and loneliness is not fixed by shopping more. We are asking that sports and community centers be more accessible on Sundays instead.
  • Not working on Sunday makes no sense in today’s world. False!
    Studies have proven that all of nature flourishes with regular rhythms and 7 days is optimal for human beings. Historical efforts by revolutionaries to change the length of a week to avoid any Biblical nuances all failed after 10-15 years. A day off work is also good for the planet – very pertinent in today’s world.

Wishing you a restful Sabbath…


Reasons to ReJoIcE

I couldn’t wait to write this newsletter, and I’m so happy to be able to send it out for Easter in order to give you more reasons to rejoice this weekend…

A full house in the new sanctuary for the teachers' fathering conference Evidently, our Fathering conference had enough impact on our congregation alone to merit pulpit time, and the parade of men to the front a few Sundays ago matched so closely to what I had just written in last month’s newsletter that I sobbed through the whole thing. It started with the oldest man (80) in our congregation who had just gotten news that he may face a potential battle with cancer. After the weekend’s teachings, he said he was going to walk through it with God like a son, rather than a “mercenary,” (a professional soldier that works for monetary gain.) Now there’s a quiet time topic to chew on!

The second man was the banker in his 50s who testified of a radical change in his heart in relation to the Father. Then the 2 men in their 30s with young children followed and shared similar stories. Next was a perpetually tired and loud woman whom I know pretty well, who shared about losing her job and how peacefully she reacted to the whole thing. Her countenance reflected that there had been a definite shift in her heart, and I still see her peace several weeks later, even though her husband’s income is not far from minimum wage.

And now for the grand finale… The first born of our Pastor Luc Bussiere’s 4 children has been the black sheep in the family, and it has affected Luc’s ministry when certain people claimed he had no right to push Christian education when his own son was a sterling example of its failure. (In reality, they had just become Christians soon after he was born, and jumped right into the pressures of pioneering a Christian school without understanding the need for balance and family time.) Well, this 20-something kid was between jobs, enabling him to attend all the sessions… and the prodigal son came home. He got up in front of the whole church, and with tears in his eyes, apologized for the life he’d been leading that brought so much pain to his family and the congregation that loved them through it anyway. He and his girlfriend are now living separately until their wedding in July and are driving hours to get pre-marital counseling by the main speaker of the conference. (And God provided a job for him the following week!) But wait, that’s not all! As an added bonus, Luc’s next 2 sons, 21 and 17, (who played the “oldest son” roles) got re-ignited in their Christian walk the following weekend! Watch out world – the Bussiere boys are back, and we can’t wait to recount their exploits in upcoming newsletters!

We are also rejoicing in that God seems to be very aware of the state of the US economy. We learned that books published by YWAM can be bought at cost by us YWAMers and sold for retail, allowing us to keep the profits. So we’ve ordered several titles that Luc would like our church to digest, and though we missed selling at the conference, we were able to sell lots a week later during a prophetic conference. These books averaged about $25 and I was astonished that strangers were willing to give above and beyond, knowing it helped to support our family. (Did we mention that gas just went over the $8.00/gallon mark?) The church also gave us a nice sum to thank David for covering the sound and recording and some worship for both big events. Cash is anonymous, but a check is much more personal since it carries an address and a signature, and we received a lot of those. And it was while adding them up that God spoke to me: “Just when the dollar could be most worrisome, I AM providing euros for you from French people all over France!” It was enough to make a grown woman weep…

On top of that, we had the joy of hosting the 2 French classes from Illinois that come every year to serve the school and find out what French really sounds like! With 17 kids and 6 chaperons, ages 14 – 49, I had prayed that this wouldn’t be a group blur, but that I’d be able to connect with some of them at a more personal level. It happened via Matthew 25:35-36: For they were hungry, and I led them to the Doner Kebab restaurant; they were thirsty (and couldn’t tolerate the tap water), and I gave them bottled water; they were strangers and I greeted them with kisses on both cheeks; naked, (one had only a sweatshirt for outerwear!) and I gave them some coats; they (2) were sick and I visited my medicine cabinet for a remedy; and thankfully, none were in prison, though they did get pulled over by the police for driving on the tramway tracks! Though physically exhausting, it was a great joy for me to share the best of this culture in a very personal way with mostly “first-timers.”

In return, they carried out 20 beds from the attic of the chateau, experienced radical worship, introduced Resurrection Eggs to the primary school, visited cool historic places with the middle schoolers, emptied a storage room in the chateau basement, brought us stuff from the States, prayed for the mayoral elections, played soccer with the kids at recess, scraped the last of the old wallpaper out of my house, hung out in English classes, helped kids make a Kraft Mac N Cheese lunch meal, and much, much, more. Before hopping on the train to Paris, they showed their appreciation by showering us with more euros. “I AM providing euros for you even from Americans!”

A French meal in our living room for the chaperons
Wallpaper removal team!

Rachel's band Rachel and her 3 band member friends arrived the next day to spend 4 days mainly at our church to record their music (before they all graduate and go their separate ways.) What a difference to host kids who have grown up in Europe! Their first question was “How close is the bakery?” and they were our band for worship leading on Sunday. It was like singing to a CD – a talented bunch. They cooked and cleaned up most meals, only took one shower each, and enjoyed the half hour walk to and from church when our car wasn’t available. Their easy banter took David and I back to our high school days – Rachel has found friends much like the ones we had. She has spent many evenings at their homes, since their parents work with mission organizations that are based near Black Forest Academy, (for their children’s schooling convenience.) So it was good to return the favor. “I AM providing euros so that you can feed a hungry horde of teenagers without anxiety!”

In other news, the meeting with the mayor was actually a meeting with the deputy mayor. (We’ve learned our mayor is more of a figurehead who is rarely present due to a wife suffering from a long illness, and yet he just got re-elected.) At most, we know that the local government has nothing against us and would recommend us favorably to bureaucratic higher-ups should the need arise. The most popular advice from the French seems to be, “If you get hired first, the government will then give you permission to work.” Kinda like the kingdom of God: die if you want to live, lose if you want to gain, serve if you want to rule… It just might work!

We are all looking forward to a long and tranquil birthday/Easter weekend!
Joyeuses Paques (French) / Glecklichi Oschtere (Alsatian) / Frohe Ostern (German) !!


Wanted: A Father for France

Joyeux St. Valentin!

Since we skipped a month, I’ll pick up where I left off in December, starting with answers to questions posed in the last newsletter, and then move on to our title’s topic. (Apologies for the lengthiness.)

  • Our new sanctuary has a real floor now and the walls have just been painted. We are still renting the old building for the children’s ministry.
  • The teacher’s Christmas meal? I give it a 4 out of 5 – we didn’t get a cheese course this year, and the vaulted ceilings of our restaurant amplify and carry voices, making it very fatiguing to the ear. David was also too sick to go, so I got to introduce Rachel to foie gras instead!
  • The healing evangelist was more concerned about healing bad attitudes, believing that physical healings would follow. Amen to that.
  • The handyman was barred from working Christmas vacation and his family was very grateful.
  • Our bedroom now only lacks a better ceiling, and is having the anticipated impact on our married life!

With crazy weather in the headlines, we are grateful for a mild winter so far, keeping the heating bills a little lower, we hope.
We’ve had extra gifts come in January, and that enabled me to get a much-needed bifocal. I say, “bifocal” because for all intents and purposes, I only use one eye. There was no adjustment period, just immediate relief from constant strain. Merci! (I actually look forward to sewing up some slipcovers for our couch now!)

We are in the process of booking flights for Rachel and me to return stateside this summer. She will move in with David’s parents in Indianapolis and attend the Art Institute (in the Pyramids, for you Hoosiers) for a bachelor’s degree in graphic arts. She needs to learn to drive, get a part-time job to pay for living expenses, and find a passionate-for-God group of young adults to hang with in her spare time! If any of you locals have a lead in any of these areas, please drop us a line!

Also, my parents have not seen us for 4 years, and Olivia and Noah are desperate to come with us, but we all know that flights are outrageously priced right now. We actually have 4 weeks to pay for the tickets, so we have decided that any money given via the PayPal button on our site this month will go towards a third ticket. (Also, we are flying Delta, just in case anyone has Skymiles that they would like to transfer.) Our kids may not only start praying, but fasting over this one! :^)

On that note, we hope to be earning some euros of our own this year. A banker at our church has already offered David some part-time work that has been very positive, except for the fact that we still don’t know how to get paid legally without a work permit. All the same, it is comforting to know that David’s earnings are set aside for him until that little detail is resolved. David is going to introduce himself to our mayor next week since relationships are key to getting through red tape. Our mayor rarely makes public appearances, even though he is a native of our town, so we are curious to see what he’s like up close and personal. Write “Leigh grace” on your calenders under Feb. 18, and we’ll let you know how it goes! Now on to our topic without further delay…

Fathering is on our hearts and minds right now, and though it sounds like a better topic for June, it may not be too far off base for Valentine’s Day.

Now that we’re getting to know French families beyond a surface level, (and believe me, it does take 4 years because they’re waiting to see if you’re really going to stay) a lot of pain and turmoil over the fathering crisis in this country is rising to the top, at least for me. I know that America shares the same problem, but because France is so much smaller and atheistic, it feels much more concentrated! Here are some anecdotes to make the point:

  • 5 years ago, the YWAM Reconciliation School that David staffed sent a team on an outreach to Louisiana. When they came back, I asked a single guy what struck him the most about America. His immediate answer was, “There are (spiritual) fathers there!” I didn’t know how to respond then, but now that I’ve lived here awhile, I get it.
  • Sarkozy. Our church was very pleased with him and the pro-faith/family statements that were pouring out of his mouth early in his tenure. And now his personal life is getting just a little bit distracting. Would you be surprised to learn that his (rich) father left the family, refusing to support his wife and 3 boys, and remarried twice? He is the first French president to be born after WWII, and that is also key. During WWI, France lost more men than any other nation except Russia, (which had a population 4x greater than France.) 1,700,000 dead soldiers (almost 2 million!) meant that the next generation grew up fatherless, or with traumatized fathers, crippling their ability to confront Germany in WWII, and creating a catastrophic impact on society at many different levels.
  • On a more personal level, our church has a missing generation: men in their 30s. And I don’t think we’re alone. I hadn’t noticed this until a couple of years ago when a Swiss worship team came over to minister and it was composed entirely of men in their 30s. The leader runs a small Christian school and has 5 kids of his own, and the energy they brought into our sanctuary almost knocked me over! That’s what we’re missing! Our teams are tired 40-50 yr olds like us and run-down 18-21 yr olds (commuting home for the weekend, trying to pass impossible college exams or trying keep their first jobs.)
  • And this first-hand description of French family dynamics is probably a good picture of life among our students:

    The grandmother of Pauline, Olivia’s classmate, came over last Sat. evening while the two girls attended youth group together. Much to our amazement, this woman opened up her heart to us over coffee, and we don’t even know her actual name! (I called her “madame” all evening, and she never corrected me or told me to call her otherwise, so there you go – maybe in 4 more yrs!) She or Pauline’s mother make the 40 min. drive to school every day, and on Sat. as well for a watercolor class (which is why she was hanging out with us afterwards.) We found out that she has been a rare Christian education supporter for a long time, and that Pauline’s mother was one of our school’s first students 20 years ago. (She was direction-less with poor grades and had been placed in a car mechanic track by the public school system! When the downward spiral continued, they moved her to our school, where she re-did a year or 2, was brought back to life, and passed her exams.) Later, she married an unbeliever.

    Their first child was Pauline who started flailing in public school in 4th grade, so they enrolled her with us and saw her completely recover. Last year, when the younger son showed more serious learning problems, they agreed he probably needed the extra support our school provided too. Then when their other daughter started developing nervous tics, she was enrolled without any hesitation this year. Mamie (“grandma”) is thrilled, but at the same time, her other son, an active Christian, won’t let her see his kids, stating that she needs “deliverance” first! Her other daughter and husband are non-believers, but she babysits their children often, always planting “Jesus seeds.” And did I mention that Mamie is a widow? Have you noticed what’s lacking in this family tree yet?
    (By the way, Pauline has spent some weekends with us and is one of the best guests we’ve ever had – worshiping the American soil we used to walk on! And you will never believe who she claims as her spiritual role model: Olivia. Pinch me.)

  • Olivia's multitude of friends go ice-skating
  • The father of another good 6th grade friend, Lois, separated from his wife a few months ago. We heard second-hand from people who had history with them, and they were stunned. He’s a gentle man and has 4 daughters, Lois being the baby and the one closest to him. We drive her home every day after school and she never said a word about it to us. Neither did the parents. We’d had only shallow contact with her mother as she worked full time and always seemed too depressed to engage with us. I did lots of hand-wringing and praying, and then time passed, and Lois didn’t seem to be suffering in any obvious ways, so we relaxed a bit. I finally got up the courage to invite him and Lois for lunch during the Feb. school break that we are on, just to let him know that we care. Maybe he’ll open up – after all, we know his name!
  • And then there is “the dysfunctional family that cut a worship CD” at the school that cannot be avoided – I have or have had all 4 of their unhappy, undisciplined girls in my classes who wear us all out. They were trying to start a house church, but realized a few months ago that they needed to be in a Body for awhile. Guess which church they chose? Now I’m deprived of even a Sabbath rest! It is also exhausting to continue to keep a clean heart towards the father when I witness his heartless actions and the affect on his family. But I also know that harboring judgment towards him will not set him free. So this is God’s way of forcing me to my knees more often and softening me with compassion that comes with forgiving… every week.
  • So what are we doing about this gaping wound in the heart of France? Well, it just so happens that our Christian educators’ conference theme this month is “The Father Heart of God,” and this topic is so crucial to a healthy Christian walk that we are inviting the parents to come too. In preparing for Noah’s birthday recently, I read that the mother’s role is to give life, but the father’s role is to bless and validate children, calling out their destinies as successful men and women, as the Old Testament patriarchs did so faithfully. And the beautiful thing is that when earthly fathers fail, a person who gives one’s life back to God receives that missing validation – the same one that Jesus heard. “This is my son/daughter in whom I am well-pleased.” Ahhh… equal to a heart transplant, and just the Valentine sentiment that the French need to hear. (We sing this blessing over all the new students in chapel each year as a spiritual booster shot – it rhymes really well in French.)
  • To end with a positive French fathering story, and to prove my point, I would like to mention Corinne, my French penpal/friend of 30 years. She is the only child of devoted parents who raised her well. The death of her mother 20 years ago brought her even closer to her dad. Now almost 80, he and his generation have seen too much war misery to sustain a faith in God. However, he has raised a daughter who has no visible vices, thinks only of the less fortunate when she suffers, never forgets my children’s birthdays, has compassion rather than bitterness towards her maniacal bosses, and most amazing of all… deemed me worthy of continuing a friendship, even when she did not understand why on earth we needed to come and pray for her country! I believe that because she was loved and validated by her dad, her image of God was not distorted, and with an open heart she is currently reading the French version of “The Purpose-Driven Life” that I sent for Christmas! :^)

Wishing you the love of the Father on this Valentine’s Day,


What Big Eyes You Have!

We’ve written a lot about our school life here, but we haven’t really highlighted our church life (unless you saw our PowerPoint during our visit last April.) Since this is an important week for us, I thought this might be a good time to share some details.


Since Paul describes us as a body, I’ll describe “The Joshua Church” that way, starting with the title. Our body has big eyes because it is good at seeing beyond the natural and focusing on what is going on in the spiritual realm instead. It has big ears to match, as hearing God’s perspective is important in seeing things correctly. 50 families and singles make up the parts of this body and a little less than half are the hands supporting the Christian school in one way or another. I guess you could say it has a really big mouth too. For a body our size, we are blessed with a faithful intercession team and 3 different worship teams that play 3 different styles, offering a lot of variety.

I would call our pastor, Luc, the feet. His passion is seeing nations changed through Christian education, so he travels a lot, promoting, encouraging, and networking with other Christian schools from Australia to Quebec.

Our feet not only travel, but they also dance a lot – kids’ feet included. We also have frequent visits by foreign feet, and it is clear that God is using David in this church to make those connections. He created the church’s website, updating it weekly with recorded messages and event info, helping people with the same vision connect with us more easily. He has also been instrumental in smoothing communication and arranging visits for English speakers who come for numerous reasons: South African Huguenots, British prayer walkers, reconciling Germans, (who all speak better English than French,) American high school French classes, etc. Last month we had a powerful visit by a couple of reformed Pennsylvania Dutch Amish men whose ancestors fled to Alsace to escape Swiss persecution. Their ancestors had been welcomed in Alsace due to their superior farming skills, but they had to compromise their faith by agreeing not to proselytize. It was a moving time of reconciliation between these men and the Alsatians in our body, who welcomed them back and blessed their ministry, who ironically are now shunned by their own.

Our body wears a rather drab cloak: a seventy-seater hall in an old non-descript building with a rusty tin roof that sits above a mechanic’s garage in an industrial zone. For several years this body eyed the available cloak right next door. It had housed a nightclub and a small restaurant, plus additional space on the second and third floors. They were praying that the next buyer would wear it for the kingdom of God, but there appeared to be no hurry to sell, though it had been abandoned for several years.

Well, this year, that building finally went up for auction, and at exactly the same time we started outgrowing our old cloak! A friend of the church, who buys investment property, was the only bidder and took the whole place. Then he offered to rent it out to us piecemeal. Excitement grew as we looked it over. The young adults would take the nightclub and transform it into a local recording studio/music café. The restaurant would provide a nice place to gather for meal-oriented events or food ministry. (The teacher’s Christmas meal is already booked, and I jumped for joy when I learned that we will have the same chef as last year!) The second floor was an empty shell, roughly finished, that was perfect for a 250-seater sanctuary, plus room for our dancers and banner-wavers who have been cramped for a long time now.

The drawback? What else? The rent for these 3 areas is triple what we are currently paying and we still needed to pay for all the materials to finish the place.
Was there a fundraiser? A budget plan? A pledge drive? No, not in this country. Just big eyes, full of faith, based on His great deeds in the past in fulfilling our needs for the school. And for the last two months, we were miraculously able to cover that rent, plus the rent on our current hall, plus materials!

We had hoped to have the sanctuary ready by February, when we will host a Christian education conference, but we had also booked a healing evangelist for 12/16. With the realization that that our hall wouldn’t hold the anticipated crowd for him, and that we needed to eliminate one rent as soon as possible, the decision was made to move NOW. The new cloak is not finished by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be cleaned up, lit, and heated, with hopefully, a chair for everyone. David is there all week reconstructing the sound and technology necessary for our tabernacle worship night tomorrow (!!) and church on Sunday. With only drywall and cement flooring and sound amplification for a room half the size, it’s the acoustics that are really being put to the test the week before the big crowd arrives.

Will faith continue to pay the bills? Will the Christmas meal be as memorable as last year’s? Will our most capable handyman have a merry Christmas despite the building pressure? Will the healing service focus on lungs clogged with cement dust after the worship hour? And Angela’s biggest question: How are we going to keep this place clean once we do have flooring??? (see Nov 06 newsletter) While waiting for the answers to these burning questions, please feel free to pray, give, or come on over to help with this wonderful undertaking!

And by the way, I don’t think it is any coincidence that we are renovating our bedroom at the same time! The goal of both locations is to grow in intimacy. Whether we are working to improve our intimacy with God or with our spouse, it is only in that place that we hear, “You are loved and you are beautiful.(Song of Solomon 2:10, 13b, 4:1,7, 10, 7:6, 10)

And so, gentle reader, you are …

Joyeux Noel,