Good News/Bad News

Just 5 weeks ago… we were sitting around a little rotating fan, moaning about the 95-degree heat, blocking every ray of sunshine from entering our apt., and sucking ice cubes for supper. Today, at the end of July, I am huddled up to a warm radiator, begging God for a ray of sunshine, and trying to ignore the desire to bake something warm and fattening everyday! (Won’t you be glad when we’ve left Scotland for good and weather is no longer our favorite newsletter intro??)

Now in honor of our favorite radio show, we present: “Adventures in Paisley.”


“Welcome to this month’s saga as we continue to try to answer the question: “Will the Leighs ever get settled in France?” Let’s listen in….”

Well, housing-wise… the good news is that we all arrived back in Scotland safe and sound, and pleased to find our house in the same condition. (And we discovered that our appreciation of carpeting, bathtubs, and separate living rooms had grown deeply!) The bad news is that upon our return to France, we’ll be living in a couple of dorm rooms at the retreat center where the YWAM school will be held.

Visa-wise…the good news is that the process got rolling with an appointment at the consulate on the 4th of July, and David and the girls had a great day out in Edinburgh afterwards with another family who graduated from our FDTS school, and have ministering there.

The bad news is that the enemy seemed to have jotted that important date in his calendar. Half way home, the car died of internal injuries, and a tow truck delivered David and the girls home late that night. That same afternoon, Noah put a rake through his lip while helping me in the garden, and this was the first time I’d taken a child to the ER. But the good news is that a car has been loaned to us for free by a complete stranger until David gets the one we bought in France. The other good news is that Noah’s injury wasn’t as serious as I’d thought, and emergency visits are free here!

Health wise… the bad news is that the enemy hasn’t let up yet. Noah and I both got sore throats a few days later that wouldn’t ease up. The doc and I swore it was mononucleosis. Three long weeks later, I’ve got a raspy voice and am only active for about 4 hrs/day, but the blood test declared it a nameless, faceless virus. The good news is that David gets to escape the heavy load of mothering and fathering by going to France for a week to get our van and participate in worship leading at an annual conference that he’s always wanted to attend. I will happily stay at home with a single YWAM friend to help me get through the day.

“Well, that’s it for this month! And it looks like the Leighs are still on hold! So join us again next time for… Adventures in Paisley!


Thanks for listening!
Angela

Quick Itinerary

Greetings to all from our soon-to-be-former home in Albertville!

I wanted to let you all know our plans for the immediate future…and I do mean immediate!

Last night we had our graduation ceremony (yes, we did graduate!) I was a wonderful affair and made a good milestone to close this time here in Albertville.

We’re in the throes of packing up our apartment right now in cloud-free, non-air-conditioned heat (a cloudy day in Scotland is sounding really nice right about now!). Many things are being stored with some friends in France for us to get when we return at the end of summer.

Tomorrow we go through the process of buying a car for France (with the steering wheel on the LEFT) and continue packing. Tuesday we move the stuff we’re keeping here in France to our friends’ house and continue packing. Wednesday, the 25th, Angela and the kids are taken to Geneva for a two-hop flight to Glasgow. I pack up the car (our British one) and drive to the YWAM base near Paris to spend the night. The 26th I drive to Zeebrugge, Belgium to catch the overnight ferry to Edinburgh. I drive from Edinburgh to Glasgow on the 27th.

On July 4th, just like a year ago, we commence our process for obtaining long-stay visas with the French Consulate in Edinburgh.

There we go! That’s the future that we know for now. The timing of getting the visas is in God’s hands and we’d appreciate your prayers for that. We’d love to be back in France at the end of August to start the kids schooling and the YWAM school that I’m going to be with, but the timing is not ours to determine. Last year we learned about waiting when we had to start our language school a month late…and everything worked out fine. Who knows what we’ll learn this summer! ;c)

Once we get our visas we can sell our house and move our stuff to France and commence our life there. While we wait we’ll be working on getting our house ready to sell; trying to keep some of our French in our brains; studying the topic of Reconciliation for me; and probably visiting friends in the UK…and whatever else God has for us.

More info as we know it…

Our Love to you all,
David, Angela, Rachel, Noah, Olivia

Leigh Family Update – May 2003


“Dieu est fidèle!” God is faithful!

Again He has made our next step clear, and so we continue our journey…

So how did He speak to us this time? Well, as we considered our next move, David was invited to attend a week-long YWAM conference on reconciliation. He decided to go in order to meet the leaders and decide if he would be interested in staffing a
9-month school in the fall on the same topic. It ended up being a very powerful time for him spiritually and he really bonded with everyone there. When he came home, we really didn’t need to wrestle over the decision, because earlier, we had driven through the area where the school would be held, and Angela immediately felt at home there. And there were homes there – apartments are the only options in the cities, and houses are mainly found in neighboring villages. This village is called Montéléger and is just southeast of the city of Valence, which is an hour south of the city of Lyon. The countryside, (where it is easy to drive!), starts to feel more Mediterranean here, and another clincher was the presence of a school of music for the kids close-by!

So you ask, “What the heck is a ‘School of Reconciliation’?” Let’s start by quoting from the website of the International Reconciliation Coalition, (www.reconcile.org) which defines reconciliation better than we can:

“If we have broken our covenants with God and violated our relationships with one another; the path to reconciliation must begin with individual acts of confession. Paradoxically, the greatest wounds in human history, the greatest injustices, have not happened through the acts of some individual perpetrator; rather through the institutions, systems, philosophies, cultures, religions and governments of humankind. Because of this, we, as individuals, are tempted to absolve ourselves of all individual responsibility. However, unless somebody chooses to identify themselves with corporate entities, such as the nation of our citizenship, or the subculture of our ancestors, the act of honest confession will never take place. This leaves us in a world of injury and offense in which no corporate sin is ever acknowledged, reconciliation never begins and old hatreds deepen.”

This school is for practical training in some of the ways we can live out the scripture of II Corinthians 5:18 where Paul says that all Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. There is a great need for this in France as there are deep wounds in this culture, and these wounds keep the French from being able to receive the love of Christ and keep the French church from being able to demonstrate the love of Christ. Personally, this school will also help us to understand the issues involved in reaching the French and be foundational for other ministry we do in France.

Unlike most YWAM schools, this school will also be open to non-YWAMers, and will be taught in French and English. So if you know anyone, anywhere, who might have an interest in this school, please let us know. For French speakers, you can directly reference more information about this school at: https://www.jem-france.com/fasr.htm.

So the burden of an unknown future has been replaced by the burden of another international move! The details seem overwhelming at times but God is faithful to us and has shown it many times through all of you. We will fill you all in more in subsequent newsletters. Please continue to pray for us as we move into this next season of transition…by far our biggest yet.

Much Love!
David, Angela, Rachel, Noah, Olivia

Leigh Family Update – March/April 2003

Ok, I’m searching long and hard for a title for this particular newsletter, but I think I’ve come up short! I don’t have a wiz-bang theme either. But, I really want to communicate with you all, and I think that’s a point worth making.

We’re here at language school in France for exactly the same reason. We really want to communicate some things…with the people of France specifically. Guess what…it’s hard work! Yep, we can see the end of language school in sight (end of June), but frequently, it takes a deep breath and a deep prayer to get motivated for each day right now. We’ve been at it since the beginning of October and we can see both the enormous progress in our language study and the large chasm that still stands between us and the ability to really express ourselves and understand a native French speaker in everyday life.

But, we do get up each day (respiration + inspiration = levitation) and we do work at our French because…of the value of what we want to communicate and the value of the people receiving that communication.

Many of you are familiar with Jesus’ parable of The Sower. At the end of the parable, Jesus talks about being fruitful in our lives and He says that good seed in good soil will yield fruit. We know that the good seed is the good news that God wants a personal and intimate relationship with us and that He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross for us 2000 years ago to pave a way for that relationship to happen.

That’s all well and good…no…it’s great! But how do I make sure that I am “good soil?” After all, in that parable, there’s a whole lot more bad soil than good soil. I read recently in a book entitled Compassion by Henri Nouwen an interesting and simple ingredient to being good soil…perseverance.

Ok, sorry, too simple, I know…

But hold on… What happens when you plant a seed in the ground, and you plant it well and you water it? Well, the first thing that happens is that you wait! Not very exciting stuff, of course. You’ve all done that bean experiment in a glass cup and have seen the bean just sit there for a few days. It’s a pretty impatient time for a kid. But, if you resist the urge to toss the thing in the trash or to over-water the bean, eventually you’ll see a small sprout start to come out. Growth! Excitement! It worked!

Well…

You’re still quite a ways off before anything can be seen above ground, let alone “bearing fruit.” What else is required? Well, first of all more waiting! A key ingredient to seeing fruit in a bean plant or an apple tree or a mighty oak tree is patient waiting and tending of the plant while the process that God designed takes its course. If I don’t do that, I will not see that plant bear fruit. I might see it grow, maybe even a great deal, but if I don’t see it to the “end”, I won’t get to see the fruit.

That’s the way it works in my life and in yours as well. For many things there simply is no shortcut.

Right now in language school here in Albertville, we’re in a time where re-doubled effort towards perseverance is the name of the game for us. We won’t reach our goal to be able to communicate with French people in French without it. We also know that we’re going to need more perseverance after the school as well in taking our next steps in the process of living in France long-term.

We don’t have any more real information to share about that yet. There are some possibilities that we hope to explore at the end of April but the current stance is….wait…and persevere

Ok, that’s enough for now.

I also wanted to get this newsletter out and test our new processes for sending and maintaining our newsletters, so I’d be grateful for any feedback you might have or notification of any problems you encounter in receiving or reading this newsletter. We will be happy to tweak things as necessary and as possible.

May God richly bless you!
David (and the whole gang!)

Joyeux Jour de St. Valentin!

This month I thought I’d write about all the reasons why I love being in this country, in keeping with the theme of the holiday, and in obedience to Ph. 4:8, which reads: … whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things!

· I love Malcolm. He is the mascot of a restaurant we pass on the way to church. When we pulled into the parking lot for the first time, this little “Benji” dog trotted out to our car to greet us. When we left, he accompanied us back to our car and saw us off – in the rain! It was unbelievably heart-warming, esp. for a family who prefers cats!

· I love leading the students in a “chorale” time for 40 min. every other week here at the school. I was volunteered for the job, as it is a student-led position, and it has become my favorite part of the week. Since it is mandatory, and 1/3 of the students are “non-singers,” I’ve decided to make it more of a teaching time. The beginners here don’t get much out of worship times because that vocabulary isn’t taught until the end of the year. So, I’m trying to pass on my love of the language (and of worship) by teaching worship vocab. along with some songs to perform at our graduation in June, which is the main objective.

· I love this country for making an arrangement with Colorado (and 13 other states) to exchange driving licenses straight across without any testing. Trying to drive in Britain destroyed any confidence I arrived with, and I cannot get my brain around the x and y-shaped intersections in this small town either. Yet the French, God bless ’em, will hand me a license sight unseen, whereas I could never have jumped through the hoops that the British demand. And the really beautiful thing is that once I have my French license, I’m as legal as any other EU member to drive in Britain !

· I (and the kids and David) love being back in a country with 4 seasons and lots of snow!

· I love living 2 hr. from my pen pal of 27 yr. It was great to have her take me to a local restaurant and help me order new and authentic dishes, and clarify all the little things that can be awkward and stressful in that setting. She just sent me an e-mail asking me correct her English, as she prepares to study for a diploma she is trying to earn to upgrade her position as an accountant. It was most refreshing to be the expert for once! (And I pray that my French doesn’t sound as bad as her English!)

· I love the fact that it is perfectly respectable for me to kiss my pastor and my professor in greeting, and the feeling of being accepted when offered the cheeks of other French people! Hugs are actually starting to feel more intimate than kisses!

· I love being a “humble celebrity” here. I can’t hide my status as a foreigner, so I play it to my advantage, fearlessly starting conversations with strangers so that I can not only practice, but also learn more about the culture, showing the French that I value them. Everyone always continues the conversation when they find out I’m American, and so far it has always been positive! (But we aren’t talking politics here!)

· I love living in a culture where the Sabbath is still a day of rest. Only restaurants are open, so that families can eat together. Commerce reflects the value of family time around the table on a daily basis as well – only one store in town is open during the sacred 12 – 2 p.m. lunch hour, and everything is closed by 7 p.m. so that families are together for their 8:00 dinners. At least that’s the way it is in this small town. (I won’t guarantee that Paris is run that way!)

· I love the fact that I can see a big improvement in understanding what’s being said on the radio and TV, and in reading my French Bible. I cannot, however, say the same thing about films and newspapers!

· I love being back in the land of basements. Did you know they don’t exist in Britain? Perhaps the ground is too soggy? And because Europeans are suspicious of tumble dryers, the center here uses their basement to provide rooms for line drying our clothes. I don’t think you can buy a house in Britain without a clothes line in the back “garden,” but the wet weather is a constant foe. I wish they could have basements too.

· I love the economy of the schools. Why pay for a consumable workbook for each student when you have a photocopier? Rachel’s teacher even shrinks them down so that they can get 2 – 4 worksheets on one piece of paper! (She has learned to write very small!) Olivia, age 7, has occasional spelling tests with 5 words on a piece of unlined paper that is no bigger than a Post-it note! She also uses a chalkboard slate and manipulatives for math, instead of bringing home piles of worksheets, so I’m really not sure how she’s doing in that subject! We don’t see any hard back textbooks either. The teachers photocopy anything that needs to be read or done at home, and that is glued in their “cahiers,” (“kye-yeah”) which resemble our permanently bound old-fashioned exercise books.

· I’ve had my share of trash stress in Europe, with the emphasis on recycling and bin limitations, and I love the French attitude towards garbage! We are provided with an adequate number of bins, plus separate bins for easy recycling of paper and plastic. To add to our bliss, the trash is picked-up twice a week! I’ve never had it so good… (Can you tell I’m not a packrat?)

Je vous embrasse,
(“I send a French peck on each cheek to all of you”)

Angela