Count it all Joy!

It’s been awhile, so this is rather lengthy. If you have this email in HTML format, hopefully the links will work to take you to the parts of the newsletter that you really want to see!

Musings…(skip down a bit for the “newsy” part)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:6-7

When you read these verses at the beginning of a newsletter, you kind of know what to expect, I suppose! We’ll try and keep it interesting…

I’m often in the very bad habit of observing our life as missionaries and comparing it to other missionaries we know…I know, not a good idea. It’s probably because we’re relatively new at this and I’m frequently wondering if we’ve “got it right” yet! In the process of comparing, however, I’ve often observed that we (missionary folk) all go through different kinds of trials and tests; i.e. my trials are not the next guy’s and his are not mine. The danger in comparison of course, comes with becoming consumed with comparing and dwelling on our perspective of things. Those two verses above give us God’s perspective on things. His perspective says that there is a greater purpose in the events we walk through…especially those that are undertaken in obedience to Him.

Of course, we’re all created differently, uniquely, and then our collection of life experiences and relationships serve to shape us even further. So finally, we have become what we are today. And, today is where God meets us and engages us with His plan (if we’re willing) to be what He wants us to be, go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do. So, when I encounter tests and trials, I try and look at the nature of the test and the reaction it’s producing in me and then ask God what He is trying to teach me…because I know that it’s all for preparation. Now, if you read between-the-lines, you’ll note that this lucid, mature response occurs at some (late) point after a reaction. It’s usually a succession of ugly reactions in me that gets my attention, and let’s me know that God is on the move to change something in my heart.

Does the fact that I don’t experience the same trial that my friend wades through mean that I have that area sewn up tight in my life? Oh no! It may mean that I don’t need training in that area for what God has called me to. It may mean that I need other training first and that similar trials await me in the future. It could be any combination of things…but, it’s all designed by a Sovereign God who loves me uniquely. It’s my personalized training plan to be, to go, to do…

The reason that this is on my mind right now is that our family is in a time of transition from Scotland to France. This makes the third time that we have transitioned from one country to another and each one has brought its unique opportunities to trust God to handle details that just seem to refuse to get settled.

A long “to do” list of uninteresting but necessary tasks (all with a deadline of course), and with few “completed” check marks is probably the bane of my existence. It’s also the very building material of transition, and moving one’s family to another country, and dealing with foreign bureaucracies. In essence, it’s exactly what our life is about right now and it’s God’s testing ground for my heart right now.

So…God’s lesson to me in all this is…

Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (Jesus and Paul had a way with words!)

The Newsy Bit…

Our last newsletter was about 2 months ago and much has transpired in the interim. While our focus this summer has continually been on the details of getting to France for language school, we’ve had some other highlights as well.

On The Move BBQ – This is an evangelistic outreach with which our family was involved June 19-21. It is a ministry which goes to communities throughout the UK (and branching to other countries as well), conducts a free, open-air BBQ in the center of town for 4 days with the express purpose of sharing the Gospel with those who attend.

When On The Move was happening in Paisley, it was also happening in 4 other sites throughout the Glasgow area. It was exciting to see the churches of the area coming together in unity for this event.

One of the fun things about this event is how people are attracted to the BBQ. The serving starts at noon but beginning at 10am worship bands begin playing live praise and worship music and others hand out invitations to the BBQ to those who watch the bands. Our family got a chance to participate in this aspect of the outreach. The weather was not the best (it’s REALLY wet this summer in Scotland!) but we had a great experience worshiping God out in public. Angela and the kids sang and danced. I played drums (djembe) and percussion 3 days and led a band on guitar another day. It was a great experience that we hope to do more of in France some day.

More Worship Leading – We’ve done worship leading a few times this summer at church while our regular worship leader was away. We’re thankful that God continues to give us opportunities to stretch our worship skills…now to learn to sing in French!

Trips to Edinburgh – We’ve gone twice and will go once more in the next week or two. All trips have been about getting our French visas at the French Consulate there, but Edinburgh is a great city to visit so we’ve enjoyed some family, day-trip site-seeing and cross-country train rides in the process…might as well make the best of necessary logistical hassles! We heard yesterday that Angela’s and my visas are ready now but the kids still needed one more document (ain’t that always the case!). Hopefully we’ll have everything in hand some time next week.

Bike day-trip – Off the west coast of Scotland is a small island called Cumbrae (just east of Arran/west of Largs for those armed with maps). It’s about 10 miles in circumference, has very little traffic and they rent all sorts of bikes! We took a day trip, complete with picnic, to bike around Cumbrae with our good friends the O’Donnell’s from church. We had a fantastic time and uncovered a seldom-found Scottish artifact…”The Sunburn”. Yes, we actually had great weather (did I mention the amount of RAIN we’ve recently had?!)

We discovered a Teenager – Yes, hiding somewhere within our twelve-year-old daughter Rachel was a young woman waiting to get out. Well, on July 10th she did! We are now the proud members of a family with a teenager in it (advice welcomed). Happy Birthday Rachel!

Driving Lessons – Angela didn’t resume her driving lessons after returning from the States, but I commenced mine. I took them twice a week until my test on July 19th. This is a VERY stressful and expensive process here in the UK. I’m sorry to say that I failed my test, but I know that God can have significant purposes in things that we find to be quite distasteful (and believe me, that WAS!). I have a 2nd and probably final chance to pass on August 21st. As I just read this morning in the book THE SACRED ROMANCE, “How is God wooing us through flat tires, bounced checks and rained-out picnics?” That’s my question too! I am coming to realize though, that God is infinitely more interested in relationship with me than in the outward success of a particular endeavor.

Homeschooling swan song – The kids will be in French public schools this coming year, and, we hope, many years to come. Homeschooling is not as accepted in France and our desire is to really integrate with people’s lives in France and we believe that one very significant avenue will be via the kids’ involvement in public school. French public schools are known for being pretty tough. Add to that a significant language hurdle and our kids probably have their work cut out for them. Consequently, Angela and the kids have been hitting it very hard with the homeschooling this summer. In fact we’ve not had a summer break yet. The end of homeschooling in the Leigh family is planned for TOMORROW! (if you hear a “wee cheer” from this side of the Atlantic you’ll know why).

YWAM work – Angela’s been focusing at home but I’ve spent my share of time at the Youth With A Mission office this summer. As I leave the YWAM base, I will have had a hand in bringing in 3 new computers and a small network into the office here. I’ve also created a phone billing system for the office. So, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on all that and trying to do some documentation (ugh!) and turnover of those processes. I think I’ll be busy enough in France with a few things that I need to minimize the chance of receiving phone calls from Scotland complaining about how all this computer stuff I did doesn’t work any more!

What’s next?

While a quick update may come before we leave, it’s probable that our next full newsletter will come from France. We are currently working out our travel itinerary and details on shipping some stuff over. It looks as if we’ll be leaving the 25th or 26th and be arriving in Albertville, France on the 29th. School (for ALL of us) begins the following week.

We don’t have a personal telephone number in France yet but our mailing address will be:

David and Angela Leigh

Centre d’Enseignement du Français

50 rue des Galibouds

73200, Albertville

FRANCE

An appeal…

Would you consider partnering with us in prayer and/or finances?

In the process of gathering a prayer support team, we now have someone scheduled to pray for us every day of the month EXCEPT the 16th. Of course there’s no reason that more can’t join that group of prayer supporters. Perhaps we should work for 2 or 3 every day of the month! ;c) Seriously, we do feel that in going to France, we are stepping more fully into our destiny and, as such are becoming bigger targets for the devil and his designs on our lives. We NEED prayer support. We know that many of you do pray for us, but we’d love to have those who do, commit to specific days of prayer. We send out a monthly prayer newsletter to those who have made this commitment. This newsletter is a short list of what we currently need to be covered in prayer. If you’d like to commit to praying for us (on any schedule you choose), please send us an email and let us know.

Financially, this next 12 months will be much more taxing (no pun intended) than the last 24 in Scotland have been. For instance, we’ve not needed health insurance in the UK as that is afforded to all UK residents without cost. In France it is compulsory. I just wrote an $1,800 check for that today to cover this next year. Getting ourselves and our stuff to France is liable to cost us nearly $1,000. The local French authorities in Albertville, require a financial guarantee document that a certain sum of money will be deposited monthly in a French bank account for us. As no one can sign such a guarantee for us, we are forced to place the entire 10-month lump sum in the account upon our arrival. That’s about $9,000. While that’s an amount of money we would eventually spend anyway, it was sitting in mutual funds creating part of our monthly income. So, that’s a bit of a turn of events financially for us. Finally, the tuition of the language school itself is an expense we’ve not had in the last two years. It totals about $10,000…thankfully we can pay that monthly.

So, if (and only if) God is leading you to give financially towards our support as a one time gift or a monthly gift, please be obedient to the Lord. Gifts from U.S. tax-payers are, of course, tax-deductible if given through our church. You can make checks out to NEW HOPE CHURCH and enclose a separate note that the funds are for the Leigh Family. You may send these to:

New Hope Church
5255 West Warren Avenue
Denver, CO 80227

If you’re sending funds from elsewhere, just contact us and we’ll work something out.

Until we talk again…from France!

Much love from our family to yours,

David and Angela and Rachel and Noah and Olivia Leigh

June Musings

In honor of our spring fling to the U.S., Angela writes our June newsletter, inspired by the patriotic song, “America…”

O beautiful, for spacious skies…

We thank God for cheap tickets, being able to get from our front door in Paisley to David’s parent’s front door in Indianapolis in 20 hr., safely and smoothly. Thank you, Jim and Florence for putting up with us and our mountain of stuff!

For amber waves of grain…

We thank God that David and I were both raised in the same city of the corn belt, where we share good memories, and where most of our immediate family lives, making connections easy.

For purple mountain majesties…

We thank God for our other support circle in sunny Denver, where friendships developed in the midst of having babies. Thank you Dave and Tanya, for making us so comfortable in your home for 4 whole weeks!.

Above the fruited plain…

We are also thankful for this city where our marriage has become so fruitful. It was such an encouragement to attend the MMI conference and meet so many other committed couples while there!

America, America, God shed His grace on thee…

We thank God that we are citizens of a country where almost any earthly want or need can be filled. The kids got saturated with kid TV, I took care of clothing needs, and David stocked up on 2 yr. worth of his favorite deodorant! But the best thing was that we got nearly every day covered on our monthly prayer calendar!

And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea!

It’s so good to be back in Europe! 9 friends greeted us at the gate with flowers, groceries and a hot meal. Also our church here in Scotland made us feel very welcome when we returned. The pastor even announced that they would be supporting us when we leave for France. We don’t know the details yet, but that is a tremendous blessing!

We’ve spent much of the last 3 weeks preparing to leave our house in someone else’s hands for the next year, in the form of cleaning out, weeding, re-organizing, and repairing. David is also taking driving lessons to prepare for passing the test, and doing all the paperwork necessary to get a student visa in France. I am devouring my U.S.-bought books, doing a thorough and consistent job of homeschooling, and maintaining a daily devotional life. Hallelujah!

I leave you with David now to take care of some important business… Angela


Our church home in Colorado has finally completed their physical move and has a new name. From now on, please send your support checks to:

New Hope Church

5255 West Warren Avenue

Denver, CO 80227

Remember to make out your check to “NEW HOPE CHURCH” and enclose a note indicating that the check is for the Leigh family. Please toss any old “Lakewood South Foursquare Church” labels and reply immediately if you would like us to send you updated ones for New Hope!

We’ve also had a new portrait made of the family. Let us know if you haven’t gotten one, and would like one! To see it online, follow this link: FamilyFranceFlag.jpg

Finally, we’d like to let you know about two new ways that you can support us financially if you’re already shopping on the internet.

1.iGive” – iGive is a way for a percentage of your online purchases to be given to a charity of your choice. Our Colorado church, New Hope, has agreed to forward any proceeds that they receive through iGive on to us. So, read more about it and sign up, follow this link:

https://www.iGive.com/ShopForTheLeighFamily

(Note: I encourage you to download the iGive Shopping Window. It makes this whole process nearly invisible while shopping.)

In Denver!


Greetings from Denver!

We’ve had a wonderful trip home so far. We’ve had very, very rich time with family and friends in Indianapolis and have now driven half-way across the country to Denver, Colorado. I don’t want to make this a lengthy update, but just wanted to let the Colorado folks know that we are here!

We’re anxious to see as many of you as possible and are working to try and have a gathering of some sort for that. As some of you may remember from earlier updates, we had Angela’s address book stolen when we were in England in January. So, if you’re in the Colorado area, please email us and let us know your number and we’ll give you a call and try and set something up. We’re here until May 6th but the last week we’ll be in a conference most of the week.

Finally, just wanted to let you know that I’ve updated our web site (a little) with some new pictures from our last Outreach in England and France. You can find them here.


Can’t wait to see you all!

God Bless,
David

On y va!


March 8, 2002 Our last day of outreach in Strasbourg

Dear Family and Friends,

We’re starting with our big news first and going backwards!

In the Leigh version, Hebrews 11:8-10 reads as follows:

By faith the Leighs, when called to go to France, which they would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed and went, even though they did not know where they were going.

9 By faith they made their home at a language school like a stranger in a foreign country; they lived in a furnished apt., as did other missionaries, who were heirs with them of the same promise. 10 For they are looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God, (that He has yet to show them!)

This was the verse that confirmed our decision last week to jump off our Scottish stepping stone and onto the other side, in the form of a 10-month Christian language school in Albertville, France, starting in September! We realize that we are ineffective in France if we can’t speak the language well, so it is an important step to take, no matter what we do in the future. We will live in a furnished apartment on campus, and the children will walk to the local school each day, starting off with French classes only, before tackling other subjects. They are most excited about a snowy winter – “Yes, we’ll leave our friends, go to school, learn a new language – anything! Just get us out of this rain!!” We will return to Paisley at the end of June 2003 to re-group and decide what is next. Our combined tuition will be about $10,000, and we would like to raise that in one-time gifts during our upcoming visit to the States.

Now to back up, our last newsletter was written mid-outreach. Our students have graduated, and most of them are moving into Paisley for a time as their next step in missions. They will facilitate the next school in May, replacing us, and maybe renting our home while we are in France, covering our housing costs. We are honored to have been a part of the launch of these incredible families into their missions odyssey!

To sum up our outreach, God told us that it would be about dependence on Jesus and relationships. Dependence on Jesus took the form of letting God deal with unsolved logistical issues and financial needs, etc. instead of worrying or solving these problems ourselves. “Relationships” meant healthy marriage, children, and team relationships while living out of our suitcases and in each other’s faces for a month, and relationships and contacts with those in France. In all of these, we had opportunities to encourage, serve and point people to Jesus: Practical in terms of scraping paint and deep-cleaning Ministry in terms of preaching and leading worship Relational in terms of praying for and sharing with people, as well as modeling healthy, loving families – a rare thing in Europe! Strategic in terms of prayer walking and on-site intercession for England and France

And now we look forward to our visit to the States and some overdue quality time with family and friends in a couple of weeks! Our rough itinerary looks like this: March 20 – April 5: Indianapolis April 7 – May 5: Denver May 7 – May 15: Indianapolis
We want to see as many of you as possible, and hope to organize a date in each location for a big get- together, complete with authentic Scottish food door prizes!! We’ll e-mail dates as soon as they are settled!

We close with a reminder that France is the focus of world-wide prayer again this year during the Lenten season, and insightful ways to pray can be found here: https://www.prayforfrance.org/

See you soon!
Angela and David

Outreach begins!


For those of you reading this as an HTML-format e-mail, I’ve chosen the notebook motif purposefully. Yesterday morning, 12 families (58 people in all including our family,) left in 9 vehicles for the Family DTS “Outreach”. While I don’t plan on chronicling the entire journey, perhaps some glimpses into our Outreach Notebooks will help you understand some more aspects of Leigh Family missionary life.

“What is ‘outreach’?”, you say. Well, the school that began back on September 1st, finishes on February 23rd. But…before it’s over, the culmination of what we’ve all learned and lived about being Godly families in ministry must be given a practical try. That “practical try” is outreach. So, for the last weeks of our school we are “taking the show on the road”, so to speak. Our mission…and we HAVE chosen to accept it…is to travel away from our base and, in the motto of Youth With A Mission, “Know God And Make Him Known”.

Our first outreach miracle occurred before we left. Several families needed funds to pay their school fees and to pay for outreach. We had a prayer and blessing time where, among us giving to each other, we raised over £6000 (about $9000) and every family got their fees paid and were able to go on outreach! God is indeed good!

We’ve commenced our journey en masse, though we will later split into multiple teams. We arrived yesterday in Wooler, England, a town in the northeast of England very near to a place called Lindisfarne. Lindisfarne, a.k.a. “Holy Island”, is a significant location in the history of the spread of Christianity in England and Europe. We are here for 3 days to learn about the ancient paths of how our faith spread, and endeavor to walk in them. This is alluded to in Jeremiah 6:16…

Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls.

So, we’re spending our time in these first three days asking God for those ancient pathways. On Friday, we will split into several smaller teams (traveling as 12 families is QUITE impractical…as you might imagine). All together, we will participate in Evangelism, Intercession, Service, Encouraging/Building up Christians, Worship, Laying Foundations for New Ministries, etc. This will take place in England and France and China. There is a sense that we are in a time/situation much like the church in Antioch as referred to in the beginning of Acts 13.

January 17th, 2002

Yesterday we visited Lindisfarne and learned about the origins of Celtic Christianity and how, from Jesus, through the apostle John, and a succession of disciples, the Gospel was carried through the ages into Europe and the British Isles. This was fabulous to understand the original path of the Gospel through the very lands that we wish to reach with the same Gospel today.

Today, we visited a modern-day “monastic” community to hear how they are carrying on in the same traditions. We then took a short pilgrimage walk in the lovely Northumbrian hills to St. Cuthbert’s cave. St. Cuthbert was a famous missionary from Lindisfarne. It was quite brisk and windy but finally the clouds were gone and a beautiful countryside opened before us. It was interesting to imagine ancient missionary monks walking the same paths. We want to walk in their same spiritual steps, just as we walked in their physical steps.

Tomorrow, we split into our separate teams. Our “France” team (just 2 of the 9 vehicles thankfully!), heads towards Coldstream to spend the day and night and then onto Leeds, England for a week before moving on to France. I’ll probably send our next report just after the DTS ends.

Jan. 21, 2002

We’re now in Leeds, England. We’ll be participating in a conference called “Sowing the Seeds for Revival”. In this week, our focus is serving the church and community of Leeds. We got a confirmation that we’re in the right place at the right time yesterday, when our car got broken into at church yesterday and my camera was stolen as well as our home-schooling books and some books on prayer for France. The devil is not too happy about our presence…which makes me glad! The busted window of our car will be fixed tomorrow hopefully and we’ll be back to normal. We were blessed by gifts of £110 immediately after it happened. God knows how to provide!

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— Exciting News —
We’re coming home to the States for 2 months! We fly into Chicago on March 20th and then drive down to Indianapolis. We’ll be in Indianapolis until the first week in April. We then travel to Denver where we’ll be about a month and then back to Indianapolis. We leave the 16th of May from Chicago to fly back to Glasgow. It’s our desire to see as many of you as possible both in Indy and Denver. We’ll let you know our schedule in more detail as we get it.

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The efforts at gathering a circle of prayer around us for each day are going well. We now have have of the month covered. If you would like to sign-up for a day a month to pray for us, please let us know and we’ll let you know which day to pray.

Bless you all and we’ll let you know more next time! David and Angela and Rachel and Noah and Olivia