Singing the Songs of Solomon!

Song of Solomon Chapter 3
10 My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 11 For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. 12 The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

This is an accurate description of the month of April for us, and the first 2 verses describe our time away in France!

It started with a weekend alone with my pen pal of 25 years. Our visits have averaged out to once every 5 years, and they always bring a greater depth of understanding with each other. This visit was no different! I also got to experience 3 very warm sunny days in her fair city, making winter a dim memory!! I call her “mon petit tresor” – my little treasure, because she has been such a giving and devoted friend..

Then I got to take my first ride on the TGV (France’s high-speed) train up north to join some women intercessors to pray during the 40 days of prayer for France. I met some wonderful women, stayed with a beautiful English family, and sobbed during most of the speaking and prayer times! Mission accomplished!

Another TGV took me down to Paris to meet up with David at the home of missionary friends that we support. Besides the great food and fellowship, the cultural highlight was attending their son’s “carnivale” pre-school event. 50 3 & 4 yr. olds dressed in outlandish costumes danced to the beat of an African drummer, and then were herded out of the security of their schoolyard, & down the street. Police directed traffic while we all stood for half an hour in the middle of an intersection trying to see and hear while the children sang their little songs. Then we walked them back to the school and stood behind a chain link fence while the headmaster set fire to a cardboard “carnival man” on the playground. The kids watched solemnly until he was reduced to ashes and then with cheers and applause, headed for home. As Dave Barry so aptly puts it, “I am not making this up!”

David and I spent the remainder of our week in a reasonable hotel in the thick of Paris across the street from a Tex-Mex bar-restaurant called “INDIANA!” Celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary a few months early, we fell in love with each other all over again, and that was reassuring! If you wrote it as an algebraic equation, it would look like this: D&A(age)39 – 3(children) -100(tasks) = D&A(age)22! We also attended a couple of encouraging services with French believers where a God-fearing Ugandan named John Mullinde spoke with authority on putting our families before all else. Convictions deepened!

Back at home, “the flowers HAD appeared on the earth,” and all of Paisley was swimming in yellow daffodils! (see attached Easter photo!) We celebrated Easter with our MMI marriage class Leaders-in-Training couple, who live out in the countryside with 2 kids, 9 & 11. It was a cold, but clear day, and the kids had a ball hunting for candy (no such thing as plastic eggs here) and rolling boiled eggs down a huge hill! Their Easter baskets were full of French trinkets this year!

We’ve jumped into leading the first Married For Life group in Scotland, and it has been an honor to minister to these 5 precious Scottish couples every week in our home. They are really pressing into God’s best for their marriage, and David and I are realizing how little we’ve walked out these principles in this last 2 years of upheaval, when we needed them the most! We’ve done a lot of repenting before the topics we’ve taught so far, so that we’re hopefully not being hypocrites! Ha!

David also stepped out in a big way this month when he preached his first sermon for our church here while the pastor attended a conference. He spoke on taking our complaints to God rather than others, and it was very well received. I was beaming through the whole thing!

And last week, an important “time of singing”(vs.12) happened for our family. We had been asked to help out in leading worship one Sunday at church and decided this was the time to start walking out our family vision to include the children. So Rachel sang back-up and played a little violin, and the 2 younger ones stood on the floor in front and waved their worship ribbons or played a percussion instrument. Though it wasn’t the smoothest worship we’ve ever been involved in, mostly due to technical difficulties, I believe it was a pleasing aroma to God!!

Well, we’re approaching our first anniversary of being here in Europe and it feels like we’re finally finding our niche. We will continue the marriage ministry momentum by starting up again in the fall when all the student families arrive, forming a group with the couples that want to make it part of their curriculum. A year ago, many of you also started partnering with us financially and we asked for a year’s commitment. So it’s time for our current supporters to let us know if you’re in for the long haul. We believe that we are here until we see revival in Europe on a major scale! So, we are asking all of our current and new financial supporters to please reply to this e-mail with a note about your future support status. We will consider you “on board” until we hear from you or you see us moving back home, and will discontinue asking on a year-to-year basis.

A big thank you to all of you for seeing us through this transitional year!!! (canned pumpkin, Excedrin, American-sized paper, Smartfood, Prayer of Jabez, clothes for the kids, encouraging e-mails, school supplies… you know who you are!) We are blessed!!! Love, Angela

P.S. Our dear friend and co-worker, Kimberley Skaines is in the States visiting churches and supporters the month of May. All of our home church friends are instructed to give her hugs to bring back to us!!!

March 2001

It’s spring in Paisley…well…now and then. It’s sunny right now, though!

In our last update, we indicated that it looked as if we might be working with Marriage Ministries International ( again soon. Indeed, as we thought, we will be doing that. It’s happened faster than we had thought though (we’re still spinning!).

A couple from Denver that we know (Joe and Stephanie DeMott) had been feeling for some time that God was telling them to come to Scotland and help in the launch of this particular ministry here. MMI already exists elsewhere in the UK but not in Scotland. When we first heard that they were coming we were excited but didn’t know if we could really commit to help in any way or if we really had any good contacts for them.

Well, in the mean time, God was positioning us into a church in a very definite way. Our pastor here, John Fletcher, has been incredibly welcoming AND releasing. Additionally, in YWAM, our team began to look at various existing ministries which could be used as vehicles for discipleship in the process of doing God’s work. MMI certainly fits that bill. As we began to make contacts to see if we could get in on the launch of MMI in Scotland, our pastor asked us (knowing our background in MMI) if we’d be willing to do any teaching on marriages. What timing! When we helped to arrange an informational meeting for pastors for MMI, John single-handedly got several different churches involved and the turnout for the meeting was fantastic.

We thought we’d probably get started in May but then we came up against that very unique European cultural tradition…THE SUMMER HOLIDAY! “So high, can’t get over it…So low, can’t get under it…So wide, can’t get around it…Ohhh Holidays”. Literally, if we couldn’t start almost immediately, we couldn’t start until August or September…at which point we want to do a 2nd MMI group during the Family DTS. The Marriage course is 14 weeks long and we had to be creative to squeeze everything in by the end of June…because everybody scatters after that!

We couldn’t start until April 12th because Angela and I will be in France until the 9th of April to visit friends and attend a prayer conference (more about that in a minute). Since we’ve lead a group before, we could start immediately but we’d have to train our “leader in training” couple (a WONDERFUL couple from our church) along the way…extra time and commitment. We had our informational meeting for the couples on Sunday and we filled right up with others still interested for the next group! We’re excited about what God will do during this class with all the people involved…including us.

This morning Angela flew to Lyon, France to spend a few days with her special pen-pal Corinne. On Sunday, she takes a train to Lille to attend a women’s conference, “Deborah Arise” in conjunction with the 40 days of prayer for France. On Wednesday, I fly to Paris and we visit friends in Paris and then on Friday and Saturday we attend another prayer conference. We fly back on Monday the 9th and start the new MMI class on the 12th.

All of this brings MANY prayer requests to mind that I’d like to list out. We really need your prayers for this season!

1. For us and this MMI class. It is the FIRST one for MMI in Scotland. This is a ministry that satan HATES and he loves to attack it. I pray that we would look like Moses in Hebrews 11:23 and be hidden for 3 months so that this seed could be firmly planted in Scotland…and flourish! 2. Our time in France. Angela JUST called (as I was writing this) from Lyon. She missed her connection in London and had to pay another £120 (approx. $180) to get to Lyon. She ended up at a different Lyon airport and still has not connected up with her pen pal. Her pen pal, Corinne is VERY special and is not yet in God’s family. Please pray that this will be a key time in that process of seeing her come to Jesus. Pray also for our overall time in France on this trip as to how it might reveal some aspects of our future there and possible contacts for outreach on the next Family DTS. 3. Pray for our children and the friends taking care of them…for safety and wisdom. 4. On April 22nd, I’m doing the message at church. God has been stirring some things on my heart. Pray that God’s heart would come across in this. 5. My French. I’m taking a course at Paisley University and have enjoyed it but the more I know the more I know that I DON’T know. Pray against discouragement and pride. 6. Continued insight into God’s heart for the September Family DTS and how the apparent gaps will be filled.

You all are a blessing to us and we appreciate VERY much! David and Angela

T.G.I.F. (Thank God It’s February!)

David: "And now to you, Angela, for a look at January on location in Paisley."

Angela: "Thank you, David. This month’s top story: Family of 5 survives 31 days of wrestling with God and each other! "


We had a lot of time on our hands, cooped up inside with roller coaster emotions and a lot of questions for God. I don’t even want to think about how much worse it would have been had some of you not been praying for us!

We look back on our first family school and see a lot of positive and a lot of negative. Not bad for a first try, and we are grateful for the 2 families who came and participated as guinea pigs for us. One family wants to come back to help staff the next one. The other did a lot of growing and maturing as a new Christian in a single mom role.

Another American family with the same calling is coming March 1st to come alongside us for the next school, so we are excited about having a bigger team to lighten the load. We also want the next one to look very different in order to reduce as much stress as possible and to do a better job discipling families for a life of missions. Word has gotten around, and we are getting many requests for student applications. Fortunately, the next school is 8 months away, giving us time to recover and better prepare. During this time, the Skaines, our staff teammates, are also committed to see us eventually settled in France, and we are considering another foray over the channel during 40 Days of Fasting and Prayer for France this spring.

Wattie-s-Baked-Beans-in-Tomato-SauceAnd now a word from our sponsor – Heinz Baked Beans!

"Have any of you connected the Scots with baked beans -like the Irish with corned beef and cabbage?"

"Isn’t that an American food," you ask?

Surprise! Not only is it a major part of the traditional full English breakfast, (complementing your bacon, sausage and eggs) but it is also a popular light supper, spooned over toast with a side of french fries. Go on and have it for lunch as well! Indulge in a convenient frozen pizza with a baked bean topping from your freezer aisle! And start your babies off right with a jar of ‘Baked beans and bacon…’ at 4 months! Baked Beans: Are they part of your unbalanced diet?"

Angela: "Welcome back! We continue with our saga, leaving Stanely House behind and focusing on what goes on behind closed doors at 31 Limecraigs…

Here is what we are praising God for:RachelWithViolinTeacher

  • Rachel has started formal violin lessons with a wonderful Scottish gentlemen who comes to the house weekly. She is very motivated to progress quickly and it is a joy to listen to her practice without our nagging.
  • The children join us in our bed most mornings before breakfast for a family devotional time. We are reading through the very comprehensive and well-written Children’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos, that I enjoyed as a child. We start with a song, and end with prayer time for the day. Highly recommended by the parents and children!
  • LivingWordChurchFinding a church to attend that we really love, and having 2 lunch invitations and the pastor visit, within the first month!
  • No TV! I just got a revelation that TV and videos keep my kids "entertained and distracted by the world and what it values." 8 months later, I am thrilled to report that they do not know about or want the latest toy, play together lovingly and creatively most of the time (with a 7 yr. age span,) and consider reading a good book together the highlight of their day! We are now big fans of the prolific British children’s author, Dick King-Smith. You might know him as the author of Babe, The Sheep Pig. His series about a little girl named Sophie has been Noah’s biggest reason to conquer new words!
  • Some of you may know that it costs $150/yr. to legally watch basic TV (not cable!). (It’s called a "TV license," and quite accurately in our estimation; you ought to prove you’re a responsible citizen before using it due to all the porn!) Gov. officials are very suspicious of those who claim they don’t have a TV, so we’ve received our notice that an inspector will come to the house to verify. Stay tuned for the blow-by-blow next month!

And now our greatest struggles, i.e. prayer requests:

  • A.’s plagues: headaches and PMS, have heightened in severity on the mission field. The enemy knows how to keep me down – pray for the will to fight back!
  • Being together in a small space 21 hr. out of 24 everyday has made D. and A. less tolerant of each other. We are fighting this one on all fronts, but the hardest is saying, "No" to our fleshly desires and reactions, in order to treat each other with honor. (As an addendum, that Angela will cultivate more friends to unload on and get out of the house to have "girl fun" with.
  • Angela confronting her weaknesses in people skills and overcoming the fear of conflict, rejection, persecution, while deepening her dependence on God.

We close today’s program with these last two items:

A man with a family worship ministry on the Internet wanted some ideas from his newsletter readers, and I just sent him some ideas that we tried and liked during our school. God continues to give me creative ways to bring families together in worship. Here’s one for some of you to try out and give me feedback on!

Play the ABC word game as family worship: Person #1: "I worship God because He is Amazing." Person #2: "I worship God because He is Amazing and Beautiful!" etc.

I Thess. 1:16 in The Message Version reads: "So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech."

We are standing on this verse – pray it out on our behalf!

Love, Angela

France Outreach 2000 Finale

Greetings from dark-at-4pm Paisley!

We’re definitely back in the northern latitudes!

When we last left our “ragamuffin” band of families we were headed SOUTH…should’ve stayed down there! We left Matour and our visit of the Cluny Abby and our next stop was Bourg-St.-Andeol for an overnight stay. We learned first-hand just how narrow streets can be and still be “navigable” in old European towns. As we followed directions to the place we were staying, we surely thought we had made yet another navigation error (we are WAY used to that now!) since all there was, was this narrow alley that seemed to close in more and more (moving trash cans as we went just to get by). Low and behold…we had actually followed the directions correctly. Thankfully this was only one night!

Bourg-St-Andeol is 12 km from the southern France YWAM base we visited last year and we paid them a brief-but-good visit during our short time there. Then, the next day, we headed towards Nice…our final “real” destination.

We stayed in 3 “gîtes” during our time in France. The one near Nice was probably the only one that lived up to my “imagination” of what such “rustic”, and “culturally-representative” houses should be like. The one in Matour was a terrific accommodation but was basically a modern, 5 story dormitory building.

The town we stayed in, about 30 minutes from Nice, was called St. Jeannet. “Jeannet” was not some spiritual lady in France’s history. Rather, it refers to John the Baptist. St. Jeannet is a village on the side of a foothill/mountain in the Maritime Alps. This part of the French coast is a combination of a small amount of flat area near the river basins interspersed with mostly steep hills that jump right up from the coast and continue up to snow-capped peaks. These coastal, steep hills often are quite built up with houses practically on top of each other. St. Jeannet itself is an old and very picturesque village and very compact together as well.

We were there 6 nights and 5 days, including 1 free day. As was our custom in the entire trip, one of our team did research about where to visit and pray. In between getting lost and separated as a group, we visited and prayed at: * The promenade (the beach) * A high crest over-looking “old Nice” and the port on which are the ruins of the first church in Nice * A Roman ruin which exalted Caesar as god and overlooked Monaco * The Marc Chagall Museum which has 19 large murals from the Bible

On the free day the rest of the team drove into Italy and back and our family went to a mall in downtown Nice! Necessary…but I would have rather spent the day just sitting on the beach being soothed by the breaking waves and light-azure waters. Angela and I also had the opportunity to go to a local sacred choral music concert in St. Jeannet one night at the local church. It was a wonderful time for us. One of our deep desires is to worship (meaning with music specifically) in European cathedrals. This was close, in that it was sacred music resonating in an ancient French church…even though we weren’t singing it. Truly beautiful.

Our drive back concerned us in that it was basically 4 straight days of long drives punctuated by unpacking-sleeping-packing-going again. At this point in the outreach we were all feeling fatigue from the entire 6-week journey. It did not seem like a pleasant prospect. Due to this, we altered one of the stops…London, and decided on returning via a different route. This would be an overnight ferry from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Kingston-upon-Hull and had 3 advantages for us: a shorter drive from Paris; actually moving towards our destination while we slept; a shorter last day back into Paisley.

Our drives from Nice to Lyon and from Lyon to Paris were, thankfully, shorter than we had anticipated and the weather was not too bad either…but it definitely got colder when we went north! In Paris we had the delight to stay with the same family that hosted us the first time and they also hosted a “crépe party” for us at their church. The pastors wife probably made crépe’s for 3 hours straight! We then had a time of worship with their church and finally headed towards bed.

The drive to Zeebrugge was punctuated with getting lost and bad weather at the end and having to run around and find our last-minute reservations when we arrived at the pier. Though it frayed nerves and stomachs, it was par-for-the-course by this time and seems a distant memory now. We got on the boat in plenty of time and it really was a much better way to go on our way back…kind of like a one-night cruise…economy-class.

This was Thanksgiving Day for all of us Americans but there was little outward evidence of that (other than the nasty weather). Hot dogs on the boat in a baguette were good, but a poor substitute for turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie….and familiar faces back home. It wasn’t morose by any means, but I certainly felt a “quiet” in my heart as I contemplated home and the 21 people shoe-horned into my parents house that day.

The last day of our journey dawned bright and clear as we pulled into port in Merry Old England. We were driving on the left again so we had to concentrate a bit but understanding shopkeepers was a nice feeling to come back to. Kind of odd for us who have set up home here to land on “foreign soil” and have some measure of feeling “at home”…or at least “familiar” with my surroundings.

We literally drove east-to-west across England and were treated to lunch by some friends of ours whom we met in our Marriage Ministry days. They are the UK directors for MMI and, amazingly, offered to feed 19 hungry, weary travelers for lunch! Thankfully their house is much larger than ours and they could actually fit us comfortably. It was an ideal setup and a delightful time with some VERY gracious people…with one drawback…we didn’t want to leave and still had about 4 hours ahead of us!!! We reluctantly got back on the road and headed home. We managed to get separated from each other on a dark, rainy and busy highway and miraculously (thank God) got joined back up again. We even managed to make wrong turns once we got back to Paisley…quite comical by this point!

Well, we’re home now and finishing the school this week. We’ll send more about life post-school and what our near-term future holds later. This update was too much to digest already and I appreciate your patience. Still working on web site pictures. We’ll let you know when they are there…probably next week.

Happy Thanksgiving (late) and Merry Christmas (early)! David

France Outreach 2000 Update #3

Hello from Matour, France!

I’ve had (and am still having) some difficulty with Internet connectivity. I had something all set up to dial my ISP in Scotland just to download/upload e-mail via our long-distance calling card. It worked great halfway through Paris but then it stopped working. Because local calls cost money over here it was important that I had an arrangement that didn’t cost our hosts any money. This was such an arrangement. I’ve finally bought a calling card that facilitates the same thing and has a certain amount of minutes on it. It may actually be cheaper too. In our last stop, I had to go to an Internet café and fumble my fingers on a French-layout Mac keyboard to try and do e-mail…never again, hopefully!!! Anyway, I think I’m back on-line now!

Much has transpired since the 29th of October in Paris….duh…!

I’ll just do more of an overview to cover the last two weeks or so…

In addition to the prayer times we had during the day in Paris, on Halloween night (which is ONLY 4 years old as a “holiday” in France…imported from the good ol’ US of A), Angela had the opportunity to go with the pastor’s wife and daughters to an all night Halloween prayer and worship vigil. 500 people of all denominations gathered in a large Catholic church to worship and pray. Angela didn’t stay all night but what she was able to attend was powerful.

We finished the week in Paris with a time of sharing and praying for our hosts, Monika and Josef Berchtold. It was a very valuable time. They really opened their hearts to us and I feel that we got a good picture of what a great many of the pastors in France experience. In addition to our chance to pray for them, I think that one of the main reasons we were hooked up with them for that week was to more closely identify (as much as we COMPLETE outsiders could), with the circumstances and struggles of a typical pastor’s family (and what a wonderful family they are!)

From Paris, we drove north to Roubaix near Lille, to attend the Heart for France conference. This conference was put on by World Horizons, an international missions organization. The conference was primarily targeted towards people NOT from France who have a heart for France. There were a good number from the UK and the US, and everything was bilingual (speaking and worship) between English and French. World Horizons staffed the conference with a group from Iceland who were part of a school that they were running and they helped take care of our kids during morning sessions.

We stayed about a 5 minute walk from the church where the conference was being held in a budget hotel chain (shared bathrooms, etc.) It worked out well though as they were able to give us a wing all to ourselves with a door. That helped a lot since the “spirit” of the hotel was not exactly a family-friendly one. Fortunately, the conference staff agreed to feed all of us along with the other staff and that made our lives much easier.

Getting our clothes clean was hard enough! Laundromats here are stripped down: no change machines, no rolling baskets, 2 chairs, one big table, and lots of smoke. It took us an hour just to get there and round up the right change! It takes another hour to wash and dry, and another half hour to fold and sort the laundry of 5 different families! (You know you’re on outreach when you’re folding other people’s underwear!)

The conference itself was really outstanding for many of us on our team. There was fantastic revelation into what God is doing and wants to do in France. Each morning there was a time where the “French half” of the conference leaders shared several strategic prayer issues and we had a time of corporate prayer. This was great and confirmed much of what we had been sensing as well. There was worship every morning and night.

I say for “many of us” because some others on the team were experiencing some intense input from the Lord simultaneously with distractions of the spiritual environment of the area, that completely consumed their focus and made it difficult to “connect” with the conference. It was good for us to understand what each person was experiencing during this time and better accept our differing perspectives.

I was blessed to be able to join the worship team at the conference to do percussion. The conference was relatively small (about 200 people by the end) and the small worship team consisted of a wonderful, talented Irish guy, Ian McMaster on guitar, a French keyboard player and an American (living in Belgium) synth player. They were lacking a sound technician for a few days and put out a call for anyone who knew a “little” about sound. Since I barely qualified for that, and no other hands were raised, I foolishly raised my hand. I was able to turn the knobs but when it all started, it was MUCH more eventful than I expected. My hat is off to all sound technicians for their ability to work under that stress. Once they got a sound technician I played around on a djembe that was lying about and the worship leader asked me to join in on the team. It was wonderful fellowship between hearts and with music. A week of straight hand drumming was more than I’ve done before, however, so my hands were quite sore by the end.

The kids made worship streamers and enjoyed participating in worship with the other banner wavers. At one point, after people prayed on a huge map of France and lit small “tea candles” and placed them on the map, Olivia remained up there and waved her streamer while we continued worshiping. Several people said they were touched by her presence there. We’ll have that Kodak moment on the website as soon as we get back to Scotland! I’m excited by the new relationships started there with wonderful people from the UK, France, and the States.

The week was stressful for Angela and me as a couple. As has happened many times in the past, as I become more involved in something (worship activities, making contacts with people, etc.) there seems to come a separation between us. It becomes a perception from me that Angela’s not joining up with what’s happening and a perception from Angela that I’m abandoning her and the children. This causes inevitable strife between us until I finally get a clue and understand what is really going on. We’re still trying to overcome that week just a bit. It’s obvious to me that God continues to allow circumstances for us that put us into these reactions until we learn to NOT react in our usual ways. Life patterns of behavior are very hard to adjust…Help God!

We drove from Roubaix on Saturday to a gîte near Troyes for one night and then last night to Matour.

Today we drove through the gorgeous Burgundy countryside in the rain to tour a small winery. We wanted to buy the most recent vintage that they sold to use for a communion time at Cluny abbey, pouring out the remainder of the bottle on the ruins, symbolizing our desire for God to pour His “new wine” out on France. The Abbey in Cluny has a rich history in Europe. It was once one of the most powerful forces for reform and renewal in the church. It’s influence for God throughout Europe was significant. We prayed there for God to renew that flow of His Spirit in France and Europe. But the best part was that Noah and Olivia decided that they wanted to ask Jesus to live in their hearts right then and there. Until now, they’d had no desire. So standing in the rain (God’s baptism?), up on the ledge of a ruin, side-by-side, I led them in a prayer of salvation. We all clapped and then sang “I have decided to follow Jesus” before taking communion with them for the first time. This was an emotional and prophetic act for our family being that it occurred in France and in a place like Cluny. Ironically, this morning, I got up in a HUGE “funk”. I was good for NOTHING and yet God is so much bigger than my puny emotions. His eternal purposes stand regardless of my temporal purposes! He showed me that He can redeem any situation and use it for His Glory!

Tomorrow…an overnight stop and then on to Nice!

Bless you!