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”)


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Agoraphobia, acrophobia, claustrophobia, arachnophobia…hmmm…No, can’t find it. I’ll have to make it up. PhoneNumberPhobia. Have you ever been afraid of your own phone number? Yeah, me neither. At least not until now…in French! “Come on”, you say, “it’s just numbers. You learn 0-9 pretty early on in a new language!” Well, that would work if, in France, one just used 0-9 when saying a phone number.

Here’s how it works…

The French phone number is five pairs of digits and one says each pair as it represents one number. Add to that the method of representing the digits 70-99 and it can get pretty squirrelly for a poor foreigner such as I! 70 literally translates as “sixty-ten” and goes on to “sixty-eleven”, etc. 80 translates into “four-twenty” and 90 into “four-twenty-ten” This continues on up to “four-twenty-nineteen” (99) until the sanity resumes at 100, “cent”. Even Belgian French doesn’t put up with this tom-foolery from what I understand! ;c)

So, our phone number is: and one says “zero-four”, “seventy-nine” (excuse me, “sixty-nineteen”), etc. So, knowing your individual numbers is not nearly enough for everyday life here. Angela made a sign on our bulletin board with our number written out in words, and when I listen to a phone message, I have to listen to it about five times to make sure I get the number right!

These sorts of cultural/language challenges permeate our life right now. Even Olivia plays “Tomato-Tomato-Ketchup” instead of “Duck-Duck-Goose” on the playground at school, and translation between French and English is filled with words that are spelled the same but have subtly different, or even completely different meanings. They call these “faux amis”…literally “false friends”…and they can really lead you astray when you’re trying to understand or say something! For an idea of what an English-speaking French student is up against, check out the following compendium of “faux amis” here:

My French professor here, continually tells us to put translating behind us and try and think and speak in French all the time. That certainly works with numbers. In the end, it’s much easier to just associate the French words with 73 or 95 than to repeat the mental gymnastics listed above! And, if we don’t know an exact word, we’re encouraged to “find our way” with the vocabulary we know instead of continually looking up words in the dictionary. Translating back and forth is full of pitfalls and, while it gives us a start and is sometimes necessary, it is also a hindrance to really communicating.

As a fun exercise (which many of you have already done), you can see the pitfalls of “automated translating” by taking a bit of text in English (a poem, a song, etc.) and running it through one of the several internet-based translation pages (e.g. Select to translate it from, say, English into French. Then take the translated text and select to translate it back into English. What comes back can be quite hilarious and maybe even complete nonsense!

You may think I’m leading up to some profound spiritual point from this. Sorry…nothing profound yet. But, for us there is much translating from old to new in our life. We have the new phone number and address, of course. The kids each have a new school (and Noah’s situation has not been very effective for him so he may have another new class in January!). We think we’ve finally found a new church home (in Annecy, a 45 minute picturesque drive). Grocery shopping is a new experience with new store hours (What, it’s not always open?!) and new food choices (365 different cheeses and we can’t find cheddar or mozzarella?!). And finally, if we progress satisfactorily, we will eventually have a new language! The list goes on and on… I think if we can begin to put “translating old to new” behind us and start living more naturally in our new French world, we will be making some positive, stress-reducing steps.

Speaking of stress, right now we’re in the middle of our much-needed Christmas break. Even in this break though, we quickly remember that we’ve not had a Christmas that we’re used to in 3 years. I think that right about now, we’re dreaming of future French Christmas seasons in a house big enough to have a decent Christmas tree and maybe a fireplace (Noah mentions that each time we talk about a house in France!) Our poor little “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” was pretty cramped in this apartment. ;c)

But, one thing we’ve managed to get done during this break is to finally get some new pictures up on our web site. Check out for the latest stuff (be warned, it’s fairly complete and has a goodly amount of pictures that are more “grandparent-targeted”!)

Until next time, may God truly bless YOU!


P.S. – Several people have e-mailed wanting our address in France. Here it is and here is a tip as well. You can always find ways to contact us (addresses, phone numbers, etc.) on our web site on our Contact Us page:

50 Chemin des Galibouds

73200 Albertville


French Culture Shock – Happy Armistice Day!

– Americans consider holidays from school and work a time to catch up on shopping. The French believe that shopkeepers deserve the day off as well, so nothing is open. Not even a grocery store. It would be a lovely day for a drive into the mountains, or a walk to the medieval fortress nearby, but it is raining. So we sit huddled around the laptop…a perfect day to write our newsletter! We desperately wish we could show you some photos, but we are still waiting for our desktop to be delivered from Scotland. We’re hoping to have it and other missed necessities next weekend.

– Even though today is a school break, Noah is supposed to go to the war memorial in front of his school to sing and quote poems in honor of the dead. However, it is raining. Is it still on? You’ve heard of “Moms In Touch?” (mothers who gather to pray for their school, kids, and teachers) I call us here “Moms Without a Clue.” Because it is such a cultural event, I just sent David and the kids over with the digital camera to check it out, and we got the time wrong and just missed the performance. But there was a good turnout with champagne, wine, and snacks for the kids afterwards under a canopy!

– School fundraising is as necessary here as in the States, but we were a little surprised when Olivia brought home 6 “scratch and win” lotto tickets for us to buy. Have they stooped this low in the States? I claimed unemployment, and sent them back unscratched, hoping the teacher wouldn’t hold it against me or Olivia.

– I have not seen the inside of Rachel’s Jr. high, nor met a single teacher. I guess we missed Back To School night, arriving late. Like all kids, she has great days and tough days, and we enjoy long talks together about all she is learning. We were hoping she would continue her violin studies, but this town is small and the demand is high, so there is not a single opening available. She has written an essay about her first month here, and you can read it on her web page:

– I spend hours translating letters and notices sent home from school…such a good source of new vocabulary! Did you know that “étiquette” means “label,” and not good manners? Yikes! Noah copies long French poems that the teachers would like him to try and memorize. Between his inaccurate copying skills, in-progress French handwriting, and the complex imagery of poetry, I have a hard time getting the gist, let alone explaining it to him!

– As I write, David is defrosting frog legs for lunch. (We notice that they came from Indonesia.) One entire shelf of my fridge is filled with multiple cream and yogurt-type products, our new milk-replacement diet. You see, a half-gallon of milk costs over 2 dollars, and skim milk doesn’t even exist. Most French use cheaper UHT, boxed milk, but our tastes buds can’t tolerate it, so we use it for cooking. The children have happily adopted the French breakfast tradition of a big bowl (not a mug) of hot chocolate to start the day. But before you become alarmed, let me tell you that this chocolate mix has some secret ingredients: malted wheat, barley, bananas and honey. And according to the box, if you add a glass of juice and a piece of buttered French bread, you have a very healthy breakfast! We add a fried egg for good measure, and Olivia complains that she is too full most mornings!

– We’ve had a couple of culture shockers at the local shopping center. They are like a Super Wal-Mart with a long indoor corridor along the front, lined with additional boutiques, restaurants, dry-cleaners, shoe repair, etc. So we’re in the middle of this modern facility, and decide to go to the bathroom. What a surprise to discover they were nothing more than ceramic holes in the floor that you squat over (we were ready for these in older, smaller establishments, and in older highway rest areas.) The other moment was probably our most amusing/humiliating public linguistic experience to date. We were just walking in when a saleslady approached us and greeted us with a question. We understood her and simply responded “Oui”. With only that response to go on, she suddenly got this troubled look on her face and asked if we were foreigners. Another “Oui” from us. She then apologized for bothering us. This was all in French. Then to add icing to the cake, she said “Sorry”, in English, and sent us on our way. Kind of disheartening!

– We had the rare privilege of attending a worship event on the Mediterranean coast with our favorite Canadian worship leader, Brian Doerksen, who was touring Europe to encourage native worship leaders to write their own songs, and not just translate English ones. I’m sure he would draw at least a thousand people in the States. Here, he was in a small church wedged in an industrial zone and attendance was probably 200 maximum. But it was powerful, and so wonderful to worship in an intimate setting and feel God’s presence so strongly. I took the kids to a pool during the afternoon while David attended song-writing workshop. For some reason, the French consider swim trunks unsanitary, and demand that all men and boys wear the Speedo bikinis. (David has declared his swimming days officially over.) A sweet French girl named Deborah took a liking to Olivia, and she hung around with us for the entire visit, chatting away and using me as a translator for Olivia. I decided right then that my real conversational comfort zone is at an 8 yr. old level!

– Halloween was imported here about 4 years ago, and they are still educating the public about its origins and how to celebrate like the Americans. One store flyer read that after trick or treating, the children gather to sing and dance into the evening! The Korean student family here cannot fathom why people would want to decorate their yards with big orange gourds! On Halloween night, we didn’t expect any visitors because you have to get buzzed in to enter our building, and I didn’t think any of the other families were celebrating either, so they wouldn’t be letting anyone in. Well, someone knocked on the door, and I opened it to find 2 kids that were well-disguised, and one said, “Trick or Treat.” Since they spoke in English, I thought they were student’s kids, perhaps from one of the families that lived off-campus. I had nothing to give them, and kept asking them to tell me who they were, and how they got in, but they just stood there mute. The eyes peering through the white sheet seemed to get a little wider as I kept I kept demanding more information. So I finally just shut the door on them, realizing too late that they probably were French, and didn’t understand a word I said! Everyone told them that this was an American holiday, so why wasn’t this American cooperating?

Until next month!



A Week Under Our Belts!

Our journey went smoothly and lots of husbands/fathers from the other student families greeted us last Saturday when we pulled up to help unload the car. There are about 15 Christian families living here and they have been wonderfully warm and helpful, making our delayed arrival go much easier. Most of them are heading to northern Africa – brave souls! Our children quickly made friends as all the school-age children are American. There is a lovely spirit of camaraderie here that is keeping us afloat during our adjustment time.

Our apartment is rather Spartan – no dressers, no bathtub, no small kitchen appliances, no carpeting. But we do have 3 showers and 2 toilets! We’re waiting on our phone hook-up this week and then our internet activity will be more normal. Now we’re going to another building to do our emailing.

The views out our windows and around the school are like looking at postcards! We seem surrounded by tall mountains covered with trees peaking with autumn colors, and dotted with chalets. There are some nice places in the town (about 20,000 people) but the really incredible beauty is all God-made.

Our long school days have been tiring for us as home-schoolers. The two younger children have finished their first week in a regular classroom, being pulled out for an hour each day for French. The teachers are strict, and not very welcoming, but the children seem to be holding up well. We are glad they come back to us for lunch so that we can touch base during the day! Our six yr. old Olivia can already read several French words with a perfect accent! 8 yr. Old Noah enjoyed helping teach English to the French kids today – a welcome about-face! They will take part in lots of other activities during school like clowning, skiing, ice skating, mountain hikes and climbs, attending films, and exploring the arts.

Our 13 yr. Old Rachel has the easiest schedule and studies only French with an hour of math per week. She is being challenged socially, rather than intellectually at the moment. David is enjoying his class immensely and can tell a big difference in his speaking ability already. Angela is being challenged to change ingrained patterns of speaking French as she takes on more complex grammar rules. It is hard to find time to study with school ending at 4:30 and then giving all the children quality time, homework time, tea time, and bedtime!! We are already grateful for the French school schedule that gives you Wednesdays off!

We will attend church on Sunday for the first time here, and have several good choices…relatively a lot for a French town but some of the other Americans here can’t believe how few there are. Most of our spare time this week has been spent filling out forms, and we are eager to start exploring this beautiful town!

Blessings to all of you,

Angela and David

Leaving Paisley!


…we’re leaving! Those of you who only know of our activities via this newsletter may be surprised to hear that I’m typing this in our house in Paisley, Scotland right now. Yes, our visas (specifically the kids’ visas) were not ready at the French Consulate until today!It’s been an up-and-down wait for us and we’re very ready to get on a roller-coaster that actually goes somewhere!

I’d give you a rundown of our activities while waiting, but, frankly…it’s pretty boring. Instead here’s our itinerary for the next several days:

Wednesday:Pick up passports in Edinburgh and pack!

Thursday:Load up, drive to Edinburgh (again) and get on an overnight (17-18 hours) ferry to Zeebrugge, Belgium

Friday:Drive to Paris

Saturday:Drive to Albertville

Sunday:Unpack and strap in!

Monday:Launch into life in France!

I think it’s finally safe to say that our next correspondence will come from France!

Umm…excuse me…I have some packing to do! Talk with you soon!


Impatient in Paisley…

Hi Everyone!

If getting to France feels like waiting for a baby to be born, today would have been the due date! Yes, we are reassured that we will get official permission to come and study, but there have been unexplainable delays in getting the official stamp from Paris back to our official in Edinburgh. Fortunately, the school reassures us that it is no problem to start a week late, but I ache for the kids having to start behind everyone else.

But the delay has given us the kind of time we needed to re-create our family website, and also to make it easier to keep updated. It’s amazing how quickly a site can get stale! Rachel created much of the kid’s pages, and I’ve asked her to write a short essay on her page each month to give everyone her perspective of this coming year. Olivia’s page will include her art because she draws on a daily basis! Noah will stick with photos, so have a look!

(Unfortunately, we changed web hosting companies as well and right now access to our site is, as they say here, “a bit dodgy” due to problems that company is having! – David)

We’ve also had the time to properly celebrate our 16th anniversary, and David passing his UK driving test!!!So last Sunday we made a last minute booking at a B&B on the Isle of Arran, (an hour by car to the coast followed by an hour-long ferry ride.) God gifted us with great weather, fabulous meals, and we even got the chance to see large seals up close, lounging on the beach rocks!

Finally, we offer a little brain teaser for our American readers to commemorate leaving the world of British English. David and I realize how helpful it will be to have this vocabulary because the rest of the world learns British as a second language, rather than American. Good French-English dictionaries are also based on British usage. We are empowered! (And you thought we hadn’t started language school yet!)

So “go on,” we dare you to translate these phrases listed from easiest to hardest! (answers follow)

1.Whilst she played with Lego, I did maths, and tucked into a fairy cake.

2.After being made redundant, he was arrested for drink-driving at the kerb.

3.“That’s you,” said the barber after trimming my fringe.

4.The joiner found a cashpoint when the till refused his switch card.

5.After a day of DIY, I was shattered, and scheduled a lie-in in my diary.

6.(Grocery ad) Stop Press! Slimming? Courgettes and mangetout on sale today!

1.While she played with Legos, I did math and ate a cupcake.

2.After being layed-off, he was arrested for drunk-driving at the curb.

3.“You’re all done”, said the barber after trimming my bangs.

4.The carpenter found an ATM when the register refused his debit card.

5.After a day of (Do It Yourself) home repair, I was exhausted and scheduled a day in bed in my day-timer.

6.Stop the presses! On a diet? Zucchini and snowpeas (borrowing from French) on sale today!


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


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:

(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,

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:

See you soon!
Angela and David

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