Greetings from Sunny Texas! We mean very sunny—it’s hot down here! Thank you so much for praying with us and coming along on this journey towards France. In case you are scratching your chin and thinking, France and the Appels, hmm… yes, I remember something about that... You can catch up on backstory by reading our first blog post, here.
Life in Texas
We are so thankful for God’s grace as we have transitioned to life in Texas. It’s amazing to watch our sons grow in confidence and continue to develop their unique identities. Joanna was just encouraged by the Influence Conference (a gathering of Christian women in Indianapolis who are bloggers and writers). Tom has started into his final fall semester at Bethany Seminary and Joanna started working part-time at Starbucks. We are also thankful for the conversations and reconnections we are getting to have with so many of you, our family and friends, as we get ready for our vision trip to France in October.
In explaining his travel plans to his friends in a letter, the Apostle Paul gives this reason for staying a while longer in Ephesus: “for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9). At the moment, we are seeing a lot of potential open doors for us to join in what God is doing in France. We also know that wherever we land there will be opposition. France is a challenging field, but rather than going in spite of that, we feel called not only because of the open doors, but because of the hard and meaningful work ahead.
We would love it if you folks would join us in praying for wisdom and discernment about these three potential places of partnership for us in France:
Greater Europe Mission
GEM is our sending agency and we are excited to meet with Charles Cross, the France field leader, as well as other city leaders to talk and pray about what God is doing and how we might fit. A possibility with GEM is jumping in as “city strategists”. In this role, we would lead a team of church planting missionaries to reach a specific city/area. Particularly, we desire prayer about where this might be.
We had the privilege of meeting Gerard and Chrissie Kelly, the leaders of Bless Network, earlier this year when they were visiting Colorado. We resonate strongly with their heart and their artistic approach to evangelism. We will be visiting their ministry base at Bethanie, which in near Caen in Normandy. Please pray for discernment about what this partnership might look like. We could imagine landing in Caen and developing a city strategy with GEM, with partnership from Bless.
Messenger Fellowship and The Gate
The Gate was our home church in Nashville and we are going to visit them the first weekend in October (that’s right Nashville friends, we’ll be in town for a quick weekend, so please message if you want to connect!). Messenger Fellowship is a network of churches that has leadership at the Gate. There are several churches in Europe who, because of developing relationship with Messenger are wanting to form a network of churches in Europe. We are in conversation with Steve Fry, the pastor at the Gate and leader of Messenger Fellowship, about how our call to France might relate to what God is doing with these churches in Europe.
There may be ways that we can work with all of these lovely people, or we may end up more focused with one ministry. Please pray, not only for our discernment, but also for the leaders of the ministries already on the ground in France as they think about what in the world to do with us :).
Ok, that’s quite a lot. What a blessing to have so many potential partnerships before we’ve even gone over to meet people face-to-face! Thank you so much for joining us in prayer. We are so grateful for YOU! Please let us know what’s going on in your lives. What doors are open at the moment, and what seems to be closing? How can we pray with you?