Hello Dear Friends!
Can you believe it is mid-october already?!? Time is flying swiftly by as we settle into new rhythms, new schools and community! We’ve just been shooting a video update to send back to you (coming in November) and this process has reminded us of all that God is accomplishing here in France. To prepare to make this video, we looked back at a video update we sent out about a year ago. As we watched Tom and Joanna from last year talk about our big goals and dreams, it suddenly dawned on us that all of these goals have been completed, most of them being fully realized in the past couple of months! Thank you for praying with us; we are so encouraged by what God is doing!
What’s Been Going On:
The boys have made a great start at our local school. At the end of each school day we ask them how their day has been. Silas nearly always responds: “It was great!”. Joanna was invited to come and read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” in English to his class the other day. Being the “la famille américaine” has opened doors for us to meet people and have conversations with parents. It is great to have open doors and invitation at the boy’s school. Elodie is adjusting to her brother’s being gone, but she is enjoying the extra time with us to herself!
S.O.S Chai Donations Arrived!
We are also continuing to work with the large community of homeless refugees in Caen. A huge thank you to the Gate Church for gathering clothes, sleeping bags, and bikes for us to give to these lads. Our shipping container (which was supposed to take 8-12 weeks in transit) arrived in 4 weeks and we’ve been able to distribute a majority of the clothes and warm things very quickly. The boys we work with are so grateful to have something warm as the weather is beginning to turn. Thank you!
Church in Our Home
We are coming up on our second month of hosting church at our home. We are leading a family oriented service with La Famille Grison (in the picture above), and we meet here once a month at the moment. Our first meeting in September was a big encouragement. We had an amazing all age time of worship and prayer, followed by a prayer walk (in the pouring rain!) to Pegasus Bridge – the very first place liberated in France the night before D-Day. Then we shared a big meal of BBQ chicken around our table. Génial!
We are also hosting a weekly home group Bible study. We are loving the opportunity to invite people in to our home especially because it is one of the easiest places for us to be family on mission. Our kids are gifted worshippers and love being church all together.
Making Connections in the Community
We’ve also had a lot of opportunity to engage with our neighbors. We’ve joined several associations (clubs) which are great fun for the kids but also a fantastic chance for Tom and Joanna to meet and talk with French neighbors. Eli is doing a Karate class, Reuben is doing gym (which we call ‘ninja warroir club’), Silas is in a tennis class and Joanna is doing a new art class (see the sketch above done during a study of drawing hands!) We’ve even had our first French neighbor come for a visit with her kids. This might not sound like a big deal – but it is in France where relationships tend to develop at a slower pace. It feels like God has pushed down the accelerator for us our first couple of months in Bénouville.
What’s coming up:
Visiting the UK
This weekend is the beginning of a two-week school holiday here in France. We are heading to the UK on the ferry this Saturday for a visit to our church and friends. This will be the first time Tom and the kids have left continental Europe since moving to France!
We’ll be at Christ Church Chorleywood for all three services this coming Sunday October 21st. If you live nearby we would love to see you! There will also be a bring and share lunch at Christ Church following the 10:30 service.
With all the moving and settling and good things that are happening, we haven’t been able to plan our time in the UK as well as we would like. If you would like to connect while we are there, we would love to see you. Please email us and we can set up a time.
GEM Field Retreat
The second week of the school break we will be driving to Camp Des Cimes in the Alps, east of Grenoble, for the Annual GEM France Field Retreat. This is a great time for us to connect with other missionaries working all over France and especially good for our kiddos, to be with friends who are going through similar things adapting to life as an missionary kid. Please pray for safe travels as it is a long drive and pray for good times of rest for our family while we are there.
We are also planning a big Thanksgiving feast at our house next month where we are inviting the whole church and some new friends. This is a great opportunity to connect with people and introduce them to the community. Please be praying with us for our not yet believing neighbors who may come.
In the midst of all these good things, we are, perhaps predictably, feeling a bit tired. Please pray for energy and wisdom in our scheduling.
Please pray for us as we continue to settle into our house. Even though we have had many visitors, we still have many boxes to unpack.
Please pray that God would grow His church here in Caen.
We are also praying for open doors with the local Catholic church, we feel a particular burden to find a way to pray in the church that is very near our home, where there is not a regular congregation.
Thank you so much for being with us over here in France. What a joy to be here at the beginning of new church, new life, and new relationship. Thank you for walking with us along the way.