Bonjour tout le monde,
We hope that you all are feeling the spring in the air and the hope of a new season coming! Eli is learning to walk again and we are starting to take steps back into active ministry in Normandy. God is weaving together an amazing work here in Caen and we are so excited to be a part of it! But first we want to talk about our…
Upcoming Trip to America!
We leave for the United States this Wednesday (eeek!) for a three-week visit. It will be almost two years to the day since we moved to France to make it our home. We will be in the States from April 3-23, first in Nashville for two weeks to see friends and Tom’s family, then in Arkansas for a week to see Joanna’s family.
When we are in the USA, we would love to see as many of you as possible! If you are in the area, we have several opportunities for you to attend and find out more about what God is doing in France, plus we get to see you in person and give you a good ol’ fashioned American HUG! Please take a look at the events below and let us know (by responding to this email) if you can attend or if we can find another time to connect during our trip!
Appels in USA - Events
Sunday April 7 - Appels at the Gate Sunday morning (10:30am)
Friday April 12th - Coffee and Dessert reception at the Gate at 7pm
Sunday April 14 - Appels at the Gate Sunday morning (10:30am)
Sunday April 14 - Open House at the Hayners’ Home
(8205 Morningview Ct., Brentwood, TN 37027)
3-6 pm with an informal presentation at 4pm
Sunday April 21 - Appels at Pee Dee Baptist Church, Clinton AR (11:00am)
These times would also be a great opportunity for us to meet new people who are interested in what God is doing in France. Please feel free to connect us!
Jumelage de Caen et Nashville
A significant door of opportunity has opened up for us in Caen due to the fact that Caen is jumelée (twinned) with Nashville. (www.caennashville.com)
SHORT HISTORY LESSON:
The twinning of cities, “jumelage” in French, is an important relationship in Europe as it encourages cultural exchange and economic advantages for both cities. This practice started in 836 between two cities (Le Mans, France and Paderborn, Germany), but has grown in importance following the end of WWII. Most cities in France are twinned with at least one city or village in another country.
In Caen, there is an office of jumelage at city hall and there is funding available for twinning activities. We had no idea that Caen was twinned with our home city in the US until we arrived here and saw the signs that proudly declare this connection along most roads leading into the city.
After some time trying to connect with folks on this jumelage committee, Tom was invited to lunch with Sebastian, who directs the Caen/Nashville twining for the city of Caen. Over a typical French business lunch (2 hour/three course meal) it became clear that Sebastian and the committee are so excited to have Nashvillians who love France, living in Caen! They have invited Tom to join the committee and to consider taking on the role of Secretary of Music for the twinning committee. These are early days but there are some exciting possibilities for bringing teams from Nashville including musicians to visit Caen and share some of our culture. Tom was able to be very open with Sebastian about being a Christian pastor and that many of our friends are Christian musicians. He responded: "Bien Sûr - vous êtes de Nashville!" (of course you are from Nashville!)
All this to say, it seems like there is a very real possibility of putting on a concert of worship or Christian music with the approval and funding of the French state - all because they see Christianity as part of Nashville culture - amazing!! God is opening doors to the city of Caen!
‘One Voice’ Summit
I (Tom) have just returned from a wonderful time at the Messenger Fellowship Summit in Nashville. It was great to connect with friends and family in the Nashville area (only briefly this time, but the whole family is coming soon!). The Messenger Summit was a time for Tom to be with other pastors and leaders from around the world who are connected with Messenger Fellowship, the network of churches and leaders with whom Tom is ordained.
It was encouraging not only to swap stories of what God is doing in different settings and hear some excellent teaching, but also to be part of a growing French contingent who are part of Messenger Fellowship. Tom was able to do some French-English translating, leading worship in French and hosting of French pastors visiting the conference! Tom also spoke at the conference and was able to introduce Gerard Kelly (Bless Network in Caen, our supervisor!) to our networks in Messenger Fellowship. It was a very encouraging time for Tom to build relationships and see old friends and family in the USA.
Our Trip to USA - safe travels, good flights, good attitudes, and protection! Pray for our times connecting with family and friends that we have not seen in a long time! Pray for good opportunities to share about what God is doing in France with our current partners and new ones too!
Healing for Eli - Eli is in physical therapy and is slowly getting back on his feet. We will be traveling with a wheel chair and hoping to continue making progress towards walking while we are away in the states
Caen Church - we are seeing some momentum around music events and our church meetings and imagining the ways these might fit together in the city. The Bless team is praying about renting a space in Caen to have as a prayer and worship space. Please join us in prayer for the right location and the funds to rent it!
Nous sommes reconnaissants…
We always like to end with thanks because when we get to the end of writing these updates, we are always so grateful for what God has done and is doing. We are aware of your big part in this work here, that your prayer and support makes it possible! Thank you for partnering with us!
Praying God’s amazing love, peace and blessing upon you,