Our first month or so here in Normandie has been an incredible blessing! We are working with a small team to plant a church and serving a large population of refugees who are living homeless in the city. It has been amazing already to see what God is doing here and we are having a blast experiencing ministry as a family. Thank your for praying with us especially about our transition. In our last emails, we asked for prayer especially because renting a house was seeming nigh on impossible but...
We found a home!
After a couple months of disappointment in our house search, we have found a beautiful home to rent starting mid-August! The house is in a small village called Bénouville, between Caen and Ouistreham. It is about 15 minutes to Keys & Co, and 10 minutes to the beach on the English Channel or La Manche as it is called here! The village is famous for Pegasus Bridge, any World War II buffs will know the significance, but it is the first place to be liberated in France, just before the D-Day invasion. The house is amazing and perfect for our family (and guests!). We move in August 16th, so that means three more months out at Béthanie, but that also means we get to be a part of all the summer groups that are coming (more on that later!).
Thank you so much for your prayers for us to find a home. We really felt that after we asked for prayer on our last email and on facebook, that the doors were flung open to us! Your prayers are powerful! After three years of living in transition, a home for our family will be such a blessing and we couldn't have made it without you! We will post plenty of pictures when we move in a few months, so stay tuned and start planning your visits!
We just want to praise the Lord that our kids have not been sick, but once, since we have moved to Normandie. This is a significant change for us and we could not be more grateful to have kids that are thriving! It could be the countryside, it could be the fact that the kids aren't in school, perhaps a combination of the two, but it has been a relief for us as a family. So thank you again for your prayers for our family's health!
Our move to Normandie has meant that we are starting to engage in our new church environment and that means we are leading worship regularly in French and English! It has been wonderful for us to worship together as a family and with the Bless Network. The kids are learning to participate during the sung worship times, sometimes singing, playing drums, taking pictures (like the one above!) or dancing.
Along with our church gatherings on Sundays, we have recently led worship for Blesstival, which was a four-day, international gathering at the brand new campsite L'Orangerie de Beauregard near Tours, France. We were so blessed to be able to participate in the grand opening of this campsite that has been three years in the making! Over 120 French neighbors, including the Mayor and a regional representative were at the opening ceremony. This endeavor is a part of creating spaces where people can encounter God and meet devoted believers, who are working to bless the community around them. Check out the campsite here: www.orangeriedebeauregard.com
Some of you may remember the story we told about singing in churches in the Loire Valley on a holiday 10 years ago, before we knew what God was really doing to bring us to France as missionaries. And now, to lead worship at a gathering in the Loire Valley after a decade of praying, working, traveling, and growing, was really quite special for us. We are so grateful for what God is doing and how he has brought us to this point where we are doing the very thing he put in our hearts all those years ago.
We are keeping busy this summer with several groups coming through Bethanie, (including some of our friends from the Gate Community Church in Nashville!). We will be leading worship and helping host these groups while we live out in Livarot. We are also traveling to Germany in July for a first-term missionary retreat with GEM and to Slovenia in August for GEM's Annual Conference. We will continue to lead worship at the weekly church gatherings in Caen and at Béthanie, and help out with SOS Chai when we can!
The kids have not been in school since we left Massy. We are seeing these months as an opportunity to spend good time with them before the twins start first grade in the autumn. Silas will be attending a bi-lingual Montessori kindergarten next year, which we are hoping will help him enjoy school and speaking french (which would be a contrast to when we were in Massy where he dreaded school). It means our days are full, looking after all four of our littles and trying to get a few things done as we go along.
Please join us in prayer for the church plant in Caen, for the refugee ministry, and for our families travel and settling this summer. Here are a couple of specific points for prayer:
- Please pray for wisdom as we plan and pray over the summer for church growth, we are currently meeting 2x a month at a wonderful coffeeshop called Keys and Co. We'd like to expand to meeting weekly and we may soon need an additional or larger venue.
- The numbers fluctuate but there are between 40 and 120 refugees who are served a hot meal by SOS Chai 2x a week. Even more importantly the team is demonstrating God's love and setting up a loving community space in a rather dire environment. A specific prayer for this area is for wisdom to know where to begin in ministering to a large number of women who are trafficked right by where we serve the refugees.
- Please pray in advance for our new neighborhood in Bénouville, we know that God prepares work to join Him in, in advance. We would love to begin having a group including not yet believers meeting in our home in the coming year.
Merci Beaucoup! We are so grateful for you continued prayers and support! We are full of praise and thanksgiving to our God who is good and gracious beyond measure!
Sending love from Normandie,