Bonjour Nos Amis! We hope you are having a good start to the summer! It is hard to believe that we’ve been living at Béthanie for three months now! In some ways the time has flown by, as we’ve started to serve on the church planting team in Caen, at the same time, we can’t wait to move into the rental house God has provided in Bénouville on the outskirts of the city. We’ve been reflecting on the fact that this move will mark the first time in the past 3 years that we will be moving into a home without the set expectation that we will be moving again before a year is up. What an incredible way to learn about God’s faithfulness and watch the way He cares for us in community. We have been overwhelmed again and again at the support we’ve had in this journey, Thank you for being with us along the way and what a joy to be seeing God at work in France!
Preparing for Caen
Over the past few months, we have been getting to know Normandy better. House hunting helped the process! We have visited nearby towns, explored the beaches and stormed William the Conqueror’s castles. We are starting to familiarize ourselves with where we will be living come August 16th(!!!!!), our little village Bénouville! We are beyond excited to get into our rental home where we plan to stay put for a little while. We are even preparing to ship our belongings overseas after a year and a half in storage! Is it possible to breathe a sigh of relief and jump up and down with excitement?
We also had the opportunity to visit the local school in Bénouville and we had a wonderful experience with the head teacher. She spent an hour with us and all the kids, taking us on a thorough visit of the both the elementary school and preschool. We were very impressed and had a real peace about the kids attending school there. So much so that we have decided to send Silas there as well instead of the Montessori school in Caen. We do believe that he will do well in this new environment, with his brothers close by and walking distance from home! We are excited to get involved in our little community and start our weekly rhythms together in the fall.
Contributing to the Bless Team
It has been great to have this extra time at Béthanie to get to know the Bless Team and understand our role better. We are leading worship weekly at the church plant that meets in Caen and at Béthanie, and we are exploring ways on how to do this as a family. We have helped a bit with SOS Chai and serving the Refugee Boys, with the kids along with us. They love to play games with them, I literally had to drag Reuben away the other week! We are helping with groups and visitors who come to Béthanie with worship leading, building relationships, prayer, and prepping the site, cooking and cleaning. We love working with this small but dedicated group of people, we feel truly blessed to be a part of it all!
Though being at Béthanie has it’s obvious peaceful benefits (cows for neighbors, glowing sunsets, green grass and wildflowers), it has been a busy season of ministry, not to mention hanging out with the kiddos 24/7 and contributing to the upkeep and improvement of Béthanie. Since our arrival, we have helped to: refurbish the community kitchen, put a window in the prayer room, hang a gallery wall in the gathering space, repurpose a ruined building on the property into a patio/BBQ, water flowers, plant an herb garden, launder the linens from guests who come to visit, and do lots of weeding, cleaning and runs to the local déchetterie (trash dump). It is great to be able to a part of this community and be able to be on-site to help make a mark on this very special place in the Normandy country side.
July and August will be busy months for us as starting July 6th, we are traveling to the Black Forest in Germany for GEM’s First-termer’s Retreat. We will be there with other first-time missionaries who have recently (the past year or two) arrived to the field. We are looking forward to seeing friends from GEM who are in the same boat as us and also we are excited to have our children be with other MK’s and benefit from some child care!
We have friends The Halls (from The Gate Community Church in Nashville) here for a visit and they are leading worship for a Bless event called ‘Bootcamp'. When we return from Germany on the July 15th, we will spend a few days at Béthanie with them and then all of us are going down to Villedômer to the L’Orangerie de Beauregard campsite (part of the Bless Network) to meet up with the students from the Bootcamp. We are going to put on a little concert at the campsite for the locals and the guests with the Ryan and Karen Hall and lead worship together at church the next day.
We will be back at Béthanie for one week, then we fly to GEM’s Annual Conference in Slovenia from July 30th to August 5th. This is a gathering of all the missionaries and staff of GEM for training, sharing vision, and family fellowship. We are so excited to be going back to the same place last year and see friends from all over Europe and North America in the same place!
After having such a crazy summer last year with very little rest built in before school started, we made family holiday plans early this year and booked a week away in Brittany, from August 8th to the 15th. When we return from this time of needed rest, we will pick up a moving truck and move into our new rental home on August 16th!!! We will then have two weeks to unpack and sort out some furniture before school starts for the boys and then we are off to the races!
Pray for Us
- Pray for stamina and safety as we travel all over Europe this summer.
- Pray for the ministry opportunities that we have through Bless and GEM, particularly the church plants in Villedômer, Béthanie, and Caen.
- Pray for Reuben, Eli, Silas, and Elodie as we spend the summer on the road, and prepare for the Rentrée (start of classes) after the long summer.
Thank you friends and family for being with us as we get settled and minister in France. We love you and so appreciate your support and prayers for our family. We pray that you all have peaceful, restful, fun and fantastic summer.