Vision Trip

Hello Friends! Autumn is upon us and while we haven’t pulled out the warm sweaters here in Texas yet, we are enjoying pumpkin-spiced everything. This season is exciting for us especially because we are finally heading to France for our vision trip! In just a couple days!!!! 

What is a 'Vision Trip'?

We’re glad you asked. A vision trip is basically a chance to experience cross cultural ministry in a variety of settings in France. We’ll meet with people on the ground and see in person what God is doing in France. For a year and a half now we’ve been cultivating a vision for what sort of ministry God would have our family do in France. We are praying that this three week trip will be a huge step in gaining clarity on questions like where, what, and how, and will continue to stir up our hearts with God’s love for His people in France.   

What can YOU do?

Pray with us! This is not a small life change we are moving towards. We wouldn’t be heading into cross cultural missions without the influence of people like you in our lives and we need you to come with us to make it happen. Below is more specific information about the things we are doing. Please remember us in your prayers and send us email or messages as God leads. We’ll be trying to post on our 'Appels to France' Facebook page with pictures and musings, along with specific requests for prayer.

The Trip

We will be traveling by plane, car and ferry, all over France, staying in a different place almost every night so we decided to leave the boys at home with their grandparents. It will be the longest we have been away from them (and the longest someone else has had to manage them!) Please pray for their health and safety—and their little hearts and ours as we miss each other terribly—as well as sustaining for the generous family members who will be looking after them while we are away.


We will be in France from October 16th to October 29th. The first few days we will be spending time at Bless Network near Caen in Normandy. We will get to know the city and meet with leaders from that organization to see what God is doing there and if we are a good fit to work with them.  

After this, we will be meeting with a Greater Europe Mission (GEM) city leader in Paris, and then driving down to Grenoble for the GEM France Missionary Retreat. Here we will have the opportunity to meet with more than 50 GEM missionary families and we’ve been invited to be part of leading sung worship. 

After the retreat, we will possibly be visiting Lyon, Tours, and Paris again to meet with leaders from GEM and Messenger Fellowship. We will end our time in France back at Caen where will with catch the car ferry to Portsmouth on the South coast of England.


We will be in the UK from the October 29th to November 4th. The first few days will be spent in London meeting with ministry partners and treasured friends and mentors. On All Hallows Eve, we will travel to Chorleywood in Hertfordshire, our old home town where we did ministry for 5 years. On Sunday November 1st, Tom will be preaching at the morning services at Christ Church and we both will be leading worship at St. Andrew’s Chorleywood at their evening service. In both churches, we have been blessed with the opportunity to share about what God is doing in us for France! If you are one of our UK friends, please try to make it to one of these services so we can see you! We fly out of the UK all the way back to Dallas on the 4th of November, arriving just after our littles go to bed! Whew!

Thank you, as always, for being in our corner as we look towards ministry in France. Again, if you want to follow along with us we will be updating our Appels to France FB page often and keeping connected on social media while we are away. We love you and appreciate you!

Open Doors

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.

Bless Network

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?  

The Journey Begins

Welcome to our first official newsletter as Missionaries to France! We are so excited to begin this journey towards the mission field. If you are receiving this email, it is because you have signed up for it or, you didn’t and we just thought you would like to be on this list anyway…;)

Discerning Call

Over the past year and a half we have been discerning a call to full-time ministry in France. This call has been a result of seeking God for what our ministry purpose is together, after Tom finishes his Masters of Divinity program at Bethany Seminary. When we were serving the church in the UK, we learned a lot about ourselves and the environment in which we thrive doing ministry. We love to serve together, we love being used by God cross-culturally, and we know that the models of church planting and evangelism that work in Europe, fit us. We are also both artists and love using music, words, food, and visual arts to communicate God’s love to the lost. These are just a few things of many, which point us toward church planting in France.  Although the setting is nice, missionaries to France are greatly needed and the work is hard.  Less than 1% of French people identify themselves as evangelical Christians.   

Scouting Trip

When we first felt called to France, we did not really know what we would be doing or how we would go about doing it! The past year has been a wonderful learning process for us. We are working with Greater Europe Mission (GEM) as our sending agency, and God has given us several exciting connections on the ground in France that we will be exploring more over the next few months. In October, we will be taking a scouting trip to France to visit established missionaries and ministries with whom we could potentially partner when we move there. As a part of this trip, we will be meeting with some of our ministry partners and mentors in the UK who will help us discern what God is doing!

First Steps

This past month, it feels as if our journey towards France is beginning in earnest. We recently finished our ministry roles at our church in Colorado where Tom served as the Youth Pastor for the past couple years. The youth group sent us off with an amazing night of prayer and sharing of what God has done. We were quite overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement for what He is going to do next!  Just this month, we sold our house and moved everything we have, along with our British cat, to Texas where we will be living with Tom’s parents as we pursue this calling towards France. 

An Invitation

So come with us!  No, seriously, we want all of you to come with us on this adventure with God.  Each of you have made significant impact in our lives and we want you with us in the ups and downs of this journey.  Please read our stories, pray with us, and let us know how we can pray with you too!