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!