Monday, April 28, 2014

Day trip to Paris

April 28, 2014--Our team got the chance to go to Paris for a day.  We thank Rob for taking his day off escorting us through the city. We drove three hours to the train station and then experienced the Metro. 

The sights and sounds of Paris are vast. Whether it was leggings and skinny jeans, a bleached-out 2 foot high hairdo, the massive blocks of the Louve, Notre Dame, the cathedrals or the romantic idea of the "locks of love" bridge, observing a river cruise, or the sky high Eifle Tower we took it all in. And the food was amazing!

Pictures to come later.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

From countryside to city, French people need Christ

Saturday, April 26--We left the Chateau with heavy hearts. We made many  friends from France and Germany. We had hoped to leave at 9am but did not leave until 10:45am.  We hugged necks. We kissed many on the cheek (a French farewell).  

We praise God for the connection of God's family around the world. We shared meals. We told stories.  We prayed together.  We are on mission together in the US, Germany, and France. 

We left St. Albain for Dijon. This road trip took about 90 minutes.  Yet this trip was on our own. Rob helped us input the destination.  The in-car GPS is only in French.

Our travels took us from the country into the city.  We said farewell to the country. We welcomed the city.

Rob & Nichole met us at the hotel. We left our bags in storage until the rooms were ready. Walking through the old part of Dijon, we sat down to eat lunch at Place Pizzeria. Personal pan pizza was delicious.

Immediately following lunch we scurried to the Cafe to prepare for the Navajo presentation. We had 12 people attend. One participant, Emanuel, said that this was a very spiritual event.  Emanuel took another step towards following Jesus. 

Our team helped close up the cafe.  We cleaned the toilets, swept the floor, washed the pots, and picked up the trash.  

As we waited to mop the floor, a man named Hugh dropped by. Hugh is an atheist. He is always determined to derail any Gospel presentation. But God was with Pastor Daron. Pastor Daron walked through Gospel as it relates to Navajo culture. At the end, Nichole asked Hugh, "Do you have harmony?" Hugh replied, "No." Hugh immediately changed the subject by wishing Pastor Daron well for having harmony in Christ the Creator.  

Please pray for Hugh to come to Christ.  I am quickly posting this because we need to leave to check out of the hotel.   I will try to post more later. 

Thanks for your prayers. We depart tomorrow morning for our long journey home. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Behind the scenes at the Celebration

Friday, April 25--Often we forget what happens "behind-the-scenes." For the 50th anniversary celebration, the Chateau staff started early and worked late.  

Before the morning light, staff prepare the coffee, greet the baker Arno, who brings fresh, baked bread every day, and make sure the place settings are set.

So prior to the feasting there is a lot of work to do.  Bob & Lisa Keifer lead the Chateau team. Lisa assigned us various tasks. Some are souse chefs who prepare the food for cooking. Others set tables.  Our team was given the task of going to the supermarket for fresh food. What an adventure!

We left the Chateau with map, credit card, and eagerness to help in hand.  We had only limited French greetings and a handful of words under our belt. So we used a trick that Bob uses.  He takes pictures of what he needs and if he needs help he shows the grocer what is on his list. We did the same.

Sometimes in another culture you just don't know remember the exact word or you are so fatigued that you can't recall the word.  So Bob taught us that you can show a picture and say a thousand words. 

We drove through two small villages, navigated several roundabouts, and dodge one large truck on the thin, paved back-country roads.  The grocery is small about the size of an Aldi or a Dollar General.  We arrived at the InterMarche.

One thing we noticed is the price tags. Here in France the price tags are digital.  We saw a worker reprogramming a price with a handheld device.  We recalled that in the Wooster Kohls, in the reduced shoe section, you can find these digital price tags. It's the little things that you noticed.

We finished our adventure and returned to begin setting up for the luncheon. The Chateau staff not only cooks the meals, but also washes all the dishes, pots, and pans. Here is where we helped out.  

Along with the German churches of Aalen and Stuttgart, we got dish-soap hands and hand dried the cleaned items.  As each bowl or pot was cleaned, the kitchen prep team took the clean item for use. It was a never ending cycle of scrap, rinse and load; hand dry and put away; use and return it to the kitchen for cleaning. It takes more than one team to make things happen.

We praise God for all the hard work the Chateau team does "behind-the-scenes." Please pray for Bob & Lisa, Michel & Crystal Sala, Lisa Rupp, as well as many volunteers like Lydia Marsh and Emma Burgess. Please praise God with us for these fully devoted followers of Christ and many others who helped "behind-the-scenes."  

Chateau Staff & Wooster Team rest after working

Evening 50th Celebration

Friday, April 25, 2014

50th Anniversary Luncheon at the Chateau de St. Albain

Friday, April 25--Celebration!

Today is the 50th year celebration for the ministry of the Chateau. Encompass Board members and European leaders and churches from Germany, France, and the USA join together to praise God for fifty years of ministry.

The morning began with clear skies and cool temps. The evening barbeque is forecast for possible showers. We pray God keeps the rain away.

For lunch, the Chateau staff served a typical French lunch with the help of Sue Griffith. Our team helped set the table.  

Every effort was made to ensure a spectacular presentation.  The setting sets the stage for the main event--the food.  

Our meal would last 2 hours. The appetizer was a stuffed mushroom with two cheese stuffed bread morsels, a Gougeres.  The drink was a tomato juice poured onto pineapple juice to create the visual effect of two drinks in a glass. The combined taste of the juices were delectable.

Next, a Bermuda salad was served with chicken mirabella and rice with a clear broth sauce.  Each bite was savory.  

Then the cheese course followed with several cheeses presented on a tray for our choosing.  Finally, the dessert was Vacherin, a chocolate or strawberry flavored whipped creme over an egg-white meringue.  The dessert was followed by French pressed coffee. Wow!

Our team helped clear tables and wash dishes with the German contingent.  Together with the Chateau staff we finished the dishes in quick fashion.  It does take more than one team to clean up!

Everyone had options to go for a short trek or take a short rest. We chose the rest option.  

The barbeque begins with an appetizer at 6pm, followed by the barbeque outside.  Our team will travel into the country on our own to get some souvenirs before the appetizer.  Pray we return because we are venturing out on our own. 

In the darkness, there shines many bright lights

Thursday, April 24--I heard someone say, "The darkness is always the darkest right before the sunrise." I believe that is true as it relates to the Church in France.

Our team is privilieged to hear the testimony of the growth of the French Church. Pastor Florent Varak shared what God has been doing. He rehearsed with us the history of God's people in Lyon.  Each time the Church grew. Persecution followed. Please pray for the French Church. Ask God to bring more light as people need to come to Christ.  Ask God to draw people to Himself. 

The church in Lyon is hidden among the tall apartment complexes of the second largest city in France. The building was an old, rundown factory. But God's people revived the building and now receives everyone with the warmth of God's love.

We praise God for His work in the believers of France. They are fully devoted followers of Christ.

We toured the city of Lyon with a perspective of hope. Even though the city has had short-lived revivals, persecution is part of the history of the city. So, with this new glimmer of hope, a dark shadow is cast.  

At the end of our tour of God's work, we paused in the next city where a church may be planted. We looked over the Saone river to ask God for the city.  The name of the city escapes me (a sign of old age? No! Just tired. :) So I'll say.)

Nevertheless, God is at work in France. Praise the Lord!

In the evening, Pastor Daron shared about Navajos with the church in Macon. The church had 20 people with 2 new contacts. To have any contacts show up at a church event is incredible. God did a great work!

Greg Burgess, president of Edicion Cle, served as translator. Greg has done a fabulous job. We thank Greg and his family.  We especially say thanks to Sandrine and his children for letting us take him away from them each evening. 

Edicion Cle is a Christian Publishing company that focuses on French speaking books, workbooks, and cartoons.  Greg gave us a tour and we prayed for God to provide him with wisdom as he leads this growing organization.  Please pray for four projects that are time intensive.  May God continue to allow them to provide quality Christian books so that God's people are equipped for developing fully devoted followers of Christ. 

Tomorrow is the big celebration for the 50th anniversary of the ministry of the Chateau de St. Albain. Please pray that we praise God above all. For He is worthy of praise!  Good night from France!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A tour of Geneva, Switzerland and a seminar in Tournus

Wednesday, April 23--God is so good! We have traveled many kilometers in France. With few close calls, God has protected us.  Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday started quickly for us. We ate an European breakfast--coffee with milk, fresh baked bread, marmalade and yogurt.  

Right after breakfast, we took a long drive to Geneva, Switzerland to visit a young bible college student, Renault. He recently came to Christ. A devout atheist prior to his conversion, Renault came to Christ in Montceau. Dominique Henchoz discipled Renault. And together they decided to send Renault to the Geneva Bible College. 

Hearing his testimony and his heart for God was stirring.  Please pray for Renault. Ask God to help him discover an internship for the summer. Ask God to help him finish this semester strong by studying hard. 

We took a quick tour of Geneva before returning to Tournus for a conference. Our friends from yesterday returned to the talk. God brought 48 people.  Dave & Sue Griffith arranged for us to use the church in Tournus. Joelle opened the conference in prayer and welcomed us to the church.

We praise God for ten new contacts and one man named Guy who asked Dave to meet sometime to discuss the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism. Please pray for these new contacts and for Guy to follow up on his desire to explore spiritual things. Thanks for your prayers!

Talking English with strangers, leaving class as friends

Tuesday, April 22--Earth Day--Our team has experienced many things in the last week--too many to jot down in postcards from France. But we can share what God is doing through us.

Once again the day was filled with new experiences, new adventures & new friends.  We started out working around the Chateau doing such things as washing dishes, preparing lunch & pulling weeds.  Although these chores sound like everyday activities, it was a new experience doing them along with people from not only France, but Germany & England.  We learn so much about their culture, their language as well as their challenges.  We heard stories of the hardships of being a Christian in a culture that has long forgotten God, Stories of the struggles that are always present with the deception of the evil one.  But we heard stories of great encouragement & stories that made us smile & laugh.  

After a delicious lunch, we traveled to an area of large cliffs surrounded by field after field of vineyards. The trail was steep at a places slippery but the trek was well worth the walk.  The view was breathtaking & beyond words.  


New friends were made as we attended an English conversation class with Sue Griffith. She has two classes that wanted to practice English so the we were able to help them practice their English words. These new friends live in the village of Plottes.  The town is in the heart of Chardonnay; yes, it's the original location of Chardonnay wine.  So grapes, fruit juices, and wine are made in this region.  

Our team were strangers to the class. But we left as friends.  Thanks for your prayers. Your prayers are helping us deepen relationships and catalyzing new friendships.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The day after Easter celebration that brought the whole town to the Chateau

Monday, April 21--The day after Easter is a holiday in France. They celebrate Monday Easter. 

The Chateau Association reaches out to their town with a community Easter Egg Hunt. This year they invited Pastor Daron to share about Native Americans after the hunt.

We praise God for the multinational team of helpers who made the day possible. French, German, US citizens, and  a Native American worked together to make a good memory for the children of St. Albain.

Dominique Henchoz helped Pastor Daron think through of a way to speak to the interest and hearts of the people at the Chateau. We praise God for the Holy Spirit who helped us share to create more interest in the things of God.  Together, we offered a unique perspective on following Christ, the Creator.

After a short talk, Pastor Daron invited interested guests to ask more questions about Navajo culture and to take a photo with him.  Many people stayed, took pictures, and ask curious questions. 

Later in the afternoon, our team paused to thank God for a great outreach.  Without your prayers, nothing could have been done. Rainclouds came near but only a few drops fell. Children could have been a distraction but most were quiet and occupied.  Many people could have left after the egg hunt but most remained to hear about Navajo culture.  Your prayers were effective. Thank you for praying. Together, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.