Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Ze Rencontre

Sometimes I wonder what I've gotten myself into.  I had that thought/feeling as Friday approached last week, the day Ze Rencontre would begin.  It's a play on words (Ze="the" with a French pronunciation 😂 encounter).  A nonstop weekend with 2,000 French youth is a major stretch already, but following 8 days of conferences in Holland and the extras in between?  

But what a weekend it was!  I actually missed Friday's service because of a mixup in the transportation, which I counted as a blessing in disguise since it got me to bed much earlier than I would've otherwise.  I met the group who was staying in the same town as me early Saturday morning, and we rode in, not returning till 11:30 or so.  That was a long day.  I took a break Sunday afternoon to celebrate Easter with my friend's family after the morning service, but participated that evening.  

So much I could write, but I was so honoured to be among this group of French youth praising God, being fed the Word in a direct, powerful way.  I was thankful to join the prayers of those who were being moved and worked on to go deeper, to be set free, to step into the life that Jesus offers them.

I was impressed with the organization.  Both afternoons offered a variety of activities: 7 or so sports, 4-5 outreach opportunities, and about 20 workshops on everything from the occult to science and faith to authority and submission and so on.

As I rode back to Lux in one of two full cars, we talked for the entire 2.5-3 hours of how everyone was encouraged or inspired and of possible ways to take action.  The first fruit, at least as a group, has already happened: a small group of us met to pray and fast last night.  It was a rich time.  Thank you, Lord!!!!

Please pray for the 2,000 youth/leaders who attended Ze Rencontre to continue to encounter the Lord and to walk in His Spirit and for us at the P.O. de Lux to continue to do the same as we seek His heart for the community here.


Note: This post is a bit delayed.

I was quite exhausted after I returned to France.  I had to be very disciplined to protect Wednesday as my Sabbath as I hadn't had one since before I'd left France.  I did meet a French couple I'd met in November who has a ministry called Espoir et Vie.  It was relaxing, though, as we walked down the street to a nearby park.  Otherwise, it was praying, a walk, some nice meals, rest, and a movie with my friend.

Please, please pray for this family as they need more resources (people, finances, and a
 building) to advance in the vision they have. 

It was a good move because Thursday was full.  The plan was to meet some of the Swiss team in Basel which is just over the border.  I'd remembered how easy it was to take the train into Basel from the town I was staying.  What I didn't realise is that the church where we were meeting was next to the German rail station, not the Swiss one.  

To make matters worse, the tram is under construction.  I found the bus, but the wrong direction, so I returned to the station to buy a train ticket.  The machine wouldn't take my credit cards, which was a blessing because I heard over the loud speaker that it had been canceled!  Back outside, I asked around and had to walk a few blocks to find another tram.  They wouldn't take Euros, and I no longer have Swiss francs, but thankfully the machine did take some Euros.  Finally, I arrived a few minutes later than planned, but in tact!  

It was nice to catch up with a couple of colleagues and to get caught up on some work!  It's been years since I was in Basel, so that was nice too...until time to go home.  Almost a repeat of failed attempts to purchase tickets.  As time ticked away, my stress level increased as I had agreed to lead a French Bible Study that evening and had a little more preparing to do as well as eat.  Thankfully my colleague agreed to drive me, which I was so grateful for!

That evening I used one of the passages that had really spoken to me during the Weavers training the week before: John 11.  Actually, if you follow my blog, this isn't the first time I've been touched by this story; but this time for a different reason.

The evening was more of a "partage" (me sharing) than teaching.  I had everyone listen to me re-tell the story and then asked a few questions before I gave everyone some time with the Lord as I posed some questions, with an instrumental song playing in the background.  We had to consider who/what is our Lazare (Lazarus)?  The thing where we may feel like the Lord didn't listen or care when we brought our deepest need to him because he was away/distant while we were in Bethany (so to speak)?  And what is our stone if there is one, something that the Lord wants us to do so that any obstacles blocking his desire to meet our needs even miraculously, would be removed?  And what are our arguments or hold-ups that could cause us to question our obedience?  Finally Jesus' question: Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?

I think a couple of people would've preferred the regular dialogue (the French love to discuss!), but one young man expressed how much he appreciated the time with the Lord to bring the questions to Him.  The pastor also was very affirming and encouraging and even open to share with the others what he received.  We ended in prayer.

To be honest, I left relieved that it was over; and the next day would begin the youth weekend!  Not exactly TGIF, ha ha!

Friday, April 19, 2019

To Holland and Back

Tuesday I returned back to France after spending over a week in Holland at a conference.  There were over 600 people from 78 countries and 210 organisations represented!  For someone who doesn't like the nonstop flood of information and activities inherent to conferences, this stretched me.  I wish I had had time to write posts throughout the week as there were many stories to share, but I was just thankful to make it through the intensity in good health, praise God!

I didn't get to sightsee or visit any of the renowned Keukenhof,
but here are some tulips from the flowerbed where we stayed. :)

I was also thankful to just be there.  I had been dealing with fatigue as I left France and arrived in Holland, but that felt like nothing when I heard the stories of other attendees who never made it to the conference.  There were many whose Visas were denied, and the two plenary speakers had to cancel at the last minute, one because of the loss of his wife the week before; the other diagnosed with a fatal disease about the same time.  Wow.  It made me consider how special it was to be there.

The hilight for me was all the people I met and connections I made.  The Weavers training (an EE tool that focuses on weaving Gospel conversations into normal conversations) was the reason I went and very valuable.  It was so rich to have a variety of languages and cultures represented as we learned from each other.

Group who completed the Weavers Training
That's all I can really share about the conference on this platform, but it was a rich time, not just by the diversity of cultures and languages represented, but also the gifts and talents that each one brought.  The man who put it together left us with a very powerful challenge: "No one is able to do as well as you are at what God has asked you to do.  Do it."  

Friday, April 5, 2019

Provision and Progress

This week has been one of my busiest with lots of meetings--online, over the phone, and in person.  There’s one in particular I want to share with you as it is a huge answer to the prayers of many over the past few months!  Tuesday I asked a simple question which led to a discussion about possible people who could help revise the Canadian materials into French.  Sara who works as the communications director at the P.O. thought of someone from our church.  How convenient, but more importantly, she’s qualified.  And just like that after weeks of knocking on some different doors.  

After a simple text, we had scheduled a meeting before Wednesday night’s church service.  As I explained more about what I do and what I am looking for, she scanned the material and noticed a word or phrase here and there that sound strange or not very French (at least to the French).  She agreed to meet with me when I return after Easter!  (I’m on a train now en route to Alsace before I attend a couple of conferences over the next couple of weeks.).

In the meantime, as I reached out to my Canadian colleague, I was incredibly thankful to discover that we have another material already translated into French: the dvd script.  Wow!  I still have a lot of digging to do, but I’m so thankful for the Lord’s goodness to provide this lady as well as the additional helpful conversations that have given direction this week.  A huge thank you to all who have been praying for this!  I greatly value your prayers as we move forward, especially the communication with others, for wisdom, efficiency, and accuracy in the entire revision process.   Merci!