Firstly, my apologies for having not updated the blog in ages! Here are some of the highlights over the last two months.
On Tuesday 19 May, I set off for northern France, dropping off our top mate Parveen in Marles-les-Mines en route to my little Première Classe motel for the week. The latter was not the original plan, but having spoken to my hosts the night before departure, I hadn’t realised that they weren’t going to be there that week; a slight assumption on my part! Nevertheless, the crossing was booked, I was giving a mate a lift so I booked the cheapest motel I could find, which was over 30kms south of Lille in Hénin-Beaumont and there I spent the week, trying to be as constructive as possible in applying for jobs from my little tablet.
The following week, I was able to stay with my host family, Jean & Marie-Hélène Ruff in Coutiches, a little nearer at 28kms from Lille. I was based there for the following two weeks and this family were so kind to me – a real blessing from God to support me so self-sacrificially! Small family, BIG blessing!
I spent my time searching and applying for jobs and having meet-ups with various church leaders from the Nord region. I had no idea at the time that it would take less than three weeks to find a full-time job – little time, BIG miracle! It was through a contact of mine from the BCCI (British Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Lille) that referred my CV to a language institute that were recruiting. I called them on Wednesday 3 April, had an interview on Thursday and was offered the job on Friday! And what’s more, to start on Monday 8 April! Talk about whirlwind provision from Jehovah Jireh!
Thankfully, I had a window of time that weekend before starting work to fly from Lille to Geneva for the wedding of our dear friends Joey and Nikki Natali! It was such an honour and privilege to be there to witness the God-glorifying union of a gospelising, nation-shaping couple! Here follow a few photos of: the beautiful Lake Geneva, the church in Genthod and the happy couple!
In six weeks of teaching English I have taught 150hrs face-to-face with adults and racked up about 1,500kms of driving to get to the classes all over the Nord region! It has been fascinating! My students range from working in insurance, to cheese factories; bio-sciences to lawyers; directors of an international DIY firm to quality technicians in a leading bakery production line. I have been glad to receive positive feedback regarding my lessons and am really enjoying this new challenge. It was great to enjoy a team-building day with work earlier this week at a cooking workshop! Suffice to say, my George was thrilled to hear that I might pick up a few tricks in the kitchen, and although we did cook a knock-out three course meal, it may be hard to replicate…
From my first day at work, I have been staying with my second host family, Helen and Tony Banton in Tourcoing. Once again, an amazing provision from God – I have known few people as generous as these former Sheffielders!
I have had the opportunity to visit Christ Church Lille a couple of times; once by myself and once with George & Mim when they visited me for the weekend. I also had dinner with the chaplain there, Debbie Flach, and I am encouraged by our mutual passion to see people saved and discipled.
I also visited the Eglise Evangélique de Lille Métropole last Sunday, although, I haven’t been able to meet anyone there yet. A very impressive building and about 500 in attendance! So good to see God at work in Lille!
However my church-visiting highlight so far was to the Christian Outreach Centre church plant in Marle-les-Mines where Parveen is staying with the key plant couple, Jonathan & Sandrine Civel. Having only spent a few moments with this couple in the past, we soon realised we had quite a bit in common in the way of persuasion for church planting. I was amazed but gladly accepted the offer when Jonathan asked me to preach at their next meeting! I felt God lead me to preach on the gifts of the Spirit, as it was the Pentecost weekend after all (N.B. Holy Spirit moves 24/7, 7/7, 365/365 – thank the Lord!). I managed to preach in French for 40mins and they all stayed awake, smiled and nodded throughout! Another miracle! I led us in a response time for people to be filled with the Spirit and following a word of knowledge I had about someone suffering from nightmares and that God wanted to set them free from that, a guy stepped forward and we all prayed for him! Great stuff! Here’s a pic of the gang who were there:
So you’re pretty much up to date now!
George finishes her job in Canterbury next Friday and so she and Mim are ready to move out in June. I continue to look for a place for us to live and we would appreciate your continued prayers for the right place to come through for us.
I have regular communication with a variety of people from differing nations who are interested in the church plant, which is thrilling! Please pray for God’s continued establishing of our hearts with others who He is calling to join us at this foundational stage.
Thanks for your support!